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Los Angeles Central Library

Things to do, Literary events Downtown Financial District Free
5 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
Los Angeles Central Library
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Time Out says

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



Address: 630 W 5th St
Los Angeles

Opening hours: Mon-hu 10am-8pm; Fri-Sat 9:30am-5:30pm; Sun 1-5pm
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The best library in Los Angeles! They have a huge selection and beautiful architecture/art/decor. They give free tours which are fun and informative. If you have a library card, they offer reduced rate parking with a validation which is incredible in DTLA. They also have clean restrooms which are hard to come by sometimes. 


This was a surprise: on the outside, the building is beautiful and has a wonderful garden, but it's impossible to imagine what goes on inside: its monumental, yet very inviting to all people. 

Once you go in, you just have to choose in which direction to go and start exploring. It has many levels, subject rooms, and places to sit and read or study. You will encounter many different people, and perhaps, some students visiting with their teachers, but everyone respects the ambience. 

It's free and you can find all sorts of materials and supports to study and learn from, while exploring the architecture. 


The front courtyard and painted rotunda make this library worth a visit, even if you're not interested in taking out any books. The programming is occasionally fantastic, too.