Los Angeles is a city known for its vibrant culture, stunning landmarks, bold architecture and exciting neighborhoods. One that has all that and more to come is the iconic Miracle Mile. This stretch of Wilshire Boulevard has long been a hub of cultural, artistic, and architectural significance. As a long-time resident, below I’ll be delving into the existing attractions that make Miracle Mile a must-visit destination as well as exploring the exciting developments that are shaping its future.
The origins of Miracle Mile date back to the 1920s when real estate developer A.W. Ross envisioned it as a premier shopping district. The focal point of the neighborhood is the historic El Rey Theatre, built in 1936, which has hosted countless music events and performances over the years. The May Co building at the corner of Wilshire & Fairfax with it’s unmissable golden façade, is now the unofficial gateway welcoming visitors to museum row.
Museum Row is the most standout feature of Miracle Mile and is home to several world-class museums:
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA): LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States. Its vast collection spans thousands of years and includes art from around the globe. The iconic "Urban Light" installation by artist Chris Burden, featuring 202 restored street lamps, is a popular spot for both art enthusiasts and Instagrammers.
The Petersen Automotive Museum: Car enthusiasts will appreciate the Petersen Automotive Museum, which showcases the history and evolution of automobiles through a stunning collection of classic and contemporary cars. Don’t miss the ‘Vault’ on the lower level open only during special engagements at certain dates and times.
The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum: Step back in time at the La Brea Tar Pits, where you can see actual tar pits and fossils of prehistoric animals. It's an educational and fascinating experience for visitors of all ages. Referred to in a myriad of contemporary documentaries on early earth history, the Tar Pits continue to be a rich source of insight into the prehistoric world.
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures: The recently opened Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is a must-visit for film enthusiasts. Located on Miracle Mile, it houses a vast collection of artifacts, memorabilia, and exhibits that celebrate the history of cinema. From iconic movie props to interactive displays, the museum offers a deep dive into the world of filmmaking. Among it’s most spectacular features is the Dolby Family Terrace located atop the dramatic sphere building. Sitting beneath a stunning glass dome made from 1,500 glass panels that rises to a height of 40 feet, the Dolby Family Terrace provides one of the most stunning vistas in Los Angeles. Visitors will encounter unobscured views of the Hollywood Hills, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Westwood as well as a clear sightline of the Hollywood Sign—certainly among visitors’ most popular photo backdrops.
Fanny's Restaurant: Nestled within the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Fanny’s offers a delightful culinary experience that perfectly complements the cinematic wonders of the museum. With its inviting ambiance and a menu inspired by classic Hollywood glamour, Fanny's provides a culinary journey through film history. Guests can savor delectable dishes and mouthwatering cocktails while immersed in the nostalgia of Tinsel town.
The Grove and Farmers Market: Just north of museum row, you'll find The Grove and the Farmers Market. These two popular attractions offer a delightful mix of shopping, dining, and entertainment. Ride the trolly car through the charming streets lined with boutiques and eateries, catch a movie at the cinema, or indulge in gourmet treats at the Farmers Market. Credited as doing ‘Disneyland better than Disney,’ the Grove took outdoor shopping to new heights and remains a tourist destination in and of itself.
Miracle Mile is also undergoing a revitalization that promises to make it an even more enticing destination in the coming years!
Purple Line Extension: The Metro Purple Line extension project is set to connect Miracle Mile to downtown LA and the Westside. This will greatly improve accessibility to the neighborhood and reduce traffic congestion. “From the beach to downtown in just 20 minutes!”
La Brea Tar Pits Expansion: An exciting development on the horizon is the expansion of the La Brea Tar Pits. This expansion will offer visitors a comprehensive experience, combining the fascinating world of paleontology with the rich natural history of the region. A reimagined Tar Pits will allow visitors of all ages to better witness and engage with the scientific process as well as more fully enjoy the beautiful grounds of this extraordinary destination. A new 1-kilometer looping pedestrian walkway will weave past the bubbling lake pits and through gardens planted with historical species to tell the story of La Brea Tar Pits from prehistoric time to our contemporary moment. There will be new outdoor classrooms to share discoveries in real-time and visible fossil labs to offer visitors a peek into the active research taking place. Altogether, the Master Plan more than doubles the square footage devoted to research and collections facilities and brings science instrumentation up to state-of-the-art standards.
Miracle Mile is a testament to Los Angeles' dynamic blend of history and innovation. With its rich past, exciting present attractions and the upcoming expansions, it remains a captivating destination for locals and tourists alike. Whether you're exploring its world-class museums, enjoying the vibrant shopping and dining scene, or looking forward to the upcoming developments, Miracle Mile has something to offer every visitor. So, next time you're in LA, make sure to take a stroll down this iconic stretch of Wilshire Boulevard and experience the magic of Miracle Mile.