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L.A. LIVE - Downtown Los Angeles
Entertainment Center for Sports Teams, Awards and Clubs

Nokia Theater LA Live photoL.A. Live is the new and growing downtown Los Angeles Entertainment complex, rapidly becoming the center for big events in the City of Angels (not the Anaheim ones though). It started with the Staples Center arena for sports built at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Then the Nokia Theater and Restaurants and just opened grand luxuy hotel tower of the Ritz-Carlton and the JW Marriot Hotel. The Staples Center is home court to four of LA’s sports teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Clippers for basketball, the LA Kings for hockey and the Los Angeles Sparks women's basketball, with the sporting events on a rotating schedule. The Nokia Theater stole the American Idol finals from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, though the Academy Awards are still in Hollywood (see Hollywood & Highland). The Nokia hosts a growing number of awards shows, the Grammy Awards, the American Music Awards, the ESPY Awards for sports entertainment, the EMMY Awards for television.

Staples Center LA Live photoLA Live boasts “more music per square foot than anywhere else in the world”. The Grammy Museum at the Nokia, rises through four floors of interactive history of music recording, the great entertainers and musicians and the Grammy Awards. The Staples Center presents major world touring arena concerts and performances, from U2 to Paul McCartney. The Club Nokia hosts high-profile acts in a more intimate concert venue in a club like setting, with acts like Usher and Beck, and even jazz great B.B. King. The Conga Room, the popular Latin inspired nightclub, and its Boca Restaurant partially owned by actor Jimmy Smits, Jennifer Lopez and other Latin celebrities moved from its original mid-Wilshire Boulevard location to upstairs at LA Live on the second floor amoung the other restaurants of the plaza.

La Live Conga Room Bar photoRestaurants and bars in the LA Live center next to the Nokia range from Wolgang Puck Bar & Grill, a Lawry’s, longtime LA prime rib restaurant with a more casual setting called the Carvery, Yard House, Katsuya, sushi restaurant of master Katsuya Uechi, Fleming’s Steakhouse and a Trader Vic’s, famed Tiki themed restaurant, and the sports bar extravagaza of food, drink and games, the ESPN Zone. Other entertainment venues include the multi-screen Regal Cinemas and the Lucky Strike Lanes, the uber current bowling alley and lounge bar – bowling LA club style.

To get to the Nokia Center by car, its off the 110 Freeway just south of downtown and just north of the 10 Freeway from the LAX and the westside. Parking downtwon LA has always been a challenge. LA Live has essentially two garages the East Garage Lot E of Olympic Blvd is the most convenient. The West Garage Lot W is on Gerogia Street around the corner across from the Convention Center. Parking is pretty steep, rates are $5 for the first two hours (four with Regal movie theater validation) and $5 for each additional half hour. Some restaurants validate for the west lot. There are some private lots and the Convention Center lot has a flat rate. If your’re really chintsy you can troll for a free street neighborhood parking spot to the west of the freeway south of Olympic, but it’s a good walk in not the brightest of areas. When its busy the East lot fills first, then the west. If two big events are going on at one time, a game at the Staples Center and a concert at the Nokia, or definetly duing an awards show, traffic and parking can be a trial, so allow plenty of time.

LA Live Nokia Plaza at Night photoBy public transport, there are no direct services. Figuring out the LA Metro system is an adventure. There are Red and Blue Metro stops nearby for city busses from downtown or along Olympic. A Dash Bush runs from downtown neighorhoods and from the USC Campus. There’s a free tram for USC Students on Friday and Saturday picking up from the The Lab or 901 Bar. From Hollywood the subway line runs to downtown, then a bus. From the LAX area, the LAX City Bus, and from Long Beach the Blue Line to Olympic then a bus or walk.. From Pasadena, the gold line to Union Station, subway to Civic Center and bus. Aside from the new tower ritzy luxury hotels of the Marriot and the Ritz, a number of hotels are around the area, many of them a several blocks away to the north at 7th and 8th streets and Wilshire. Or just forget all that and order a limo.
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