By Ea Nicole Madrigal
The kids are out of school and one of the first questions is: what are some enjoyable activities that my family can enjoy together? Perhaps even more pressing in the post-Great Recession age is this: what activities can we enjoy together that won’t cost our family too much? Each week, Beacon Media News will take a quick glimpse at free, entertaining activities in Los Angeles in hopes that this summer can be one to remember (and one that won’t break the bank).
This week, I encourage you to take a visit to Los Angeles City Hall. You might say one word in reply to this suggestion: “boring.” However, I promise you that a visit to Los Angeles City Hall offers an entertaining as well as educational experience not simply for a solo visitor but for the entire family.
Los Angeles City Hall was completed in 1928 following years of growth and success in the city of Los Angeles. Today, it is massively undersized compared to the skyscrapers that line the city blocks of downtown Los Angeles. Yet, it is still considered a mainstay of the downtown area and it is one of the most iconic pieces of architecture in the city. The building is distinguished by its pyramid top and was designated a City Historical Cultural Monument in 1976.
What makes City Hall so great is that it is free to the public. Once inside the building, you will be astounded by the architecture throughout the long hallways and in the rotunda areas. In certain sections of floor three, you can visit free exhibits (currently, there is a photography exhibit of City Councilman Tom LaBonge).
However, the most astounding part of your visit comes at the very top (literally). When you enter for your visit, be sure to let them know you would like to visit the observation deck. Yes, this too, is free (and you can receive a free docent tour)! You will be directed to take an elevator to the 22nd floor, then the 26th, then the very top (27th floor). Before you bask in the amazing sights, be sure to make a whirl around floor 26 where every past L.A. Mayor’s portrait is on display. Accompanying the portraits are brief descriptions of the life and mayoral work of each mayor.
Then, go up to floor 27 and be blown away by the view! Safely guarded by high railings, the observation area offers a full 360-degree view of the city and surrounding areas. There are plaques at each of the four viewpoints which describe the major buildings that you may (or may not) have heard of before. The air feels different at this level; and since you are outdoors, enjoy the crisp breeze as it grazes your smiling face (because you will certainly be happy you came).
This activity is wonderful for all family members. Particularly for little ones, as it provides a bit of local education and understanding of the wonderful city of Los Angeles. Since the observation deck is easily accessible by elevator, this is also an activity in which family members who have difficulty walking or moving should find enjoyable as well.