The Best Views of Downtown Los Angeles
Tallest Building West of the Mississippi River
My daughter, Alison, showed me around L.A. while I visited for her college graduation. Following our excursion to The Last Book Store, we checked out one of the best views of downtown Los Angeles at The OUE Skyspace Los Angeles. It was the perfect pinnacle from which to get a bird’s-eye view of Los Angeles’ expansive cityscape.
OUE Skyspace Los Angeles is on the 69th and 70th floor of the U.S. Bank Tower at 633 W 5th Street, Los Angeles. The attraction features two observation decks, a Skyslide, an interactive Media level, and a rooftop bar with light fare. It also includes a Gift Shop and Cafe on the first floor.
Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE), a Singapore-based hotel and property company, purchased The U.S. Bank Tower in 2013. At the time it was the tallest skyscraper in the West at 1,018 feet. (The Wilshire Grand Tower claimed the title in 2017 at 1,100 feet.) The new owners revitalized the U.S. Bank Tower and made many improvements, including OUE Skyspace Los Angeles, which opened in 2016.
A look up from the foot of the tower gives a sense of how high above the world the observation decks are! OUE Skyspace Los Angeles offers one of the best views of downtown Los Angeles. The unobstructed, panoramic view is California’s tallest open-air observation deck.
The tower’s chic lobby welcomes occupants and provides handicapped access to the OUE Skyspace Los Angeles lobby on the second floor. However, the General Public uses a difference entrance by way of the outside steps to the left of the entrance.
Note: Once inside OUE Skyspace Los Angeles, the attractions are 100% wheelchair and ADA accessible.)
Tickets & Entry
Ticket purchased inside the OUE Skyspace Los Angeles lobby begin at $25 per person and permit entry during a certain window of time. Flex Tickets ($40pp) are not based on a particular entry time. However, to avoid lines and capitalize on savings, you can look for special offers online, including through AAA. Or, you can do what we did: Get a Go Los Angeles Card.
The Go Los Angeles Card is a great option if you’re touring the city because it gives you access to more than 35 Los Angeles attractions (including the OUE Skyspace Los Angeles) at one price over a period of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 days. Or, you can customize your ticket to maximize savings for specific attractions.
On a pretty tight budget for this trip, I’m not sure I would have purchased two tickets for the view alone — although Alison was quick to point out that everything “out here” is more expensive than back east. And truly, how do you put a price tag on the best views of downtown Los Angeles?
But as part of the Go Los Angeles Card, it was a perfect fit for me and Alison, since we planned to spend the day in L.A. With our Go Los Angeles Cards on our phones, we sailed past the ticketing booth and embarked on a journey to the top of the tower!
Tip: Go Los Angeles Card admission to OUE Skyspace Los Angeles is valid for entry until 5:30 pm, but once inside guests may stay until closing. You can print out an actual access ticket, or load the scan code to your mobile device for quick access. Click for a List of Attractions and custom options included with this card.
After a Security check a bit reminiscent of an airport TSA check, we stepped into a “starry” room and then a “starry” elevator and began our ascent to the top.
Interactive Media Level
The U.S. Bank building was not originally intended to offer a public lookout of the city. It is designed so that one elevator reaches the 51st floor, and some distance across the building lies the second elevator to the top. This forced a creative solution to the passageway when the OUE Skyspace Los Angeles was conceived.
As a result, an interactive Media Level was designed to engage viewers as they make this transition. It also provides interesting information about movies, music, sports, and culture in Los Angeles in classic Hollywood style.
A glass-covered “hole” in the floor colorfully plunges 51 floors in green and purples. As it turns out, this is actually a clever illusion created by mirrors and lights. It’s so realistic that Alison grew queasy and stepped away from the edge. Well done!
Going up?! Having completed the interactive experience, we entered the next elevator and soared to the top floor.
The café was well-stocked with delicious offerings, and the fully stocked Skybar offers tasty drinks and hors-d’oeuvres.
This venue would make a delightful meeting spot or solo workspace (with free Wifi) featuring the best views of downtown Los Angeles. It’s worthy of an upscale cocktail party or social event, smacking of the posh Los Angeles scene, complete with white leather sofas out on the patio. Seriously, where can you find better views of downtown Los Angeles?
It’s also worth noting that, though not affiliated with OUE Skyspace Los Angeles, there is a restaurant on the 71st floor, called “71 Above.” While we didn’t check it out because our itinerary was jam-packed, what a great idea to dine before or after a Skyspace experience! (If you love rooftop dining like I do, check out my free Guide to Rooftop Dining in L.A.)
We also checked out the world’s first Skyslide, made of plexiglass and affixed to the outside of the building. It offers thrill-seekers unparalleled views of the city as they speed between the 70th and 69th floor. Tickets are $8 per person ($12 for one person to take two rides), provided you are age 5+ and over 42” tall. Children meeting the age and height requirements may also ride tandem with an adult. Don’t blink. It’s fast but what an experience!
Neither Alison nor I were feeling particularly dare-devilish that day, so we passed on this attraction. However, the slide is rigged with a camera to capture the brief but thrilling descent on film. (The photo is available for purchase at the Gift Shop.)
The Main Attraction
So, this is what we came for…Ready for the best views of downtown Los Angeles? Check it out!
The Observation Deck
So, let me just say, the views from the Observation Deck do not disappoint. I think these truly are the best views of downtown Los Angeles. The patio walls are all glass, providing a 360-degree unobstructed view of Los Angeles, as advertised. From the top of the (almost) tallest skyscraper in the West, we could see all around Los Angeles for miles. It’s a sight worth seeing!What a perfect place to stay and watch the sunset over Los Angeles...Seriously, where can you find better views of downtown Los Angeles? #OUEskyspaceLA #smartdestinations #losangeles #enjoytravellife Click To Tweet
My daughter pointed out the various neighborhoods in L.A. as seen from this birds-eye perspective. We also noticed a lot of helicopter pads on building tops. I wondered what famous movie stars might jet to these building tops? And which might fly out of the city, avoiding L.A.’s notorious traffic jams?From the top of the (almost) tallest skyscraper in the West, we could see all around Los Angeles for miles. #skyspaceLA #golosangelescard #bestviews #enjoytravellife Click To Tweet
Before Alison and I wrapped up our tour of the OUE Skyspace Los Angeles, we had some fun with the angel wings painted by Colette Miller on the glass panels. The wings are part of the Global Angel Wings Project created in 2012 “to remind humanity that we are the Angels of this Earth.” What a lovely sentiment and a cool experience to “soar” high above the City of Angels with my daughter.
Our visit to the OUE Skyspace Los Angeles is one of many treasured memories from my trip to L.A. to celebrate Alison’s college graduation. (I’m so proud of you, Alison!) With more time to spare, we might have soaked up the California sunshine with drinks in hand and some tasty apps, taken in the thriving city scene below, and maybe even watched the sunset here. (I highly suggest so if you have the time!) Even still, it was an opportunity to experience a perspective of my daughter’s new world—the “City of Angels”—that she now calls home. That alone was worth the trip.
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