This past October, my family spent the day on Grand Avenue in downtown LA, for an event where you get a free and all access day of museum exhibitions, architecture tours and performances. It was a warm and festive day, which included food trucks, music and kids activities. We decided to make this day a Grand Ave arts walking tour in Los Angeles..
While taking advantage of the festivities, we were walking indoors and we quickly realized that all the events were inside of spectacular buildings! Wow, walking outside on Grand Avenue turned out to be the real treat. I mean, the weather was perfect and the buildings in itself were quite the attraction. Staying inside on a beautiful day in October never seems to feel like the right idea. Maybe it’s just the Angeleno in me, but I love being outside on a gorgeous day, no matter what. So, we went outside and let me share with you what we saw..
Los Angeles Music Center
The Music Center’s main venues are The Ahmanson Theatre, Music Center Plaza, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum and Walt Disney Hall. They are all located within walking distance of eachother. We parked at The Music Center’s underground parking. There’s usually a reasonable flat fee rate during the day, easy. Located at 135 N. Grand Ave, LA 90012
What we discovered, once we go off the escalator, going up to the Music Center Plaza was an amazing festival celebrating Dias de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). There were over 75 altars and large scale installations of colorful skulls designed by local LA-based artists and community groups. Truly remarkable!
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Located next to The Music Center is Home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Master Chorale. This Frank Gehry marvel of a structure looks like a stainless steel clipper ship, some say. But, whatever you think it looks like, it’s one of the main stars of Grand Ave and downtown LA.
Lillian Disney donated $50 million to build this building. Frank Gerhy spent over 10 years to design this concert hall. It turned out to be quite a challenge for thecontractors. There were delays and other funding issues. It finally was fully completed in 2003 and as you can see, every angle of this intruguing building is impeccable. It took some time for the acoustics to get sorted out too, but is considered perfect today.
However, you don’t even need to go inside to enjoy this concert hall. You can spend hours just staring at this intriguing building and there’s a garden, amphitheater, art exhibits and even stairs that’ll take you up to a phenomenal view of Grand Avenue and City Hall. It’s all free, all of the time! Located at 111 S. Grand Ave, LA 90012
After checking out Walt Disney Hall, we walked across the street to The Broad. This contemporary art museum is new to Los Angeles and is free to the public.! It’s very busy, so reservations are a must. But really, the structure of The Broad is the showstopper. The structure was built to be a light filter for the inside of the museum. Architectural tours are offered, as well as art installations. Located at 221 S. Grand Ave, LA 90012
Museum of Contemporary Art
We again walked across the street to MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) where we encountered a crazy art display of mangled aircraft parts, right outside! MOCA is a small, yet intimate museum with permanent and temporary displays. But, as you can see, you don’t even have buy a ticket to see contemporary art! Located at 250 S. Grand Ave, LA 90012
We passed through other venues with all access, like the performing arts Colburn School. We then strolled to Grand Park, where we encountered more Dia de las Muertos celebrations going on. There were live performances and art displays by local artists, with a stunning view of City Hall. Of course, the water fountain is always the centerpiece, especially on a warm day! Located at 200 N. Grand Ave, LA 90012
We walked back to the Music Center, where we started our Grand Ave walking tour. We didn’t plan a walking tour, but it turned out to be a really great experience. There’s something special about enjoying the outdoors, in a way that’s not what you plan or expect. On this day, it was cool just to wander around!