LA Observation Deck in City Hall: Los Angeles Best Free View

If you are looking for an amazing view of LA or a free stop in the city then you really should check out the Observation Deck at the top of LA City Hall. This deck provides a 360 degree view of the city and helps you to get above it to give you a new appreciation. The hours are a little difficult for weekend warriors but if you can get down then when its open you are in for a treat. Here is all the info.

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Details

  • Free, have to pay for parking though
  • Open Mon – Fri: 8-5, closed on the weekends.
  • Must check in and get a visitors badge
  • The visitors entrance is on 201 N Main St Los Angeles, CA 90012

Parking

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One of the most difficult things about visiting this spot is finding a place to park. There is no public parking at the city hall itself, but I was able to find a decent priced garage about a quarter-mile down the road from it. It was not a bad walk and gave me a chance to the famous sign that shows all of LA’s sister cities.

Visiting the Tower

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After entering at the visitors entrance from the address above you will have to walk through a metal detector then can check in with the security guard and get a visitors pass. 

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They will also give you directions to the observation deck, which are not as easy then you would anticipate. You actually need to take two elevators and a set of stairs to get to the top. 

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After the second elevator you will be on the 26th floor which is the floor with all of the paintings of mayors. My favorite was Mayor Thomas Foster from 1855 which you can see below. Awesome beard right?

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They also have bathrooms on this floor if you need it. When ready you will just walk up to the double staircase to the 27th floor which is where the observation deck is.

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The stairs drop you into a massive room that looked like it was for press meetings as it had a podium and the flag behind it.

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We headed out onto the deck and from here you can walk completely around it to see the city from all angles. 

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Here are a few of my favorite shots. I really liked seeing Griffith, the Hollywood sign and the Disney Musical Hall from this angle. I would have preferred a clearer day but it was not bad. 

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You can spend as much time up here as you would like and I can see myself coming back up here again as it was a lot of fun and a very peaceful view. It was crazy that so many of the buildings had helicopter pads on top of them as well. Also there are plaques that show what are the buildings are on each side which was cool.

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3rd Floor

After visiting the deck I would recommend heading to the 3rd floor where they have a few different pieces from other countries that have been given or donated.

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I also loved the Rotunda which was right near the items and reminded me of the one in the LA Library. It was a beautiful homage to historic LA. The entire building had a style that you do not see much anymore and just walking its halls was really cool.

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All in all this was a fun place to explore in LA. I love that it is free and that it provides you with such a great vista. I wish it was open at night as I imagine the city would be pretty beautiful at night but alas at least I was finally able to see it during the day. Let me know if you have been in the comments. 

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Thanks for checking out the blog, I am happy to be sharing my adventures with you! You can get to know me by reading my about me, which includes a video and additional information on the site, myself and my full disclosure. Also, follow along on Twitter here or read all of my posts on this blog here.

  • Steven Wojtak

    I was born in LA and worked over 30 years downtown and have never even been inside City Hall. Your blog gives me incentive to go. Thank you!

    • No problem, thanks for the comment! It is for sure worth a stop, it’s a great view of the city.

  • Mark van der Kruit

    Did you have any trouble with camera equipment? I would like to film there with tripod and most of these decks don’t let professionals go up there.

    • I just had my DSLR and no tripod or anything an they didn’t say anything to me about it.

  • AJMintheOC

    Your blog was extremely helpful in planning our visit to the L.A. City Hall today! We weren’t able to find the Sister City room. However, we did find a place to have a coffee and a snack on the 2nd floor run by Homeboys Bakery. It’s a small store with a few tables and chairs in the hallway. It’s still another floor with public restrooms. I should also mention that City Hall is just a 5-10 min. walk from Union Station. We took Amtrak into L.A. from Orange County. I understand that there is a DASH bus from Union Station to City Hall, but I’m unsure if it is free or costs since we preferred to walk. Also, on a Thursday morning we practically had the observation deck to ourselves since we only had to share it with it six other people! Great views! Great photos, especially if it is clear like today was.

    • Thanks for the comment and glad you had a good time!