Hour to Kill: Blue Ribbon Garden at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

Have an hour to kill Downtown? Grab your lunch and take a walk around a secluded garden in the shade of one of LA's most iconic landmarks.
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It’s impossible to cruise along Grand Avenue and miss the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a twisted metallic explosion of Frank Gehry’s imagination—one of the top Los Angeles attractions and clearly one of the most beautiful buildings in Los Angeles. You may not realize, though, that the acoustically impressive hall harbors a lush garden in its shadows. Whether you're looking for a quiet place to sit on your lunch hour or a climb along the building's lustrous exterior, it's the perfect spot to both appreciate and escape the city.

Good for: Tranquil gardens and bombastic architecture.
If you're going to: 
Grand ParkMOCAThe Music Center, jury duty
For that moment when:
 You're desperately seeking shade or to escape Downtown's concrete desert.
In case you're hungry:
 BadmaashGroundworkKendall's Brasserie
Getting there:
 Parking can be pricey during the day, but you'll find flat rate surface lots and street parking if you're nearby on evenings and weekends. Otherwise, take advantage of the adjacent Civic Center/Grand Park stop on the Metro Red Line.

RECOMMENDED: See more in our guide to Downtown Los Angeles

Photograph: Michael Juliano

Click through our slide show of photo highlights of the garden, and how to access it.
 
 
Photograph: Michael Juliano

The easiest-to-find entrance is on Grand Avenue near 2nd Street. Take the elevator in the building to the left if stairs are an issue. You can also enter on 1st Street near the corner of Hope Street. The entrance gates lock at night, though the concert hall doesn't provide a specific closing time.

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Photograph: Michael Juliano

Atop the staircase, you'll find a sublimely quiet garden with shaded places to sit and read, eat lunch or just collect your thoughts.

Public gardens at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Photograph: Michael Juliano

When the building opened, the glossy exterior's blinding glare and tendency to turn the sidewalk into a furnace forced the facade to be dulled. This single shiny wall behind the Keck Children's Amphitheater is the only leftover from the building's original appearance.

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Photograph: Michael Juliano

Follow the sound of running water to the conglomeration of cracked vases and tiles that make up Gehry's A Rose for Lilly, a fountain dedicated to the hall's Disney family donor.

Public gardens at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Photograph: Michael Juliano

It might not attract a concert hall-sized audience, but you can exercise your creativity and absorb some good performance vibes from the vaunted venue.

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Photograph: Michael Juliano

Weekend explorers will find fun climbing the labyrinth of paths and staircases that wind up and along the Concert Hall's exterior.

Photograph: Michael Juliano

Set aside your insecurities about acting like a tourist—look up, gawk at the building and take a few photos. We won't judge.

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