Located on Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A., Walt Disney Concert Hall (WDCH) became an L.A. icon the moment it opened its doors in October 2003. The 2,200-seat venue was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, with acoustics by Yasuhisa Toyota, and is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. The most popular Instagrams are shots of the stunning exterior, especially facing the main entrance at the corner of Grand Avenue and 1st Street. Other great Instagrams include the massive pipe organ inside the auditorium, and the rooftop garden, one of several hidden gems located throughout WDCH.
Built in 1893, the Bradbury Building has appeared in movies, TV episodes and music videos, and is frequently mentioned in literature. The building was featured prominently in the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner, while noir fans will recognize it from films such as Chinatown (1974), D.O.A. (1950), and I, The Jury (1953). Visitors are allowed up to the first landing, but not beyond it. The best Instagrams are captures of the light-filled central atrium, which features intricate wrought ironwork, “bird cage” elevators and Italian marble. For a unique Instagram, take a pic of the Charlie Chaplin statue that’s located near the lobby. The Bradbury Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977, one of only four office buildings in Los Angeles to be so honored.
The Los Angeles Theatre is a 2,000-seat movie palace located in the historic Broadway District of Downtown L.A. Charlie Chaplin helped finance the theatre’s construction so it could open in time for the premiere of his masterpiece, City Lights, on Jan. 30, 1931. The opulent French Baroque lobby - modeled after the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles - offers numerous Instagram opportunities. In 1979, the Los Angeles Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places and designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.
The TCL Chinese Theatre opened as Grauman's Chinese Theatre on May 18, 1927, with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's The King of Kings. The Hollywood landmark has hosted many premieres since then, as well as three Academy Award ceremonies. The TCL Chinese Theatre boasts the single largest IMAX auditorium in the world, and the third largest commercial movie screen in North America. The theatre’s striking exterior - designed to resemble a giant Chinese pagoda - is perfect for Instagrams, such as the huge Chinese dragon on the facade facing Hollywood Boulevard. Many more Instagrams can be found in the famous Forecourt of the Stars, with nearly 200 celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs immortalized in the concrete.
Opened in 1922, the Hollywood Bowl is one of the most famous outdoor venues in the country, home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. For generations, the Bowl has hosted the world’s greatest performers, from The Beatles and The Doors to Luciano Pavarotti and Monty Python. The annual Playboy Jazz Festival is one of Southern California’s most beloved music traditions. As seen from seats throughout the amphitheatre, the famous acoustical shell is the subject of thousands of Instagrams, especially during spectacular fireworks displays. Don’t forget to Instagram the Muse of Music, Dance, Drama sculpture and fountain, located at the Bowl’s Highland Avenue entrance. The monument was designed by George Stanley, the designer of the iconic Oscar statuette.
Originally created in 1923 as an advertisement for a real estate development, the Hollywood Sign has become a world-famous cultural icon. The sign, which read “HOLLYWOODLAND” when it was first erected, is spelled out in 45-foot-tall letters and is 350 feet long. By the 1970s, the sign was in a severely dilapidated state. Fortunately, prominent donors such as Gene Autry, Hugh Hefner, Andy Williams, Warner Bros. Records, and Alice Cooper helped to save and restore the sign. There are numerous views of the Hollywood Sign that offer memorable Instagrams, from the Hollywood & Highland Center to helicopter tours. For a close-up, head to the main hiking trail that’s accessible from the Griffith Observatory parking lot (see below).
The Capitol Records Building is a 13-story tower located just north of the famed intersection of Hollywood and Vine. The landmark was designed by Welton Becket, the architect who also designed the Music Center, Cinerama Dome, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and the department store that now houses the Petersen Automotive Museum. The tower, which resembles a stack of records, was the world’s first circular office building and is the site of the historic Capitol Studios, where Frank Sinatra and many other music legends recorded classic tracks. The 90-foot rooftop spire is topped by a red light that blinks the word “Hollywood” in Morse code. To capture the entire tower, take your Instagrams from Vine Street, south of Hollywood Boulevard.
Located above Los Feliz on the southern slope of Mt. Hollywood, the Griffith Observatory offers some of the best views of Los Angeles, from the Pacific Ocean to Downtown. The Observatory, which opened in 1935, offers fascinating exhibits, the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon, Zeiss Telescope and Gottlieb Transit Corridor. The Griffith Observatory is also one of LA’s most famous movie locations, perhaps best known for Rebel Without a Cause (1955), starring James Dean. The picturesque views offer some of the most popular Instagrams in LA, as well as exterior snaps of the Art Deco landmark. Another memorable Instagram is the bust of James Dean that’s located on the west side of the grounds.
Opened in 1909, the Santa Monica Pier is one of LA’s most popular destinations, a family-friendly coastal landmark that includes Pacific Park, an amusement park with a roller coaster and the world’s first solar-powered Ferris Wheel. Other pier attractions include the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, shops, and restaurants. You can indulge your inner artist day or night, and get creative with Instagrams from south of the pier, at the famous entrance, atop the Ferris Wheel, or inside the historic 1920s carousel that was featured in The Sting (1973). Other Instagrams at the pier include hidden gems such as the Route 66 sign and the nearby Singing Beach Chairs.
The Korean Bell of Friendship is a massive bronze bell located at Angel’s Gate Park in San Pedro. The bell was presented by South Korea to the people of Los Angeles in 1976 to celebrate the U.S. Bicentennial and to symbolize friendship between the two nations. The intricately-decorated bell weighs 17 tons, and is 12 feet high with a diameter of 7.5 feet. Four pairs of figures - a “Goddess of Liberty” and a Korean spirit - are engraved in relief on the bell. The bell is housed in a stone pavilion with twelve columns, each one representing an animal of the Korean zodiac. The pavilion, formally known as the “Belfry of Friendship,” is featured in two key scenes from The Usual Suspects (1995). Besides captures of the bell and pavilion, be sure to take scenic Instagrams of the spectacular views of the Los Angeles harbor and the Catalina Channel.