Walk into City Hall’s public entrance on Main Street, through the metal detectors and up to the desk for a visitor sticker. Take the express elevators to the 22nd floor, where you’ll get off and take another set of elevators to the 26th.
Take the time to check out portraits of LA’s former, fashionably bearded mayors before heading up one last staircase.
You'll find yourself inside the lavish Mayor Tom Bradley Room, which feels like some sort of old superhero command post—in fact, the building's exterior doubled as the home of the Daily Planet in a '50s Superman TV series.
Once outside, you can see straight out to Palos Verdes and the ocean; you might even catch a climpse of Catalina Island if the marine layer/haze/fog (we won't say the s-word) cooperates.
When City Hall opened in 1928, you would've seen beautiful Victorian houses—the Bunker Hill neighborhood—from this spot. Only a few decades ago, you'd be staring at slums. Today, you're looking at one of the most radically reinvented areas in LA.
The remote views from canyon and mountain trails in LA are stunning, but here you'll discover parts of the city you never even knew existed, like the Eleanor Chambers Memorial Fountain at Los Angeles Mall.
From the northeast side you'll be able to spot Union Station in front of the San Gabriel Mountains. Yup, LA has mountains and—sit down for this one—they're often snow-capped during wet winters.
Don't forget to look down at the Triforium, perhaps the only LA landmark more maligned than the Hollywood Sign.
On the way back down, stop off at the third floor to see the ornately tiled rotunda. Its marble columns, metal chandeliers and long, arched hallways are enough of a reason to visit City Hall.
You can head out the Spring Street side and explore the courtyard, but make sure to step into the alcove just to the left of the exit to see the 1984 Olympic torch. Just imagine yourself parading to that John Williams fanfare with this brassy baton of glory in hand—but seriously, don't actually do it, that would be bad.