In a city known for its eclectic architecture styles—it’s not unusual to see a Victorian mansion propped up next to a Spanish bungalow, which is in turn down the block from an iconic Craftsman—perhaps the most remarkable are the remnants of the Art Deco architecture from the 1930s. Conjure up the golden age of Hollywood, and fire up your creative juices, with a quick stop at any (or all!) of these time-traveling sites.
1. Los Angeles Central Library
Built in 1926, this central library (third largest central library in the nation!) holds more than 2.8 million books, and more than 3 million photographs. Even more impressive? The building features a tiled pyramid on the roof, a mural-lined rotunda, and even the contrasting Atrium wing that features crisp, modern architecture. 630 W. 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071 (Downtown)
2. Eastern Columbia Building
Hop over to the Eastern Columbia Building from the library. You can’t miss it; it’s the big blue jewel with the turquoise terra cotta front that looks a misplaced set piece from a David O. Selznick picture. Built in 1930, the 13-story building boasts distinctively sketchable gold accents and geometric designs, such as zigzags, chevrons, sunbursts and more. Go at night to see the building lit up. 849 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014 (Downtown)
3. The Wiltern
Come for the beautiful teal tiled outside, stay for the majestic sunburst interior. The Wiltern was built in 1931 as a vaudeville theater hall and is now a renowned concert venue. The real show-stopper is the inside auditorium though: a sunburst ceiling with rays that each represent their own art deco skyscraper. The perfect place to be inspired either by the live music, or simply the gorgeous interior design. 3790 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010 (Wilshire Center/Koreatown)
4. One Bunker Hill or, The Edison Building.
Just down the street from the Library is one of the most well-known examples of Art Deco architecture: the Edison Building. The exterior, made of limestone and terra cotta, offers the high, narrow arches classic to the style, and the interior—be sure to check out the lobby, open to the public—uses more than 17 different types of marble to achieve a majestic look. 601 W. 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071 (Downtown)
5. The Pantages Theater.
There are, obviously, no shortage of great theaters in this town. In Hollywood alone, there’s also Graumann’s Chinese Theater and the Egyptian Theater that could’ve made this list and are both worth a visit. But there’s something magic about The Pantages, home to Broadway/LA. Inside, you can find gold, bronze, and silver statues and décor that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to a premiere of one of the classics. Between the metallic décor and the neon lighting, this is a particularly creatively generative spot for those interested in color and color theory. 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (Hollywood)
6. The Deco Building.
You don’t even have to step inside to see the magic of this one: the distinctive black and gold exterior makes it clear why this is a must-see for Art Deco lovers. The building is only two stories high, making it easy to miss among its taller skyscraper neighbors. It’s also one of the last black and gold Art Deco buildings still standing in Los Angeles. It might be the last entry on our list, but it’s definitely one you want to see. You could spend hours at this stop sketching the building from different angles! 5209 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90032 (La Brea)
Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash