Spotlight Broadway Theater District essential

3 minutes read

Once Broadway Theater District was the center of theaters, movie palaces, and department stores. Memories of this glamorous and shining past live on as you look up (at the buildings). Spot on Broadway essential with a promenade from Bradbury building, Grand Central marketMillion Dollars Theater, Angels Flight and the Last Book store.

A pinch of history

  • Broadway is one of the oldest streets in Los Angeles
  • The Bradbury building is LA’s oldest landmark building
  • The grand central market is the largest and oldest public market in LA
  • The last book store is the largest used and new book store in California (22,000 square feet)

Bradbury Building


Like many visitors and filmmakers, will you appreciate this five-story brick building renowned for its unique architecture? Step inside to glance at the vertical courtyard inspired by the utopian novel “Looking Backward” from Edward Bellamy.


From Maine (Massachusetts) Louis Bradbury came west in the 1850s. He made his fortune with gold mines in Mexico before moving to Los Angeles with his wife Simona Martinez. In 1891, he commissioned Sumner P. Hunt then George H. Wyman to design an office building.

The building opened in 1893, a year after Bradbury died, and cost 500 000 dollars.

Did you know? Among the numerous movies and TV shot there, you’ll probably recognize J. F. Sebastian’s building from Blade Runner (1982), the dental office from Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) and the Kinograph Studio from the Oscar-winning movie The Artist (2011)

Grand Central Market


Take a bit at the Grand Central Market, downtown L.A marketplace. Since 1917, local businesses are offering a large variety of food. Walk down the aisles to discover over 50 food stalls. Hungry? Eat at the counter and enjoy this noisy and vibrant/animated environment.  

Did you know? Originally neon signs were not designating the different stalls. It has been added in the 1990s during the renovation of the area.


Million Dollars Theater


Marvel at the expensive theater designed by Albert C. Martin, Sr for theatre impresario Sid Grauman. Imagine. Lights bright on February 1918 for the inauguration of the price tag theater. The premiere of “The Silent Man” was luxurious and glamorous. The largest movie palace in the US (at the time) welcomed 2,345 moviegoers including Charlie Chaplin. They gaze at the Churrigueresque exterior style (Spanish Rococo) and admire the Spanish baroque design.

After welcoming numerous Hollywood premiere, the twelve-story theater lineup Latino stage performances, and films. Today, it reopens only for special events like film production or performances.

Did you know? Between 1993 and 1998, it was a church!

 Angels Flights


Angels Flights is the World’s smallest railway running for one block only (298 feet)! Opened in 1901, it connects Grand Avenue to Hill Street. More than 100 million passengers, both workers, and tourists were pleased to avoid the 153-step stairway. Restored and modernized, the funicular re-opened in 2017. For $1 per ride, you can enjoy the historic twin cars, Olivet and Sinai and replay lovers kissing like Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling for the movie La La Land.


 The Last Book Store


Get lost in the stacks of a unique book store. Located in an abandoned bank, this store offers a large variety of new, used and vintage books. Hunt treasures display on the old bank vault, walk under the tunnel book and navigate through the labyrinth. The atmosphere and design will please both bibliophiles and Instagrammers.

Article based on my visits from 2018 to 2019

Sounds like an enchanted lighted tour?

*COVID-19 update as of June 2021*

  • Please wear a mask and practice a physical distance of 6 feet between yourself and others
  • Please check L.A County’s health and safety protocols before your walk


  • Location: 400-1000 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013
  • Duration: 2-4 hours
  • Parking: paid lots and metered street parking
  • More information available at

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