Monday, March 25, 2013

#257: Peace Awareness Labrynth and Gardens

If the X-Men lived in L.A., I'd imagine the Peace Awareness Labrynth and Gardens in Mid-City is where they'd live. The place is an old mansion, complete with a front gate where you're buzzed in, twin lion statues guarding the entrance, beautiful gardens and fountains, and... oh yes... that labrynth.  


Searching online for past issues of Los Angeles Magazine, I found a Hidden Labrynths page. Labrynths are already mysterious, so add the word "hidden" to them, and it's doubly awesome. We immediately called up two of our favorite atheists and headed out to the gardens.  

I mention the fact that my companions are not spiritual because it just so happens that this is a pretty spiritual touchy-feely place. Thank goodness the only complaint from the peanut gallery was "oh, I thought it was gonna be one of those labrynths with the high garden walls." Our guide didn't pressure us at all to change our beliefs, and although they do ask for your email address when you sign in, you can easily leave it off. So I guess what I'm getting at is, atheists, don't be afraid! 

The Peace Awareness Labrynth website describes the place as "a day retreat where people can relax in nature without leaving the city of Los Angeles".  Entry is free, and on Sundays they offer free garden tours. They also serve lunch and dinner here, for pretty cheap ($6 or $7 I think? Call for details). 

Our tour started inside, where our guide talked about the history of the mansion. The house was built in 1910 in the Italian Renaissance Revival Style and declared Historic Cultural Landmark No. 478 in 1990. Back in the early 1900's, this was where all the rich people lived; the Italian actor Rudolph Valentino even lived next door.  

you rang?

We then headed outside where our guide gave us some quick directions on how to walk the labrynth. Brad decided to try it while carrying our little girl, but stopped and turned around after about a minute because he was feeling dizzy and was afraid of dropping our baby. Who knew labrynths could be so perilous?

By the way, I found it amusing that there's a basketball hoop right next to the labrynth. After you walk your way to inner peace, you can enjoy a game of one on one!

We really enjoyed our time at the gardens, and I'd love to return and check out their lunch or dinner.

Have you been to the Peace Awareness Gardens and Labrynth? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below! 

Peace Awareness Labrynth and Garden

Sunday, March 3, 2013

#256: L.A. City Hall Observation Deck

Downtown's City Hall is not just a place to sue someone. The Observation Deck on the 27th floor is the perfect place to take in a 360 degree view of the city and some cool architecture too. Best part: it's free!

I brought my family here on their recent trip out to LA. After having lunch in Little Tokyo, we drove over to City Hall looking for parking. Note to Self: Next time just park in Little Tokyo and walk over because street parking around City Hall is hard to find! 

The ceiling

On the observation deck

When you first enter the building (the entrance on Main Street is the only one open to the public), there's an X Ray machine that you have to put your bags through. Then you sign in (one person in your group shows their ID) and get visitor stickers. The guard gives you directions to take two sets of elevators to the 27th floor. Along the way, you get to walk around and admire the building's architecture and art. 

The view from the top on a clear day is outstanding. See if you can spot familiar Downtown landmarks in these pictures:

I spy the Disney Concert Hall!

I spy Union Station!

The brand new Grand Park is right across the street from City Hall

A bell on the observation deck

The Observation Deck is open on weekdays during regular business hours. 

Have you been to City Hall's Observation Deck? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

Los Angeles City Hall