6.9 out of 10

Civic Center

34.0556642334831 -118.244146342751
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Pest Free
  • Nightlife
  • Public Transport
  • Clean & Green
Not great for
  • Schools
  • Childcare
  • Parking
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Shopping Options
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists


5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 2/5

"The Promise Land for California Performing Arts Lovers"

The Civic Center is the place you go for performing arts. The Mark Taper Forum and the LA Opera are both located here. Mark Taper has long been at the forefront of West Coast dramatic creations being the place that first produced Tony Kuchner’s Angels in America in 1991. Mark Taper is part of the Los Angeles Music Center, along with the neighboring Ahmanson Theater and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The beautiful complex, built in the New Formalist style of architecture that emphasizes clarity of line and integrity of shape, with its iconic water spouts and high thin columns that form a colonnade along the entrance to the venue is perhaps the most impressive center for the arts on the Pacific Coast. Both the Ahmanson and the Mark Taper premiere first run plays, with the Ahmanson’s more intimate hall being better suited to smaller, lesser known plays.

The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is the home of the LA Opera, probably the central temple of West Coast Opera with one of the “Three Tenors” as it director, Placido Domingo. The center is not afraid to take chances. Last year, they put on Wagner’s Ring Cycle, drawing criticism from local politicos because of Wagner’s association with the Nazis. The center held strong and even managed to get an extra $14 Million when the Recession hit them hard.

Also, in the neighborhood is the Los Angeles Cathedral, the home base for Cardinal Mahony, the central figure of LA Catholic Church, I believe. I’m not Catholic, but I personally find it a strange looking church. First of all, it doesn’t look like a church at all. It has a strange post-modernist design to it—no real steeples or towers pointing us to the Heavens. In fact, to me it looks more like the kind of building you would use for a museum than a place of worship. A very strange choice for a church having difficulty recruiting new worshipers.

In fact, the nearby Walt Disney Concert Hall, home to the LA Philharmonic has a far more spiritual feel to it than the LA cathedral. Both were built at about the same time in the same general Post-Modernist architectural style, but the curving, petal-like shape of the Disney is far more likely to draw us upwards than the Catholic Church’s very terrestrial building. In addition, on the inside the concert hall has a gigantic five story high organ perfect for Bach. I suspect the Phil will have a lot easier time attracting new followers.
  • Performing Arts Center
  • Cool Architecture
  • Great Transportation
  • Parking
  • Crime
  • Crowded
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • LGBT+
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 1/5

"For theater-goers, music lovers, and government workers"

The Civic Center, part of downtown Los Angeles, comprises a very small area from 1st Street at the southwest border to West Aliso Street at the northeast border. The northwest border is the 110 freeway, and the southeast border is more-or-less Alameda Street.

As its name implies, the area contains many civic buildings, including Los Angeles City Hall, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the L.A. County Criminal Appeals building, the County of Los Angeles Department of Regional Planning, the Los Angeles Police-Fraud Section, the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Los Angeles County: Small Claims, and the Los Angeles General Services Department.

The Los Angeles Police Department is just across the street from the 1st Street border.
The LA Department of Water and Power is the largest municipal utility in the country.
The Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Hill Street is a branch of the LA Superior Court serving the Central District. Citizens can be called to jury duty here. This courthouse handles civil complaints.

The L.A. County Law Library, the second largest public law library in the country, is in the Civic Center.

In terms of federal government buildings, the United States Bankruptcy Court (Central District of California branch), the United States Government Department of Veterans Affairs – Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center, a branch of the US Justice Department, and the U.S. District Court Clerk are all in the area.

In addition to the many local and federal governmental buildings, this area also contains a very important church, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. It is also called the Los Angeles Cathedral. This is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which is the seat of the archbishop. The church replaced the Cathedral of Saint Vibiana, a smaller church which served as the archbishop’s seat until it was damaged by the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

The Music Center, the performing arts center of Los Angeles County, is towards the northwest border. The Music Center complex includes the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall (which is on the other side of first street, and strictly speaking, not in this neighborhood). These venues range in size and function.

You can attend performances of the L.A. Opera, The L.A. Philharmonic, the L.A. Master Chorale, and the Center Theatre Group at the Music Center. There are usually a series of musicals presented at the Ahmanson, and a series of plays at the Mark Taper. The performances at these venues tend to be high priced (although students can sometimes get last minute rush tickets) and high quality. Some plays go from L.A. to Broadway, or the other way around.

There are a very few restaurants for theater-goers or people who work in the area. There are few residences – some buildings have loft conversions. There are no schools in the area.

For a description of the Walt Disney Concert Hall see “New Downtown.”

Best Neighborhoods to Live In

Best Cities to Live In

Tell everyone what you love about your neighborhood!

Leave a Review

Have a question?

How are schools? Is the area safe? What about public transit options?" Why not ask our community of locals!

Ask Now

Selling or Renting Your Home?

Maximize the selling price of your home by sharing what you love about your suburb to increase its appeal...

Leave a Review

Corporate Relocation Manager?

Enable your employees to share local knowledge in a private, trusted environment with those relocating... while building community.

Learn More