Books Alone are Liberal and Free: LA’s Central Library

This weekend we made our way to one of the most obscenely valuable places in LA.  This structure boasts high painted ceilings, enormous chandeliers, extraordinary collections ranging from antiquated maps to appetizing menus, and–oh yeah—books! Yup! You guessed it!  I’m talking about the Central Library located right in front of the US Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles.   Now, I know that libraries aren’t normally considered a tourist attraction, but I’m not a normal tourist (ahem–considering I only live about 30 miles from LA), and the Central Library really is pretty awesome…really!!

For starters, the architecture alone is striking; its Egyptian/Mediterranean appearance contrasts with the modern skyscrapers surrounding it.


Once inside you can mosey about and check out the murals and sculptures scattered all over the place.  As you take the escalators up and down the eight-level atrium, try not to get too distracted by the playfully colorful chandeliers that weigh in at 2,000 pounds each.


If looking at immobile sculptures and riding up and down escalators doesn’t sound too engrossing, then you gotta check out their galleries.  Their current exhibit is called, “A Nation Emerges: The Mexican Revolution Revealed.”


It’s pretty cool to see rather uncommon pics of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata.  (I’d never noticed how terribly exhausted they look in some photographs!)   Also check out the Annenberg Gallery, which has samples of the various special collections the library owns.  They have a map collection, a movie posters collection, a travel posters collection, a fashion plate collection, and—my favorite—a citrus label collection!  If you’re not riveted with excitement to visit the library, then I don’t know what else to tell ya!  I guess you can always take a tour, have a meal, enjoy the Maguire Gardens—oh, and with over 6 million choices to choose from–you can even read a book! How ’bout that?!

This 540,000 square foot building is definitely worth spending an afternoon in. But if you don’t feel like making the trip only to hang out at the library, you can always find things to do along the way—kind of like my pal Muzkit and I did. Not only did we visit the library, but we took the Metrolink to Union Station, we transferred over to the Red Line, got off at Civic Center, we headed to Grand Central Market, chugged some bobas, went up Angel’s Flight, walked through California Plaza,


paused for a quick filming of a Kia Sorento commercial,  (It seems that they’re always  filming in downtown!),  we arrived at the library, took a self-guided tour, looked for a book, didn’t find said book, headed to Olvera Street, ate some not-so-good taquitos (but we were starving, so they are probably horrid under normal conditions), headed back to Union Station, boarded the train, went home.  Needless to say, it was a perfect afternoon.  And once I got home, I read a book by my favorite doctor, Seuss.

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8 thoughts on “Books Alone are Liberal and Free: LA’s Central Library

  1. Thank you for liking my blog, Coffee with God. I was born in LA ,but not raised there. We would go visit family in the summer. I really want to take my kids there and see the sights. One of my favorites is Alavera Street? Have you written about that yet? I’ll have to use your blog for our vacation! Great idea!

    • Thank you for visiting my blog! Yes, I actually have a post on that location right here. It’s definitely a perfect place to take the kids! I’ll try posting more kid-friendly places as I explore more LA locations :)

  2. Nice. I particularly like the two interiors (photos 3 & 4). I rarely get into LA because I don’t like the traffic and crowding, so it is good to see parts of it through your lens.

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