Top Architectural Sights to See in Los Angeles

Outstanding Buildings and Famous Architecture

Los Angeles is strong on style and design. And that includes great architecture. From the early Twentieth Century through today, the world's most famous and influential architects have created amazing buildings, homes and structures in LA and Southern California. These are just a few of the most beautiful - and unusual places you can see on your personal architecture tour.

Many of these Los Angeles architectural sights were selected as finalists in the America's Favorite Architecture contest run by the American Institute of Architects. 

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Downtown Los Angeles: Disney Concert Hall

Disney concert hall

 TripSavvy / Christian Hundley

111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA
Phone +1 323-850-2000

111 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA

Funded by the Disney family to honor Walt Disney and designed by architect Frank Gehry, it's one of the most dramatic sights in downtown Los Angeles. Sinuous shapes in shiny metal lend themselves to interpretations ranging from blooming flower to a sailing ship, but ultimately, it's up to the viewer.

See It: Go for a performance, take a complimentary audio or a guided tour, offered most days, unless there's a matinee performance

02 of 14

Downtown Los Angeles: Broad Museum

Broad Museum, Los Angeles
Bruno Ehrs / Getty Images
221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA
Phone +1 213-232-6250

221 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA

The Broad is a contemporary art museum in Downtown Los Angeles, named for philanthropist Eli Broad. It houses the Broad art collections.

The building was designed by architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro. It sits just across the street from the Disney Hall and designed to both contrast with the Disney Hall's perforated metal exterior and respect its presence.

See It: You can walk by anytime, but getting in is harder. Admission is free, but you need a timed ticket, and they get booked to capacity weeks ahead of time.

03 of 14

Downtown Los Angeles: Union Station

Union station hall ,Downtown Los Angeles
Museimage / Getty Images
800 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA

800 N. Alameda
Los Angeles, CA

Partly designed by John and Donald B. Parkinson, it was the last great railway station to be built and not the grandest, but it's been in so many films that we all recognize it when we see it.

See It: Open any time. Los Angeles Conservancy offers guided tours once a month.

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Downtown Los Angeles: Central Library

Mural on the ceiling of the central library

 TripSavvy / Christian Hundley

Central Library, 630 W 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071-2002, USA

630 W. 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA

Architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue designed it to in the style of ancient Egypt. In the early 1990s, it was expanded in what renovation architect Norman Pfeiffer called "Modernist/Beaux Arts style."

See It: The library is open daily. Docent-led tours are given daily.

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Pasadena: Gamble House

Gamble House, Pasadena
Barry Winiker / Getty Images
4 Westmoreland Pl, Pasadena, CA 91103-3593, USA
Phone +1 626-793-3334

An excellent example of American Arts and Crafts style architecture, Gamble House was designed in 1908 by Charles and Henry Greene for David and Mary Gamble (Procter and Gamble).

See It: Tours are given Thursday-Sunday

The Gamble House is just one among several houses in LA that are also museums you can visit. You can find more of them in the Los Angeles House Museum Guide.

06 of 14

Hollywood: Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California

TripSavvy / Christian Hundley

2301 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068, USA
Phone +1 323-850-2000

2301 North Highland Avenue
Hollywood, CA

Initially a temporary structure designed by Lloyd Wright, the nested quarter-spheres form a fitting backdrop for the caliber of artists who perform on its stage.

See It: The best way is to attend a concert.

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Hollywood: Hollyhock House

Hollyhock House in Los Angeles, CA

TripSavvy / Christian Hundley

4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027-5302, USA
Phone +1 323-913-4030

4800 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

One of Frank Lloyd Wright's most important designs, it's built of textile blocks in the style of a Mayan temple.

See It: You can take a public tour. Some of them are self-guided

08 of 14

Hollywood: Stahl House (Case Study House #22)

Case Study House #22, The Stahl House
Matt Kirschner/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

1635 Woods Drive
Los Angeles, CA

Designed by Pierre Koenig, it's often called Case Study House #22. Its minimalist style and linear design elements connect with the grid of Los Angeles streets which can be seen from the windows.

See It: It's a private residence and not easy to see from the street, but they offer small group tours through their website.

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Hollywood: John Sowden House

John Sowden House, Hollywood
Kent Kanouse/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0
5121 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA

Located at 5121 Franklin, this imposing, Mayan-inspired facade is a 1926 creation of Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright) and is considered by some to be the pinnacle of his residential work. The shape of the window has earned it the nickname of "Jaws House."

If it looks a bit familiar, the house was used as the home of Howard Hughes in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator. It is also the former home of Black Dahlia murder suspect Dr. George Hodel.

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West Hollywood: The Chemosphere

Chemosphere House
Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

 Built in 1960 at 7776 Torreyson Drive in West Hollywood (in the hills overlooking Studio City and just off Mulholland Drive), The Chemosphere was designed by architect John Lautner. The Chemosphere House designed by the architect John Lautner for Nouard Gootgeld.

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Venice Beach House by Frank Gehry

Venice Beach House by Frank Gehry

Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis/VCG / Getty Images

15 30th Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90291, USA
Phone +1 310-823-1966
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Santa Monica: Frank Gehry Residence

Frank Gehry House, Santa Monica
IK's World Trip/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
Gehry Residence, 1002 22nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90403-4518, USA
Continue to 13 of 14 below.
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West Los Angeles: Getty Center

Exterior of the getty center

 TripSavvy / Christian Hundley

1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049, USA
Phone +1 310-440-7300

1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA

Designed by architect Richard Meier, this complex occupies an entire hilltop just off fabled Sunset Blvd. We think it's one of the greatest outdoor spaces in Southern California, with the architecture eclipsing the collection it houses.

See It: Special architecture tours given by well-informed docents.

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Orange County: Christ Cathedral

Christ Cathedral, Diocese of Orange county, Garden Grove, California, USA
Douglas Sacha / Getty Images
13280 Chapman Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92840, USA
Phone +1 714-971-2141

12141 Lewis Street
Garden Grove, CA

Designed by architect Philip Johnson, some call it "religious reinterpretation of the crystal palace."

See It: Self-guided and docent tours are offered Monday thru Saturday.

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Top Los Angeles Architectural Sights - Famous Buildings