downtown los angeles

It’s Christmas Time in The City (Yes, in Los Angeles!)

Bottega Louie at 7th and Grand Ave

“Silver bells, silver bells, it’s Christmas time in The City…” is a song we all know well (like this rendition from Johnny Mathis), but where do people usually associate with “Christmas time in The City?” New York comes to mind and maybe Chicago or even San Francisco, but never Los Angeles, right? For as long as anyone can remember, The City (aka urban center aka Downtown LA) in Los Angeles surrendered to suburbia and its satellite cities and their standardized malls and shopping centers.

However, signs (or shall I say Christmas lights) are pointing to a different direction for Downtown LA as with each passing year, new residents and businesses are continually redefining LA’s urban heart into an ever more beautiful and sophisticated city center, as it should be. In short, Downtown LA was a sleeping giant and is now reawakening after a 70-year slumber.

Enjoy these festive pictures of holiday decorations I took over the past few days of an ever-evolving and maturing Downtown Los Angeles.

Library Tower (crown lit up in red and green) at 5th and Grand Ave

California Plaza on Bunker Hill

California Plaza Water Court on Bunker Hill

California Plaza Water Court on Bunker Hill

Mellon Bank Center at 4th and Grand Ave

The Pacific Center at 6th and Grand Ave

The Pacific Center at 6th and Grand Ave

Caravan Book Store at 6th and Grand Ave

Famima at 6th and Grand Ave

Pershing Square at 6th and Olive St

Milano Lofts at 6th and Grand Ave

Hilton Checkers Hotel at 5th and Grand Ave

City National Plaza at 6th and Flower St

City National Plaza at 5th and Flower St

Public School 612 (Daily Grill) at 6th and Flower St

Bottega Louie at 7th and Grand Ave

The Jonathan Club at 6th and Figueroa St

LA Live at Olympic Blvd and Figueroa St

LA Live at Olympic Blvd and Figueroa St

LA Live at Olympic Blvd

JW Marriott at Olympic Blvd and Francisco St

The Petroleum Building at Olympic Blvd and Flower St

Former Robinson's department store at 7th Street

Brigade LA Boutique at 7th and Olive St

Last Bookstore in LA at 5th and Spring St

Haas Building at 7th and Broadway

Historic Core at 6th and Spring St

Old Bank District at 4th and Spring St

Old Bank District at 4th and Main St

Old Bank District at 4th and Spring St


  1. I was just in DTLA at the beginning of Dec. and did not see nearly half of the decorations that you mentioned! It’s all so gorgeous!

    Keep up the great work! I LOVE reading your posts about the developments of DTLA (=

  2. One of the only things I really do miss about Downtown are the childhood memories when Broadway was home to The Broadway, May Co., and Bullocks Department stores and the window displays attracted crowds (us kids included) that were pretty cool.


  3. Clarett De3 says

    Your photos reveal the crucial role that a traditional urban center, but one that is healthy and mainstream, plays in a city.

    The claim that Los Angeles, because of its newness, multi-centered layout, lack of old-world traditions and Hollywood connections, was somehow different from other cities and therefore wouldn’t suffer as much with a downtown that had become deteriorated and unfashionable was naive and even rather dumb. An indication of that became more and more apparent during the 1990s, when LA came perilously close to — or actually ended up — looking about as broken down as second- or third-string American cities like Philadelphia, Dallas, Denver or, most frighteningly of all, Detroit or Cleveland.

    Major civic leaders of years gone by, particularly Tom Bradley (God bless him), who was mayor during the years when suburbanization was at its peak, should have avoided sounding like public relations cheerleaders — and always mincing their words — when businesses such as Bullock’s Downtown or Robinson’s on 7th Street first began to show signs (around the 1950s) of a bleak future. People like Mayor Bradley needed to be more vocal about how unappealing and deteriorated the city had become or had always been. They could have shown photos of downtown during the holidays from over 10, 20 or more years ago and shouted “this is a disgrace!”

  4. These are GORGEOUS photos, Brigham! Miss you and Lawrence — we are WAY overdue for my L.A. tour. :) Dinner soon, yes?

  5. I love Los Angeles and it’s nice to see such awesome pictures of our city instead the usual negativity. Keep ’em coming! :)

  6. Huh, I didn’t realize we have TWO outdoor ice skating rinks! (LA Live + Pershing Square). Very festive, love it!

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