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The Coolest Buildings In Los Angeles

getty villa 610 header
(credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

It may be about architecture, how it changes the neighborhood or the lasting cultural impact but these buildings will make you look twice.

Visitors enjoy the garden at the Getty Villa
(credit: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

The Getty Villa
17985 Pacific Coast Hwy
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
(310) 440-7300

Machado and Silvetti Assocites ( transformed Jean Paul Getty's residence into the material-for-material replica of the Villa dei Papiri, a first-century country house in Pompei. Packed full of Greek and Roman antiquities and art from his private collection, it's the gardens that will leave you speechless.

Disney Hall
Disney Hall (credit:

The Walt Disney Concert Hall
111 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(323) 850-2000

Located in Downtown Los Angeles, Frank Gehry designed this 11-acre music center campus including the concert hall, which is often referred to as an acoustic feat. Completed in 2003, the soft curves of the stainless steel façade that end in sharp, unexpected angles multiply across Grand Avenue to create a building that's been called the city's "crown jewel." It amazes revelers who come day and night to see its awe-inspiring looks.

Watts Towers Arts Center (credit:

Watts Towers Art Center
1727 E 107th St
Los Angeles, CA 90002
(213) 847-4646

Working alone after his day job, Italian immigrant Simon Rodia spent 33 years using tile setters tools to build this monumental work of art decorated with seashells, fragments of broken dishes and bottles. The three towers are 55, 97 and 99 feet tall respectively and were assembled without bolts or welding.

The Capitol Records Building (credit:

Capitol Records Building
1750 Vine St
Los Angeles, CA 90028

The 13-story tower, designed by Welton Becket, was the world's first circular office building and the blinking light on top spells out Hollywood in Morse code. Completed in 1956, it looks like something out of a Jetson's cartoon – or a stack of 45s depending on your age.

Union Station (photo credit: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Union Station
800 N Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 683-6729

Opened in 1939 and known as the last of the great railway stations built in the United States, Union Station continues to attract millions per year just to get a glimpse of the past. Designed by father and son team John and Donald B. Parkinson, it's an Art Deco masterpiece that makes you feel as if you're on a movie set. Once you step inside, this trademark building with Dutch Colonial Revival architecture / Mission Revival and Streamline Modern style, will amaze you. From the waiting room to the original ticket lobby, you'll feel like you have stepped back in time.

(credit: Bradbury Building)

Bradbury Building
304 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 626-1893

If you saw the movies 500 Days of Summer or Blade Runner, you saw this building which was draftsmen George Wyman's vision of what a building would look like in 2000 built in 1892. Although it's nothing special from the outside, inside, you won't forget the caged elevators, surrounding wrought-iron grillwork or the polished wood in the center court that reflects the overhead skylight. It is the oldest commercial building remaining in the central part of L.A. and one of the city's most unique treasures. From ornate iron railings to marble stairs and more, this relic commissioned from Lewis Bradbury (a mining and real estate millionaire) lives on today.

Kim Kuhteubl is obsessed with lamps, chandeliers and the "guts" of buildings. For more visit or follow her on Twitter @byKimK.

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