Historic Los Angeles California

Genie Davis September 16, 2010 3 Comments

Downtown Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles

Does the word historic seem to clash with your vision of Los Angeles? Well, it shouldn’t.   

Here’s a fun family day in the downtown heart of the city that you can enjoy whether you’re visiting LA or a resident family like us.   

Your kids will love the Museum of Contemporary Art with its dual locations on Grand Avenue and in Little Tokyo. The bright splashy colors and the easy to navigate open spaces of these museums will be a treat for everyone. MOCA is the only LA museum with a collection completely devoted to modern art – work created after 1940 in all mediums. Painting, photos, sculptures are all visceral and easy to connect with. The wide hallways and handicap accessible facilities make this a stroller friendly environment.   

Angels Flight Southern California

Angels Flight Southern California

Start by taking in the art works at the main MOCA building. From there you can admire some outdoor sculpture and walk across California Plaza to the Angels Flight railway, a funicular rail that has brought passengers up and down a steep hill since 1901. For a quarter, climb on board. We enjoyed many round trips up and down with a city view and an uncrowded car on the weekend.   

Once you finally decide to stay at the bottom, you can cross the street to the equally historic Grand Central Market, which opened in 1917. Here you can get fresh produce, Chinese, Mexican, and El Salvodoran treats, nuts and herbs, and ice cream and ices. If you cross through the market and exit on the opposite side, you’ll find yourself catacorner to the Bradbury building, which is known not only as a historically rich office building – reputedly the first in LA – but as the setting for parts of Blade Runner and more recently, 500 Days of Summer. This gorgeous building with cast iron railings and cage elevators is a treat at the lobby level; a short flight of stairs brings you to an even better camera-ready view. Your kids will love the design – after exploring MOCA it will seem like another piece of art to them, and it is.   

More historic sites are viewable in the immediate area. The Central Library has a multi-storied atrium and a fantastic collection of books, including a lively children’s section in which readings and special exhibits are commonly scheduled. Staff call their Children’s Literature Department a “library within a library.” There are over two hundred and fifty thousand books, cds and dvds with a strong emphasis on California subjects and authors. And right near the children’s department you’ll find the beautiful California History Murals – more easy-on-the-eyes art. You can spend an entire afternoon enjoying the quiet and sharing stories with your children.   

You’ll need to drive or take public transit over to the Little Tokyo branch of MOCA. Little Tokyo is also a great stop for window shopping and browsing in stores throughout the open air Honda Plaza and Weller Court. Here you’ll find unusual and inexpensive toys, delightful pastries, including bean curd cakes and french pastries, and craft and pottery shops.   

You’ll also find Japanese American National Museum, which includes a moving recreation of the original barracks building from the Heart Mountain internment camp, Japanese artifacts and art. Like MOCA, this modern structure is visually pleasing and very accessible for tots, and presents a great deal of history in a compact environment. Nearby you’ll also find the Jodo Shu Buddhist Temple for some contemplative time in a beautiful space.   

Also close by – lots of excellent and inexpensive meal options. Daikokuya has excellent ramen and who doesn’t like noodle soup? Vegan sushi, our favorite vegetable rolls, is found at Sushi Gen in Honda Plaza or Hama Sushi slightly off the beaten track. Yes, of course they have actual seafood based sushi too; but the inexpensive vegetable options will offer real kid-appeal. And for desert?   

Check out two of the longest operating food purveyors in LA., which also happen to offer unusual but appealing desert options.   

Talk about historic, Fugetsu-do opened in 1905 and has delicious mochi. Mikawaya was founded five years later, and spread the word about mochi ice cream. Try a taste test at both locations – they’re both delicious, and steeped in history!

avatarAbout the Author:

Genie Davis is a multi-published fiction author, screen and TV writer, and travel writer. If it was possible, she'd like to spend every day traveling. www.geniedavis.com

Tags: , Sharing Experiences, Travel Excursions
3 Comments to “Historic Los Angeles California”
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