Los Angeles in Pictures

  • 01 of 08

    Theme Building, LAX

    USA - Transportation - 'Theme Building' at Los Angeles International Airport
    ••• Theme Building, LAX. Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

    These nine places are all so well-recognized that photos of any of them evokes Los Angeles in the viewer's mind. You may not recognize some of them by name, but you'll no doubt remember them all as you see their pictures.

    Where Have You Seen the LAX Theme Building Before?

    This space-ship-shaped building usually shows up in films when someone is flying into the Los Angeles airport. You know the scene: the plane lands, then you see the building - and immediately you know where they are.

    What Is the LAX Theme Building?

    Built in 1961 as part of the Jet Age Terminal Construction Project, the Theme Building's futuristic design belongs to a style of architecture that's sometimes called Googie, created by architects Paul R. Williams, Pereira & Luckman, and Robert Herrick Carter.

    Inside the Theme Building was once is a restaurant named Encounter and a bar called Genesis, designed by Walt Disney Imagineering and opened in 1997. The theme wass pure futuristic fantasy, serving...MORE cocktails with whimsical names like The Black Hole and The Jet Set. Unfortunately, it closed in 2015 with no plans to reopen it.

    Why We Think the LAX Theme Building is Iconic

    Built in the 1960s when everyone's focus was toward space and the future, the Theme Building has such a unique design - and you've seen it so many times in film - that everyone knows where it is. It's an icon not only of the city, but also of the times.

    More About the LAX Theme Building

    The official address of the Theme Building is 209 World Way, Los Angeles CA. It's right in the middle of the u-shaped terminal area. Go in on the arrivals level (lower) and drive until you see the sign for Enounter.

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  • 02 of 08

    Sleeping Beauty's Castle, Disneyland

    Disneyland Castle at Night
    ••• Disneyland Castle at Night. Spencer Goad/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Where Have You Seen Sleeping Beauty's Castle Before?

    You've seen it in so many Disneyland advertisements and friends' photos that you probably can't count them.

    What Is Sleeping Beauty's Castle?

    The centerpiece of Disneyland in Anaheim has been there since the day the park opened, its design based Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany's Bavaria. It's not the biggest castle in a Disney park, but it has the distinction of being the first, its size tempered by Walt Disney's desire not to overwhelm his guests. The drawbridge has been pulled up only twice, during Disneyland's opening in 1955 and again in 1983 for the Fantasyland re-dedication.

    Why We Think Sleeping Beauty's Castle is Iconic

    The shape of the castle is so distinctive that it's used in the Disneyland logo - and how many times have you seen an animated Tinkerbelle fly past it?

    More About Sleeping Beauty's Castle

    Details of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough at Disneyland.

    More Castles You Can Visit in California

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  • 03 of 08

    Hollywood Sign

    The Hollywood Sign
    ••• The Hollywood Sign. ©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    What Is the Hollywood Sign?

    Credit for the name Hollywood goes to the wife of early Los Angeles resident Harvey Wilcox, who heard someone talking about their Florida summer home "Hollywood." She liked the name, suggested it to her husband and it stuck.

    The Hollywood Sign started out as a big billboard for a housing development: Hollywoodland, put up in 1923. Originally, it lit up in sections: Holly... wood... land - and finally a giant period.

    It's located on Mount Lee, the tallest peak in Los Angeles just above the Hollywood neighborhood. It measures 450 feet long and each letter is 45 feet tall. It was supposed to last just a few years, but 9 of its original 13 letters are still there decades later.

    Why We Think the Hollywood Sign is Iconic

    The association of a word with a place is an obvious kind of icon, but even the arrangement of the letters is recognizable. It's an icon not only of the town that it sits above, but also of the entire film industry that was born there.

    Al...MOREl the Ways to See the Hollywood Sign

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  • 04 of 08

    Los Angeles City Hall

    Los Angeles City Hall
    ••• Los Angeles City Hall. Nicole Corpuz/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Where Have You Seen Los Angeles City Hall Before?

    If you don't recognize it instantly, it's on every Los Angeles policeman's badge. It was also the office of detective Joe Friday (Dragnet), the Daily Planet building in the 1950s version of Superman and has appeared in more films than many Hollywood actors.

    What Is the Los Angeles City Hall?

    This one is pretty obvious. It's the seat of the Los Angeles city government. Built in 1928, it was the tallest building in Los Angeles - at 32 stories - until 1964.

    Why We Think the Los Angeles City Hall is Iconic

    After holding a place as the high point of the Los Angeles skyline for nearly four decades, City Hall is an iconic part of the city's early history. Its depiction on the policeman's badge and association with Dragnet make it an icon of law enforcement in Los Angeles as well.

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  • 05 of 08

    Lifeguard Truck at Venice Beach

    Lifeguard Truck in Venice Beach
    ••• Lifeguard Truck in Venice Beach. Dani/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Where Have You Seen This Yellow Lifeguard Truck Before?

    Think 1990s-era television series Baywatch, which ran for 9 seasons before moving to Hawaii.

    Why We Think the Lifeguard Truck is Iconic

    After appearing for so many seasons on one of the most popular television shows ever created, the yellow lifeguard truck with the surf board on top is inextricably linked to the Los Angeles beaches. It also evokes the stereotype that Los Angeles weather is always sunny and its residents always sexy.

    More About Los Angeles County Lifeguards and Baywatch

    Former chief of lifeguards for Los Angeles County, Don Rohr talks about Baywatch

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  • 06 of 08

    Grauman's Chinese Theater

    Grauman's Chinese Theater
    ••• Grauman's Chinese Theater. Imeh Akpanudosen / Getty Images

    Where Have You Seen Grauman's Chinese Theater Before?

    Have you watched celebrities arriving for a Los Angeles movie premiere? Seen footage of the current hot star putting their hands and feet in cement. Maybe you remember the street scene in The Italian Job, the one where the armored truck suddenly drops through the street?

    What Is Grauman's Chinese Theater?

    It's a real, honest-to-goodness movie theater, built in 1927. Its over-the-top Chinese decor make it one of the most fun places in LA to see a film - and who can resist those swishy red curtains opening as the film begins?

    Outside in the courtyard are the famous hand- and footprints of Hollywood stars stretching back into the 1920s.

    Why We Think Grauman's Chinese Theater is Iconic

    Grauman's unique architecture is an icon of a time when movie theaters gave as much entertainment as the films they screened, the forecourt is full of reminders of filmdom's icons and its looks are so distinctive that you couldn't...MORE mistake it for something else.

    More About Grauman's Chinese Theater

    Get the scoop on Grauman's and find out more about all those crazy imprints.

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  • 07 of 08

    Walt Disney Concert Hall

    Performing Arts Center and Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
    ••• Performing Arts Center and Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles. ©2007 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    Where Have You Seen the Walt Disney Concert Hall Before?

    In the few years since it was completed in 2003, this Frank Gehry-designed building has appeared in scores of television commercials, starting to show up only months after it opened.

    What Is the Walt Disney Concert Hall?

    First and foremost, it's home to the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra, but they aren't the only ones who perform there. Its acoustics make listening to any kind of musical performance as much of a treat for the ears as the exterior is for the eyes.

    Why We Think the Walt Disney Concert Hall is Iconic

    The rapidity with which this unusual structure started showing up is a hint. It's designed by a local architect of world-class fame, situated in a part of downtown Los Angeles that is slated to become the new face of LA. We think it's an icon of the future of the city.

    More About the Walt Disney Concert Hall

    Get a guide to visiting - or attending a concert.

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  • 08 of 08

    Griffith Observatory

    Griffith Observatory
    ••• Griffith Observatory. Tom Benson/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Where Have You Seen the Griffith Observatory Before?

    Perhaps its most famous star turn was in the final shootout scene of the classic film Rebel Without a Cause, but that's far from the only one. It's also been seen in Jurassic Park, Queen of the Damned, The Terminator, Melrose Place and Star Trek: Voyager.

    What Is the Griffith Observatory?

    A lot of cities have them. It's a planetarium, with space-oriented displays and a star show.

    Why We Think the Griffith Observatory is Iconic

    Sitting above downtown Los Angeles, the observatory offers some iconic views, but it's also an icon of the area's technological side: Cal Tech is nearby and so are USC and UCLA - and just outside the city on Mount Wilson, astronomer Edwin Hubble (whose name yo may have heard) made some of the greatest early discoveries in astronomy.

    More About the Griffith Observatory

    Get a guide to the visiting the observatory.