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We Love LA!
An ASLA Attendee's Guide to Los Angeles


The Schneider Corp. Landscape Los Angeles was established as a municipality in April 1850 i? 1/2 before California was a state. Now the city is home to more than 3.9 million people, a Mediterranean climate, and, for a few days, landscape architects from around the world who are congregating for the ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo. Amidst the high rises visitors can find hidden gems unique to the city.

Welcome to sunny Southern California and the most populous city in the state,cheap watches Los Angeles. The City of Angels was founded in 1781 by the Spanish, but became part of Mexico in 1821 and was purchased (along with the rest of California) by the United States in 1848 as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican-American War. The city was incorporated as a municipality a few months before California achieved statehood in 1850.

While here, you can expect temperatures in the 70s and low 80s with very little chance of rain. You're more likely to experience a bout of Santa Ana winds: warm, dry, and strong winds that come down from the mountain passes.

Events at the ASLA Show are scheduled from October 20-23, but there is still plenty of opportunity to get out and see what LA has to offer.


The Schneider Corp. The Getty Villa, part of the J. Paul Getty Trust, has a collection of about 44,000 Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities dating from 6,500 B.C. to A.D. 400. Appropriately, the museum is modeled after the Villa dei Papiri, a first-century Roman country house that was buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. The four gardens, inspired by ancient Roman models, feature approximately 300 plant varieties found in Mediterranean climates, as well as fountains and bronze sculptures.

Museums and Culture

Los Angeles has more museums per capita than any other city, not just in the U.S., but in the world. While there won't be time to visit all of the 800-plus, nor is there room to write about each one, some of the highlights follow.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, better known as LACMA, is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection of nearly 130,000 objects. Current exhibits include costumes designed by Jewish Expressionist artist Marc Chagall, a collection of Mesoamerican figurines, and Metropolis II, a kinetic sculpture of a fast-paced modern city that operates during select hours on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The museum is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. General admission is $15, and specially ticketed exhibitions are $10 additional.

Right next door to LACMA, about a 20 minute drive from the Los Angeles Convention Center, are the La Brea Tar Pits, the oldest attraction in the area, dating back 38,000 years. The bubbling asphalt trapped and fossilized large mammals as well as microfossils of plants, insects, and even pollen. At the La Brea Tar Pits Museum visitors can tour an active dig site as well as observe scientists at work on fossils uncovered at the site. The museum is open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except holidays, and admission is $12.


The Griffith Observatory, located in Griffith Park, allows free public telescope viewing every evening that the skies are clear and the building is open. During the day, visitors can attend shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium ($7 for adults) or explore the free exhibits in the Hall of the Eye and the Hall of the Sky. In addition to views of the night sky, the grounds offer stellar views of Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, and the Pacific Ocean.


A sign advertising the Hollywoodland housing development in 44-foot tall letters was erected in 1923. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce removed the "land" in 1949, but did little to repair the deterioration of the remaining letters. In 1978, what was left of the sign was replaced with steel letters supported by steel columns in a concrete foundation, with each letter paid for by prominent donors in the community. The iconic sign is visible throughout Hollywood, but the best views are from the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood and Highland Center. You can hike to the sign from several trails that start in Griffith Park.

Los Angeles has more museums per capita than any other city, not just in the U.S., but in the world. While there won't be time to visit all of the 800-plus, nor is there room to write about each one, some of the highlights follow.

The Getty Center and the Getty Villa are the legacy of art collector J. Paul Getty, who created the wealthiest museum in the world. Today the J. Paul Getty Trust is the world's largest philanthropic institution dedicated to the visual arts. The Getty Center and the Getty Villa are about 20 minutes away from each other; the Center is in the west side of Los Angeles, and the Villa is in Pacific Palisades, on the coast. The Center is open Tuesdays through Fridays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Villa is open Wednesdays through Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free for both, but parking is $15. Advance tickets are required for the Villa and can be obtained at

At just two years old, The Broad is one of Los Angeles' newest i? 1/2 and most popular i? 1/2 museums. It's well known for Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room, which is fully mirrored and has an LED lighting display. Though access to the immersive art room closed on September 30, a new display of six of the artist's infinity rooms will be on display starting October 21. Tickets for this can be acquired once visitors are inside the museum. While admission is free, tickets must be reserved online i? 1/2 or, you can opt to wait in the standby line that can be up to 3 hours long and in direct sunlight. The Broad is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


The Walt Disney Concert Hall, which opened in 2003, was designed by architect Frank Gehry, with interior acoustics designed by Minoru Nagata. It is considered one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world. Self-guided audio tours as well as guided tours are available most days.


On the front steps to LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, visitors can see "Urban Light," an installation by artist Chris Burden. The work consists of 202 restored cast iron antique street lamps that visitors can walk through.

The Broad is just a block away from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the building designed by architect Frank Gehry. Complimentary audio tours of the concert hall are available most days from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guided tours are available on most Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays as well. If you're interested in attending a performance, tickets are available for "Mirga Conducts Mahler" on October 19-21, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on the 22nd.

Less than 2 miles from the Convention Center, the US Bank Tower is home to California's tallest open-air observation decki? 1/2 and the glass Skyslide that lets riders descend 45 feet from the 70th floor to the 69th floor, nearly 1,000 feet above street level. Tickets for the Skyslide ($8) are sold separately from admission to OUE Skyspace ($19-25) and can be purchased upon arrival.


Santa Monica offers more attractions than just its well-known pier and a 3.5-mile long beach. Bike rentals are available for visitors who want to take on the 22-mile Marvin Braude Bike Trail. On the paved trail, riders go from Santa Monica through Venice, Hermosa and Redondo beaches to Torrance County Beach. Whichever beach is your final destination, surf and paddleboard lessons and rentals are generally available.

Hooray for Hollywood

Los Angeles is home to several neighborhoods, and Hollywood is arguably the most famous. Like many of the neighborhoods in the city, it used to be its own municipality, but merged with Los Angeles to take advantage of LA's water rights. The first film in Hollywood was shot in 1910 and by the 1920s, the film industry in Hollywood was the 5th-largest industry in the nation.

Today, a walk down Hollywood Boulevard is a walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. More than 2,600 celebrities have their own stars on the Walk of Fame, and the public is invited to attend star ceremonies. Find the schedule, and where to locate your favorite star on the walk, at

Also on Hollywood Boulevard is Grauman's Chinese Theatre, now called TCL Chinese Theatre, which is best known for having celebrity hand and footprints embedded in its concrete courtyard. The tradition started accidentally when, according to the theatre's official accounts, silent film star Norma Talmadge stepped into wet concrete. A historic and cultural landmark, tours are offered 7 days a week: The Lobbyists & Handprints tour is $14, and the TCL Chinese Theatre Tour is $18.

A trip to Hollywood would be incomplete without attending a taping of a television show. Tickets for different shows are free and available from multiple reputable online vendors in advance i? 1/2 and, with shows like The Price is Right or Let's Make a Deal, you might get something to take home. Check,, or to see what's available.

The famous Hollywood sign, which until 1949 read "Hollywoodland," can be accessed by hiking from Griffith Park. There are trails of multiple intensity levels, and one of them includes a side trip to the Bat Cave as featured in the 1960s television production of Batman. Want to just look, not hike? Hollywood and Highland Center or Griffith Park will give the best views.

Speaking of Griffith Parki? 1/2


In 1905, developer Abbot Kinney conceived a plan to create a Venice in America. The result was the Venice Canal Historic District near the beach, a series of waterways that at one time had gondolas and accompanying gondoliers. Many of the canals were filled in to make room for roads, but the canals were restored in 1992-93. Upscale private residences line the canals. The public walkways around the canals and the bridges over them are a pleasant escape from the typical L.A. streetscapes.

The Great Outdoors

Los Angeles has its fair share of green spaces, and Griffith Park is prominent among them. At 4,310 acres, it is one of the largest urban parks in North America, and the second-largest city park in California. Originally an ostrich farm, Griffith J. Griffith donated the land to the city in 1896. Another 444 acres were added in 1944 from the Hollywoodland developers, and 100 acres around Cahuenga Peak were purchased in 2010. In addition to hiking trails to the Hollywood sign, Griffith Park visitors can visit the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, the Greek Theatre, the Griffith Observatory and much more. Wednesdays through Sundays in October, visitors can experience Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, which this year has a clown theme.

Grand Park, part of the Grand Avenue project, is closer to the convention center, stretching between City Hall and the Los Angeles Music Center. The 12-acre park is open every day from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and includes a splash pad, a wading fountain, a small performance lawn, a community terrace with drought-tolerant garden, and a large event lawn. The park was designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios i? 1/2 see page 116 to learn more.

When in Southern California, a trip to the beach is a must. Surfrider Beach in Malibu lives up to its namesake: it is the local go-to spot for surfing. Venice Beach will provide the ultimate boardwalk experience complete with chainsaw jugglers, palm readers and artists. Hermosa Beach offers opportunities for volleyball, sunbathing, sandcastle building, walking or bicycling; Cabrillo Beach is a prime spot for relaxation or family time.

Just south of Santa Monica Beach is the historic Santa Monica Pier. It was built in 1909 and was at the time the first concrete pier on the west coasti? 1/2 until 1919, when rust caused it to drop two feet. The concrete was replaced by wood, which was replaced again by (stronger) concrete after storms in 1983 severely damaged the pier. In addition to the iconic roller coaster and Ferris wheel, visitors can ride the nearly hundred-year-old carousel, which is housed in the Hippodrome, the oldest building on the pier, built in 1916. Visitors can also take a free historic walking tour (Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and noon), go fishing, or enjoy one of the many restaurants that line the pier.

If you'd like to take some time to give back while still enjoying the Southern California weather, consider volunteering with TreePeople, a local environmental nonprofit. The organization plants and cares for trees, harvests rainwater, and renews depleted landscapes. On Sunday, October 22, those who pre-register online can assist restoration efforts in the Santa Monica Mountains (about 30 miles away from the convention center).


Located just three miles from the convention center, the California Science Center is open daily (except holidays) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free. The museum is home to the Space Shuttle Endeavour, the first flight of which was in 1992. Its final space mission was in 2011, and it was transported across the country to the Science Center in 2012. While timed reservations are required for weekends and peak season, seeing the shuttle is also free.

What Else is Happening?

Sports fans rejoice! If you're in town early, you can catch the LA Kings take on the Montreal Canadiens on October 18 at Staples Center, just down the street from the Convention Center. If hockey's not your thing, you can go to the Rose Bowl to watch UCLA vs. Oregon Ducks on October 21. Prefer pro football? The LA Chargers (formerly the San Diego Chargers) will be playing the Denver Broncos on the 22nd at StubHub Center in Carson.

If you prefer music to sports, the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood is hosting performances of Tony-award winning musical Hamilton all month long. At UCLA's Royce Hall, pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi will be performing on October 19 and 20; and on the 21st, visitors can attend a celebration of jazz and blues singer Barbara Dane's 90th birthday. Or, take it back to the 80s at the Fonda Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard with Dinosaur Jr., performing on October 21.

Movie buffs can attend Street Food Cinema's screening of Jurassic Park in Will Rogers State Historic Park, Pacific Palisades. In addition to the movie, attendees can enjoy live music and food from a variety of vendors. Tickets start at $13 and must be purchased in advance from

Beer aficionados can explore one of the many breweries Los Angeles has to offer, or experience three by booking an LA Beer Hop tour, which departs Saturday, October 21 at 12 p.m. from Union Station. Tickets are $69 and include flights at three breweries. Speaking of bier, the ASLA Show coincides with the heart of Oktoberfest. Alpine Village in Torrance, located 15 miles south of the convention center, is home to the oldest Oktoberfest celebration in Southern California. Tickets are available online and at the door for the festivities every Friday and Saturday night and Sunday afternoons through October 28. Attendees are welcome to bring their own, non-glass vessel of choice.

These sights and activities are just the tip of the iceberg; Los Angeles has so much more to offer than we could possibly fit on these pages. With over 800 museums, nearly 200 parks, and countless cultural events and experiences, the City of Angels has something for every taste.

As seen in LASN magazine, October 2017.

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December 14, 2019, 7:41 am PDT

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