No trip to Los Angeles would be complete without a day spent touring the historic downtown area. Set off toward the city’s classic venues on foot and enjoy seeing L.A. from a different perspective. The experience is guaranteed to surpass even the most veteran traveler’s expectations.
Home to the oldest brick home in the city and thought of as the birthplace for early Los Angeles, Olvera Street is a logical starting point for your downtown walking tour. Located just west of Alameda Street across from Union Station, the Mexican shopping and dining district is filled with colorful bazaar type businesses, many of them handed down through the generations from the original vendors. If you are looking for traditional California art or decorator items, Olvera Street is the place to shop.
Heading south on Main Street, cross over the 101 Freeway until you cross Temple Street. There you will find Los Angeles City Hall, a classic example of 1920’s architecture, combining Greek and Roman details into what was for over forty years the tallest building in Los Angeles. The building is easily recognized from having appeared as a backdrop to numerous Hollywood productions.
Head uphill on Temple Street to Hill Street, where you will find the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, home to the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Completed in 2002, the Cathedral is a modern interpretation of classic, biblical themes, complete with extensive gardens, a central plaza, gift shop and the Cathedral building itself. Open to the public, tours of grounds and Cathedral are free.
From the Cathedral head south on Grand Avenue past the Ahmanson Theater, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Disney Concert Hall and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Known as the city’s cultural hub, the buildings in this part of Los Angeles are as beautiful as the works of art that hang on their walls or the sounds that come from their orchestras. Of special interest is the Disney Concert Hall, designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and constructed of wavy lines of steel. The Concert Hall is a shining star against walls of traditional concrete and glass rising in the L.A. skyline.