Since moving to the city of Los Angeles, I’ve fallen in love with many aspects of this sprawling urban mecca. From the variety of things to do and see here (I truly can’t remember the last time I was “bored”…), my ever-growing “foodie” bucketlist (one could eat at a new eatery daily and it’d take them years and years to try ‘em all), the beautiful landscapes and scenery, the history of some of this cities unique and fascinating locations, and even the creative opportunities my blog has given me, I guess you can say I’m still smitten as a kitten, nearly 14 months later. One of my favorite things in Los Angeles, though, especially to photograph, is the L.A. skyline and the architecture Downtown. I’ve scouted out many spots to go shooting with my friends, enjoy researching and learning about the evolving history of DTLA, and have enjoyed evenings out on most (actually, I think I’d say all at this point…) of the towering rooftop bars and eateries downtown. Since I’m a lover of heights, amazing views, and DTLA in general, you can only imagine how excited I was when I heard back in Fall 2015 that Skyspace was opening in June of 2016.
In case you haven’t yet heard, Skyspace, which opened to the public on Saturday, June 25, 2016, is the tallest open-air observation deck west of the Mississippi. Located nearly 1,000 feet above ground in the U.S. Bank Tower in the Financial District of DTLA, Skyspace will now be the premier destination for the most picturesque, 360 degree views of Los Angeles. After looking more into this observation deck online, I signed up to be on the priority list for tickets, and as soon as they become available to the public, I gathered a group of friends who were interested in attending the Grand Opening with me. It pays to be organized, and we snagged a group package before they were soon sold-out.
To make things even more exciting, earlier this year Skyspace announced that in addition to the observation deck towering 1,000 feet above ground, they were beginning to install the very first of its kind: a Skyslide attached to the side of the building. The Skyslide is forty-five feet long, made of four-inch-thick glass, and is affixed from the 70th to the 69th floor of the US Bank Tower. I guess you could say this attraction wasn’t created for the faint hearted! Check out a short video of the Skyslide here.
It all sounds pretty darn amazing, huh? Unfortunately, the Grand Opening event was one of the most unorganized and, thus disappointing, events I've been to in Los Angeles. On Saturday evening, my friends (some who live outside of LA and drove in for the occasion) and I made our way downtown to the Skyspace grand opening, all feeling pretty pumped to partake in a special part of LA's history. Upon arrival, we easily grabbed our VIP tickets and headed into the building to go through security. Once we made it through the security line, we took the elevator from the 1st to the 54th floor. As we explored the 54th floor, I was pretty amazed! There were large interactive screens showing a rolling film of the many scenes of Los Angeles at night, and the cinematography was absolutely breathtaking. There was also a beautiful, colorful infinity mirror that you can walk on top of (pictured above), and it was pretty intriguing. This was a great start to this event, so we were even more excited to make our way up from the 54th floor to the 70th floor, where the observation decks and Skyslide are. Once we made our way to the top of the 70th floor, right around 7:30pm (which is when our Skyslide was scheduled for), we were in shock to hear that we would have to wait in a 1.5-2 hour line to go on the Skyslide! There was very little AC, nowhere to sit, and it was very crowded and stuffy. We were all shocked. Hadn't we paid for VIP so we could get to the front of the line? Why did I schedule the Skyslide for 7:30pm if they weren't going to honor this? We attempted to ask staff members what the deal was and why we had paid extra to have a set Skyslide time. Everyone seemed to be confused. No one had an answer. Everyone directed us to talk to someone else.
So, we thought if we went outside to the observation deck for about an hour that we would come back inside and the line would be hopefully shorter. Unfortunately, the 2 observation decks were pretty small, were packed with people (I'm only 5'4'' so I couldn't see over everyone. I had to squeeze my way in to take any pictures and see the views), and while it's an "open air" observation deck, there were very large glass panels separating you from the views (I understand this is a safety measure, but there are many rooftops downtown with barriers with no large glass panels). It was hard to stay with my group because there was so many of us, so we kept getting separated and then having to find each other. After we enjoyed the sunset outside (it was definitely beautiful, and I love seeing Los Angeles all lit up! I have such an appreciation for the views we were able to experience, and I realize how lucky we all are to have even had a chance to see these views on opening night!), we made our back to the Skyslide line, hoping that it had shortened. To our disappointment, the line was now longer and it was completely stopped while Skyspace was setting up fireworks on the decks (which we could not see from inside). At this point, we weren't going to be on the slide until about 11:00pm, 3.5 hours after our scheduled entry time. We decided to leave, because we were all hot and tired from standing for over 3 hours, hungry and thirsty (they stopped selling water bottles at 9pm…), and were ready to make the night a little more fun. It pained me to leave without going on the sky slide that we paid so far in advance for. It seems as though many others shared our disappointment, and I overheard people asking for refunds, vouchers, etc. I do wonder if Skyspace will honor any of these requests.
Ultimately, while the night was partly disappointing, I understand that this is a grand opening for a huge event. Of course it was going to be packed. Of course it was going to be slightly unorganized. Of course it was going to be a little chaotic. But I didn't imagine I would leave without getting what we all paid for. I am thinking good thoughts for everyone at Skyspace and hope they not only figure out how to ease their processes and work out the kinks, but also apologize to the many excited folks who did not get what they paid for. I acknowledge my privilege that I had the opportunity to see the very beautiful views from this 70-floor-high observation deck (it was pretty amazing to be up that high!), and as always, I am hopeful and excited for the LA adventures to come.
(Update on 6/28/16: Skyspace has sent me complimentary Skyspace & skyslide tickets for our entire group to try it out again. Great customer service. We're planning on doing the Skyslide in early August, and I will update this blog post when I go on it. Thank you, Skyspace!)
Basically, my advice to you would be to WAIT to go to Skyspace. Wait a few weeks, maybe even a few months, for them to smooth out their processes. And honestly, I wouldn't even say this a "must see" or a "must do." There are plenty of other fantastic views of Downtown LA that you can experience (and some for free!!) and without all of the chaos that ensued at this venue as it's in its beginning stages. I put together a short list below of some of my favorite DTLA views, linking them to my blog posts with all of the details for you:
But, if you are set on going, here’s ticket information from the Skyspace website:
Guests can purchase tickets online, at the box office, or by phone. To purchase tickets online, CLICK HERE and consider the tips below:
I am truly grateful to have had this opportunity to attend the Grand Opening, and it's an evening I won't be forgetting anytime soon. Skyspace is located in the US Bank Building at 633 West Fifth Street; Los Angeles, CA 90071. You can call 213.894.9000 for more information or visit their website by clicking HERE.
Update on 7/25/16
We finally went back to have a skyslide redo (thank you, Skyspace!), and I was happily surprised at how uncrowded Skyspace was on a Sunday afternoon, almost 2 months after the grand opening. The skyslide was really fun (and not scary at all - it goes by too fast to be scary!). The ride was probably about 2 seconds total, and before I could fully take in the views surrounding me, the ride was over. I was unable to upload the video to my blog that I took on the way down, but here's a few more pictures I took on our second time visiting:
EXPLORE YOUR HEART OUT
L.A. is an amazing and diverse city full of culture, history, art, nature, museums, and attractions - which results in countless things to do & see - no matter your budget. Time after time I find that when you seek new adventure, you will find it!
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