If you’re renting a car at LAX and traveling to the Pasadena area, there’s more than one way to get there. If you’d rather get a taste of greater Los Angeles instead of just looking out the window of your car at miles of pavement, you’re in luck. There are all sorts of interesting landmarks along the way. Here’s a list of 5 offbeat milestones on the way during a trip from LAX to Pasadena:
The Beach Boys Historic Landmark
If you’re heading east on the 105 freeway to go from LAX to Pasadena, it’s just a few miles to the Beach Boys Historic Landmark in Hawthorne, California. It’s near the freeway at 3701 W. 119th Street. The monument marks the site of the childhood home of Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, the core members of the Beach Boys.
For some people, the Beach Boys and their surf sound define southern California. If you’re on a surfin’ safari to California, it’s worth a little detour to take a selfie at the Beach Boys landmark.
The Bradbury Building
The Bradbury Building is an architectural landmark that’s bound to look familiar to moviegoers. It’s about halfway on the road from LAX to Pasadena at 304 South Broadway. The Bradbury is a five-story office building that opened for business in 1893. The outside of the building looks similar to many late 19th century commercial buildings, but the interior spaces really set it apart. The building is ostensibly designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, but the interior is so densely decorated that it defies categorization.
Most tourists recognize the Bradbury from the movie Blade Runner. You can ride up past the ornate ironwork on the same birdcage elevators that carried Decker and the replicants if you like. The top floors are off limits, however. The Bradbury is so popular with movie buffs that a full time guide is on duty to show visitors around. They also offer interesting facts about the building.
Angel’s Flight is a funicular railway that links Downtown Los Angeles with the Bunker Hill district. The narrow gauge railcars climb a 300-foot ramp that affords great views of the city. The inside of the railcars has been restored, but they still have their original vibe from the early 20th century.
The railway has been under reconstruction for the last few years, but is scheduled to re-open by Labor Day 2017
It’s hard to say if a trip to the Triforium is a step into the future or a retro good time. It’s a sculpture that holds court in the Civic Center of Los Angeles. The iconic Los Angeles City Hall stands at one end of the Civic Center, with the Triforium located nearby. The kinetic sculpture was installed in 1975, touted by its designer as the Rosetta stone of art and technology. It turned into more of a monument to budgetary and repair problems.
The Triforium is 60 feet tall. It’s hung on three concrete, two-legged pillars with multicolored prisms that move and light up. The original design had a glass bell carillon that was supposed to play everything from classical music to disco. They’ve been replaced with a conventional sound system. The Triforium is famous for being bizarre but somehow lovable, and has been called everything from Three Wishbones in Search of a Turkey, to The Psychedelic Nickelodeon. It’s a fun destination on the way from LAX to Pasadena, and the area is filled with other attractions and eateries.
The Chicken Boy
Just outside Pasadena in the Highland Park area, you’ll find one of the strangest local landmarks in the greater Los Angeles area. The Chicken Boy is a 22-foot fiberglass statue of a person with a chicken’s head. It was originally the mascot of a restaurant, which is long since gone out of business. It now stands atop a nondescript building on the famous Route 66 at 5558 North Figueroa.
The Chicken Boy’s back story is even stranger than its appearance. The statue was originally made to resemble Paul Bunyan. The manufacturer removed the head and replaced it with a chicken’s head. The hands were reworked to hold a giant bucket of chicken.
It’s considered a local rite of passage to have your picture taken with Chicken Boy in the background, and then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger gave it a Historic Preservation Award in 2010.
Photo of the Bradbury Building courtesy of the The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division