More of the same in the afternoon
plus a drink with a view
Conveniently, the Bradbury Building is located just across the street from the Grand Central Market, where we stopped again to rehydrate and refuel with Thai iced tea with boba from Moon Rabbit and strawberry rhubarb pie from Fat and Flour.
I resisted the urge to scarf down a humungous pastrami sandwich from Wexler’s Deli or a plate of Pad Kee Mao (aka Drunken Noodle) from Sticky Rice. By this time, the market was packed and bustling so, the people-watching enhanced our boba and pie snack.
After our break, we headed south on Broadway, once the commercial and retail core of Los Angeles. It is also the home of the Historic Theater District, the first and largest historic theater district on the National Register of Historic Places, with, according to Wikipedia, the highest concentration of movie palaces in the world.
Many of the old theaters are in an advanced state of decay, but it doesn’t take much imagination to conjure up their former grandeur. Some have been renovated and can be rented for special events. The theaters are embedded among a funky mish-mash of jewelry stores, doughnut shops, and bridal gown emporiums.
The theater district extends south to 9th St. At 9th we turned around and headed back to 6th St., then took a left and headed on a northwesterly angle through Pershing Square toward the Millennial Biltmore Hotel, the historic grand dame of old Los Angeles money and movie fame, as well as a location for many movies and TV shows, such as Beverly Hills Cop, Columbo, Murder She Wrote, Ghostbusters, True Lies, and Rocky III.
Across Olive St we entered through the back entrance to the hotel, which led us through the Rendezvous Court where high tea is served under the high, Moorish ceiling. Up the stairs and to the left is the Historic Corridor, which offers a photo gallery of Academy of Award ceremonies held in the grand ballroom of the Biltmore in the 1930s.
One particularly large photo shows the entire audience at the 1937 awards ceremony. Several stars and movie notables, including Walt Disney and Spencer Tracy, can be easily picked out in the photo. Down the corridor to the left are several more photos of stars and others, including Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia.
She was last seen in the posh Gallery Bar and Cognac Room in the hotel in 1947 before her body, sawed in half, was found several days later in a vacant lot.
I was hoping to get a Black Dahlia martini at the bar, but it wasn’t open (it opens at 4 pm), so we made our way down the block and across the street to The Perch, on the roof of the Pershing Square Building at 448 S. Hill. The Perch looked inviting from the street, with its roof top array of umbrellas and plants; the views of downtown LA from the roof were even better, not to mention the views of the trim, good-looking Millennials who packed the place.
After a cold drink or two, we staggered into the elevator, rode down to the street and weaved our way west on 5th St for a couple of blocks to our final destination, the Los Angeles Central Library to check out the famous pastel-hued murals inside the Grand Rotunda, which offer a 360-degree view of California history.
After turning slowly and craning our necks for several minutes, we decided to head back to the Grand Central Market for one last bite, because, well, I like to eat. I had a carnitas taco from Roast to Go, one of the oldest vendors in the market, a fitting conclusion to our historic, cultural, architectural and gustatory exploration of downtown Los Angeles--the urban center that, despite popular belief, has continued to teem and thrive through the decades.
If You Go
Non-stop round trip airfare from Washington DC area ranges from the low to the high $200 on several major carriers.
Where To Eat
At Grand Central Market, besides the stalls mentioned in the article, I recommend Broad St. Oyster Co., McConnell’s Ice Cream, and Sticky Rice.
For more upscale dining I recommend Asterid in Disney Hall (asteridla.com) and Clifton’s Republic (theneverlands.com/cliftons-republic/), a makeover of the historic, forest-themed, fantasyland cafeteria in the heart of the theater district into an even more hallucinatory experience.
Where To Stay
Millennial Biltmore (millenniumhotels.com/en/los-angeles/ offers rooms starting at $178/night.
The Omni Los Angeles (omnihotels.com/hotels/los-angeles-california-plaza) is located on the California Plaza and has rooms starting in the low $200.
For More Info
Grand Central Market (grandcentralmarket.com)
Angels Flight (angelsflight.org)
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Music Center Plaza (aka Jerry Moss Plaza)
Grand Park (grandparkla.org)
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (olacathedral.org/overview)
Bradbury Building (laconservancy.org/locations/bradbury-building)
Historic Theater District
Los Angeles Central Library Murals
For more travel adventures by Don Mankin, go to: