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Angels Flight For just 50 cents (or 25 cents for holders of valid Metro Passes) you can board one of the two orange and black incline railway cars and ride "The Shortest Railway in the World." This funicular dates back to 1901, when Bunker Hill was one of the most fashionable neighborhoods in Los Angeles and the cars, Olivet and Sinai, ferried prominent citizens up and down the steep slope between Hill and Olive streets. The beloved landmark was dismantled for "urban renewal" of the area in 1969. In the early 1990s, the Railway was refurbished and relocated a half-block south, reopening adjacent to California Plaza in 1996. As short as it is (298 feet), Angels Flight® is an essential Los Angeles experience. http://angelsflight.com/
The Bradbury Building located downtown at 304 S. Broadway is not very impressive from the outside. Enter the building and you enter another world. The interior is cast iron with open staircases and elevators. The building was commissioned by Louis L. Bradbury and designed by George H. Wyman. It can be seen in such movies as Blade Runner and Chinatown. The design was influenced by an 1887 book that described life in a utopian year 2000.
Esotouric is an offbeat bus tour collective offering tours most Saturday afternoons. Featured themes include various Crime Bus Tours, among them one dedicated to the Black Dahlia case, and literary tours devoted to Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles and 1930s downtown novelist John Fante and his connections to Bunker Hill, Hollywood and Charles Bukowski.
L.A. Flower Mart Open very early in order to service flower shops around the city, a perfect place for travelers still on East Coast time to visit. This is a wholsesale flower market which services all the flower stores in LA. Check their website for the hours as they aren't open to the public all the time. There is a modest ($2.00) admission good for all parts of the Flower District. It's really very interesting to walk among the wholesale vendors, seeing the usual and unusual flowers and plants
The Original Pantry Arguably among the most famous restaurants in LA, and located a very short distance from the Staples Center, The Original Pantry has been open 24 hours/day since 1924 -- and it has never been remodeled. It's like walking into a Bogart movie from the 40s . Huge portions & cheaply priced. You might wonder who you would see there at, say, 5:00 am on a Sunday morning. The answer is (a) men with guns ( policeman in street clothes going on or off shift -- the place is near police HQ), (b) tourists and convention goers still on East Coast or European time zones, (c) laborers & truckers looking for a huge, cheap breakfast, (d) twenty-somethings who have been out all night, etc. If you're there for breakfast, when they ask what kind of bread you want, be sure to say you want the Sourdough. Slathered in butter and toasted on the griddle, these huge, 1-2 inch thick slabs of fresh sourdough will be the equal or better of anything you can find in San Francisco. You can just place an order of the bread, if you want. Directions: 877 S. Figueroa , off ot the 110 N freeway at 9th (eg, Santa Monica Fwy East to the 110 N to 9th and you're there!) Warnings: Cash only, no credit cards, and on a Saturday or Sunday morning the line outside starts at around 8:00 am. There may be lengthy waits by around 10:00 am
Two of the city’s Asian communities are downtown but are sometimes overlooked. Little Tokyo is east of South Broadway, bounded by Temple, Alameda, 4th, and Los Angeles streets. It encompasses 12 city blocks, and shows off a wealth of Japanese architecture, not to mention rampant commercialism. The centerpiece of the neighborhood is the Japanese Village Plaza (1st and 2nd Sts., between San Pedro St. and Central Ave.), an impressive mall containing several shops and more than a dozen Japanese restaurants. Also at the plaza is the nation’s first museum dedicated to the history of Japanese Americans. The Japanese American National Museum (369 E. 1st St., http://www.janm.org/) opened in 1992 and has great art, design, and history exhibits. The other Asian community worth exploring is Chinatown, north of the Hollywood Freeway, and bounded by Yale, Bernard, Alameda, and Ord streets. Most of the shopping in Chinatown is on North Broadway. Neither of these neighborhoods (especially Little Tokyo) is especially good for bargains, but if you muscle your way through the mobs of tourists you’ll find some great restaurants and unusual imported goods.
Just west of downtown (in the Miracle Mile part of the city) is L.A.’s ever-growing Koreatown, which is anchored by the Korean Cultural Center (5505 Wilshire Blvd., http://www.kccla.org/), in which you’ll find an art gallery, historical information on the nation’s 5,000-year history, and information on exploring the area’s shopping and dining possibilities. Not nearly as concentrated as other Asian ethnic communities in the city, Koreatown is best explored by car; it falls mostly between Wilshire and Pico boulevards.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery on 6000 Santa Monica Blvd. Visitors can pay their respects to the who’s who of Old Hollywood: Rudolph Valentino, Jayne Mansfield, John Huston, Douglas Fairbands, Tyrone Power, Clifton Webb and hundreds more of Hollywood’s greatest stars. In the summer months, a group called Cinespia hosts outdoor films at the Cemetery, which take place every other Saturday night all summer long. Film historian Karie Bible conducts a walking tour on selected Saturdays.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel: Hollywood Blvd. Marilyn Monroe’s ghost is said to haunt the property. The hotel features a mirror in the main lobby, right next to the elevators. Same mirror was originally part of the furnishing in a room which was used by Marilyn Monroe and several people have reported seeing MM’s image reflected in the glass of this mirror.
Musso & Frank Grill, 6667 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, is Hollywood’s oldest restaurant and still a hot spot with many stars.
Pink’s, 709 N. La Brea Avenue, Hollywood. Pink’s started out as a push cart hot dog stand and is still a Mom & Pop kind of place. With its proximity to the major motion picture studios, Pink’s became a landmark, having James Dean as one of its earliest customers.
The Urth Cafe on 8565 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood is famous for its organic cakes, coffee, sandwiches, salads and soups. Exquisite meals in a casual atmosphere about two blocks away from The Beverly Center Shopping Mall.
Pierce Bros Westwood Village Memorial Park on 1218 Glendon Avenue, Westwood, is located on a side street off Wilshire Blvd. Visitors can find the final resting places of Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Natalie Wood, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Eva Gabor and Truman Capote.Los Feliz
Just east of Hollywood, Los Feliz is one of L.A.’s hidden gems, a tidy, attractive neighborhood of winding, hilly lanes tucked beneath the dense greenery of Griffith Park. Home to a mix of old and young home owners, working-class Joes, budding entertainment industry talents, and yuppies, it’s where film star Leonardo DiCaprio grew up, and the area has become increasingly trendy in recent years.The original Fox Studios was located here at Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue ; in the ’10s and ’20s, a number of wealthy residents - including Cecil B. DeMille - built their palaces in Los Feliz. Most of the biggest houses are gone, but many outstanding examples of early-20th-century single-family homes and bungalows can be viewed in the gentle hills close to Griffith Park . Most famous is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House ( 4800 Hollywood Blvd. , http://www.hollyhockhouse.net/ ), officially called the Barnsdall House; its early-1920s design mimics the hollyhocks planted on the grounds (note also the moat surrounding the living-room fireplace). The house was reopened not long ago after a major five-year refurbishment. It’s part of Barnsdall Park (west of the intersection of Hollywood and Vermont Blvds.), the populist brainchild of oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, who sought to create an grand "park for the people." Hollyhock was the first of several houses Wright designed in Los Angeles, and it contains a mix of his original and reproduction furnishings.
Other nearby landmarks---these not open to the public---are Richard Neutra’s Lovell House (4616 Dundee Dr.), a 1929 home that’s often cited as one of America’s foremost examples of the International Style Moderne and Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House (2607 Glendower Avenue) . The Ennis House sits like a displaced Mayan temple on a hill near Griffith Park and is currently on the market for $15 million. They're both not open to the public, however.Numerous hot restaurants have opened up alongside several neighborhood joints on the Los Feliz’s main commercial drag, Hillhurst Avenue, which runs north-south and is busiest between Los Feliz and Hollywood boulevards. Nearby Vermont Avenue is less trendy but has some noteworthy shops and eateries.
The vast tract of low-income residential housing south and southwest of downtown, including Watts and the town Inglewood , remain depressed and marginally unsafe areas. However, you might consider touring the peculiar Watts Towers of Simon Rodia State Historic Park (1765 E. 107th St.), a series of 17 abstract sculptural structures (one nearly 100 feet tall) composed of steel, wire, seashells, and glass shards. The "junk" was collected and assembled over a 30-year period (from 1921 to 1955) by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia.
Just northeast of Wilshire Blvd.'s Miracle Mile is one of Los Angeles’s prized residential neighborhoods, Hancock Park . Most of the prettiest homes in this charming old-money neighborhood are on the curving north-south roads that run between Wilshire and Beverly boulevards, from about La Brea Avenue to Wilton Place. Some of the large mansions were built for Hollywood producers and directors in the early days of the film colony - Mae West once lived here. But most of the homes here are more modest in scale than those you’ll find in Beverly Hills. And they’re much easier to see from the road. With Spanish Colonial, Monterey, Mission, Mediterranean, and even New England Colonial Revival and French Provincial influences, Hancock Park has some of the most eclectic residential architecture in the city.
The Santa Monica Mountains, which separate the vast Los Angeles coastal plain from the San Fernando Valley, can be traversed via spectacular Mulholland Drive, the paved section of which snakes tortuously from just west of the San Diego Freeway clear to the Hollywood Freeway’s span through Cahuenga Pass. Driving the complete route takes a couple of hours, and at only a handful of places can you pull over to admire the view. But if you’re faced with a free, smogless afternoon, this makes for a highly enjoyable journey. A few worthy stopping points: Just a few minutes up the hill from the Hollywood Freeway a turnout affords terrific views of the Hollywood Bowl and much of Los Angeles. West of the intersection with Laurel Canyon Road are both Laurel Canyon Park, a grassy but viewless plateau tucked in a valley that’s popular for dog-walking and picnicking, and the Fryman Canyon Overlook, which provides an excellent vista of the entire San Fernando Valley. You’ll sometimes see entertainment industry personalities walking their pets in these areas, so keep a camera handy.