Tuesday, August 2, 2011

#201: Angels Flight Railway

Did you know that the shortest railway in the world is right here in Downtown? Angels Flight Railway is only 298 feet long and connects California Plaza to Grand Central Market. A mere 25 cents will get you a trip up or down this old funicular.

I'd heard a lot about Angels Flight, but there were two things that surprised me once I got there. The first was that the track is pretty steep--it was kind of scary going down! The second was how narrow the cars are. When we went, the cars were practically empty, but if they were full, we would have been staring face to face with the person across from us.

The Angels Flight website provides some detail about the history of the railway:

This funicular dates back to 1901, when Bunker Hill was one of the most fashionable neighborhoods in Los Angeles and the cars, Olivet and Sinai, ferried prominent citizens up and down the steep slope between Hill and Olive streets. The beloved landmark was dismantled for "urban renewal" of the area in 1969. In the early 1990s, the Railway was refurbished and relocated a half-block south, reopening adjacent to California Plaza in 1996.

My friend Marlena and I recently made a day out of Downtown. Here's an outline of where we went--maybe this will inspire a Downtown adventure of your own.

A Downtown Daytime Adventure!
  • Have lunch in California Plaza. We went to Starry Kitchen. (If you've parked in the California Plaza garages, validate your ticket! It's 2 hours for $3 during the day. Don't exceed your 2 hours or it gets pricey.)

  • After lunch, walk up the stairs to the top level of the Plaza. You'll see a red train station. That's Angels Flight!

  • Walk back to Angels Flight. See that stairway that runs along the railway? Walk up those stairs until you see a small park on your left. That's Angels Knoll. Find the semi-famous park bench from the movie 500 Days of Summer. You'll spot it by this plaque on the back:

  • If you still have energy, drive to Little Tokyo and have dessert at one of their cute little bakeries.

Dessert at Yamazaki bakery.

  • Finally, burn off those calories by taking in the art at MOCA (#200) across the street.

Have you been to Angels Flight? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!


  1. Last time I went to downtown, we went from City Hall to Disney Hall to Olvera Street and Union Station. I'm gonna need to see all these next time. We missed Angels flight.

  2. And I need to check out City Hall!

  3. I was ecstatic to hear when Angels Flight re-opened, and $0.25 a ride is such a sweet deal. Though the ride is brief, it's a nice alternative to climbing the steep stairs when lazy :)

    Oh, you'll love City Hall--go during the week and if there is no meeting scheduled for the day, the security guard'll let you take the elevator all the way to the top on the 26th floor :D

  4. The Starry Kitchen owner is quite fabulous!