Architecture in Los Angeles
Discover icons and places of interest that cannot go unnoticed
Although it is considered a “young” city in relation to, for example, Rome, Los Angeles boasts its own architectural tradition that ranges from very different styles. Perhaps the best known building is Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, an ultra-contemporary, flower-like structure covered in stainless steel that sits right in the heart of Los Angeles and is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic everyday). In stately Pasadena, visit a masterpiece of the Arts and Crafts movement, the Gamble House, built in 1908 by Charles and Henry Greene. Frank Lloyd Wright has designed several important homes in this area, including the Hollyhock House within Barnsdall Art Park, with undeniable Mayan influences. Not enough for you? There are tours organized by volunteer guides from the Los Angeles Conservancy association that touch points of interest such as historic film buildings downtown, Art Deco jewels and Union Station, a 1939 modern Streamline masterpiece.
The Center of Los Angeles
A look at the revival of the city center
A mix of modernity and history, downtown Los Angeles (the so-called Downtown, even just DTLA) offers the typical attractions of big cities, with restaurants, cultural offerings and sporting events at the highest levels. The arrival of new residents has helped revitalize the area and the downtown revival has also been spurred by attractions such as Grand Park, an urban oasis with points of interest such as the Music Center (including the Walt Disney Concert Hall) and City Hall. Begin your exploration after satisfying your appetite.
The refurbished Grand Central Market, originally opened in 1917, now features artisanal food vendors selling freshly prepared foods (such as Belcampo’s burgers, from pasture-fed cattle or ice cream sandwiches that you can make yourself at McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams) alongside longtime retailers, like Wexler’s Deli. Historic buildings have also been transformed, such as the distinctive 1927 United Artists building on Broadway, where you can now find the Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, a classy establishment and restaurant.
The Staples Center and LA LIVE area draw crowds looking for sports and entertainment; here you can also discover objects related to music (such as an Elvis score and Michael Jackson’s gloves) at the Grammy Museum and attend concerts in the Nokia Theater. Grand Avenue is the cultural heart of the city, thanks to the performances of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra at the spectacular Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art).
Tinseltown (one of Hollywood’s nicknames) is the place where movie stars pop up like mushrooms (or so we like to believe) and behind the tinted windows of the limousines that ply the streets might hide a Cruise, a Hanks or an Anniston. And on the hills there is an inscription in letters as big as your dreams: Hollywood. Visit emblematic places with footprints of famous people or wax statues, and maybe you might even catch a glimpse of a real star at a movie premiere or at an awards ceremony. In Hollywood, anything is possible.
A glimpse into the world of the rich and famous
Opulent estates. Palm trees on Rodeo Drive. Sumptuous hotels and long limousines. Take a look around Beverly and you’ll understand where its reputation as an international symbol of unbridled luxury comes from. From the galleries and bars of the downtown Golden Triangle to some of the most expensive hilltop estates above Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills lives up to its glittering reputation. Get closer to the art, architecture and history of this city on the Beverly Hills Trolley Tours. Or just take a stroll. We advise you to look at the wonderful shop windows and observe the passers-by not only on the super chic Rodeo Drive, but also on Beverly Drive, near the famous haunt of the stars Nate ‘n Al Delicatessen. With its very impactful retro air, historic Beverly Gardens Park lines Santa Monica Boulevard with its fragrant roses, cactus garden and vintage fountains. And let’s not forget the culture. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is based in Beverly Hills and organizes screenings and exhibitions. Designed by architect Richard Meier, The Paley Center for Media is an ode to the world of television and holds rare broadcasts and debates in which celebrities and authors describe their work. Finally, head to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, which incorporates the old Beverly Hills post office from 1933 and its rare restored frescoes in a stunning contemporary complex with a 500-seat theater where live performances are held.
Spot the Stars
The places to run into the stars in Hollywood
In Hollywood , the passion for the stars has nothing to do with astronomy. While it is true that you cannot be sure you will come across a familiar face when you are around here, there are some places where this is more likely to happen, especially in hotels. You can start at the glitzy Chateau Marmont, which looks like a castle in Hollywood. This elegant hotel has always attracted celebrities and is still a place frequented by the stars of the moment. Take a look at the palm-fringed patio during lunchtime – you might spot some superstars like Scarlett Johansson and Robert Pattinson. Teddy’s, another place to go star hunting at the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard, it’s a favorite spot for VIPs, and while you probably won’t be able to get in, you can stop by the glitzy lobby and check out the hustle and bustle. Sunset Marquis’ ground floor recording studio attracts music superstars, such as Madonna and Elton John.
Every designer’s dream: style, design and trendy shops
There must be a reason why West Hollywood has been dubbed “The Creative City“. “WeHo” borders Beverly Hills and Los Angeles and is the place where fashion and art reign supreme: to get an idea, just stroll through the West Hollywood Design District. This area, which dictates the trends of the moment, is home to many galleries, the Pacific Design Center on Melrose Avenue and numerous interior design showrooms on Beverly Boulevard. Shop major boutiques (and keep your eyes peeled for stars and celebrities) on elegant Robertson Boulevard. Then head to the fabulous Sunset Strip, where you’ll find legendary venues like The Roxy and the Viper Room, first owned by Johnny Depp.
Finally, don’t forget the bars on Santa Monica Boulevard, the heart of WeHo’s gay nightlife. But West Hollywood isn’t all about flashes and sequins. Half hidden in a quiet side street, you can discover an icon of modern architecture: the Schindler House, which houses the MAK Center for Art and Architecture.
Explore this elegant building from 1922: it is one of the earliest examples of the Californian architectural style in which the internal spaces interact continuously with the external ones. Another quiet but unmissable destination of WeHo is the Book Soup bookstore, where you can attend readings and autograph signings by the most important writers. If you are a star hunter, browse the shelves: you might meet some celebrity-loving books.