Heavily influenced by the movie industry, L.A.’s architecture shines as an extension of the silver screen blockbusters it creates. Stroll along Angelino Heights, one of the first suburbs in Los Angeles near Dodgers Stadium, to discover Victorian styles preserved and restored in all its historic glory. Art deco fan? Downtown L.A. boasts a significant number of skyscrapers built in eye-catching geometric patterns and vertical lines.
Union Station Lobby — Photo courtesy of Pedro Szekely
Opened in May 1939, Union Station also known as the “Last of the Great Railway Stations” stands as a towering structure combining Dutch Colonial Revival, Mission Revival, and Streamline Modern architectural styles. Details like eight-pointed stars, welcoming enclosed garden patios, terra cotta tiles and marble-inlaid floors gives the edifice a unique California stamp. Union Station currently serves as station to L.A.’s Metro Rail lines and Amtrak. Interested in killing a couple sightseeing birds with one stone? Catch the subway to Union Station, which is walking distance from Olvera Street, El Peublo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, and Chinatown.
Heading seaside? Designed by Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, Wayfarer’s Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes boasts unique modern architecture and overlooks the stunning Pacific Ocean. “The Glass Chapel” is one of the first and foremost examples of organic architecture, taking into consideration the natural landscape of the hills, cliffs, and trees when designing the gorgeous building. Lloyd envisioned a place where nature and geometric designs unite to welcome wandering wayfarers. The Visitor’s Center and Gift Shop are open daily from 10am-5pm and group tours are available with advance reservations.
Designed in Italian-Spanish Renassiance, Mediterranean Revival and Beaux-Arts styles by the same firm who designed the Waldorf Astoria in New York, the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles was known in its early days as “Host of the Coast”. Built in 1923, much of the Biltmore’s grandeur has been maintained in part by a $40 million renovation in 1987. Take a stroll through the meeting rooms with vaulted ceilings hand-painted by Italian artist Giovanni Smeraldi of Vatican and White House fame. Nostalgic for the Titanic? Check out the Biltmore’s health club and indoor pool with decks modeled after 1920’s luxury ocean liners. Featured in countless films and TV shows including Mad Men, Murder She Wrote, and Spider Man, the Millennium Biltmore Hotel stands strong as one of L.A.’s most notable historic landmarks.
Walt Disney Concert Hall — Photo courtesy of Pedro Szekely
No architectural tour of Los Angeles is complete without a trip to Walt Disney Concert Hall, debuted in 2003. Home to the L.A. Philharmonic and designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, Walt Disney Concert Hall stands strong as a visually and acoustically stunning landmark. The shiny and reflective building itself gives way to a plethora of metaphorical interpretations like a sailing ship or a blooming flower. Take an audio tour of the hall, grab a bite at in-house restaurant Patina, and catch a symphony for a fun-filled day!