Discovering Downtown LA (Part I)

It’s taking me a while to fully explore downtown LA. I live on the Westside and hate the freeways –a must if you want to get downtown.

After moving to LA in the Fall of 2011, I first went downtown in March 2012 to visit the LA Times and hear a Times journalist talk. After the talk and exploring the Times building, we walked around the area, ate at a Pizza place, and took a few pictures, but rushed back home before the rush hour. At the time I was pleasantly surprised to see that, unlike most large cities’, downtown LA was calm and inviting.

An area of downtown LA worth checking out  and walking around is the Music Center, a complex of venues for music and performing arts that includes: the Ahmanson Theatre, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (home of the Los Angeles Opera) and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. I had been there as a tourist several years ago on a weekend. The place was lively, bustling with locals and tourists. I loved the vibe! Recently I was there on a weekday and it was quiet and subdued, but still pretty and pleasant. We had a very nice lunch at Kendall’s Brasserie and Bar after exploring the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Another highlight of downtown LA, just blocks away from the Music Center, is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Designed by Spanish architect José Rafael Moneo, the stunning post-modern cathedral is among the largest in the world. Beautiful tapestries adorn the cathedral, the most prominent of which being the Communion of Saints along the south and north walls of the nave.

From the Cathedral we can walk to the Civic Center and the landmark LA City Hall. The building was designed by John ParkinsonJohn C. Austin, and Albert C. Martin, Sr. and built in 1928. It has 32 floors and is 454 feet (138 m) high. It’s the tallest base-isolated structure in the world, having undergone a seismic retrofit from 1998 to 2001 so that the building can sustain minimal damage and remain functional after a magnitude 8.2 earthquake.

There’s much more to see in Downtown LA and I look forward to further exploring the area. That’s why I’m calling this post Part I. More to come soon!

Meanwhile, here are some shots of the area.

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