A Photo Exploration of Downtown L.A.

A Photo Exploration of Downtown L.A.

There are a few reasons why I’ve never been a big fan of downtown Los Angeles: 1) driving downtown is a huge hassle because of all the confusing, one way streets, 2) parking downtown is even worse because of all of the ridiculously priced lots and parking garages, and 3) our downtown isn’t quite on the level of NYC’s or Chicago’s downtown areas which are major, central city hubs. These are just a few reasons why I’ve never felt 100% comfortable whenever I’m downtown.

Because of my general discomfort with downtown, I try to avoid it at all possible costs. I mean, there has to be a really compelling reason for me to venture downtown, and past job opportunities, occasional performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and the time I’ve spent volunteering on Skid Row have been the only reasons to fit the bill.

With that said, I realize that there’s no shortage of things to do in downtown L.A. and that the area has changed and is continuing to change for the better. More and more people are starting to move downtown (which still perplexes me in all honesty), more noteworthy restaurants and bars are opening downtown, and major improvements to the metro have made downtown L.A. a lot more accessible to Angelenos like me who get flustered when driving there.

As I dig deeper and deeper into my own backyard here in L.A., I’ve realized that I can no longer put exploring downtown L.A. on the backburner. Over the years, I’ve witnessed the evolution of our downtown from a mere corporate business district into a center of art, culture, entertainment, and fine dining. And I’m not going to let my discomfort keep me stranded on the sidelines as a bystander – I’m ready to get in the game and get better acquainted with downtown L.A.

So a few months back, I joined Outdoor Afro for a tour of downtown that was led by a guide from the L.A. Conservancy. You may recall my post about Biddy Mason Park which we discovered during that tour, but in this post, I’m sharing some images of the other places and spaces we visited downtown.

Downtown L.A., I’m officially putting you on notice: I’m coming back for more of you…

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Our tour started in Pershing Square. The zigzag line represents the San Andreas Fault line. All Angelenos know that it’s not a matter of “if” – it’s just a matter of “when” the “Big One” is coming.
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This bell tower in Pershing Square is supposed to symbolize California’s missions and its agrarian past
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The spiraling U.S. Bank Tower is the tallest building in California, the tallest building west of the Mississippi, the 11th tallest building in the U.S., and the 65th tallest building in the world. Who knew?! You’ll soon be able to slide down the building via the Skyslide sometime in mid-2016. Ummm…no thanks!
This building features elements of Beaux Arts architecture
This building features elements of Art Deco and Beaux Arts architecture
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The PacMutual Building is home to the L.A. Conservancy. It’s made up of three interconnected buildings: Sentry Building, Clock Building, and Carriage House. The building is a designated City of L.A. Historic-Cultural Monument.
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Inside the lobby of the PacMutual Building
The Union Bank building (where I used to work) and the architecturally interesting Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites
The Union Bank building (where I used to work) and the architecturally interesting Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites
Central Library | Los Angeles Public Library
Central Library | Los Angeles Public Library
Fountainhead outside of the library
A closer look at one of the fountainheads outside of the library
My first time in the Central Library - can you believe it?! I used to work right around the corner and never came to this beautiful library until recently!
My first time in the Central Library – can you believe it?! I used to work right around the corner and never came to this beautiful library until recently! Pretty – right?

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More from inside the library
More from inside the library
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Another cool fountain I never noticed before
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The outside of One Bunker Hill, the former headquarters of Southern California Edison Co.
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The next few photos are of the interior of One Bunker Hill…

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Look at this ceiling!!
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All sorts of materials, colors, and patterns going on here…
This street happened to be closed down for some sort of event
South Broadway happened to be closed down for some sort of event
The back of Grand Central Market
The back of Grand Central Market
The magnificent interior of the Bradbury Building, a popular filming location
The magnificent interior of the Bradbury Building is a popular filming location for films such as Bladerunner500 Days of Summer, and Lethal Weapon to name a few.
I love the old school elevator
I love the old school elevator

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A mural on the building across from the Bradbury Building
A mural on the building across from the Bradbury Building

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Eggslut is a popular downtown restaurant that makes eggs appetizing all day
Located in Grand Central Market, eggslut is a popular downtown restaurant that makes eggs appetizing all day
Grand Central Market has really changed since the last time I was there. Have you ever witnessed the gentrification of a market?!
Grand Central Market has really changed since the last time I was there. Have you ever witnessed the gentrification of a market?!
Bad news: Angel Flight, L.A.'s funicular, is now closed. Good news: I got the chance to ride it a few years back. Read about it here.
Bad news: Angel Flight, L.A.’s funicular, is now closed. Good news: I got the chance to ride it a few years back. Read about it here.

PINNABLE

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Is there an area of your city that you’ve been reluctant to explore? Share in the comments.

  • Lovely photos, we didn’t get to explore this part of town when were there but next time we will for sure 🙂

  • I hope I get to take some of the same beautiful photos that you’ve taken next year. In the meantime, I can do some exploring in downtown Chicago. The struggle tho, lol.

    • Lol – I used to live in Chicago and my school was in a campus downtown. I love downtown Chicago. L.A.’s downtown is trying to come up, but it has some ways to go before it can compete with Chicago or NYC.

  • Tamiko

    Beautiful photography. My next visit to LA I will be looking for these places.

    • Yes, definitely try to spend some time downtown the next time you’re here.

  • J King

    What great imagery! I always enjoy seeing we’re you’ve been, and your experiences.

    • Thanks so much! 🙂

      • Tino Kainga

        Hi Dana… I was wondering if i could use some of your pictures of Rio for a piece of work i am doing…i will also clearly cite you in the piece of work…Kind Regards Tino

        • Dana Carmel

          Hi Tino…please let me know what website or piece of work you’d like to use it for. Thanks!

  • Tia @ financiallyfitandfab

    Great post and vivid pictures! I have been to LA in the past but I have never seen any of those places.

    I am from Chicago and until recently was reluctant to explore the North side of town.

    • Thanks, Tia! I’d definitely encourage you to spend some time downtown the next time you’re in L.A. I used to live in Chicago, btw – in Lincoln Park. I miss it at times. I’m long overdue for a trip back. Why were you reluctant to explore the North side?

  • Katherine Gilbert

    These places look great! I’ve. Always wanted to visit Los Angeles. These places make me want to visit even more. I know I will do it one day.

    • Yes – I have a love/hate relationship with my city, but it’s definitely worth visiting. Hope you make it out here soon!

thatgirlcarmel

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