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Grand Opening Day for L.A. Live

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, December 04, 2008, at 08:41AM
Christmas Prep at L.A. Live Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Last week, crews assemble the 54-foot LED-sphere-covered tree that will act as centerpiece for "Light of the Angels."

Though different parts of the $2.5 billion L.A. Live complex have opened over the past weeks, today all the pieces come together.

At 7pm, the 54-foot metal Christmas tree on Nokia Plaza will be lit in a star-studded celebration, followed by shows at Staples Center, Club Nokia and the Conga Room.

Here at blogdowntown, we've been heavy with L.A. Live coverage lately. With so much taking place on the 27-acre site, it seemed wise to summarize where all the different pieces are right now.

LIGHT OF THE ANGELS: The "Light of the Angels" Holiday multi-media show kicks off at 7pm, the first of four daily runs that will take place through December 31.

Press announcements for the kickoff tout the appearance of Mayor Antonio Villraigosa, USC Football coach Pete Carroll, GRAMMY Winner Natalie Cole, Adam Carolla and a "SURPRISE CELEBRITY SUPERSTAR." blogdowntown is reporting that special guest to be Britney Spears. The secrecy could be desired suspense, or the result of Spears reportedly wishy-washy commitment to last night's Rockefeller Center lighting ceremony.

The lighting will be broadcast live on KTLA.

SHOWS: Along with the lighting, a trio of entertainment options will draw music-lovers to the complex on Thursday night.

At Staples Center, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals open for Oasis, with tickets running $40 - $80.

Club Nokia offers America with opener Keb' Mo'. Tickets run $30 - $65. The venue opened less than a month ago with two nights by Beck. blogdowntown was also on-hand November 15 for the club's first Latin night, featuring Calle 13 and Kinky.

One floor down, the Conga Room welcomes the public to its new space for the first time, hosting multiple GRAMMY winner Olga Tañón for the first of two nights. blogdowntown previewed the impressive new venue yesterday as crews were applying finishing touches to the space.

GRAMMY MUSEUM: The GRAMMY Museum hosted a press preview on Tuesday, showing off a collection of artifacts and interactive exhibits that will excite music fans. There's a ribbon cutting Friday morning, after which the museum will host its first school groups. The space opens to the public on Saturday.

LUCKY STRIKE: Lucky Strike Lanes opened to the public last week, bringing a Downtown location for the bowling lounge. Since the first Lucky Strike opened in Hollywood in 2003, the company has opened locations in thirteen other states and one in Canada.

RESTAURANTS: Only ESPN Zone is open to the public this weekend. The massive space will certainly impress sports fans (and those interested in killing time in its large game room), but isn't without its opening flaws. In one dining room the choice to assemble a massive center screen via three vertical panels is proving a disappointment, with the lines providing a strong distraction (and causing split-screen talking heads to go faceless).

Visitors will be happy to know that L.A. Live's Starbucks opened yesterday, December 3.

Looking for a map of where the restaurants in the complex actually are? We posted one yesterday.

HOTEL TOWER: The 54-story tower housing the 878 room J.W. Marriott, 123 room Ritz Carlton and 224 condos is nearly done with vertical construction. The tower is set to top off next week, and the hotels are slated to open in 2010. The building's groundbreaking took place almost exactly one and a half years ago.

ESPN: The raw space that will house ESPN's broadcast facilities were handed over to the network earlier this year. The studios, which will host shows including the late-night Sportscenter, are slated to be up and running in 2009.

ARCHITECTURE: L.A. Times' Architecture Critic Christopher Hawthorne ripped into the design of the complex yesterday, saying that it was "not really architecture at all but an extensive series of armatures on which the developer and its tenants can hang logos, video screens and a sophisticated range of lighting effects."

GETTING THERE: L.A. Live is quite convenient to both the Red / Purple and Blue rail lines. For Red / Purple line patrons, get off at 7th / Metro and just head three blocks south on Figueroa. Blue Line patrons can exit at Pico / Chick Hearn station. Walk up to 11th and then a block west to Figueroa. More information on Metro's website.

During daytime hours Monday through Saturday, the DASH F line runs from the Financial District (and 7th/Metro) past L.A. Live.

During the Holidays, the Late Night DASH provides access all over Downtown from 6:30pm to 3am. The Red Line is also running late night hours, with service until 3am. Both services run Friday and Saturday nights through the end of the year.

PARKING: 4,000 spaces sit underneath L.A. Live, but attendees will certainly continue to park in lots and structures around the area. The garage guides users to different parking areas in an attempt to keep convenient spaces free for dining guests and visitors while sporting events and shows are taking place.

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L.A. Live

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