bunker hill, downtown los angeles, financial district

West Coast’s Tallest Observation Deck Coming to Library Tower in Downtown LA

Library Tower (aka US Bank Tower): The tallest skyscraper on the west coast to get an observation deck by 2015

Library Tower (aka US Bank Tower): The tallest skyscraper on the west coast to get an observation deck by 2015

Back in February, there were rumors flying around that the Library Tower (aka US Bank Tower) could go part residential and hotel in addition to office. And although the LA Times confirmed today that won’t happen, exciting rumors also from February of the observation deck and upgraded lobby did stick. By this time next year, Library Tower—the tallest skyscraper west of Chicago at 1,018 feet tall—could become one of LA’s most sought after tourist attractions with a new observation deck and restaurant. In fact, the owners of the skyscraper hope to attract 500,000 visitors a year, which could become a nice economic boost to the local businesses and restaurants nearby in the Financial District and Bunker Hill. For me, I think it’s about time Library Tower got an observation deck (25 years later).

The observation deck at the Library Tower will become the tallest on the west coast. Even when “downtown’s new tallest skyscraper,” the Wilshire Grand Tower is completed in 2017, the highest floor you would be able to stand on would be the rooftop pool area, which is still less than 900 feet tall since it’s the crown and spire feature that bring the total height to 1,100 feet tall.

In addition, Library Tower is slated to receive about $50 million in upgrades including the lobby facing 5th Street, which will also get a curb cutout to make it more convenient for cars to unload passengers. Still ambiguous is a “modernization” of the US Bank sign that is apparently in the works as part of the upgrades to the tower.

So the price for admission? $25

For comparison, let’s look at prices for some other famous observation decks:

Willis/Sears Tower, Chicago: $19 (fast pass is $40)

Empire State Building, New York: $29 (to 86th floor), $46 (to 102nd floor)

Top of the Rock, New York: $29

Taipei 101, Taiwan: $17 USD (fast pass $33 USD)

Library Tower helped save the LA Central Library from arson back in the 1980s

Library Tower helped save the LA Central Library from arson back in the 1986

20 Comments

  1. Icebrg says

    Hopefully modernization includes not only the signage, but upgrading facade lighting to LED giving brighter, more even light across the face of the tower as well as color changing LED at the crown allowing for spontaneous multi-color displays similar to towers in NYC, Dallas, throughout Asia and not to mention right here in LA, the new Marriott tower at L.A. LIVE.

    • Mike says

      Get off the LED train. There is enough light pollution in LA.

  2. Manny says

    I’m a big booster of downtown but I think it’s nuts to ask $25.00, in spite of the fact that other cities charge even more. Party of ( 4 ) $100 smackers ? I don’t think so. It’s free at City Hall.

    • wildstar says

      The views from here compared to city hall are much much much better. Also, city hall has not so great hours and no other amenities.

  3. Jeremy says

    There will always be people who will pay … You omitted The Shard here in London. That costs around $50!

  4. Lawrence says

    @David – I didn’t realize the Columbia Center had an observation deck! I’ve been to Seattle multiple times and never saw any marketing for it. Good to know. It does sound like the Library Tower deck will rival it as far as height. Overall I think this is good for downtown and adds another attraction that visitors can consider.

  5. Lawrence says

    @Manny – $25.00, while not cheap, is in line with many other observation decks and people will pay for it, especially if it’s well marketed and added to the list of Downtown attractions. City Hall may be free, but relatively few locals, much less visitors know it exists. The City Hall deck receives virtually no promotion or marketing and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

  6. John G. says

    Will the upgrades here include a gift shop like all the other towers (ESB, TOR, etc.). Just asking… :-)

  7. Alford says

    I must be older than I realize (or I’m not recalling things correctly) because when I was in New York City several years ago (and well before 9-11), I swear a trip to the upper deck of the Empire State Building was free and open to the public.

    $25 to just visit the top level of the Library (or US Bank) Tower seems a bit pricey to me, if only because the tallest building in Chicago charges less. But I’ll be as impressed as anyone else if market demand in downtown LA does support such a charge. Nonetheless, I at least don’t believe it will permit the building to attract as many as 500,000 paying guests per year, unless the entrance fee is deducted from the bill of the nearby restaurant.

    • LA for Life says

      Sorry to say Alfred but you are older in this case. Observation decks in New York are far from free. A quick online search will show you that the Empire State Building, the new One World Trade tower, and the 30 Rock deck all boast prices over and well over $30.

      This has the potential to become a keystone attraction when visiting Los Angeles, and while high, the price is not so high that it will deter tourists looking to enjoy the marquee experiences that this city offers.

  8. Big Matt says

    1. Glad it will stay an office building
    2. Love the idea of the observation deck. Will bring more tourist downtown
    which will be good for retail and restaurants in the area.
    3. Price is comparable with other cities and will prevent many people
    who would like to go from going. Maybe they will offer discounts to local
    residences and children and students.
    4. I’ve been to the 70th floor (not the top floor but close) and the view was
    spectacular. I was literally above a cloud layer and it was surreal.

  9. Pingback: West Coast’s Tallest Tower Finally Getting Sky-High View Deck | Coastcontact

  10. John G. says

    Alford, you need a reboot. I was in NYC last year and went to the observation decks of both the Empire State Bldg and Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center). The decks were jammed packed. Yes, NYC has more weighted density in Manhattan Island – but the same connecting links there will play itself here. Tourists and locals will come from all over the place and will no doubt pay to see the skyline views. It will be a non-ending stream of turnstile traffic year after year.

    The owners of this place now that and making their investments on this…

    Here’s an interesting article you may want to read…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/25/nyregion/empire-state-building-observation-decks-generate-startling-profits.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

  11. I’ve been to the top of the Columbia Center Tower in dt Seattle at least 20 times and its only $5. The views are absolutely amazing. There is also a Starbucks on the 45th fl with awesome views too. $25 is simply too much. Way too much.

    • P….i’m pretty sure we had this conversation on Curbed haha, but the price at Columbia increased from 5 to a whopping 12.50 for adults after they renovated the whole thing and expanded the view to 360 degrees. That Starbucks on the 45th is my fav in the world. Only costs a grande drip for the view too

  12. Mark says

    While the observation decks have some entertainment value to attract tourists, I’ve long felt (ever since living in Chicago some years ago) that instead of going to the (then) Sears Tower and spending money (with few or no places to sit), I’d rather go to the bar at the top of the John Hancock Tower. Perhaps more money, but one can sit, chat with companions, enjoy a drink, and the views are striking in their own right.

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