Point Fermin Lighthouse.
The Getty Center.
United Artists Building (Ace Hotel).
The Theatre at Ace Hotel (formerly United Artists Theatre).
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.
Carroll Avenue in Angelino Heights.
Paul J. Pelz, 1874
With all of the flak Los Angeles gets for being a hostile environment, we take solace in the fact that the city’s southernmost border greets the ocean with a humble, wood frame lighthouse from the 1800s. One of a half-dozen similar Victorian structures across the state, Point Fermin is like an idyllic East Coast export with all the natural beauty of the South Bay.
Arnold A. Weitzman, 1927
This Hollywood Hills fixture has barely changed over the decades—and that's a good thing. The hotel still attracts the brazen and the beautiful, offers a quintessentially glamorous LA experience and promises its guests absolute discretion. There may be finer French-inspired chateaus, but none have quite the same superficial allure and storied past.
Richard Meier, 1997
Indulge us and let’s consider the entire Getty campus as a single “building.” Los Angeles's hilltop acropolis is a remarkable complex of travertine and white metal-clad pavilions that resembles a kind of monastic retreat designed for James Bond. The moment you debark the tram and climb those cascade-lined steps, you’ve entered the closest thing LA has to utopia.
There’s not a whole lot to see around the exterior of baseball’s third-oldest stadium; with Chavez Ravine’s terraced parking lots, every level is practically on the ground. Its charms—enhanced with recent renovations—are best seen from the inside, with a Dodger Dog in hand; the zigzag outfield shades and hexagon scoreboards are the perfect foreground for a sunset against the San Gabriel Mountains.
C. Howard Crane, Walker & Eisen (1927)
Step inside this Gothic-flourished movie palace (and now hotel and theater) and you’ll find an over-the-top auditorium that looks like it’s been dripping from the ceiling of a cave. Though our admiration for the Broadway beauty lies with original architect C. Howard Crane, we have to hand it to the Ace Hotel for sparking so much excitement about a nearly 90-year-old building.
Elliott, Bowen and Walz, 1929; Hodgetts + Fung Design Associates, Gruen Associates 2003
This gorgeous outdoor amphitheatre has been hosting concerts since the LA Philharmonic first played here in 1922. Nestled in an aesthetically blessed fold in the Hollywood Hills, the 18,000-seat venue can bring out the romantic in the terminally cynical. The Bowl started as a natural amphiteatre called Daisy Dell with a simple stage and wooden benches. Lloyd Wright designed two shells in 1927 and 1928 that only lasted a year each, but aspects of his design were incorporated into later revisions. In 1929, Allied Architects put in the Bowl's original shell, which was in place until 2003, when it was replaced by a larger shell with better acoustics.
Frederick Roehrig, 1893-1903
There are plenty of buildings that evoke old Hollywood glamor, but nothing conjures an air of Gilded Age mystery and elegance quite like this former hotel in Pasadena. The original building in the three-part complex was demolished in the ‘30s, but the more impressive Moorish-meets-Victorian central annex still stands behind a curtain of lush gardens.
Frank Hudson and William A.D. Munsell, 1913
The original Beaux Arts building at the Natural History Museum has only gotten better with age. The native, modern landscaping now frames the museum’s distinguished exterior, while the interior has finally found exhibits fit for its marble walls. Its domed and colonnaded rotunda commands all of your attention as you walk through Expo Park—but we’re certainly not complaining.
Various architects, 1880s
How could we pick just one? The dozen or so towering Victorians that line Carroll Avenue collectively form one of the most picturesque spots in the city. The wooden turrets and shaded portraits feel frozen in time, calling back to a post-Spanish, pre-Hollywood way of life that feels like a secret part of LA history.
Frank Lloyd Wright, 1921
Thanks to a gift from its oil heiress proprietor, this Mayan-inflected mansion is the only one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s LA-area houses that’s open to the public (though this one is currently closed for renovations). Its intended design as a theater complex never came to fruition and its concrete and stucco facade is as gorgeous as it is impractical—but the house is still a monument to the ambition of Barnsdall Park.