- Hours: Tours offered daily, hours vary
- Reservations: Reservations needed for concerts or the guided tour, but you can take the self-guided audio tour without them
- Cost: No admission fee to walk in and look around, fee charged for tours, most concerts charge admission
- Location: Downtown Los Angeles, driving directions below
- How Long: Allow about two hours to take the tour and explore
- Best Time to Visit: Unlike most buildings of its type, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is open to the public even when there are no performances going on, so you can visit at any time
Walt Disney Concert Hall ReviewThe Walt Disney Concert Hall became a Los Angeles icon the moment it opened, appearing as a defining backdrop in films released only months after its opening. Designed by Frank O. Gehry, this modern building's sinuous curves and soaring architecture are so seductive that it tempts even those who dislike classical music to attend the symphony just to enjoy the auditorium's beauty.
Open All DayNothing about the Walt Disney Concert Hall is typical, from its cutting-edge architecture to the way it's run. While most concert halls are closed to the public unless there's a performance going on, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is open all day long and anyone can go inside and have a look around.
Touring the Walt Disney Concert HallA wander around the innovative structure, especially with a camera in hand, is well worth the time spent, but to learn more about what goes into the making of such a place, take one of these organized tours:
- Self-Guided Audio Tour: Narrated by actor John Lithgow, this self-paced Walt Disney Concert Hall tour includes insights from architect Frank Gehry, Diane Disney Miller (daughter of principal donor Lillian Disney) and others involved in its design and construction. Buy tickets at the box office, pick up an audio wand and take your time.
- Guided Tour: 60-minute guided tour offers architectural and garden highlights.
- Symphonian Four-Theatre Tour: A 90-minute tour that takes visitors through all four venues at the Music Center: The Ahmanson Theatre, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum and Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Performances at the Disney Concert HallThe architecture is so splendid that it's easy to forget that the building was designed as the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the world's top-rated orchestras according to a survey of music critics published by British publication Gramophone, making the concert-goer's experience into treat both visual and auditory.
The concert hall, finished in warm-colored Douglas fir features the same fluid shapes as the building's exterior and it turns out that Gehry's favored convex curves are good for the sound, bouncing it around to fill the hall. It seems that no sound is too loud and at the same time, everything can be heard down to the most earnestly muffled cough. In fact, shortly after the opening, the LA Times reported that the new concert hall revealed decades-old errors in the symphony's musical scores which were impossible to hear before.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic puts on a full schedule of performances, but symphony isn't the only music to be heard. Besides other classic concerts, popular performers like Natalie Cole, Michael Feinstein and Winton Marsalis appear there.
Ticket prices vary by performance, with full orchestra concerts being the most expensive - and among them, the ones led by charismatic conductor Gustavo Dudamel sell out fastest. Discounts are almost impossible to find, but if seats are available and you're over 65 years old or a full-time high school or college student who can show a valid ID, you may be able to get "rush" tickets for a steep discount by showing up at the box office two hours before select performances.
Getting to Walt Disney Concert Hall
Walt Disney Concert HallThe Walt Disney Concert Hall is on the north side of downtown Los Angeles in the Music Center complex, near the intersection of I-110 and US 101. Its prominent location makes it easily visible from many directions, and it may be easiest to find it by looking for it and following signs from the freeway. However, you can find detailed driving directions from all approaches at the Walt Disney Concert Hall website.
111 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA
Walt Disney Concert Hall website
Street parking is very limited. You can park in underground public lots at the Walt Disney Concert Hall or the Music Center across the street, but the Department of Water and Power lot on Hope Street is often less expensive and just as convenient.
How about avoiding the driving altogether? Use the Metro Rail system trip planner to find out how to do it.