Grand Park spans four distinct blocks in the heart of downtown Los Angeles from The Music Center to City Hall. It's divided into 4 blocks: Blocks One and Two (from Grand Avenue to Hill Street), Blocks Three and Four (from Hill Street to Spring Street).
Blocks One and Two include:
Grand Avenue Terraces – New pedestrian-friendly steps and ADA-accessible ramps create a series of broad terraces leading down into the park. The terraces can be used for al fresco dining, event seating, meeting enclaves and general gatherings. The new stairs and paths provide a dramatic view and physical connections to Grand Park from Grand Avenue about 30 feet above. These terraces lead down to the Fountain Plaza, which offers a view of the restored fountain.
Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain – An historic yet previously hidden icon in Los Angeles, the 1960s-era Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain is newly renovated and now the focal point of Grand Park. The fountain was restored and reenergized to create an interactive gathering place with different programs that produce various water shows with synchronized colored lights. The fountain’s new crowd-pleasing features include a 50-foot spray at the central bowl and the addition of a quarter-inch deep splash pad with circular patterns of interactive jets that encourage water play. Park visitors also can enjoy the fountain’s light show in the evening from the surrounding overlook or while passing through to the Metro Civic Center station, a parking lot or an alternate destination outside the park.
Olive Court – Olive Court includes 16 new olive trees as well as the original historic benches and speaker poles, which have been restored to their original condition. This area is designed to serve as a gathering place for events such as art or book fairs, plant sales and small community events that might be held in conjunction with performances at the adjacent Performance Lawn.
Performance Lawn/Stage – Located towards Hill Street and just east of Olive Court, the Performance Lawn and stage are designed to accommodate smaller musical performances, art shows and other cultural events.
Blocks Three and Four include:
Community Terrace – The Community Terrace welcomes individuals, families and groups to hold independent events or to relax, read, enjoy the sun or people watch. The historic Court of Flags was relocated to the east in the Flag Garden and enlivens the eastern edge of the Terrace.
Broadway Steps –The Broadway Steps occupy the eastern edge of Block Three and provide an ADA-accessible transition between the Community Terrace and Broadway. Along the paths are various bleacher-like seating areas for relaxing in the park or watching an event along Broadway or the Event Lawn to the east.
Event Lawn – The Event Lawn faces City Hall and is designed to be the site of major public events and activities, including music festivals and New Year’s Eve celebrations. The lawn’s northeastern corner houses a dog run, avidly sought by downtown residents, while the southern edge is designed for farmers markets or gourmet food trucks.
Programming – Designed as a dynamic, inclusive environment, Grand Park will feature community events, cultural experiences, festivals, holiday celebrations and many other activities that engage and attract visitors from all communities in Los Angeles County. Grand Park spaces can also be rented by public and private parties for events and activities.
Landscape – The park was designed as a diverse collection of plantings from around the globe. With nearly 140 different species of plants, the park’s landscape intertwines native plantings and drought-tolerant species organized together into 24 gardens representing six Floristic Kingdoms. Many existing trees were preserved and now are complemented by the addition of more than 300 new trees planted throughout Grand Park.
Park Pavilions – Sleek open-air pavilions serve as gateways at either end of the park. The western building is the new home of Starbucks, an ATM, as well as restrooms and support services. The eastern building could serve as a party pavilion for small or large parties and also houses a green room and other back-of-the-house facilities for large events on the Event Lawn.
Park Furnishings – Park designers Rios Clementi Hale Studios created unique and striking movable furniture for Grand Park. Park visitors will have the flexibility to move and arrange furniture to accommodate their needs. Chairs, benches and tables in a bold shade of magenta dot the park and contrast vividly with its green topography.
Signature Colors – The park’s signature colors of magenta and green provide a counterpoint to the neutral colors of the surrounding buildings. The magenta corresponds to the foliage throughout the gardens and acts as a consistent “bloom” throughout the year. The new park buildings are predominantly green, allowing them to blend in with the foliage.
Monuments – There are a number of monuments located throughout the park, including statues of George Washington and Christopher Columbus.
Signage – The park’s vibrantly colored signage totems greet visitors with lanterns that are transparent during the day and animated and glowing at night. These totems introduce Grand Park as “the park for everyone,” welcoming visitors in 25 different languages.
Public Art – The park features several prominent locations for future installation of publicly-engaging outdoor sculptures. The park’s ambitious public art program also contemplates artist workshop programming and outreach, curated seasonal installations and signature gardens.
Grand Park represents a unique piece of civic real estate. Originally named El Paseo de Los Pobladores de Los Angeles (The Walk of the First Settlers of Los Angeles), and commonly known as the Civic Center Mall, Grand Park transformed and reinvigorated underused public space that was challenged by grade changes and underground garage access ramps. The Grand Avenue Committee—a public-private partnership formed in 2000, with James A. Thomas of Related Companies as the founding chairman and Eli Broad as co-chairman —included the concept for the park, an idea that had been entertained in civic circles since the 1950s, but which was most recently advanced by the Civic Center Authority chaired by Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina and Los Angeles City Councilmember Rita Walters. With the park as the Grand Avenue project centerpiece, Supervisor Molina agreed to form the Grand Avenue Authority in 2003 as a Joint Powers Authority between the County of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency. Since then, the Grand Avenue Authority has overseen Grand Park design and development, as well as implementation of the larger Grand Avenue development plan. Construction on Grand Park began in July 2010 and was managed by the County of Los Angeles. The $56 million for the construction of Grand Park was comprised of $50 million in pre-paid rent for ground leases from Related Companies —a key condition Supervisor Molina was instrumental in securing—plus other city funds and interest.
Los Angeles-based Rios Clementi Hale Studios designed the park after a multi-year planning process centered on civic engagement and feedback, a commitment that defines the form, function and spirit of Grand Park. The jumping off point for the design was the concept of Los Angeles as a dynamic cultural and global crossroads. Graphic inspiration came from a flattened map of the globe from the 1920s by J.P. Goode, an American cartographer. Together, these inspirations gave rise to an overlay of meridian paths and connections, ranging from an eight-foot wide walkway to an 18-inch footpath that crisscross the four blocks of the park.
With many of the existing trees preserved, the design was enhanced with the addition of masses of flowering trees and landscape plantings of species native to Southern California. The park also features trees, shrubs and flowers that reflect the heritages of the many who have made Los Angeles their home. The park’s floristic gardens, featuring many drought-tolerant species, were inspired by the world’s six Floristic Kingdoms—Boreal, Neotropical, Paleotropical, South African, Australian and Antarctic.
The Music Center, in conjunction with the county, oversees and operates Grand Park and plans to create a dynamic, inclusive environment for community events, cultural experiences, festivals, holiday celebrations and the like that engage and attract visitors from all communities in Los Angeles County. Park visitors will enjoy original programming, outdoor activities, interactive events, entertainment and many other activities that can benefit from the park’s multi-use lawns, stages and spaces. Grand Park was designed to accommodate the needs of many types of performances and events, with state-of-the-art multimedia technology and multiple options that provide for flexibility in set-up. The Music Center also oversees Grand Park’s spaces, which can be rented for events and activities by public and private parties. Grand Park is a vibrant, inviting park and an outdoor destination for all in the community. From its design to landscaping to programming, Grand Park welcomes and honors the diverse cultures of the communities of Los Angeles County.