5 Spots to Experience Sizzling Neon Lights

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Bright lights in the big city! Los Angeles is home to some truly spectacular neon signage, both vintage and more modern editions. Check out these buzzing, bright wonders that help make Los Angeles so instagram-worthy.  

neon signs at Grand Central Market in Los Angeles
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1. Grand Central Market

The entire Broadway Historic District is chalk-full of great neon signage—including the Los Angeles Theater, the Downtown Palace, and the Ace Hotel, among others—but none of them have the delicious appeal of Grand Central Market. Wander through the delicious food stalls (many with bright neon signs of their own) before finding yourself at a truly stunning indoor panel of neon lighting. The indoor lighting will make for an interesting photograph to contrast with darker, outdoor shots. 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown).


2. Universal Citywalk

At Universal Citywalk, even the chains come with their own neon lights. Along with the great people-watching (so many tourists!), the plaza boasts some truly spectacular neon signage everywhere you look. Many of the signs were restored by the Los Angeles Museum of Neon Art, including vintage signs from the days of Hollywood past. 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608 (Universal City)


3. Crossroads of the World

Once dubbed “America’s First Outdoor Shopping Mall,” the Crossroads of the World is an example of great Los Angeles architectures, with its strip of bungalows, as well as a site of epic nighttime lighting. The massive globe that serves as the entrance is best photographed at night. 6671 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (Hollywood).


4. Nuart Theater.

The Nuart Theater looks like a cross between classic Art Deco architecture and the colorful decadence of the 1980s. Built in 1929, it features a neon marquee that lights up the neighborhood at night. It’s both funkier and smaller than other classic theater marquees, like Graumann’s Chinese Theater, or El Capitan, which gives it a more unique feel for compositions. 11272 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025 (Sawtelle).


5. Chinatown Central Plaza.

Los Angeles’s relocated Chinatown (the original location was closer to Olvera Street) is home to a variety of visually inspiring landmarks, and no small wonder: part of the plaza was designed in the 1930s by Hollywood set designers. There’s the dragon gate that marks the entrance to Chinatown, and the brightly colored lanterns that flutter in the breeze between buildings. But at night, there’s no competing with the neon-lit pagodas that create the electric sensation of straddling history and Hollywood legend. 943 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (Chinatown).