Los Angeles City Hall

Coordinates: 34°03′13″N 118°14′35″W / 34.0536°N 118.2430°W / 34.0536; -118.2430
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Los Angeles City Hall
Los Angeles City Hall
Los Angeles City Hall is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Los Angeles City Hall
Location within the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Los Angeles City Hall is located in California
Los Angeles City Hall
Los Angeles City Hall (California)
Los Angeles City Hall is located in the United States
Los Angeles City Hall
Los Angeles City Hall (the United States)
General information
TypeGovernment offices
Architectural styleArt Deco
Location200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California
Coordinates34°03′13″N 118°14′35″W / 34.0536°N 118.2430°W / 34.0536; -118.2430
Construction started1926; 98 years ago (1926)
Completed1928; 96 years ago (1928)
OwnerCity of Los Angeles
ManagementCity of Los Angeles
Roof138 m (453 ft)
Technical details
Floor count32
Floor area79,510 m2 (855,800 sq ft)
Design and construction
Architect(s)Austin, Parkinson and Martin
Structural engineerNabih Youssef Associates
Main contractorBovis Lend Lease
DesignatedMarch 24, 1976
Reference no.150

Los Angeles City Hall, completed in 1928, is the center of the government of the city of Los Angeles, California, and houses the mayor's office and the meeting chambers and offices of the Los Angeles City Council.[5] It is located in the Civic Center district of downtown Los Angeles in the city block bounded by Main, Temple, First, and Spring streets, which was the heart of the city's central business district during the 1880s and 1890s.

The Observation Deck or Tom Bradley Tower located on the 27th floor is open to the public. Access to City Hall is located off of Main St. The rotunda is located on the 3rd floor accessible by all elevators. To access the Tom Bradley Tower requires the “Express Car Only” for floors 1, 3, and 10 through 22 elevators. Once on the 22nd floor transition to the Gold 22 thru 26 elevator bank. Finally once on the 26th floor, access to the 27th can be reached by stairs or one more elevator. Public restrooms are located on the 3rd and 26th floor.


1931 photograph of then new City Hall with the now-demolished 10-story International Savings Bank to the immediate left.[6]

The building was designed by John Parkinson, John C. Austin, and Albert C. Martin, Sr., and was completed in 1928. Dedication ceremonies were held on April 26, 1928. It has 32 floors and, at 454 feet (138 m) high, is the tallest base-isolated structure in the world, having undergone a seismic retrofit from 1998 to 2001, so that the building will sustain minimal damage and remain functional after a magnitude 8.2 earthquake.[7] The concrete in its tower was made with sand from each of California's 58 counties and water from its 21 historical missions.[2] City Hall's distinctive tower was modelled after the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world,[8] and shows the influence of the Los Angeles Public Library, completed shortly before the structure was begun. An image of City Hall has been on Los Angeles Police Department badges since 1940.[9]

A City Council ordinance passed in 1905 did not permit any new construction to be taller than 13 stories or 150 ft (46 m) in order to keep the city's architecture harmonious. City Hall's 454 ft (138 m) height was deemed exempt as a public building and assured that no building would surpass one third its height for over three decades until the ordinance was repealed by voter referendum in 1957.[10] Therefore, from its completion in 1928 until finally surpassed by the topping off of Union Bank Plaza in 1966, City Hall was the tallest building in Los Angeles and shared the skyline with only a few structures such as the Continental Building, the only property built taller than 150 feet prior to the ordinance, and the Richfield Tower and Eastern Columbia Building, which exceeded the ordinance through a loophole allowing for decorative towers.[11]

City Hall has an observation deck, free to the public and open Monday through Friday during business hours. The peak of the pyramid at the top of the building is an airplane beacon named in honor of Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh, the Lindbergh Beacon. Circa 1939, there was an art gallery, in Room 351 on the third floor, that exhibited paintings by California artists.[12]

The building was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1976.[13]

In 1998 the building was closed during a total $135 million refurbishment which also included upgrading it so it could withstand a magnitude 8.2 earthquake including permitting it to sway in a quake.[14]

Previous City Halls[edit]

Prior to the completion of the current structure, the L.A. City Council utilized various other buildings:


Tallest base-isolated structure in the world, built in 1928. A Neoclassical base with an Art Deco tower. Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #150.

The Mayor of Los Angeles has an office in room 300. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:00 am, the Los Angeles City Council meets in its chamber.

An observation level is open to the public on the 27th floor. This floor's interior comprises a single large and highly vaulted room distinguished by the iconic tall square columns that are far more familiar as one of the building's most distinguishing exterior features. As this ample interior space is named, the Mayor Tom Bradley Room is used for ceremonies and other special occasions.

City Hall and the adjacent federal, state, and county buildings are served by the Civic Center station on the Metro B and D subway lines and the Historic Broadway station on the Metro A and E light rail lines. The J Line stops in front of the building.

The Tom Bradley Room, making up the whole interior of L.A. City Hall's 27th floor.

The Los Angeles Dodgers wore a commemorative uniform patch during the 2018 season celebrating 60 years in the city depicting a logo of Los Angeles City Hall.

Filming location[edit]

The City Hall from Hill Street

The building has been featured in the following popular movies and television shows:

  • While the City Sleeps (1928): The newly constructed building appears in the background of some exterior shots in this silent crime drama starring Lon Chaney, even though the film is set in New York.
  • Adventures of Superman: The building appears as the Daily Planet building beginning in the second season of the 1950s TV series. At the time the TV program was broadcast, the show's Daily Planet building (Los Angeles City Hall) was frequently confused with the similarly designed Pennsylvania Power & Light Building in Allentown, also built in 1928. Additionally, the exact design of this building is used as the Newstime magazine headquarters in the Superman comic books.
  • Alias: A CIA black ops unit is located behind a maintenance door at Civic Station.
  • Dragnet: The building appears as itself in the TV series. The first episode of Dragnet (1951) Season 1, Episode 1: "The Human Bomb", original air date 16 December 1951, was filmed at Los Angeles City Hall. It was embossed on Sgt. Joe Friday's famous badge number 714 that was displayed under the credits.
  • Perry Mason: The City Hall building appears in the view from Perry's office window. This has led viewers of the show to speculate where the fictional office would have been located in downtown Los Angeles.[19]
  • L.A. Confidential: The police in the 1997 neo-noir film operate out of the City Hall, as well as the police badges featuring a depiction the building itself.[20] At the time the film takes place no building in Los Angeles was allowed to be taller than City Hall, so the cameras were placed at certain points so that any building taller than City Hall would not be seen.[21]
  • Tower of Terror: In this 1997 made-for-TV movie, the main character's love interest works at a fictional newspaper, The Los Angeles Banner. The newspaper's logo is based on the top of City Hall.
  • Adam-12: During the seventh season opening credits montage, City Hall is shown directly at the end, as the building that officers Reed and Malloy drive away from. It is also shown on the embossed badges numbered 744 (Malloy) and 2430 (Reed).
  • The 2003 Dragnet series used the L.A. City Hall building aerial shot and badge throughout its introduction.
  • War of the Worlds: The City Hall was destroyed (albeit by miniature) in the 1953 film version (although the H. G. Wells book has the aliens attacking London, the setting was changed to Los Angeles for the film).
  • V: City Hall was destroyed when the Visitors attack Earth. The same footage of the tower being destroyed from War of the Worlds was used but with different energy weapons superimposed.
  • The 1976 film The Bad News Bears included a scene both shot and set in the city council chamber that included a close-up of the electronic voting board with the names of the incumbent council members.
  • The 1991 music video for Prince's "Diamonds and Pearls" features City Hall as the primary location.
  • AFI's music video for their 2006 song "Miss Murder" was filmed at City Hall.
  • The 2011 film Atlas Shrugged: Part I.
  • The 2011 series Torchwood: Miracle Day used the main entrance of City Hall to represent the CIA archive Esther Drummond visits in "The New World", and the exterior to the medical conference where Vera Juarez meets Jilly Kitzinger in "Rendition"/"Dead of Night".
  • The 2013 film The Employer uses City Hall as the headquarters of the fictional Carcharias Corporation.
  • The 2013 film Gangster Squad features the Los Angeles City Hall, with the members of the Gangster Squad stood in the foreground of the building, as well as it being used in the background of some scenes. Mayor Villaraigosa's conference room was also used for the office of Police Chief Parker.
  • The Amazing Race 25: City Hall appeared during the season finale with teams having to bring a film permit to the building.[22]


City Hall South[edit]

Looking north on Main St. from 1st St., 2020 with City Hall South (r), behind it a small portion of City Hall East; and on the left, City Hall proper

City Hall South at 111 E. First Street, on the north side of First Street between Los Angeles and Main streets, built in 1952-4, architects Lunden, Hayward & O'Connor, International Style, originally opened as the City Health Building, housing health offices, clinics, and labs, and a central utility plant that heated City Hall proper and Parker Center (then police headquarters).[23]

City Hall East[edit]

James K. Hahn City Hall East, 200 N. Main St., is located in the South Plaza of the Los Angeles Mall, a sunken, multi-level series of open spaces and retail space on the east side of Main Street straddling Temple Street. It is an 18-story, Brutalist, 1972 building by Stanton & Stockwell,[24] featuring a mural by Millard Sheets, The Family of Man.[25][26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Emporis building ID 116465". Emporis. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Los Angeles City Hall at Glass Steel and Stone (archived)
  3. ^ "Los Angeles City Hall". SkyscraperPage.
  4. ^ Los Angeles City Hall at Structurae
  5. ^ "The Official Web Site of The City of Los Angeles". City of Los Angeles. 2010. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  6. ^ Scott, Charles Fletcher (August–September 1931). "Los Angeles on Parade". Overland Monthly. 89 (8–9): 14.
  7. ^ "Projects". Clark Construction Group, LLC. 2010. Archived from the original on February 19, 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  8. ^ Kimberly Truhler (February 13, 2012). "Out & About--the Art Deco Design of Los Angeles City Hall". GlamAmor. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  9. ^ "LAPD Badge Description". Los Angeles Police Department. 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  10. ^ Wick, Julia (26 April 2016). "City Hall Was L.A.'s Tallest Building For 4 Decades—By Law". LAist. Southern California Public Radio.
  11. ^ Au, Matthew. "A Brief History of Los Angeles' Tallest Buildings". KCET. PBS SoCal. Retrieved 14 March 2024.
  12. ^ Work Progress Administration (1939). Los Angeles: A Guide to the City and Its Environs. ASIN B00XZS6OG8.
  13. ^ Los Angeles Department of City Planning (September 7, 2007). "Historic - Cultural Monuments (HCM) Listing: City Declared Monuments" (.PDF). City of Los Angeles. Retrieved 5 June 2010. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ "Los Angeles City Hall: Restoring & Protecting a Downtown Icon". Clark Construction.
  15. ^ a b c d Cecilia Rasmussen (September 9, 2001). "City Hall Beacon to Shine Again". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  16. ^ Pacific Electric (March 22, 2013). "Early Los Angeles City Hall on Broadway". Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  17. ^ J Scott Shannon (November 22, 2009). "Old Civic Center – south to City Hall". Los Angeles Past. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2020-06-03. Retrieved 2020-08-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Perry Mason office locale". D M Brockman. 2007. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  20. ^ Tony Reeves. "Film Locations for L.A. Confidential(1997)". Archived from the original on 30 January 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  21. ^ IMDB. "L.A. Confidential (1997) - Trivia - IMDB)". IMDb. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  22. ^ Walker, Jodi (December 20, 2014). "The Amazing Race season finale recap: 'All or Nothing'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  23. ^ "Building, Structure and Object Record: 111 East 1st Street building, State of California Department of Parks and Recreation
  24. ^ "City Hall East". Emporia. Archived from the original on November 24, 2020.
  25. ^ "The Family of Man". Public Art in Los Angeles.
  26. ^ "City Hall East", Emporis

External links[edit]