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Los Angeles Central Library

Critics' pick
Photograph: Matthew Field/Wikimedia
Los Angeles Central Library.
Downtown Free

Designed by Bertram Goodhue, completed in 1926 and renamed after the city's former mayor in 2001, the city's main library is worth a look even if you've no interest in borrowing books. The exterior is a Beaux Arts beauty, topped with a dramatic, tiled pyramid tower and decorated with bas-reliefs by Lee Lawrie.

The main lobby features an unexpectedly colorful ceiling mural by Venice artist Renée Petropoulos; other highlights include a frieze that retells Walter Scott's Ivanhoe (International Languages Department) and a series of murals dedicated to California history (Children's Literature Department). There's also a fine program of lectures and discussions in the Mark Taper Auditorium (for details, see www.lfla.org/aloud).

Venue name: Los Angeles Central Library
Address: 630 W 5th St
Los Angeles

Venue phone: 213-228-7000
Website: http://www.lapl.org/central
Opening hours: Mon -Thu 10am-8pm; Fri-Sat 10am-5:30pm; Closed Sun
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