Built in Art Deco style, this observatory was constructed in the early 1930s and is a highlight among the 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 nearby area that are breathtaking during the day as well as night. 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.
One of the most telling symbols of Los Angeles, the Hollywood Sign is perched sky-high 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 44 feet (13.4 meters). 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.
Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana is an old mission that has been transformed into a museum that offers a unique look into the region's past. The original mission was founded on September 8, 1797 and has been meticulously restored to closely resemble the original structure plus a few modernizations. Visitors to the mission can tour the church, monastery, living quarters and even an archival center featuring preserved documents and records. Also be sure to check out the museum's theater, which offers short films pertaining to the mission's illustrious history.
The Fox Theater Pomona is an all-purpose venue that has a multitude of entertainment options. The venue first started as a proud movie cinema in 1931 during an era that produced legends on the silver screen. Today it serves as a concert hall, theater, cinema, and event venue, where the theater hosts everything from private parties to romantic dinners. The beautiful Art Deco structure is one of the most sought-after event venues in the city.
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.
Mission San Gabriel Arcángel is steeped in history that dates back to when it was founded in 1771. Visitors can tour this well-preserved Roman Catholic Mission grounds and visit its museum. View the tall buttresses and walls then check out the campanile that holds six bells that were crafted between 1795 and the 1830s. The beautiful altar was made in Mexico City in the 1790s and some of the wooden statues were carved in Spain in the 1700s. The mission museum exhibits relics, books and religious artifacts.
The Robinson Memorial is fittingly located a few blocks from where the legendary athlete and trailblazer was born. After facing constant scrutiny by the community for being part of the only black family living in the area, Jackie Robinson went on to become a star athlete at Pasadena City College and UCLA. He eventually became the first African American in major league baseball and the rest, as they say is history. The memorial depicts the visages of both Jackie and his older brother Mack, who also contributed to the civil rights movement.
Pasadena Memorial Park lies in the heart of the city's old town and serves as one of the key historic landmarks of the region. The sprawling park area is home to well-maintained swings, playground, slides and vast expanses of lush green carpets that offer serenity and peace away from the city bustle. The park is also popular for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, while it also hosts free concerts during summers.
Once the winter home of the Gamble family, Gamble House was designed by Charles and Henry Greene in 1908. Regarded as one of the masterpieces of the Craftsman style, the architects also contributed designs to many of the furnishings. The house is maintained by the USC School of Architecture, and is now used as a study center and a getaway for visiting scholars. The loop of Arroyo Terrace behind Westmoreland Place reveals several other similar bungalows designed by the Greene brothers, during the first decade of the 20th century. Tours last about an hour and require no reservation.
Tournament House, built between 1906 and 1914, was once owned by chewing-gum tycoon William Wrigley, Jr. After the death of Mrs. Wrigley in 1958, the house was donated to the city of Pasadena, provided they used it as a home for the Tournament of Roses Association. It is built in an Italian Renaissance style and has beautiful wood paneling, marble fireplaces, and crystal chandeliers. Free tours are available from February to August on Thursdays. From September on, the house closes to tourists for staff to prepare for the Rose Parade.
This majestic 1913 causeway is lined by antique lampposts and provides a scenic entryway into the heart of Pasadena. So scenic, in fact, that it inspired more than 100 people to take a final 160-foot plunge before it was renovated to include a suicide-prevention fence. Best approached from the west, this short stretch of Historic Route 66 crosses over the Arroyo Seco into the heart of the city. As you pass, you are afforded a great view of the approaching city, particularly the old buildings and homes on the other side of the ravine.
Considered by the Greene brothers as their best architectural achievement, the Robert R. Blacker House is a grand bungalow which was built in 1907 for 100,000 USD. In adjusted figures, that sum is even more impressive, especially since the owner of the house provided the lumber from his own company. In the 1980s, a Texan purchased the house and sold off a number of the furniture and other interior accoutrements designed by the Greene brothers, causing a scandal among Pasadena's preservationists. Although the home is a private residence, no tour of historic L.A. structures would be complete without catching at least a glimpse of it.