Article Summary: Los Angeles Landmarks
Los Angeles Landmarks. More Than Just Parks has 15 incredible must-see sites for you to visit.
There’s so much more to this exciting place than the Los Angeles Dodgers. In this article, we’ll familiarize you with the incredible landmarks located in the City of Angels.
We’ve got incredible places, iconic memorials, fascinating museums, epic monuments and so much more.
We’re going to give you our list of the Top 15 Landmarks In Los Angeles.
So, What Is A Landmark?
Well, it’s a place of “a special character or special historical or aesthetic interest or value as part of the development, heritage, or cultural characteristics of a city, state, or nation.”
Why visit these places? Because landmarks connect us to the past. Through visiting these wonderful places where history occurred we find our roots. It allows us to feel like we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves.
And, speaking of history, did I mention that I taught the subject? I spent a lifetime teaching about the history behind many of these amazing sites. Then I got to see them firsthand. And now I’m sharing the fascinating stories of these places with you. It doesn’t get any better than that!
So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Table Of Contents
Table of Contents: Los Angeles Landmarks
- Los Angeles Landmarks
- Some Fascinating Facts About Los Angeles
- Top 15 Los Angeles Landmarks
- Top 10 Los Angeles Landmarks
- Top 5 Los Angeles Landmarks
- Map Of Los Angeles Landmarks
- We Hope You’ll Join Our Journey
- Helpful Related Articles
Los Angeles Landmarks
Some Fascinating Facts About Los Angeles
Here are some fascinating facts about Los Angeles:
- Los Angeles is the second-largest city in the United States, with a population of over 3.9 million people.
- The Hollywood sign is located in Los Angeles and was originally built in 1923 to promote a real estate development.
- Los Angeles is the birthplace of the film industry and the home of Hollywood, which produces more films and television shows than any other city in the world.
- The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most successful basketball teams in the NBA, having won 17 championships.
- The city has a diverse population, with over 140 languages spoken and a large Latino community.
- Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.
- The city is home to many iconic landmarks, including the Griffith Observatory, the Santa Monica Pier, and the Getty Center.
- Los Angeles has a reputation for being a car-centric city, but it also has an extensive public transportation system that includes buses, trains, and subways.
- Los Angeles is one of the most culturally rich cities in the world, with many museums, art galleries, and theaters.
- The city has a thriving food scene, with many world-renowned restaurants and food trucks serving a wide variety of cuisines.
We’re Excited To Share Our List Of The Top 15 Los Angeles Landmarks With YOU
From breathtaking natural scenery, groundbreaking art exhibitions and a cutting-edge culinary scene, Los Angeles offers a lifestyle that is unmatched in most places.
In fact, it’s one of the most well-known cities in the world. Hollywood stars, the TV & movie industries, and gorgeous beaches all make the City of Angels a famous city and a popular vacation spot.
There are some amazing landmarks in Los Angeles too. More Than Just Parks is excited to share our list of the Top 15 Los Angeles Landmarks with you. And we’re kicking off our list at #15 with the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
Top 15 Los Angeles Landmarks
15. Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is a Catholic cathedral located in downtown Los Angeles. It is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and was designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. The cathedral was completed in 2002 and has since become a prominent landmark in the city.
A Short History
Its construction began in 1998 and was completed in 2002, making it one of the newest cathedrals in the United States. However, the history of the cathedral dates back much further.
The need for a new cathedral in Los Angeles was first identified in the 1940s when the city’s population began to grow rapidly. Archbishop John J. Cantwell purchased the site for the new cathedral in 1946, but plans for construction were delayed due to financial and logistical issues.
In the 1980s, a renewed effort was made to build the cathedral. In 1986, Cardinal Roger Mahony launched a design competition to find an architect for the new cathedral. The competition was won by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, whose design was chosen from among 320 submissions.
Construction of the cathedral began in 1998, and the building was dedicated on September 2, 2002. The cathedral’s design is distinctive, with a modern, angular exterior made of stone and glass. The interior is spacious and light-filled, with a soaring nave and numerous chapels.
The cathedral has faced some controversy since its construction. Some critics have argued that its design is too modern and does not fit in with the surrounding architecture of downtown Los Angeles. Others have objected to the high cost of the building, which was estimated to be around $200 million.
Despite these criticisms, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels has become an important landmark in Los Angeles and a significant symbol of the Catholic Church in Southern California. It is also an important cultural and artistic center, with a program of concerts, exhibitions, and other events.
14. Walt Disney Concert Hall
Our next Los Angeles landmark is one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world and provides both visual and aural intimacy through its exterior and interior design.
At #14 on our list of the Best Los Angeles Landmarks is the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall is a modern architectural masterpiece located in downtown Los Angeles. Its construction began in 1999 and was completed in 2003. The hall is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, one of the world’s most renowned orchestras. The history of the Walt Disney Concert Hall is fascinating and involves some of the most talented and creative minds in the fields of architecture and music.
The idea for the concert hall began in the late 1980s, when Lillian Disney, the widow of Walt Disney, pledged $50 million towards the construction of a new concert hall in Los Angeles. The plan was to create a world-class music venue that would rival the finest halls in Europe.
In 1988, a design competition was launched, and the winning design was submitted by the renowned architect Frank Gehry. Gehry’s design was inspired by the landscape of Southern California, with its hills, canyons, and ocean views. The building was also designed to complement the neighboring Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, which is another famous music venue in Los Angeles.
The Project Faced A Number Of Challenges
Construction of the Walt Disney Concert Hall began in 1999, but the project faced a number of challenges. One of the biggest issues was the acoustics of the hall, which had to be carefully designed to ensure that the music would sound clear and balanced. The architects worked closely with acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota to achieve the desired effect.
The hall’s exterior is a masterpiece of contemporary architecture, with its sweeping curves and metallic sheen. The interior is equally impressive, with a warm and inviting atmosphere created by the use of wood, stone, and natural light. The main auditorium seats over 2,200 people and features a unique “vineyard” seating design that places the audience close to the stage.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall was officially opened to the public in 2003 and has since become one of the most iconic landmarks in Los Angeles. The hall has hosted countless performances by some of the world’s greatest musicians and has become a cultural hub for the city. It is a testament to the creativity and vision of its architects and the generosity of its patrons.
13. The Hollywood Bowl
Our next Los Angeles landmark is the world’s largest outdoor amphitheater. It may be the official summer home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, but it is famously known for hosting famous musicians, dancers, and entertainers throughout the year.
At #13 on our list of the Best Los Angeles Landmarks is The Hollywood Bowl.
The Hollywood Bowl is known for its distinctive shell-shaped design, its scenic location, and its long history as one of the world’s most famous music venues.
The history of the Hollywood Bowl dates back to 1919, when the newly formed Theater Arts Alliance began searching for a site to build a new outdoor theater. The group eventually settled on a natural amphitheater located in the Hollywood Hills, and construction of the venue began in 1921.
Hollywood Bowl Concert | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
It Quickly Became A Popular Destination
The first concert at the Hollywood Bowl was held in July 1922, and the venue quickly became a popular destination for music lovers. In the following years, the Hollywood Bowl hosted a wide variety of concerts and events, ranging from classical music performances to pop and rock concerts.
Over the years, the Hollywood Bowl has undergone numerous renovations and upgrades. In the 1920s and 1930s, the amphitheater was expanded and improved, with new seating areas and a larger stage. In the 1940s and 1950s, the venue was modernized, with the addition of new lighting and sound systems.
The Hollywood Bowl has also been a popular location for film and television productions. Many famous movies and TV shows have been filmed at the venue, including “The Sound of Music,” “Glee,” and “American Idol.”
Today, the Hollywood Bowl is one of the most famous and beloved music venues in the world. It continues to host a wide variety of concerts and events, from classical music performances to pop and rock concerts.
It has also become an important cultural center, with a program of education and outreach programs that aim to introduce new audiences to the joys of music.
12. Universal Studios Hollywood
Our next Los Angeles landmark is where movie magic is made. At #12 on our list of the Best Los Angeles Landmarks is Universal Studios Hollywood.
Universal Studios Hollywood is a popular theme park and film studio located in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. It is one of the oldest and most famous movie studios in the world, with a long and fascinating history.
The Universal Studios Hollywood studio lot was first established in 1915 by Carl Laemmle, the founder of Universal Pictures. At the time, the lot was located in the rural outskirts of Los Angeles, far from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.
The first movie filmed on the lot was “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923), starring Lon Chaney.
It Became One Of The Most Famous Movie Studios In The World
Over the next few decades, Universal Studios Hollywood became one of the most famous movie studios in the world, producing a wide variety of movies and TV shows. Some of the most famous films produced at the studio include “Jaws” (1975), “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982), and “Jurassic Park” (1993).
In the 1960s, Universal Studios Hollywood began to open its doors to the public, allowing visitors to tour the studio lot and see how movies were made. This was the beginning of the theme park that would become Universal Studios Hollywood. The first attraction to be built was the Universal Studios Tour, which took visitors behind the scenes of some of the studio’s most famous films.
Over the years, Universal Studios Hollywood has continued to expand and evolve. In addition to the studio tour, the park now features a wide variety of attractions, including rides based on popular movies such as “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” and “The Simpsons Ride.” There are also live shows, character meet-and-greets, and a variety of dining and shopping options.
Today, Universal Studios Hollywood is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Los Angeles, attracting millions of visitors each year. It continues to be a working film studio, producing some of the biggest blockbusters in Hollywood. And it remains a beloved cultural icon, a symbol of the magic and excitement of the movies.
Things To Do At Universal Studios
Here are some of the top things to do at Universal Studios:
- Enjoy the rides: Universal Studios is known for its thrilling and exciting rides. Some of the most popular rides include the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, Transformers: The Ride 3D, Jurassic World – The Ride, and The Simpsons Ride.
- Experience the magic of Harry Potter: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a must-see attraction at Universal Studios. Here you can walk through the streets of Hogsmeade, drink butterbeer, and ride the Hogwarts Express.
- Go behind the scenes of movie-making: The Studio Tour is a tram ride that takes you behind the scenes of some of Hollywood’s biggest movies. You’ll get to see movie sets, soundstages, and special effects demonstrations.
- Meet your favorite movie characters: Universal Studios offers a variety of character meet-and-greet opportunities, where you can take photos and interact with your favorite movie characters such as Minions, Transformers, The Simpsons, and more.
- Watch live shows: There are a variety of live shows at Universal Studios, including WaterWorld, the Special Effects Show, and the Universal Animal Actors Show.
- Explore the CityWalk: Universal CityWalk is a shopping, dining, and entertainment district located just outside the park. It features a variety of restaurants, bars, shops, and live music.
- Get scared: During Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Studios transforms into a spooky and scary theme park. It offers haunted mazes, scare zones, and live entertainment, making it a great attraction for those who enjoy horror and thrill.
11. Watts Towers
Our next Lost Angeles landmark is a symbol of pride for the often neglected and under-resourced neighborhood. When much of the area was destroyed during the Watts Riots in 1965, these towers were miraculously unharmed.
At #11 on our list of the Best Los Angeles Landmarks is the Watts Towers.
The Watts Towers is a group of 17 interconnected steel and mosaic sculptures located in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. The towers were created by an Italian immigrant named Simon Rodia over a period of 33 years, from 1921 to 1954.
Simon Rodia was a tile worker and construction worker who began building the Watts Towers on a plot of land he owned in the Watts neighborhood. The towers were constructed using a unique technique that Rodia developed himself, using scrap steel, concrete, and found objects such as broken tiles, seashells, and glass bottles.
Watts Towers in Los Angeles | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Rodia Built A Series Of Interconnected Towers
Over the years, Rodia built a series of interconnected towers, some as tall as 99 feet, that were adorned with intricate designs made from mosaic tiles and colored glass. The towers were an impressive feat of engineering, and Rodia never used any scaffolding or heavy machinery during the construction process.
In the early years, the Watts Towers were met with skepticism and criticism from the community. Many people viewed the towers as an eyesore and a nuisance. However, over time, the towers gained recognition as a unique and important work of art.
In 1959, the City of Los Angeles attempted to condemn the towers and have them demolished, citing concerns over their safety. However, a group of artists, musicians, and activists rallied to save the towers, and they were ultimately declared a historic landmark by the city.
Today, the Watts Towers are one of the most unique and beloved landmarks in Los Angeles. They are open to the public for tours, and they continue to inspire and captivate visitors with their beauty and creativity.
Top 10 Los Angeles Landmarks
10. Union Station
We’re on to the Top 10 Los Angeles landmarks. At #10 is a place which is the largest train station in the west of the United States and an architectural treasure. It is often referred to as the “Last of the Great Railway Stations”. It’s Union Station.
Union Station was built in 1939 and has served as a major transportation hub for the city ever since.
The construction of Union Station was a collaborative effort between the Southern Pacific, Union Pacific, and Santa Fe railroads, which all wanted to consolidate their passenger train operations in Los Angeles.
The station was designed by a team of architects led by John Parkinson and Donald B. Parkinson, who also designed many other iconic buildings in Los Angeles, including City Hall and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
It Was Designed In A Mix Of Architectural Styles
Union Station was designed in a mix of architectural styles, including: Art Deco, Mission Revival, and Streamline Moderne. The station features a large waiting room with high ceilings, a large clock tower, and a central garden courtyard. The interior of the station is decorated with intricate tile work, murals, and other decorative elements.
During World War II, Union Station played a key role in transporting troops and supplies to the west coast. After the war, however, the rise of automobiles and air travel led to a decline in passenger train travel, and Union Station fell into disrepair.
In the 1990s, Union Station underwent a major renovation, which restored many of its original features and modernized its facilities. Today, Union Station serves as a hub for Amtrak, Metrolink, and other commuter trains, as well as the Los Angeles Metro Rail subway and light rail systems.
Union Station is not only a transportation hub, but also a cultural center for Los Angeles. It has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows, and it hosts a variety of events and exhibitions throughout the year, including concerts, art shows, and food festivals.
9. Capitol Records Building
Our next Los Angeles landmark has been described as the “world’s first circular office building.” The building is known as “The House That Nat Built” due to the vast numbers of records and amounts of merchandise Nat King Cole sold for the company.
At #9 on our list of the Best Los Angeles Landmarks is the Capitol Records Building.
The Capitol Records Building is an iconic tower located in Hollywood. It was designed by architect Welton Becket and was completed in 1956.
Capitol Records was founded in 1942 and quickly became one of the most successful record labels in the world, with artists such as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and The Beatles recording under its banner. By the 1950s, Capitol Records had outgrown its previous headquarters, and it commissioned Welton Becket to design a new building that would reflect the company’s success and forward-thinking approach to the music industry.
The Capitol Records Tower, a major landmark near the corner of Hollywood and Vine, Los Angeles, California (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
It’s Famous For Its Distinctive Circular Shape
The Capitol Records Building is famous for its distinctive circular shape and its 13 floors, which are each shaped like a stack of vinyl records. The building’s unique shape was designed to maximize the usable floor space, while also providing a striking visual landmark in the heart of Hollywood.
Over the years, the Capitol Records Building has become an important symbol of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. It has been featured in countless movies, TV shows, and music videos, and it has become a popular tourist attraction for visitors to the city.
In 2006, the Capitol Records Building was designated as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, in recognition of its architectural significance and its importance to the history of the music industry in Los Angeles. Today, it remains one of the most recognizable and beloved landmarks in the city.
8. La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
Our next Los Angeles landmark provides an incredibly complete record of the different plants and animals that have lived in the L.A. Basin between 50,000 years ago and today. At #8 on our list of the Best Los Angeles Landmarks is the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum.
The La Brea Tar Pits are a group of tar pits located in Hancock Park in Los Angeles. The tar pits are known for their abundance of well-preserved Pleistocene fossils, many of which are on display at the adjacent La Brea Tar Pits Museum.
The tar pits formed over tens of thousands of years, as crude oil seeped to the surface and mixed with water to create sticky pools of tar. Animals that ventured too close to the tar pits would become trapped, and over time their bones would become coated in tar and preserved.
The tar pits were first discovered by Europeans in the 1700s, but it was not until the late 1800s that serious scientific study of the fossils began.
Excavations Were Begun At The Tar Pits
In 1913, the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History (now known as the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County) began excavations at the tar pits, and by the 1920s, the museum had become a major center for the study of Pleistocene-era fossils.
In 1969, the adjacent La Brea Tar Pits Museum was opened to the public, featuring exhibits of many of the fossils that had been uncovered.
Today, the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Los Angeles, drawing over one million visitors each year.
The site continues to be a major center for scientific study, and ongoing excavations have uncovered numerous new specimens in recent years, shedding new light on the ecology and evolution of the region during the Pleistocene era.
7. Hollywood Walk Of Fame
Next up on our list at #7 is the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a famous sidewalk in Hollywood, California, that features over 2,700 stars embedded with the names of famous celebrities from the entertainment industry, including actors, directors, musicians, and other notable figures.
The idea for the Walk of Fame was conceived by E.M. Stuart, a volunteer president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in the late 1950s. The goal was to create a permanent tribute to the entertainment industry and to attract tourists to the area. The concept was inspired by the idea of the sidewalk stars that existed in various cities around the world.
The First Star Was Awarded To Joanne Woodward
The project was officially launched in 1958, and the first star was awarded to actress Joanne Woodward on February 9, 1960. Over the next few years, hundreds of stars were added to the Walk of Fame, with ceremonies held to honor the celebrities who were receiving the honor.
In 1978, the Walk of Fame was designated as a historic landmark by the City of Los Angeles. Since then, the Walk has been expanded and improved, with the addition of new stars and the renovation of the sidewalk.
Today, the Walk of Fame is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hollywood, drawing millions of visitors each year. It remains a lasting tribute to the entertainment industry and the many talented individuals who have contributed to its success over the years.
6. The Getty Museum
Our next Los Angeles landmark is dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. At #6 on our list of the Best Los Angeles Landmarks is The Getty Museum.
The Getty Museum houses an extensive collection of European paintings, drawings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the present day. The museum was founded by the American oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, who was one of the richest men in the world in the mid-20th century.
J. Paul Getty first began collecting art in the 1930s, and by the 1950s he had amassed a large and impressive collection of European art. In 1953, he established the J. Paul Getty Trust, a philanthropic organization that supports arts, education, and cultural heritage.
The trust is still in operation today, and it funds the Getty Museum as well as other cultural and educational programs.
The Museum Was Built On A Hilltop Offering Sweeping Views
The Getty Museum itself was established in 1974, and the original building was designed by the architect Richard Meier. The museum was built on a hilltop in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, offering sweeping views of the city and the Pacific Ocean.
Over the years, the museum has expanded its collection and facilities, with additional buildings designed by architects such as Robert Irwin and Renzo Piano. The museum’s collection now includes more than 44,000 objects, and it is one of the most visited art museums in the United States.
The Getty Museum has also been involved in numerous controversies over the years, including disputes over the ownership of some of its works of art. In particular, the museum has faced criticism for its acquisition of ancient artifacts, including a statue of Aphrodite that was later returned to Italy after it was found to have been looted.
Despite these controversies, the Getty Museum remains a popular and influential cultural institution, and its collection of European art is widely regarded as one of the finest in the world.
Things To Do At The Getty
Here are some of the things you can do at the museum:
- Admire the art: The museum houses an impressive collection of European paintings, drawings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the present day. Visitors can view works by artists such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir, as well as ancient Greek and Roman artifacts.
- Explore the gardens: The Getty Museum’s central garden is a beautiful and peaceful oasis featuring fountains, reflecting pools, and sculptures by artists such as Robert Irwin and Barry Flanagan. The garden also offers stunning views of the surrounding hills and the Pacific Ocean.
- Attend a concert or event: The museum regularly hosts concerts, lectures, and other cultural events that are open to the public. Check the museum’s website for upcoming events and ticket information.
- Take a guided tour: The museum offers a range of guided tours that can help visitors learn more about the art and architecture of the museum. Tours are available for both individuals and groups, and they can be customized to fit your interests.
- Visit the Getty Villa: The Getty Villa is a separate museum located in Pacific Palisades that houses the museum’s collection of ancient Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art and artifacts. Visitors can explore the museum’s galleries, gardens, and outdoor theater.
- Enjoy the views: The Getty Museum is located on a hilltop in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, offering panoramic views of the city and the Pacific Ocean. Take some time to enjoy the stunning views from the museum’s terraces and outdoor spaces.
The Getty Museum in Los Angeles | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Top 5 Los Angeles Landmarks
5. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
We’re on to the Top 5 Los Angeles landmarks. Our next landmark is the only facility in the world to play host to two Olympiads (X and XXIII), two Super Bowls (I and VII), and one World Series (1959).
Along with the adjacent Sports Arena, it’s credited with helping to start the migration of professional sports teams to the West Coast. At #5 on our list of the Best Los Angeles Landmarks is the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a sports stadium located in the Exposition Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. It is one of the most historic and iconic sports venues in the United States, and has hosted a wide range of sporting events and other cultural activities over the course of its history.
It Hosted The 1932 Summer Olympics
The Coliseum was originally built in 1923 as a memorial to veterans of World War I, and was initially used primarily for college football games. In 1932, it served as the main venue for the Summer Olympics, and it has since hosted two additional Olympic Games, in 1984 and 2028.
Over the years, the Coliseum has been home to a number of sports teams, including: the University of Southern California football team, the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League, and the Los Angeles Raiders of the National Football League. It has also hosted numerous other events, including concerts, political rallies, and religious services.
In recent years, the Coliseum has undergone several major renovations and upgrades, including the addition of luxury seating and other modern amenities. It continues to be one of the most popular and heavily used sports venues in the United States, and is widely regarded as a treasured landmark of the city of Los Angeles.
4. Santa Monica Pier
Our next Los Angeles landmark was the first concrete pier on the West Coast. It quickly gained a reputation as the best fishing spot in Santa Monica.
At #4 on our list of the Best Los Angeles Landmarks is the Santa Monica Pier.
The Santa Monica Pier has a rich history that dates back over a century.
The pier was originally built in 1909 as a municipal pier, designed to serve as a recreational destination for the growing population of Los Angeles. The pier was built using concrete and steel, making it one of the longest and most durable piers in the world at the time.
It Served As A Hub Of Activity For Local Residents & Tourists
In the early years of the pier, it served as a hub of activity for local residents and tourists alike. The pier featured a variety of attractions, including a carousel, a Ferris wheel, and a roller coaster. It also served as a center for fishing and boating, with a large bait and tackle shop located on the pier.
During World War II, the pier was used as a military outpost and was closed to the public. After the war, the pier was renovated and reopened, with new attractions added to the site, including an aquarium and an amusement park.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the pier became a popular destination for counterculture movements and was the site of many protests and demonstrations. In the 1980s, the pier was once again renovated, with new attractions added and the pier’s infrastructure modernized.
Today, the Santa Monica Pier remains a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, featuring a wide variety of attractions, including restaurants, shops, and a small amusement park.
The pier also serves as a center for fishing and other recreational activities, and it remains a beloved landmark and symbol of Southern California’s rich history and culture.
3. TCL Chinese Theater
Our next Los Angeles landmark is the world’s largest IMAX auditorium, as well as the only movie palace in California with a state-of-the-art IMAX Laser projection experience. Watching a movie here is not just a night out, it’s a memorable event.
At #3 on our list of the Best Los Angeles Landmarks is TCL Chinese Theater.
The TCL Chinese Theater is a world-famous cinema located on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. It was originally named Grauman’s Chinese Theater and was opened in 1927.
The theater was designed by the renowned architect Raymond Kennedy and built by Sid Grauman, who was also responsible for the construction of the nearby Egyptian Theater.
It’s Opening Was A Star-Studded Affair
The Chinese Theater’s opening night was a star-studded affair, with Hollywood’s biggest names in attendance, including: Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Norma Talmadge. The theater quickly became a popular destination for moviegoers, and it remains an iconic landmark of Hollywood to this day.
One of the most distinctive features of the TCL Chinese Theater is its forecourt, which is paved with concrete slabs that bear the hand and footprints of Hollywood’s biggest stars. The tradition began in 1927 when actress Norma Talmadge accidentally stepped in wet cement in front of the theater, and Sid Grauman saw an opportunity to create a unique attraction.
Since then, the forecourt has been imprinted with the hand and footprints of hundreds of celebrities, including: Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, and Tom Hanks.
The Theater Has Undergone Renovations & Changes
Over the years, the theater has undergone several renovations and changes in ownership. In 1973, the theater was declared a historic landmark and was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2001, the theater underwent a major renovation and was rebranded as the TCL Chinese Theater, following a sponsorship deal with the Chinese electronics manufacturer TCL Corporation.
Today, the TCL Chinese Theater is a popular destination for tourists and movie fans alike, who flock to see the hand and footprints of their favorite celebrities and catch a movie in one of the theater’s historic auditoriums. It remains an important symbol of Hollywood’s rich history and enduring legacy.
2. Griffith Observatory & Park
From a celebrated theater which hosted Hollywood Stars to an amazing place where you can see the real ones. At #2 on our list of the Best California Landmarks is Griffith Park & Observatory.
It’s a historic park and observatory located in Los Angeles, California. The park was founded in 1896 and has since become a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike.
The land on which the park now stands was originally owned by Antonio Feliz, a wealthy landowner who received the property as a grant from the Spanish government.
Griffith J. Griffith
In 1882, Colonel Griffith J. Griffith (what a wonderful name!), a Welsh-born philanthropist, purchased the land and donated it to the city of Los Angeles, with the stipulation that it be used as a public park.
Griffith was passionate about promoting public education and astronomy. He donated funds to build an observatory within the park. The observatory was completed in 1935. It quickly became a popular destination for stargazers and astronomers alike
In addition to the observatory, Griffith Park is home to many other landmarks and attractions, including the Griffith Park Zoo (now abandoned), the Greek Theatre, and the Griffith Observatory Planetarium.
The park also features hiking trails, picnic areas, and a golf course, among other recreational opportunities.
The Hollywood Connection
Over the years, Griffith Park and Observatory have played a significant role in the cultural life of Los Angeles.
The observatory has been featured in many films and television shows, including the James Dean classic “Rebel Without a Cause”. The park has also hosted numerous concerts and events, including the annual Greek Theatre Summer Concert Series.
Today, Griffith Park and Observatory remain popular destinations for tourists and locals alike, offering stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountains, as well as a rich history and cultural significance.
1. Hollywood Sign
As the #1 Los Angeles Landmark, More Than Just Parks has selected the iconic Hollywood Sign.
It’s more than just nine white letters spelling out a city’s name; it’s one of the world’s most evocative symbols – a universal metaphor for ambition, success, glamour, and that magical place where dreams come true.
The Hollywood Sign is an iconic symbol of the entertainment industry and the city of Los Angeles. It originally started as a marketing ploy for a real estate development in the Hollywood Hills area.
Once Upon A Time It Was Called “Hollywoodland”
In 1923, a real estate developer named Harry Chandler and his partner Moses H. Sherman purchased 480 acres of land in the Hollywood Hills with the intention of building a luxurious residential community called “Hollywoodland.”
As part of their marketing strategy, they decided to erect a giant sign that would be visible from all over the city and attract potential buyers to the development.
The sign was originally made of wood and spelled out “Hollywoodland” in 50-foot-tall letters, with 30-foot gaps between each letter. It was illuminated by 4,000 light bulbs and quickly became a landmark in the city.
In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce took over ownership of the sign and removed the last four letters “land,” leaving only “Hollywood.” The sign was also replaced with steel letters, which were more durable than the original wood structure.
It Has Been The Subject Of Numerous Controversies & Preservation Efforts
Over the years, the Hollywood Sign has been the subject of numerous controversies and preservation efforts. In the 1970s, the sign fell into disrepair and was in danger of being demolished. However, a group of Hollywood celebrities, led by Hugh Hefner, rallied to save the sign and raised the funds needed to restore it.
Today, the Hollywood Sign is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world and a popular tourist attraction in Los Angeles. It has also been featured in countless movies, TV shows, and other media, cementing its place in pop culture history.
Map Of Los Angeles Landmarks
List Of Los Angeles Landmarks
- Hollywood Sign
- Griffith Observatory & Park
- TCL Chinese Theater
- Santa Monica Pier
- Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
- The Getty Museum
- Hollywood Walk Of Fame
- La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
- Capitol Records Building
- Union Station
- Watts Towers
- Universal Studios Hollywood
- The Hollywood Bowl
- Walt Disney Concert Hall
- Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
Why Trust Us About Los Angeles Landmarks?
We’re Jim Pattiz and Will Pattiz, collectively known as the Pattiz Brothers (and sometimes as the “Parks Brothers”).
You should probably know that we don’t just make this stuff up out of thin air. We absolutely LOVE America’s public lands and have spent our entire adult lives bringing these places to life through our amazing short films.
We’ve worked with the National Park Service, the Department of Interior, USDA, U.S. Forest Service, and more for years creating films on important places and issues. Our work has been featured in leading publications all over the world and even some people outside of our immediate family call us experts on the national parks.
And, in 2018, our father – having spent a lifetime teaching history – joined us so that he could help us to tell the incredible stories behind these amazing places.
Meet The Parks Brothers
We Hope You’ll Join Our Journey
Our goal here at More Than Just Parks is to share the beauty of America’s national parks and public lands through stunning short films in an effort to get Americans and the world to see the true value in land conservation.
We hope you’ll follow our journey through the parks and help us to keep them the incredible places that they are. If you’re interested in joining the adventure then sign up below!
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