Downtown LA is Awesome

Old Mar 20th, 2012, 07:39 PM
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Downtown LA is Awesome

I'm fortunate in that I’ve had the opportunity to visit most major U.S. cities at least a few times, some many more than that, so I've been able to compare and contrast my impressions of each. Lately I’ve been traveling to Los Angeles for business that against my wishes has required me to stay downtown, an area of the city that I’d neglected on previous visits. My loss.

Downtown LA has a magnificence that I’d never appreciated from a distance. Recent weather patterns have cleared the air so that from the high buildings the panoramic sweep of the whole LA basin, including snow capped San Gabriel Mountains immediately north of the city, can be taken in. From ground level in the Bunker Hill area, stunning skyscrapers tower in all directions set against a dramatic blue sky. Unlike New York, however, there’s not a lot of other surrounding structural clutter, so the height of the individual buildings is magnified. In this setting, it’s almost as if these skyscrapers are the man-made equivalent to their natural brethren to the north — the Sequoias.

For an amateur architectural buff, there’s a lot to be taken in here. Look forward to exploring the area more, and appreciate recommendations for downtown restaurants and other points of interest from locals or others who frequent the downtown area.
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Old Mar 20th, 2012, 07:50 PM
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"recent weather patterns" or a reduction in emissions?
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Old Mar 20th, 2012, 08:01 PM
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Hooray for my town. Don't miss the Disney Concert Hall, the Central Library and the Bradbury Building while you're there. And ride the elevators at the Bonaventure!
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Old Mar 20th, 2012, 08:24 PM
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MRand: I am looking forward to any future impressions you may have. I have always enjoyed your wonderful writing style!
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Old Mar 21st, 2012, 09:40 AM
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We were in downtown LA last year for the first time in many years, and really enjoyed our walk. We took the Angel's Flight funicular, poked around the Grand Central Market, went into Clinton's Cafeteria (I had remembered my mother talking about eating there in 1945), walked through the Biltmore lobby, and generally ogled the architecture. Definitely worth doing.
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Old Mar 21st, 2012, 11:43 AM
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Speaking of Angels Flight. Here is a little journey we took there along with the Grand Central Market, the Biltmore Hotel, Checkers Hotel, past the Central Library (it was closed that day) and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Clifton's Cafeteria is currently being renovated. Used to go there as a kid. L.A. Baby!

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Old Mar 21st, 2012, 01:34 PM
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Have a meal at Engine Co. 28 on Figueroa near 7th Street. The food is OK, but you'll be interested in seeing the interior conversion from old-time fire station to restaurant. The brass pole and pressed tin ceilings are still there along with some historical photos.

For a little more money, dine at Cicada on Olive Street near Pershing Square. This is a conversion from an Art Deco men's haberdashery to restaurant and Sunday night swing dancing spot. The interior was featured in the movie "Pretty Woman" where Julia Roberts tried to eat escargot.

Go to Union Station and enjoy the California Mission-style exterior and interior. The restaurant Traxx has both outdoor seating and indoor seating (in the old ticket window area). Food, again, is OK.

Some of the oldest buildings in L.A. are in the Olvera Street area across the street from Union Station.

If you'll have a car, make a short drive to Pasadena, visit Gamble House and then drive by some of the Greene & Greene homes.[list of existing structures]

Dukey1, "recent weather patterns" means just that. We had strong winds last week and a little rain. All the gunk in the air was blown and washed away. There is nothing quite like looking across the 525 square miles of the L.A. Basin on a crystal clear day.
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Old Mar 21st, 2012, 02:03 PM
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I am glad to see these recommendations for places to see downtown. We go to LA a lot, but we stick near the coast.

Years ago, we lived in Big Bear Lake. The air quality in LA is now significantly clearer and cleaner. Back then, everyone used leaded gas.
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Old Mar 21st, 2012, 04:59 PM
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I also love the Central Library on 5th Street. Built around the same time as Grauman's Chinese and Egyptian theaters, it's an only-in-L.A. melange of Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival, and ancient motifs. A contemporary wing was added about 20 years ago. There is a lot of art to see on both the exterior and interior of the original building and in the interior of the addition.

This blog has some nice photos.

Docent tours and self-guide info:
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Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 10:59 PM
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The Brewery Artist Colony is holding it's Spring Artwalk of the studios located in an 1903 Brewery on North Main Street next weekend.
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Old Mar 24th, 2012, 12:49 AM
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I changed some stuff on my website, so the above link of mine will not work. Here is Angels Flight Day.

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Old Mar 24th, 2012, 04:43 AM
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Fooey - lost another post getting this webpage:

Anyhoo - while I now live in San Diego - have been visiting downtown LA for over 50 years and they really have done built some very interesting things there. Try to drive it after going to the nearby LA Coliseum for USC football games.

If they add a new NFL Football Stadium - and concurrently expand/upgrade the convention center - it will really be even more amazing

And I love to also get over to the previously mentioned Olvera St - where they have some great French Dip/Roast Beef sandwiches and good Mexican food -and also classic architecture like the Union/Railroad Station.

Now - if you want to see something else spectacular - get out to the Getty Museum (page copied above)- north of the Airport at about Mulholland - and the "old" Getty Villa - out by the ocean in Santa Monica - is still magnificent - and fun to wander about.
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