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Ask Downtown: What's on Your Tour?

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, March 08, 2010, at 08:24AM
Downtown Skyline Eric Richardson [Flickr]

One of Downtown's best viewing spots, the City Hall observation deck is open to the public during normal business hours. Just tell the guard where you're headed and they'll send you on your way.

Ask Downtown is an occasional series in which we put a reader's Downtown question to you, the real Downtown experts. Help a reader out and share your knowledge.

This morning I'm giving a short Downtown tour to some family friends. It's something that I end up doing probably more regularly than most, but I tend to suspect that anyone who lives Downtown has ended up showing some friends around at one point or another.

So what's on your Downtown tour?

In this case, the tour is a morning affair, and one that's going to be more about landmarks than about food or nightlife. Obviously time of day is going to impact what you do and don't show off to out-of-towners.

While I'll end up making up much of our route on the fly, here are four key sites I'm sure to hit:

Disney Hall

Less than a decade old, but already one of Los Angeles' most recognizable buildings, the Disney Concert Hall is a fairly obvious tour choice. Easy to miss, though, is the cool walkway that goes up and around the outside of the building. You get to walk inside the concert hall's skin, take in some views and end up in the rooftop garden.

Bradbury Building

Given how many people would list the Bradbury as their favorite L.A. building, this is another fairly obvious choice. Boring from the outside but magnificent inside, the Bradbury lives up to the praise.

City Hall Observation Deck

City Hall's an easy landmark, but never miss a chance to take a trip up to the 27th floor and then walk up to the Tom Bradley room and the observation deck. It's open to the public during normal business hours, so just tell security where you're headed and they'll send you up.

While inside, also be sure to take a stop on the 3rd floor and take a peek at the rotunda and the Council Chambers.

Historic Core

Given how much of my life revolves around Downtown's revitalization, it wouldn't make sense to do a tour and not end up taking a walk around the Historic Core to point out the neighborhood where the current rebirth really took root.

If you end up on 6th street, between Broadway and Spring, take a second to seek out New York Hats at 217 W. 6th. You're not looking to shop (though you can if the urge strikes you), but instead take a few steps into the space that was originally built as a dutch chocolate shop in the early 1900s. Enjoy some great tilework and marvel at how such a remarkable space could become a rundown swap meet (hats excepted; they're great).

Have your own Downtown question? Send it our way via Twitter (@blogdowntown). We'll either answer it ourselves or, if we think it's particularly relevant, make it the subject of an Ask Downtown.

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