With its world class entertainment venues and museums, incredible restaurants, a thriving nightlife scene and walkable streets, Downtown Los Angeles is experiencing a renaissance. L.A. LIVE is a spectacular entertainment complex offering nightlife, restaurants and live music venues, including the GRAMMY Museum, ESPN Zone, Lucky Strike Lanes and Regal Cinemas. Across the street, STAPLES Center hosts major concerts and sporting events. The arena is home to the Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Sparks. Walt Disney Concert Hall is a modern architectural masterpiece anchoring the Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is home to a highly regarded permanent collection and rotating installations and visiting exhibits. Exposition Park is home to the California Science Center, the California African American Museum, the LA Memorial Coliseum and Sports Arena and the Natural History Museum of LA County.
On the second Thursday of every month, something strange happens in Downtown LA. It starts in the morning, when owners of LA art galleries begin to hustle around making last-minute preparations — adjusting lighting, getting a lineup of drinks ready, choosing music. Come nightfall, the historic core of Downtown LA comes alive with remarkable energy.
For visitors who want a taste of where the locals go, the Downtown Art Walk, which takes place every second Thursday from Noon–9 p.m., is a perfect example of Los Angeles at its best. The sheer electricity of the scene explodes from bass-pumping galleries, the eclectic crowd and the music groups that set up outside various galleries in Downtown LA. One thing is for certain: art lovers think it's one of the best shows in town.
“It doesn't go down like this anywhere else,” says Jelena Dobic, a native Angeleno from West Hollywood.
When the first Downtown Art Walk started on Sept. 9, 2004, people were skeptical that a legitimate art community could rise out of its once-abandoned streets (after all, just a few blocks away is an area that used to be called “Skid Row”). But all that has transformed into something hip and fresh. Now it's hard to believe the district could have been anything other than one of LA's most vibrant areas for art.
Bert Green, dubbed the “godfather” of the art walk for playing an integral role in launching the event, likes to talk about the growth the area has experienced. “At the first art walk in 2004, we estimated that about 75 people showed up. On average now we have 3,000 or more,” he says. “Word has gotten out and the neighborhood has developed with restaurants and stores. We're acting as a catalyst for further activity.”
Like Los Angeles, the art represents a range of tastes, but much of it takes on the energy of the city and the emotions of life Downtown. Urban counterculture expresses itself through graffiti-esque styles while artists tap into emotions ranging from inspiring to sexual to playful.
The crowd obviously responds to the spectrum galleries offer, but it's the other aspects of the art walk that seem to give life to the event. Like Green says, the art walk acts as a catalyst, and out of it comes art that doesn't hang on walls. Fashion shows, spoken word, live street music and random outbreaks of freestyle lyricism are byproducts of the galleries, giving testimony to the organic quality of the community here.
The variety is something that appeals to different groups, from hipsters to sophisticates to traveling businessmen. Much akin to LA's personality, it all seems to come together, and the variety only makes the scene stronger and more hip.
Every second Thursday of the month from noon – 9 p.m., art lovers gather in Downtown LA for the Downtown Art Walk. Join in on the fun by taking a free self-guided tour of the area's hottest galleries, ranging from commercial art to nonprofit venues. If you're having trouble choosing where to visit, these galleries have garnered reputations for style, scene and cutting-edge art.
There's something distinctly Los Angeles about The Hive, one of Downtown Art Walk's busiest galleries. The works here represent an amalgam of talent, all of which has a common theme of pushing boundaries both personal and public. Expect a DJ, a stylish crowd and eye-popping work.
729 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
You'll see impressive displays of digital wizardry-turned-art at the thriving Los Angeles Center for Digital Art , where artists from all over the world showcase their works. It's easy to see why the gallery is so popular. Curator Rex Bruce isn't afraid to throw out definitions of “high” or “low” culture — he's only interested in excellent art.
107 W. Fifth St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
The Phil Stern Gallery is dedicated to keeping Stern's legacy alive with several shows per year that consist of previously unseen images as well as his world-famous photos. The gallery provides both vintage and fine art photographic prints of Stern's almost endless archive to collectors and the public. During the November 2011 Art Walk, the 92-year-old Stern was lifted 20 feet in the air to tag his signature on David Flores' stunning mural of Stern's 1955 photo of James Dean. The mural is located on 3rd St., between Main St. and Los Angeles St.
601 S. Los Angeles St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
The Spring Arts Tower , known as “the hub of Gallery Row,” champions art and culture in Los Angeles and houses several galleries including Niche LA, CB1 Gallery, and the anchor Spring Arts Galleries. Spring Arts has hosted many an art event, but has also hosted fashion shows and poetry readings.
453 S Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
When it comes to Los Angeles museums, the words “free admission” have a certain ring. Imagine standing before a priceless van Gogh without having paid a dime, or strolling through the galleries and gardens filled with Roman statuary at the renowned Getty Villa without having to “make the most out of your money.” Artistic "free"-dom indeed.
53. Banning Residence Museum : The 1864 Greek Revival residence, the Banning Residence Museum, is the former home of General Phineas Banning, the "father" of the Los Angeles Harbor.
54. California African American Museum : The California African American Museum's exhibitions enhance public knowledge of African-American contributions to society.
55. California Science Center : Through hands-on experiences in the galleries at the California Science Center, you'll learn about human inventions and innovations, the processes of living things and more. Opening October 30, 2012, the Space Shuttle Endeavor exhibit is also free, but advance, timed tickets are required, and a $2 per ticket service fee applies.
56. Fowler Museum at UCLA : Exhibitions from Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Americas, past and present, lend a unique and intriguing atmosphere to Fowler Museum events.
57. Getty Center : Overlooking the California coastline and the L.A. skyline, the Getty Center surrounds guests with breathtaking views and a world-class art collection including European paintings, contemporary photographs and decorative arts.
58. Getty Villa : This magnificent Malibu property includes an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria.
59. Hollywood Bowl Museum : Located on the grounds of the iconic venue, this museum houses the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame and also highlights great moments in classical and Latin music, jazz and rock & roll.
60. Homestead Museum : In the City of Industry, this historic site features two homes dating from the 1840s and 1920s, and a private cemetery.
61. Annenberg Space for Photography : Nestled within the Century Park office complex, inside the former Shubert Theatre space, these galleries are dedicated to celebrating both digital and print photography.
62. The Paley Center for Media : More than just a museum, the Paley Center is an institution dedicated to educating the public and exploring the intersection between media and society. It leads discussions about television, radio and emerging platforms, and the cultural, creative and social significance of these expressions.
63. Santa Monica Museum of Art : The Santa Monica Museum of Art organizes dynamic exhibitions of contemporary art in all mediums and across disciplines, complemented by outstanding educational programs for people of all ages.
64. Travel Town Museum : Located in Griffith Park , this museum is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of railroading in the western United States, featuring displays of historic steam locomotives, passenger cars and trolleys.
65. The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising : FIDM's collection of more than 15,000 costumes, accessories and textiles from the 19th century through the present day includes film and theater costumes.
66. Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust : LAMH dedicates itself as a primary-source institution, one that commemorates those who perished and those who survived the Holocaust, by housing the precious artifacts that miraculously weathered the war, the ghettos and ultimately, the death camps.
135 N. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles , CA 90012
1 (213) 972-7211Website
As one of the top performing arts centers in the world, the Music Center is committed to strengthening community through the arts. Set in the heart of Los Angeles' downtown cultural district and home to four internationally renowned resident companies -- LA Phil, Center Theatre Group, LA Opera and Los Angeles Master Chorale and the celebrated Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center --
the Music Center offers the most compelling, highest quality engagements.
777 Chick Hearn Court
Los Angeles , CA 90015
1 (213) 763-5483Website
Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE, is a world-class 7,100-seat venue for live performances located in downtown Los Angeles has already become the preferred indoor venue for performers and fans alike. The venue offers guests mid-sized intimacy, with no seat further from the stage than 220 feet, exceptional comfort and amenities never before included in similar theatres. There are four levels of concessions,
as well as numerous spaces for meet and greets, pre and post party events for performers, bands, clients and VIPS throughout the venue.
Nokia Theatre L. A. LIVE hosts over 120 music, family, dance and comedy acts, award shows, televised productions, conventions and product launches annually.
Mon - Sun: 9:30 am - 5 pm17 1 2 1
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles , CA 90007
1 (213) 763-3466Website
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County protects over 35 million specimens, dating back 4.5 billion years. NHM tracks the Earth's biodiversity, because knowing what is out there is the first step to conservation. The Museum is an authority on the "big picture" of the planet, the natural and the cultural world.
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