Downtown Los Angeles has the distinction of being the center of a centerless city. All told, the downtown area has adapted to this funny position somewhat gracefully and over the years downtown has maintained at least some sort of economic and cultural importance for greater Los Angeles. Nowadays this downtown area is experiencing something of a resurgence, especially in terms of expanded housing and nightlife options. In this list, we have collected a range of sites and destinations, with a bent towards the historically significant.
The list starts with two locations of MOCA, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. After a brush with bankruptcy in 2010, this institution has lived to see another day and continues to make a great cross-section of the contemporary art available to the public. (Near the Grand Avenue branch you can also find other cultural institutions like the Disney Concert Hall
and the Performing Arts Center
The Angels Flight Railway is a piece of Los Angeles history and also a fun (and very affordable) way to ascend the hillside up to Grand Avenue. At the bottom of the Angels Flight is the very lively and diverse Grand Central Market
, where you can buy a wide range of both groceries and prepared food.
Another important historical destination is the Avila Adobe, which is the oldest standing building in the downtown area. Nearby is a metal plaque commemorating the 11 families who founded el pueblo de la Reina de los Angeles
in 1781 (notably the majority of these founders were of Indian, black, or mixed race, they all spoke Spanish). The Avila Adobe is in the middle of the popular Olvera Street
In terms of architecture, there are a wealth of significant buildings to see in downtown Los Angeles. Buildings from the Art Deco period are especially notable; the Eastern-Columbia building is a prime example and the Los Angeles Central Library is created in a variation of this style. For more Moderne buildings please see my Art Deco guide
250 South Grand Avenue
152 North Central Avenue
351 South Hill Street
A historic ride up the the hill costs a quarter...
10 East Olvera Street
E 1st Street & S San Pedro Street
Downtown, southeast of the Civic Center; bounded by 1st, 2nd, San Pedro, and Los Angeles Sts
630 W. 5th St
Between Flower St. and Grand Ave
304 S. Broadway
At 3rd St
College Street & Hill Street
Downtown; bounded by N. Broadway, N. Hill St., Bernard St., and Sunset Blvd
849 S. Broadway
Grand Art Deco building in turquoise... read more