Los Angeles: Places to Explore

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Downtown Los Angeles

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If there's one thing Angelenos love, it's a makeover, and city planners have put the wheels in motion for a dramatic revitalization. Downtown is both glamorous and gritty and is an example of Los Angeles' complexity as a whole. There's a dizzying variety of experiences not to be missed here if you're curious about the artistic, historic, ethnic, or sports-loving sides of L.A.

Glance in every direction and you'll see construction crews building luxury lofts and retail space aimed at making Downtown a one-stop destination to work, live, and play.

Two massive entertainment complexes are further transforming the area: The long-awaited Frank Gehry-designed Grand Avenue Project is in the works, to be built around the Music Center performance complex, and the newly built L.A. Live/Nokia Theater project, anchored around the Staples Center sports arena.

For art lovers, the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA is known for having one of the world's most important modern and contemporary art collections, and those who are fans of architecture should make a point to see another Gehry creation, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, or the massive, geometrically-designed Cathedral of Our Lady for the Angels.

As you venture into the ethnic enclaves of Downtown—Chinatown, Little Tokyo, and El Pueblo de Los Angeles —take advantage of the tastes, sounds, and sights. Eat duck in Chinatown, red bean cakes in Little Tokyo, or pickled cactus on Olvera Street. Spend time browsing at the Grand Central Market, where stalls are filled with colorful locally-grown produce and homemade treats such as tamales and olive bread.

Visit neighborhood cultural institutions including the Chinese American Museum, the Japanese American National Museum, and the California African-American Museum.

If traveling with kids, check out the California Science Center as well as the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, with its brand-new Dinosaur Hall.

Downtown Los Angeles at a Glance

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