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Downtown Los Angeles

Downtown LA is the city center of Los Angeles, and is the main business district. The city’s many freeways and metro lines meet here, making the area accessible (though parking is difficult and expensive). Ethnic neighborhoods include Little Tokyo and Chinatown, which houses the Chinese American Museum.

The Old Plaza Firehouse is a tribute to firefighting history, and contains artifacts related to firefighting, including historic maps of the city. A more unique offering for museum enthusiasts, the Museum of Neon Art showcases contemporary and vintage neon signs.

Philippe’s Original restaurant is reputed to be the longest continually running restaurant in LA and the home of the famous French dip sandwich, though Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet also claims to have invented the sandwich. Regardless of who really invented the sandwich, both restaurants offer tasty French dip sandwiches. The open-air Grand Central Market has a turn-of-the-century, multi-ethnic feel and sells produce, spices, and ethnic food in the historic Homer Laughlin building.

South Park is an entertainment district, attracting visitors to Lakers games at the Staples Center, concerts at Club Nokia and the Nokia Theater, and the Grammy Museum. Bunker Hill is noted for its concentration of skyscrapers, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and great views of the Los Angeles Basin. Visitors can tour the Historic Core’s residential areas, which consist of historic commercial buildings that now house apartments as well as businesses. The Historic Core also features Gallery Row’s 50 art galleries and Art Walk. Union Station, a bustling transportation hub, services bus, train, and subway lines to millions of Angelenos, and is an architectural beauty: built in 1939, when train travel was vital to any big city, the grand building mixes Art Deco, Moorish, and Spanish Mission styles. Nearby Olvera Street encompasses El Pueblo de Los Angeles, the historic center of the city, as well as Mexican restaurants, shops, and museums.

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