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Our 5 Favorite Landmarks in LA

All over LA, you will find many iconic places and historic landmarks to visit. From Downtown, to Hollywood to the beaches, the storied history of LA is evident everywhere you go. Here are 5 of our favorite landmarks in Los Angeles. The next time you are here, check out one (or all) of them. You won’t be disappointed.

The Hollywood Sign

Probably THE most iconic landmark in Los Angeles. This beacon of the entertainment industry has been around since the 1920’s. It wasn’t, however, supposed to denote anything about entertainment. The original sign was actually an advertisement for the housing development known as Hollywoodland” that was supposed to last a year and a half. Constructed from metal squares, each of the 13 letters was 30 feet wide and approximately 43 feet tall and lit up at night.  While the housing development eventually failed due to the Great Depression, the sign still stayed and the city eventually removed the “land” from the title to create the now famous sign, “Hollywood”. Now the sign is over 90 years old and it just goes to show, you never know when a star will be born or how long it will last in Hollywood.

Union Station

The largest railroad passenger terminal in the Western United States, Union Station was designed by The Parkinsons and built in 1926. It is a combination of Dutch Colonial, Mission Revival and Streamline Moderne architecture. While it is considered small in comparison to other Union Stations, its grand designs make it seem large, open and airy.  While it is still a major hub for travel, it has also become a popular wedding and reception site in recent years. You might just recognize this last “great American train station” from several scenes in the hit movie “The Italian Job” as well as “Pearl Harbor” and “Charlies Angels: Full Throttle”.

The Santa Monica Pier

While the pier was originally built to cover up a pipeline into the ocean in 1909, this 100 year old landmark  has become a main attraction for fun and entertainment. Take a spin on the solar powered Ferris Wheel at Pacific Amusement Park or enjoy an ice cream after riding the carousel originally built in the 1920’s.  There are also some fun restaurants along the pier, including Bubba Gump Shrimp – which is owned by some of the producers of the Academy Award Winning Movie “Forrest Gump”, in which the pier was also shot at! In fact,  you might recognize the pier from many popular TV shows and movies such as “Charlie’s Angels”, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”, “The Mod Squad”, “The Mindy Project”, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Modern Family” to name a few. Who knows what TV shows or movies might be filming there if you decide to take a visit?

The Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood bowl was built in the early 1920’s and officially opened in 1922.  The site, originally known as the Daisy Dell, was chosen in 1919 by members of The Theatre Arts Alliance who needed a location for outdoor performances during the summer season. They paid $47, 500 (equivalent to $670, 898. 63 today… which for LA real estate, is a steal!) for the site. When it first opened, the stage had a simple awning over it and the seating was makeshift wooden benches, which is a very far cry from what concert goers experience today.  The first performance was by the LA Philharmonic and the cost of a ticket was just 25 cents.Today, The Bowl is still the largest natural amphitheater in the US and has seen some amazing performances from some of the most popular bands in the US and abroad. In addition, The Hollywood Bowl is part of cinematic history as a setting for scenes in “Beaches”, “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “A Star is Born”.

Griffith Observatory

We couldn’t make list of famous LA Landmarks without mentioning The Griffith Observatory. The most visited public observatory in the world, the Griffith Observatory hosts around 1 million people a year. It is one of the first institutions in the United States that was dedicated to public science and is still a national leader in public astronomy. Entrance to the Observatory is free as was stipulated in the will of Griffith J. Griffiths who left the land to the city. While at the Observatory, you can view shows at the Samuel Oshchin Planetarium for a nominal fee or participate in monthly public star parties, daily talks and presentations, and periodic special events. Last, but certainly not least, you can view the spectacular, sweeping views of Los Angeles from atop this amazing part of Los Angeles. As most landmarks in Los Angeles, The Griffith Observatory is also a movie star. It’s where James Dean gave one of his iconic performances in “Rebel Without a Cause” and Charlie’s Angels kicked into action in “Full Throttle”.where meteors crash to earth in “Transformers” and is also the setting for the welcome center of “Jurassic Park”.
You can visit these historic landmarks and so much more on one of our many tours. All of our tours are private and fully customizable. You can choose one of our pre-planned tour options or build your own tour. Visit our web site to learn more or call 800-549-6625 to book your tour today!