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There is a fantastic architecture tour given by the LA Conservancy. In about two hours of walking through a lot of downtown we got a great overview of the growth of Los Angeles and quick looks at many architecturally significant buildings. Very knowledgeable guide. I highly recommend this! Other tours are available as well.

Laconservancy.org
Walking tours.
 
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Bob Dylan

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There is a fantastic architecture tour given by the LA Conservancy. In about two hours of walking through a lot of downtown we got a great overview of the growth of Los Angeles and quick looks at many architecturally significant buildings. Very knowledgeable guide. I highly recommend this! Other tours are available as well.

Laconservancy.org
Walking tours.
We took this tour and it's a good one! Downtown LA has lots of old fascinating buildings, many of which are being re-purposed.
 

trainman74

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Sherman Oaks, CA
- are there any guided tours specifically doing Union Station?
There is a free guided tour once a month: link here. I believe it's the second Sunday of each month -- they still have last year's dates listed.

- I gather the LA City Hall is also an interesting building. Tripadvisor says you can go up onto the roof. but is any other part of the building open to the public? Are there tours? What do you get to see?
Looks like they do free guided tours on weekday mornings, if you email in advance to request a time: link here.

- can you visit the Walt Disney Concert Hall without actually going to a concert?
They have free guided and self-guided tours available almost every day: link here

I can't speak to the cathedral, but for architecture buffs in downtown L.A., I'd also recommend the Central Library, which has a free guided tour every day (except holidays when the library is closed): link here
 

anumberone

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The Roosevelt Hotel across the street from the Grauman Chinese Theater is a interesting place that Is worth a look.
 

Maglev

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Orcas Island, Washington
Twice while on layovers in LA, I have stayed at the Westin Bonaventure. It's about a $15 cab ride to Union Station. I paid extra for an upper floor room with a view--some of the other rooms' views are restricted, and your window might be looking into a glass elevator. The cafe in the lobby on the "lake" is decent. I did not try their lounge on the 34th floor, but it looks beautiful.

View from my room:

IMG_7515.jpeg

Telephoto view:

IMG_7516.jpeg

Lobby:

IMG_7523.jpeg

View from elevator (there are 16 elevators)

IMG_7524.jpeg

Exterior view:

IMG_7521.jpeg

Don't know why this is showing up and can't get rid of it:
 

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