25 Unique LA Historic-Cultural Monuments You Must See

Angels Flight Railway

Ann Johansson

Built between 1921 and 1945 by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia, the Watts Towers Art Center served as a symbol of freedom and creativity for the African American and Latino communities in the area. The towers consist of 17 sculptures all built by Rodia. You can visit the towers at 1727 E 107th St.

LA Conservancy Archives

Crossroads of the World, commonly known as America’s first outdoor shopping mall, is a Hollywood complex built in 1936 by local architect Robert V. Derrah. Derrah designed the center to resemble a nautical theme with architectural styles embedded in its structure. You can visit Crossroads of the World at 6671 Sunset Blvd.

Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

People walk uphill as the Angels Flight Railway, for the first time in more than nine years, resumes ferrying passengers up and down Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles March, 15, 2010. Angel’s Flight, which has been dubbed “the shortest railway in the world,” was shut down in 2001 after a fatal accident. The funicular was opened in 1901 to take passengers on the one-minute trip up and down Bunker Hill, initially for a penny. You can learn more about the railway here.

Getty Images

The Korean bell of friendship and pavilion was given to the people of Los Angeles by the people of The Republic of Korea in honor of the US bicentennial in 1976. The bell is located at 3601 South Gaffey St. and free to visit daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Photo by Al Greene/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

1953: View of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood with floodlights shining and crowd standing in line at the premiere of director Henry Koster’s film, ‘The Robe’, the first film made in Cinemascope. The Grauman’s Chinese Theater is a historic movie palace on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that opened in 1927. It is the world’s largest IMAX auditorium and the only movie palace with a high-end IMAX Laser Projection experience. You can purchase movie tickets and experience a piece of cinematic history here.

Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Aside from being the first earthquake-proof apartment building and a Hollywood gem, the Chateau Marmont is infamously known to be the site of bad trouble among Hollywood’s most elite stars. Nestled at the foot of the Hollywood Hills, the Chateau is linked to the film industry and risque behavior. Fashion photographer Helmut Newton crashed his Cadillac into the driveway wall and was killed. You can stay at the old Hollywood hotel or view it from its location at 8221 Sunset Blvd.

Photo by Los Angeles Examiner/USC Libraries/Corbis via Getty Images

The Lincoln Heights Jail opened in 1931 and was a $5 million project. The jail housed Al Capone and people arrested during the Zoot Suit Riots in 1943 and the Watts Riots in 1965. The vacant jail is located at 421 North Avenue 19. The jail will eventually be redeveloped into a residential complex.

Los Angeles Public Library

One of the more visually stunning and unique sites on the list is the Fitzgerald House built in 1903. This was the home of James T. Fitzgerald, who ran a successful music business. The house was designed to fit an Italian Gothic style. The home is located at 3115 W. Adams Blvd.

Getty Images

Passengers in the waiting room of Union station – the main transportation hub in Los Angeles. Built in 1939, Los Angeles Union Station is known as an architectural gem for its Mission Modern style. The Union Station is the largest railroad passenger terminal in the Western United States. Designed by Parkinson & Parkinson (1939) who were responsible for City Hall and other local landmark, it combines Dutch Colonial, Mission Revival, and Streamline Modern styles. The station is located at 800 Alameda St.

Los Angeles Conservancy

The Stahl House was built in 1960 as part of the Case Study House Program. The program’s mission was to create affordable housing for post-war families. You can book a tour of the Stahl House located at 1635 Woods Dr. here.

Los Angeles Conservancy

The Dunbar Hotel, formally known as Hotel Somerville, was known as the epicenter of African-American culture and community in Los Angeles when it opened in 1928. The hotel became a sanctuary and safe space for the African-American community to freely express themselves. The hotel now serves senior citizens and serves as a gathering place for the community. The Dunbar Hotel is located at 4225 S. Central Ave.

Stephen Russo

Are you a movie-goer fanatic? Built in 1918, the Million Dollar Theatre was one of the largest movie palaces in the country, holding 2,345 seats. Visit the Million Dollar Theatre, which is now an event and filming location at 306 West 3rd St.

Larry Frost

The Leonis Adobe is the Calabasas home of Miguel Leonis, a wealthy French Basque rancho owner in the San Fernando Valley during the 19th century. He was referred to as the “King of the Calabasas” and was known, among other things, for protecting his land against squatters. You can visit the Leonis Adobe Museum located at 23537 Calabasas Rd. and experience the history left behind.

Los Angeles Conservancy

The Bullock’s Wilshire Building was the first department store in the country designed for the automobile that showcased the cars on a large display. This building is known for its Art Deco design and for fostering the development of Wilshire Boulevard.

Heritage Square Museum

The Heritage Square Museum explores the settlement and development of Southern California from the Civil War to the early 20th century. The museum consists of eight structures constructed during the Victorian Era. To learn more about the Heritage Square Museum located at 3800 Homer Street visit the website.

Photo by Los Angeles Examiner/USC Libraries/Corbis via Getty Images

Pershing Square was the original pueblo lands since 1781 when Spain granted the land to the City of Los Angeles. During World War I, the land was often the scene for militia receptions and a forum for public speakers. The park, which was named La Plaza Abaja, was renamed to Pershing Square in honor of World War I General John Pershing. Pershing Square is located at 532 South Olive Street and is an outdoor concert and event center.

Los Angeles Conservancy

The Hollyhock House was the first California residence designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Los Angeles during the 20th century. This house was known was LA’s first introduction to modern architecture and paved the way for California modernism. The house is located at 4800 Hollywood Boulevard and is open for self-guided tours here.

Los Angeles Conservancy

The Japanese Hospital in Boyle Heights had significant impact on the local community, which opened in 1929. The hospital served a range of demographics that were subjected to discrimination regarding health care simply because of their genetic makeup. The hospital, which is now occupied by Infinity Care of East Los Angeles is located at 101 South Fickett St.

Ray Charles Foundation

The Ray Charles Worldwide Offices and Studios is an interactive historical tribute in honor of the late music legend Ray Charles. Access to the library located at 2107 West Washington Blvd. is by appointment only. Visit the website for more information regarding tours.

LA Parks

The Chavez Ravine Arboretum, just north of Dodger Stadium and situated in Elysian Park, is home to over 100 novelty tree variations from around the world. The Chavez Ravine Arboretum is located at 929 Academy Rd.

Photo by Annie LaskeyLos Angeles Conservancy

The Foy House is one of the few remaining homes from the 1870s. The home is one of only two post-Civil War Italianate structures that remain in LA. An early resident was Mary Foy who was LA’s first female chief librarian and a leader in the woman’s suffrage movement. The house is located at 1337 Carroll Ave.

Department of Parks and Recreation

Built in 1834, the Andres Pico Adobe is one of the oldest adobe structures in Los Angeles that holds a great amount of San Fernando Valley history. Now it is a historical museum and research library. You can find more information about the tours located at 10940 North Sepulveda here.

Photo by FG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Built in 1930, the Eastern Columbia Building was one of the largest buildings constructed in downtown until after World War II. The historic monument underwent a $30 million conversion in 2006 into 140 luxury condominiums. The Eastern Columbia Lofts are located at 849 S. Broadway. The Eastern Columbia’s landmark clock tower is lighted every night.

Photo by: Ken Ross/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Bradbury Building has been home to many film backdrops since 1893. The building is the oldest commercial building still remaining in LA. It was originally built for gold mining and real estate guru Lewis Bradbury. The building is now used for office space and is a popular filming destination, serving as the backdrop for the movie Blade Runner in 1982 and 500 Days of Summer in 2009. The building is located at 304 S Broadway. For more information contact the Bradbury Building at 213-626-1893.

Los Angeles Public Library | Herald Examiner Collection

Built in 1927, the Mayflower Hotel had a Spanish-style exterior and was built on a lot only 60 feet wide by 160 feet long. The hotel, which was renamed to the Hilton Checkers Los Angeles, underwent a major renovation in 1980s, when two floors were added and the guest rooms were reduced from 348 rooms to 188 rooms. The hotel is located at 535 South Grand Ave.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

Share This Post!

Would you like to receive information about the Angels Flight® Railway?