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Los Angeles Sights

Richard J. Riordan Central Library

  • 630 W. 5th St. Map It
  • Downtown
  • Library/Archive

Updated 03/31/2014

Fodor's Review

The nation's third largest public library, the Richard J. Riordan Central Library is centered on the handsome original building, designed in 1926 by Bertram Goodhue. Restored to their pristine condition, a pyramid tower and a torch symbolizing the "light of learning" crown the building. The Cook rotunda on the second floor features murals by Dean Cornwell depicting the history of California, and the Tom Bradley Wing, named for another mayor, has a soaring eight-story atrium.


library offers frequent special exhibits, plus a small café where you can refuel. Don't ignore the gift shop, which is loaded with unique items for readers and writers. Hour-long walking tours are offered Tuesday to Friday at 12:30, Saturday at 11 and 2, and Sunday at 2. A self-guided tour map is also available on library's website.

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Sight Information


630 W. 5th St., at Flower St., Los Angeles, California, 90071, United States

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Sight Details:

  • Free
  • Mon. and Thurs. 10–8, Wed., Fri., and Sat. 10–5:30, Sun. 1–5

Updated 03/31/2014


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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating

By Jean

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Dec 23, 2003

Don't Miss if You're in Downtown.

Don't miss the Library's ceiling murals, enormous hanging sculptures, original architecture, and periodic exhibits. There's also great people-watching as Angelenos from all walks of life come to check out books and do research. The gift shop is excellent,and last but not least, so is the library's book collection. If you are driving there, be sure to park in a lot for which the Library validates. You would then pay just a nominal fee.

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