Downtown, Los Angeles
If you are into the quirky for your sightseeing, come in the Figueroa Corridor area of downtown, seek out the Felix the Cat sign (1958). The sign, which symbolized the automobile's influence in Los Angeles along with the Chevy car showroom was designated officially as a historical site despite the mayor's protest (Boo Major Villaraigosa, boo). It is a short distance to the campus of USC.
Felix the Cat sign is at 3330 S. Figueroa St
OK, so, tourists that come to L.A. say that they want to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Sign, the beach and the other usual sights. The tourist guides really cater to those but much to my chagrin, there is less mention of the downtown area. It DOES exist! Many locals in the L.A. are quite ignorant about downtown. This is changing though, as developers are promoting the up and coming area better. Fancy lofts are increasingly being rented and purchased here left and right. More and more people are saying an enthusiastic "OK!" to downtown L.A. Look out Manhattan- the heart of L.A. is beginning to rival you. Mark my words- Downtown L.A. will be very close to the grandeur of the Big Apple island about 20 years from now. For now though, downtown is very much a work of progress-but aren't we all?
So, here is a summary of what downtown offers:
-world-class theater venues, including the Ahmanson Theater.
-fabulous 4 and 5 star hotels and restaurants (see about the Bonaventure and eventually, I'll have a restaurant review)
-new and ultra-modern and contemporary lofts (for those who plan to stay for a while. Some are quite expensive ($2000/month, but others surprising affordable)
-a "New York" kind of feel on a smaller level.
-bargain shopping at the Fashion district and throughout.
So, here I include the whole downtown area as an off the beaten path for all of those who just think and dream of Hollywood when it comes to Los Angeles.
Every downtown has its convention center and no exception is in downtown L.A. Just steps from the Staples Center and the Nokia Theater, the convention is a vast, architecturally interesting one that can be considered the heart of downtown.
There is not just local and business interest here at the convention. Thousands of Trekkies flocked here for a major celebration of Star Trek in 2007. Many out-of-towners come here for the popular auto show and, well, for Adultcon (catered to the adult industry, no kiddies allowed for this one!)
Other annual events that take place at the Convention Center:
Pre-Marathon events (before L.A. marathon)
Fiesta event (special Latino-flavored celebration saluting the Lakers)
Always check website for updated info on calendar of events!
Most events have inexpensive admission
the center is located at:
1201 South Figueroa Street
You might be tempted to pass by this building if you were to judge it from the non descript exterior but if you venture inside you will be in for a treat-the naturally lighted atrium courtyard topped with a skylight, the intricate design work of the wrought iron staircases, the Victorian birdcage elevators that are still manually operated.
It was designed in 1893 by novice architect George Wyman who is said to have taken the job after communicating with his dead brother, via a Ouija board, who said "Take the Bradbury; it will make you famous." His inspiration was a science fiction book, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy.
The Bradbury Building was used to film parts of Blade Runner, Chinatown, (500) Days of Summer and The Artist in the scene where George and Peppy meet on the stairs and he is going down and she is going up, both physically and professionally.
It's located at 304 South Broadway and you can visit the first floor lobby between 9 and 5 every day although it sounded like with a little "donation" that the guards might take you up to the 5th floor. After visiting, if you want a bite to eat, hop across the street to the Grand Central Market.
The Angels Flight funicular was nicknamed "the shortest railway in the world" and unfortunately I think you need to add another adjective, non operational.
It opened on December 31, 1901, the two railcars, Olivet and Sinai (named for two mountains in the Bible), carried passengers between the fashionable residential neighborhood on Bunker Hill to the offices and shops below. The fare in 1901 was a penny, it rose to a nickel in 1914 where it stayed until the railway was dismantled and put into storage in 1969.
In 1996, the restoration of the funicular was completed , the fare being raised to a quarter. After a fatal accident in 2001, the funicular was shut down and remains out of operation as of October 2006.
Located at 351 S. Hill Street
Little Tokyo is home to the LA Tofu Festival, one of the largest of its kind.
This year they featured Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and a sake/beer/wine tasting, as well as 40 vendors hawking intriguing Tofu dishes.
If you're going to be in town over the summer and want an unusual experience, check out the Tofu Fest!
(This is a duplicate of one of my transpo tips)
Enjoy a walking tour of Downtown Los Angeles. It's a part of this city (one of the only) best explored by foot.
Very interesting & educational walking tours are offered by the LA Conservancy. I believe they are $8. Red Line Tours is another good company.
There are also Self-Guided tours. One, called "Angels Walk", offers a guidebook at any of the DTLA tourist kiosks throughout the city. Once you have your book, you'll walk from place to place and come upon an Angel's Walk kiosk that will tell you all about the area you're standing in or nearby attractions. You'll notice these all over downtown. They're a fun way to get more out of your visit.
Finally, if you type "Downtown Los Angeles Walking Tour" into google, you'll get USC's Architecture school's walking guide. It's more heavy into the architecture, obviously, but it's also good.
Recently a company began offering a tour where you get a headset and, using GPS, it figures out where you are and tells you about the area. The unique thing is that it tells you about it 100 years ago! (yep, DTLA was THE place to be back then)
This futuristic buidling is a local high school. It specializes in the visual and performing arts. We saw just over the freeway from the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angeles and just had to venture over afterwards to see it. I have to say we were impressed with the architecture. This high school sits on some very historical ground. It is where Fort Moore 1847 was located and eventually abandon in 1849. It is also where are some very impressive stone reliefs 1957 are to honor those who fought and die during the Siege of Los Angeles. The second Los Angeles high school was built here in 1891 to replace the original that was built in 1873 at another location. Sadly the 1891 high school suffered damaged during the 1971 earthquake (remember that one well) and was going to be repaired until a mysterious fire destroyed it. Now stands a lovely tribute to the learning of the performing arts.
Located at 450 N. Grand Ave and West Cesar E. Chavez Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90012
This plaque is on the wall of the entry way of the Civic Center Mall, which is the huge beautiful plaza between Hall of Administration and County Courthouses. It is closest to the stairway entry from Grand Avenue.
The plaque reads:
On February 2, 1781, a company of settlers recruited in the states of Sonora and Sinaloa, Mexico, began a historic journey from Los Alamos, Sonora. These were Los Pobladores, whose mission was the founding of El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula as planned by Governor Felipe de Neve. They marched down the Rio Mayo to Santa Barbara Bay, crossed the Gulf of California to Loreto, lower California, sailed northward in the gulf to San Luis Gonzaga Bay, then went inland to the Mission San Fernando de Vellicata. In May they started the long overland journey northward which ended August 18, 1781 at Mission San Gabriel . On September 4, 1781, the 11 families -- 44 men, women and children in all -- moved to the site on the Rio Porciuncula which is now the City of Los Angeles.
Located just north of the Los Angeles County Courts house off of Grand and W. 1st Street, Los Angeles, Ca 90012.
This 4,000 square foot building was built in 1939 to process all the mail for the City Of Los Angeles till 1989 when a newer facility had to be built for the growning demands of a ever growing city. Although, the customer service operation stayed here until 1995. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places #85000131
Located on 900 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, California
Built in April of 1967, it is one of largest theatres that is opened year around with so many wonderful musical venues. It is one of four beautiful theatres within the Los Angeles Music Center.
It is located at 135 North Grand Ave Los Angeles, CA 90012
This plaza is beautiful. A true gem within the confines of a concrete jungle.
The plaque reads: The fountain was constructed in memory of Arthur J. Will, chief administrative officer, County of Los Angeles, 1951-1957, whose vision and leadership for more than 25 years of service to this community helped provide this great civic center as a symbol of good government and an inspiration for cultural growth.
Located just north of the Los Angeles County Courts house off of Grand and W. 1st Street, Los Angeles, Ca 90012.
What is so unique about the downtown area are all these hidden little oasis. The huge Sycamore Fig trees (Ficus sycomorus) blend them into the back ground. So walking along the sidewalk is a better way to discover the hidden plaza's.
The plaque reads: Joseph Scott. Mr. Los Angeles, 1867-1958. Beloved citizen, distinguished lawyer, civic leader. Practiced law in Los Angeles from 1894-1958. Established Knights of Columbus in California, 1902. Served as president of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Education, Community Chest, Boys' Week and Draft Board. Stalwart champion of americanism and militant foe of communism. Lifelong crusader for recognition of the Irish Republic. Nominated Herbert Hoover for president of the United States. Recognized by church and state with highest honors many times.
Located with a small plaza hidden by the huge trees on the north side of Los Angeles County Courthouse on Grand Avenue and W. 1st Street. Los Angeles Ca 90012%c
While exploring along the street you'll see some beautiful pieces of artwork everywhere including this lovely bronze lantrin. There are three other lantrins. It has some wonderful Egyptian images on it.
Located on Grand Street near the Los Angeles Superior Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Grand Street and W. 1st Street Los Angeles, CA 90012
Sculpted by Robert Merrell Gage and given to Supervisor Kenneth Hahn. Underneath the sculpture is a smaller plaque that reads: This statue was given to Supervisor Kenneth Hahn by sculptor Robert Merrell Gage and was placed at this location by order of the Board of Supervisors on September 13, 1988. The unveiling was held on April 24, 1989.
On the side of the sculpture is two plaques each reads: The Gettysburg Address ~ Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate…we cannot consecrate…we cannot hallow…this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Whereas on the 22nd day of September, A.D. 1862, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit: "That on the 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
"That the executive will on the 1st day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State or the people thereof shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such States shall have participated shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State and the people thereof are not then in rebellion against the United States."
Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-In-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days from the first day above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof, respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States the following, to wit:
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrebone, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Northhampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Anne, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted parts are for the present left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States are, and henceforward shall be, free; and that the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all case when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.
And I further declare and make known that such persons of suitable condition will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.
By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
Located at that corner of the Los Angeles Superior Stanley Mosk Courthouse Building on Grand Street and W.1st Street, Los Angeles Ca 90012