It's easy to overlook the Los Angeles River as a sightseeing destination, since many of us think of it as nothing more than a faceless dry concrete channel. Dig beneath the surface however, and you'll discover the fascinating history and stories of the river, from Leo Limon's River Cats paintings to the historic bridges that span across its entire length.
You can find a comprehensive list of sightseeing spots in our L.A. River Field Guides. Here are 5 of our favorites:
1. The Great Wall of Los Angeles: Began by muralist Judith Baca in the 1970s and finished 13 years later in collaboration with over 400 local resident artists, this mural depicts the cultural history of Los Angeles with a particular focus on racial and religious conflicts. Efforts are currently under way to restore and add to the mural.
3. River Cats: With the help of the city, artist Leo Limon has been painting cats on storm drain caps along the Glendale Narrows section of the river for over 30 years, often in collaboration with high school students.
4. Sixth Street Viaduct: Built 1932, the final and most grand of the monumental river bridges, with graceful steel arches and a Classical Moderne design. Because of high alkali content in its concrete, it's predicted that the bridge has a 70% chance of collapsing during the next major earthquake.
5. Seventh Street Viaduct: Built in 1929 on top of an existing streetcar bridge (from 1910), this appears to be a double-decker bridge, but is really only navigable on one level. While the top part of the bridge is classically adorned with a sculpted railing and decorative lighting, the older, bottom section of the bridge reflects an earlier period of architecture, allowing the Seventh Street Viaduct to be an interesting example of two different styles of early 20th century construction in Los Angeles.