Students at several Bay Area high schools got up from their seats in the middle of class and filed out. A throng of more than 1,000 young protesters gathered on the steps of Los Angeles' City Hall, burning a giant Trump head in effigy and blocking traffic along Spring and 1st streets.
"I expected better of my electorate," Vishal Singh, 23, said in downtown L.A. late Wednesday. He said he was reeling in shock over the support for a man he saw as opposed to immigrants and LGBT rights. "I thought this country was different."
Thousands of protesters blocked traffic in downtown Portland, Ore., Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia, with some torching flags. Demonstrators in Oakland smashed windows at five businesses and ignited trash containers and tires, police said.
In New York City, thousands clustered in front of Trump's flagship building, the Trump Tower, and repeated a common refrain: "Not My President."
The demonstrators were mostly young, and some said they came out spontaneously, hoping to vent their shock and disappointment at Trump's upset victory over Hillary Clinton.
"I've been sad and angry all day," said Claire Mordowanec, 22, of Brooklyn. "If I didn't come out, how would I explain to my kids one day that I didn't stand up for what's right?"
The unrest began early Wednesday, soon after Trump delivered his victory speech. Shortly after midnight on UCLA's Westwood campus, an estimated 2,000 people rallied, according to UCLA police Sgt. Miguel Banuelos.
N.J. Omorogieva, 19, said she was heartbroken by the election's result when she spotted the growing crowd.
"Of course, I joined in," she said. "To give hugs to people who were overcome by devastation."
At Berkeley High School, about 1,500 students — half the entire student body — walked out of class after first period began at 8 a.m., Berkeley Unified School District officials said.
"It's not the first time we've had a walkout," said Berkeley Unified spokesman Charles Burress. "We know what to expect, we know what we need to do."
School officials accompanied students as they marched, and there were no plans to discipline the students, Burress said.
In downtown L.A. early Wednesday, a crowd gathered near City Hall and property was defaced, including a fence scrawled with graffiti insulting the incoming commander in chief.
The mood was more buoyant at the president-elect's star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, where a small crowd of about 30 Trump supporters gathered early Wednesday to celebrate.
Diane Mendez, 23, a Trump supporter who volunteered at a polling place, said she came to observe what she saw as a turning point.
"He said he would bring jobs back to America. We all need jobs," Mendez said. "Who doesn't need jobs?"
Demick reported from New York, Hamilton and Queally from Los Angeles. Times staff writers Joseph Serna and Alene Tchekmedyian contributed to this report.
9 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details on protests taking place across the U.S.
2:40 p.m.: This article was updated with reports of a protest at Los Angeles City Hall.
1:30 p.m.: This article was updated with reports of additional student walkouts in Northern California.
1 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from the Berkeley Unified School District.
10:10 a.m.: This article was updated with details of a student walkout in Berkeley and protests in other states.
7 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details on damage reported in Oakland.
3:20 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details about the demonstration at UCLA.
3 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details about protests in Oakland.
2:30 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details about demonstrations at UCLA and in Oakland.
2:10 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details about demonstrations in the Bay Area and downtown Los Angeles.
1:25 a.m.: This article was updated with a dispatch from a demonstration at Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.