Until 1966 no LA building stood taller than the 1928 City Hall, which appeared in the Superman TV series and 1953 sci-fi thriller War of the Worlds. On clear days you’ll have views of the city, the mountains and several decades of Downtown growth from the observation deck. On the way up, stop off on level three to eye up City Hall's original main entrance, which features a breathtaking, Byzantine-inspired rotunda graced with marble flooring and a mosaic dome.
The north and south wings shooting off the rotunda lead to the Edward R Roybal Session Room and the John Ferraro Council Chambers respectively. Both are worth a peek for their elegant interiors. The Edward R Roybal Session Room is usually open between 10am and around noon on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while the John Ferraro Council Chambers is usually open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday during the same hours. Close to the John Ferraro Council Chambers is the Clerk Office (open 8am to 4pm weekdays), home to a fascinating old map documenting Los Angeles' gradual annexation of surrounding cities and settlements.
One floor up, level four offers impressive views of the rotunda's geometric floor and dome mosaics. It's also home to a series of historic photographs of Los Angeles. Among these are snapshots of the original City Hall and Pershing Sq in Downtown, as well as the first Walt Disney Studios on Hyperion Ave in Silver Lake.
The current City Hall was designed by the lauded architects John Parkinson, Albert C Martin and John C Austin, whose inspiration for the building's iconic terracotta tower was the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the world's seven ancient wonders.
The public entrance is on Main St.