Los Angeles has some of the most vibrant architecture in the United States. With more than 2,000 historic buildings, Los Angeles has more registered historic buildings per capita than any other city in the country. Many of these buildings are landmarks and listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are also open to the public as museums or public buildings. Check out all of these amazing historic buildings in L.A. on your next trip..
Historic Sites in Los Angeles
The Griffith Observatory lies on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park. With a gorgeous view of Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, this spot is a popular tourist attraction for a variety of reasons. From here you also have a great view of the Hollywood Sign, too. Inside, visitors can find a variety of space and science exhibits, as the building is a stellar observatory after all. Admission is free. A planetarium is on site with fun shows that educate the public about astronomy, too. (Planetarium tickets are not free.)
2800 East Observatory Road, LA, California, 90027
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Boasting a huge collection that is second only to the Smithsonian, the Natural History Museum of LA Country will take you quite some time to explore every level. From dinosaurs to gems to animal skeletons to an outdoor natural area, kids and adults will love spending the day here learning about a variety of topics. Even the building itself is a bit of a masterpiece.
Adams Normandie Historic District, LA, California
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
This large art museum has a variety of exhibits inside and outside. Inside visitors will find a variety of modern and historical art by famous names such as Andy Warhol, Picasso, Cezanne, and more. The exterior artwork of the museum has become somewhat famous recently due to a very photographic sculpture, Chris Burden’s Urban Light, which brought old streetlights from around town back to life. This area of the museum is free, but admission is required for entry to the inside galleries.
5912 Wilshire Boulevard, Miracle Mile, LA, California, 90036
Japanese American National Museum
With a goal to preserve and showcase the culture and history of Japanese Americans, this museum is located near downtown L.A. in Little Tokyo. Many of the exhibits are dedicated to Japanese immigration, the internment during WW2, and various artwork from historical and current artists in the community. An admission is normally charged, but it's free on Thursdays.
369 East 1st Street, Little Tokyo, LA, California, 90013
La Brea Tar Pits
Centered around pits that were bubbling up from an underground lake of oil, scientists discovered a number of fossils and animal remains here. Now it's a museum focusing on the fossils, bones, and the general topic of paleontology. Kids love it, adults enjoy it, and it's a terrific learning experience for everyone. The indoor section of the museum requires a ticket for admission, but the outdoor section of this museum is free, and is quite interesting to see.
Wilshire Boulevard, LA, California, 90036
Venice Beach is a famous tourist destination for its narrow canals and one-lane bridges. The community has grown into one of the wealthiest parts of the city, but it still has it's original surfing town charm. Today Venice has an excellent restaurant scene, impressive shopping, and plenty of opportunities for celebrity sightings. Head to Main Street to see the eclectic architecture of the area, but the famous Ocean Front Walk is where you'll have the quintessential Venice Beach experience. With it's Mardi Gras style street performers, the area is sure to entertain.
466 Sherman Canal Ct. Odd Numbers) / Howland Canal Ct. (Even Numbers), Venice, LA, California, 90291
Museum of the American West
This museum, as the name implies, focuses on the history of the western United States. Their overall goal is to provide an inclusive view of this history, so many of the exhibits focus on Native Americans as well as minorities and their contributions to American history and culture. A large portion of the museum also focuses on the culture of cowboys and the idea of "the wild west" as a frontier which was tamed by explorers. Children and adults enjoy this museum, and it's located in Griffith Park. It's free on the 2nd Tuesday of every month.
Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park, LA, California, 91201
Walk of Fame
Located along Hollywood Blvd, the popular Walk of Fame is a series of stars embedded into the sidewalk with the names of famous people from the movie industry. Visitors can see more than 2,600 brass stars that honor movie and TV stars, producers, musicians, directors, and even fictional characters. With millions of visitors every year, this is a very popular attraction in Hollywood. The streets of the Walk of Fame are also lined with shops, restaurants, and other Hollywood tourist attractions.
Hollywood, LA, California, 90028
Little Tokyo Historic District
Located in downtown L.A., this is the largest official Japantown in the U.S. and was declared as a National Historic Landmark District in '95. It's commonly referred to as Little Tokyo, and offers plenty of activities. Visitors can go shopping or enjoy various Japanese restaurants. There are also a number of art galleries including the Union Center for the Arts which focuses on both visual and performance art. Also, don't miss the James Irvine Japanese Garden, the Kyoto Gardens on top of the Double Tree, the Japanese American National Museum, or the Koban Center. And go shopping at the Japanese Village Plaza and the Galleria.
LA, California, 90012
Battleship Iowa Museum
This impressive battleship educates visitors on what daily life was like at sea for sailors. There is a self guided tour and a scavenger hunt for the kids. There is also a behind the scenes tour available for those who want to see the ship on a different level.
250 S Harbor Blvd, San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA, 90731
The Nethercutt Collection
This collection of classic cars includes European and American automobiles from the 1890s to the 1990s. This is a diverse and impressive collection that is in pristine condition. Also at the museum is a collection of antiques including furniture and mechanical musical instruments.
15151 Bledsoe St, Sylmar, CA, 91342
How much does it cost to visit the historic sites of Los Angeles?
Religious Sites in Los Angeles
How much does it cost to visit the religious sites of Los Angeles?
Monuments in Los Angeles
Third Street Promenade
This high end pedestrian area is perfect for shoppers looking for everything from the quirky to the posh. There are boutique shops, fine dining restaurants, and plenty of entertainment options in the area. The district attracts locals and tourists alike and it is easily accessible from Downtown Los Angeles. There's also a 26 mile bike path that runs along the waterfront. The promenade is famous for its street performers and fascinating people-watching.
Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, California
Los Angeles State Historic Park
Located right next to Chinatown, this 32 acre park offers impressive views of Los Angeles's downtown. It regularly hosts festivals and events including craft fairs and music festivals making it the perfect place to take in the local culture. There's also a nice bridge with a scenic overlook, as well as an orange grove and landscaping that is designed to thrive in the desert environment. Head to the park to explore for a bit, then hit up one of the many restaurants nearby.
North Spring Street, Chinatown, LA, California, 90012
Santa Monica Pier
This large and vibrant pier is an iconic destination in Los Angeles. It's located at the foot of Colorado Avenue along a beautiful golden sand beach in Santa Monica. The pier is more than just a pier - there's a small amusement park, concession stands, and plenty of places to take in the views or enjoy some fishing. Perhaps the most notable attraction at the pier is the iconic Ferris wheel.
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California, 90401
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
Kenneth Hahn is a beautiful and large nature reserve that is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy L.A.'s great weather. The park has hiking trails (more than 7 miles!), a pond, a lake where you can fish, and a volleyball court. You can wander through the Baldwin Hills and enjoy the stunning view of the surrounding area. This is also the perfect place to go on a long run or wander at a leisurely pace.
South Cloverdale Avenue, Culver City, LA, California, 90008
Griffith Park sits at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains and stretches for over 4,300 acres (1,740 ha). It's one of the largest urban parks in the country. While it's technically a city park, much of the land is fairly rugged and unkept. However, in this park visitors can find a variety of attractions and activities such as the LA Zoo, Griffith Observatory, the Autry Museum of the American West, the Bronson Caves, the Hollywood Sign, various train exhibits, golf, and more. Furthermore, hiking and horseback riding on the various trails are a popular activity where visitors and locals alike can get out into nature and enjoy the views overlooking the city below.
Mount Hollywood Drive, LA, California, 90068
Located on Mount Lee, the famous Hollywood sign can be seen for miles around and has been a historical symbol of the town for decades. It's possible to hike or drive to the area above the sign, although no one is allowed to get too close - it is protected by fences. Some of the best views of the sign can be found at the Griffith Observatory, at the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave, or from the Hollywood Bowl Overlook on Mulholland Drive. More details are on the website.
LA, California, 90068
Lake Hollywood Park
Lake Hollywood Park has great views of the famed Hollywood Sign and the Hollywood Reservoir. The park is great for hiking, running, and biking along the 3.3 mile paved trail which is relatively flat. There is also a small playground that the kids can enjoy and a grass field that's perfect for dogs that want to run around (but leashes are required). Picnic tables and barbecue pits are available as well, so you're likely to see families gathering on weekends to enjoy some fun time together.
3160 Canyon Lake Dr, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, 90068
Runyon Canyon Park
Runyon Canyon Park is the perfect place to enjoy hiking in a stunning outdoor setting. There are beautiful views of the area including the Hollywood Sign. The park spans 160 acres and trails range in distance and difficulty from 1 to 3.5 miles. There is also the famous Rock Mandala in the park, which is a piece of public art that is made from large rocks. This is a popular spot with locals for exercising or meditating. The area is also dog-friendly with several off-leash areas available for your pets.
2000 N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CA, 90046
Echo Park Lake
This family-friendly park looks out on the Downtown Skyline. The park has beautiful fountains and the Lady of the Lake statue. Visitors can rent a paddle boat and float on the lake or simply take a walk along the footpath which explores the local plants of the area. You can also grab a casual bite to eat at Beacon Cafe.
751 Echo Park Ave, Echo Park, Los Angeles, CA, 90026
This famous park in Santa Monica offers beautiful views and a lovely setting where you can enjoy a relaxing walk along palm-lined paths. This park is popular with tourists for its bluff-top trail that provides stunning views of the California coastline and the Santa Monica Mountains. You'll feel like you're wandering through a postcard.
Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA, 90401
Vista Hermosa Natural Park
This park offers a nice place to wander through gardens and enjoy the outdoor space. There's a grassy field with beautiful views of the Downtown skyline and plenty of places to enjoy a picnic. There's also a playground where the kids can play.
100 N Toluca St, Echo Park, Los Angeles, CA, 90026
How much does it cost to visit the monuments in Los Angeles?
The Architecture of Los Angeles
Barnsdall Art Park & Hollyhock House Photograph
This historic park serves as a public art gallery, architectural exhibit, and entertainment venue. It was donated by Aline Barnsdall and today it remains a unique cultural park that hosts cinema nights, wine tastings, and a number of other events that bring together young adults, couples, and families in one unique setting.
4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Feliz, Los Angeles, CA, 90027
How much does it cost to experience the architecture of Los Angeles?
Where to Stay in Los Angeles
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