What You Can See in the Heart of LA

We are opening seven miles of streets on Sunday, October 9, 2022. Find art, architecture, city landmarks, and a lot of food across the CicLAvia—Heart of LA route! There will be things to see everywhere, but we’re highlighting a select few that you may not want to miss.

Grand Park Hub

At the center of the map sits the Grand Park Hub, which along with art installations and activities features a lot of LA history.

This year, it's home to the Grand Park 10th Anniversary Celebration, with live performances & live theater, music, dance, art installations, arts and crafts, pop-up shops, yoga classes, and special family and children activities all day long. Events are happening on Saturday before our event, too, so make sure you stop by.

Another big sight is Los Angeles City Hall, the 92-year old center of LA government. Did you know? The concrete in its tower was made with sand from each of California's 58 counties and water from its 21 historical missions.

The Grand Park Hub sits by the art deco Los Angeles Times Building, the United States Courthouse – Los Angeles (designed to look like a floating cube), the Caltrans District 7 Headquarters (recognizable from movies and TV), and the LAPD Headquarters (which has a small park and several pieces of art in its accessible courtyard).

Outside the LAPD, you can see sixbeaststwomonkeys,” a sculpture installation by Peter Shelton that runs down Spring Street from 1st Street. Across from the LAPD building you can get a photo under the Sister Cities of Los Angeles street sign, pointing the way to Jakarta, Athens, San Salvador, Lusaka, Giza and others.

The Olympics Mural at Broadway and 2nd has special significance for CicLAvia: it was during a 2017 ride that board member Valerie Brisco-Hooks gestured towards the famous depiction and confided, “that’s me.” At the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Valerie became the first person to ever win Olympic gold medals in the 200- and 400-meter races, and the 4 x 400 relay, and the first woman to run the 400 meters in under 50 seconds. Now she’s immortalized in a towering mural.

One of the first movie palaces built in the US, the Million Dollar Theater (which is no longer open) is now 101 years old and still a captivating sight in the Broadway Theater District. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places - and always delivers a great Instagram shot.

Along Broadway and to Echo Park

Grand Central Market is a multicultural smorgasbord of food stops and cafes (37 and counting) that backs into the Angel’s Flight Railway via its opposite Hill Street exit. Be sure to note the gold silhouette banners in front, a tribute to the late LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold (the first food critic to win a Pulitzer Prize) who passed away in 2018.

Across the street from Grand Central Market is the Biddy Mason Memorial Park. It’s easy to miss, wedged between Macceroni Republic and a parking garage, but it’s absolutely worth stepping into this monument full of artwork, inscriptions, and embedded objects that tell the remarkable story of a former slave whose generosity helped shape early Los Angeles.

Broadway is lined with public art and architecture, from the Los Angeles Theater down to Clifton’s Cafeteria. When you stop by Clifton’s for the turn at 7th & Broadway, take a look at the intricate Sidewalk Terrazzo (designed by artist Arthur Pizzinat) depicting missions, orange groves, City Hall, Griffith Observatory, and other Los Angeles icons.

At our Echo Park Hub is Echo Park Lake, which recently underwent a $45 million renovation. It boasts fantastic views of downtown Los Angeles as well as a surprising amount of local wildlife. It's also a frequent filming location, and appears in a number of TV shows and movies.

This is an area with a lot of open space, as Vista Hermosa Natural Park sits not far off the route. The park features walking trails, streams, meadows, oak savannahs, picnic grounds, a nature-themed playground, a true FIFA-regulation soccer field, and an outdoor amphitheater in a grotto – which provides an ideal setting for environmental and natural history education, and other public events.

You can't miss the Walt Disney Concert Hall, home to the Los Angeles Philhamonic, and The Broad, the contemporary art museum that sits next to the Concert Hall. The WDCH was designed by Frank Gehry, who also designed The Grand, a collection of stores, restaurants, and apartments under construction across the street. The Broad, designed by architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, was constructed to contrast the reflective curves of the WDCH.

Down the street is MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art, which hosts numerous student-focused art programs and classes.

Heading to Chinatown

As you pass Cesar Chavez Avenue you’ll cross under ornamented gate arches to officially enter Chinatown. You’ll find abundant Chinese and Taiwanese restaurants inside the Far East Plaza - a favorite dining spot of Jonathan Gold.

A number of businesses and organizations integrate Chinese history into their architecture, including the Southern California Teo Chew Association, a cultural center used by students at UCLA.

For those who come by rail, the colorful Chinatown Metro Station will certainly get the attention of any first-time visitor. The design is stunning, and it features several pieces of art in and around the station (such as the feng shui spiral artwork Wheels of Change).

Another block off-route is the Los Angeles State Historic Park, a 34-acre open space filled with orange trees, public art, and a mile-long run/walk trail.

Old Chinatown Central Plaza is a unique pedestrian mall that’s home to merchants and curio shops you won’t find anywhere else (without a passport, that is). In the center is a 5’ statue to Sun Yat Sen, founder of the Chinese Republic.

Heading to the 6th Street Hub and to Mariachi Plaza

This is always a very Instagrammable part of our Heart of LA route: the Arts District of Los Angeles is visited by tourists from all over the world looking to capture selfies with angel wings and other street art, and is home to new businesses, restaurants, breweries and working spaces.

And we will visit (and cross over) the new 6th Street Bridge. Getting attention for both its novelty and its use, many Angelenos have expressed a desire to close this bridge to cars more often, so that pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, and others can enjoy it. When you travel the bridge, you may ask yourself if this change should be permanent!

The Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo covers 130 years of Japanese American history. In front sits Oomo Cube,” a Rubik's Cube sculpture with photographic panels and internal lighting; artist Nicole Maloney used the OOMO shorthand for “Out of Many, One.”

Nearby are the Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Memorial, as well as a memorial to the Challenger and the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

Public art and murals line 4th street, from a mix of street artists from across Los Angeles and some from around the world. Also swing through the relatively un-traveled-by-car side streets of Seaton, Colyton, and S Hewitt (between 4th and Palmetto) for much more street art. And CicLAvia's offices are there, too, at the the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator!

Mariachi Plaza is the epicenter of mariachi music in the US, and since the 1930s it has been used by musicians (bands and solo acts) as a place to find a new gig. The kiosk in the center was donated by the Mexican state of Jalisco.

Across the street, the Victorian-era “Queen Anne” style Boyle Hotel is a cultural landmark that has transformed into an affordable housing building. It was built the same year the Los Angeles streetcar went into service; now it sits across the Mariachi Plaza Metro station.

With so many new sights and old favorites, we can't wait to share our CicLAvia—Heart of LA route with you. Make time to see these gems and do your own exploring on October 9!