More than just bums, drug dealers and a bus station that'll give you
cold sweats, downtown Los Angeles is an archipelago of historic and
colorful neighborhoods. The heart of old LA is Olvera Street. Both
touristy and quaint it boasts LA's oldest residence, the Avila Adobe,
built in 1818 by a Spanish rancher. Today the house is the centerpiece
of the Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, with historic buildings
from the 19th and early 20th century. Across Alameda Street is Union
Station, built in 1939, and designed in classic Spanish Revival style
John and Donald Parkinson, the same father-and-son team, who created
City Hall, which is plays the part of the Daily Planet headquarters in
the "Adventures of Superman" TV show from the 1950s. Just one block
north of the station is Philippe's, 1001 North Alameda, the
where the French dip sandwich was invented in 1918.
The building of Union Station led to the destruction of LA's original
Chinatown, which was relocated just north of the Pueblo historic
district. In Chinatown you can eat Chinese strawberry whipped cream
cakes at Phoenix Bakery, 969 N. Broadway, or get energized at the Wing
Hop Fung Ginseng and China Products Center, 727 N. Broadway.
Also downtown you can see the Morrison Hotel, 1246 South Hope St., made
famous by Jim Morrison and the Doors when they used the building for
cover shot of the 1970 album of the same name as the building.
summer 2007, the Angels Flight Railway, a funicular that climbs Bunker
Hill, will re-open after being closed for six years due to a fatal
Further south is the the downtown arts district centered around
Groundwork Coffee Company, 811 Traction Avenue, and Bloom's General
716 Traction Ave., an old-style general store with nearly everything
including milk, tools, cigars and video rental. One of the country's
largest arts communities lives just north of downtown in the Brewery,
2020 N. Main St., a 23-acre complex with a restaurant, Barbara's
in the center.
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