Pershing Square

Downtown Los Angeles & Boyle Heights

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 redesign proposals. 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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Downtown Los Angeles & Boyle Heights attractions

1. Los Angeles Theatre

0.13 MILES

Designed by celebrated theater designer S Charles Lee, this 1931 jewel was the last major movie palace to be built in Downtown. A breathtaking swansong,…

2. Palace Theatre

0.17 MILES

Dating back to 1911, the Palace is one of the city's oldest theaters. The facade is a curious fusion of early Renaissance Florentine architecture and pure…

3. Jewelry District

0.18 MILES

South of Pershing Sq is one of the country's largest jewelry districts. Centered on Broadway and Hill St (between 6th and 7th Sts), the main currency here…

4. US Bank Tower

0.22 MILES

Although the spire-topped 73-story Wilshire Grand Tower is technically LA's tallest building by architectural height, the 1018ft US Bank Tower remains the…

5. Bunker Hill Steps

0.23 MILES

The US Bank Tower abuts the Bunker Hill Steps, a cheesy set-piece staircase (there's an escalator, too) that links 5th St with the Wells Fargo Center and…

6. State Theatre

0.24 MILES

This beaux-arts creation is Broadway’s biggest entertainment complex, seating close to 2500 people. The theater debuted in 1921 with a vaudeville show and…

7. California Plaza

0.25 MILES

MOCA Grand is dwarfed by the soaring California Plaza office towers. The outdoor water-court amphitheater is host to Grand Performances, which is one of…

8. Robert Reynolds Gallery

0.26 MILES

A breathtaking loft space owned and operated by the artist himself. Reynolds specializes in mixed-media canvasses and sculpture, and uses anything and…