LA’s first public park in 1866, Pershing Sq is now a postmodern concrete patch enlivened by public art, summer concerts and a holiday-season ice rink. Criticism of its heavily built-up appearance led to a 2015 competition seeking proposals for its future redevelopment. The winner was French landscape architecture firm Agence Ter, whose design envisioned a flatter, greener, more open space. Flanking the western side of the square is the hulking 1923 Millennium Biltmore Hotel.
LA’s most illustrious defender of the grand-hotel tradition, the Millennium Biltmore has hosted presidents, kings and celebrities, the 1960 Democratic National Convention, plus eight Academy Awards ceremonies. Its sumptuous interior features carved and gilded ceilings, marble floors, grand staircases and palatial ballrooms decorated by White House muralist Giovanni Smeraldi.