One of the most telling symbols of Southern California's glamorous child – Los Angeles - the Hollywood Sign can be spotted from its sky-high perch on Mount Lee. This popular piece of signage was originally set up in 1923 to serve as an advertising gimmick for real estate development, only to become as legendary as its abode in the years that followed the Golden Age of Hollywood. Overlooking the urbane sprawl of its namesake neighborhood, the sign glistens under the Californian sun, profoundly iconic in its stark white lettering that stands at a height of 13.4 meters (44 feet). Swathes of barricades and restricting gates prevent access to the sign, even as adventurous individuals attempt to trespass it. Part of an everlasting cultural fabric that blankets the city of Los Angeles and perhaps all of America, this historical sign has come to be one of the most tangible aspects of Hollywood's fantastical realm.
Perched over the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, "The Pier" feels more like a carnival than a place to shop. Cirque du Soleil pitches their tent on the beach here annually, and there are concerts and dances on the weekends in the summer. In addition to the many restaurants and souvenir stands, there is a full-service amusement park with a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, carousel and arcade. The pier's end provides one of the best sunset views in Los Angeles County.
This observatory, built in Art Deco style, was built in the early 1930s and is a highlight among landmarks in Southern California. See incredible light shows at the Oschin Planetarium, which puts to use the latest technology. Outside the observatory, you'll find sweeping views of the area that are breathtaking during the day and at night as well. Exhibits and planetarium shows will fascinate visitors. Some visitors might recognize the observatory as the site where the climax of Rebel Without a Cause was filmed. On clear nights take advantage of the free public telescopes to see the stars up close.
The Huntington, the former home of a railroad tycoon, is many things—an extensive library filled with rare books, a large art collection containing numerous European prints and paintings, botanical gardens of almost unmatched splendor and a forum for regular lectures and other activities. You will also find a fine bookstore, cafe and tea room on the grounds. Come and wander through the 150 acres of colorful gardens, lily ponds and beautiful sculptures. The rare books and manuscripts in the library include some of the earliest editions of Shakespeare's works, a copy of the Gutenberg Bible on vellum and the Ellesmere manuscript of one or more of Chaucer's greatest works. Please note reservations are required in order to visit and prices vary depending on the day of the week.
An iconic attraction in Hollywood, Universal Studios is a must-visit for anyone who enjoys the thrill and excitement of a theme park. With a slate of ever-changing attractions, the park is a great outing for the whole family and can easily take up an entire day. After the guided tour, you can wander around the park, and get something to eat at one of the numerous restaurants and cafes scattered around its sprawl. Later, take in various shows like Waterworld or the Special Effects show. Some other park attractions that will definitely get your adrenaline pumping include the Revenge of the Mummy Ride, various rides at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and the acclaimed King Kong 360-3D virtual ride.
One of the most intriguing museums in Los Angeles, the exhibits here are both professionally sound and completely dubious at the same time. Although the exhibits feature artifacts and relics from the Lower Jurassic period, they seem to stay faithful to the theme of the museum. The main quest for the visitor is to determine whether or not this entire museum is a sham. Regardless of your ultimate conclusion, the museum is certainly worth both the price of admission as well as your time exploring it.
This Byzantine-style architectural wonder is 454 feet tall and takes up a whole block of space. A tourist attraction in itself, the venue is always alive and humming with activity. Regular tours are held here, so tourists and locals can explore the interiors without getting lost. The structure was built in the mid 1920s. Call for more information, and don't forget your camera!
The Triforium is a massive sculpture located on the City Hall campus that was created by Joseph Young. As with much public art, the 60-ton sculpture has had its fair share of detractors as well as proponents, but as the old adage states, 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder'. The architect wished for the sculpture to beam lights into space as well as create a polyphonic/optical display through motion sensors, however budgetary restrictions prevented their implementation. Nonetheless, the sculpture has remained a part of public art in L.A. since 1975, and will continue to be until it obtains its original bells and whistles it was originally meant to have.
The Bradbury Building is the one of the most impressive Victorian buildings that remains in L.A. Determined to build a lasting monument as his final real estate development, millionaire Lewis Bradbury rejected conventional designs and urged draftsman George Wyman to give the building a more futuristic twist. Wyman initially turned down the offer as unprofessional, but was supposedly persuaded to change his mind after communicating with his deceased brother using a Ouija board. He ultimately created a masterpiece of oak paneling, tiled stairs, wrought-iron railings, open-cage elevators and a glass roof, which illuminates all.
This imposing Los Angeles landmark was built in 1896 by architect John Parkinson, and was known as the primary steel-reinforced and fireproof structure in the city. Thereafter, it gained its most popular status, the one that designated the building as home to the wildly popular Grand Central Market. The market replaced its erstwhile occupant, the Ville de Paris Department Store in 1917. The Homer Laughlin Building has since seen several renovations, once in the 1905 and again in the 1990s. The building is also well known for serving as the office of Frank Lloyd Wright, famed American architect, sometime in the roaring twenties.
Focusing on the Mexican American experience in Southern California and the greater Los Angeles area, this cultural center celebrates the influence of the culture and its people. La Plaza de Cultura y Artes is located near the site where Los Angeles was founded in 1781 on a sprawling 2.2 acre campus. The center is home to two historic buildings, and a lush public garden. Take a peek at rotating exhibits, partake in an educational program or attend one of their many on-going events.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is the mother church of the archdiocese of Los Angeles. Originally built in the 1800s, it was rebuilt to the tune of USD 180 million after the Northridge earthquake in 1994. Every Sunday, this seven-level structure accommodates up to 3000 worshipers. Additionally, the lower-level Crypt Mausoleum is also worth a glance, it is a solemn place of repose for local bishops and cardinals.