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Fountain in the Rose garden at Exposition Park behind the California Science Center.
Fountain in the Rose garden at Exposition Park behind the California Science Center.
Tracie Hall / Flickr creative commons

Mapping all of Exposition Park's attractions

Both present and future

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Fountain in the Rose garden at Exposition Park behind the California Science Center.
| Tracie Hall / Flickr creative commons

With the news that Exposition Park will soon become the home of George Lucas's huge, flying saucer-y Museum of Narrative Art, now seems like a good time to take stock of what's already in the park—and what's on the way.

Officially named Exposition Park in 1910, the space was previously known as Agricultural Park and served as a popular fairground and racetrack starting in 1872. The prevalence of alcohol and gambling in the park eventually convinced some of Los Angeles's Victorian-minded officials that a thorough transformation was necessary, and in 1909, the city, state, and county began making plans to overhaul the park.

The result was a public space planned in the City Beautiful tradition: open, neatly organized, and architecturally impressive. Of course, the park has undergone a lot of changes since then.

Now broken up by narrow roadways and dotted with parking lots, the park is somewhat difficult to navigate and conspicuously lacking in green space. Though it features many individually popular attractions, the park itself is rarely treated as a destination unto itself.

But could that be changing? As news came in about the new museum's arrival, Mayor Eric Garcetti told the LA Times that the new institution could help transform Exposition Park into Los Angeles's version of Central Park (though, with an eclectic mix of architectural styles and multiple surface lots, many New Yorkers would probably argue that it already is). He went on to call the Lucas Museum the "jewel in the crown" of the park's continuing evolution.

With that very optimistic assessment as a starting point, let's dig into the park's history and future by breaking down its individual components.

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1. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

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900 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 763-3466
Visit Website
Designed to be the cultural focal point of Exposition Park, the museum opened to the public in November of 1913, the same month that water began flowing from the Los Angeles Aqueduct. (The large fountain in the Rose Garden was built at the same time, as a somewhat lavish display of the city's bountiful new water supply.) Originally called the Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science, and Art, the museum was initially devoted to all those things, but narrowed its focus a bit starting in the 1960s, when its collection began to outgrow the available gallery space.

2. California Science Center

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700 Exposition Park Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037
(323) 724-3623
Visit Website
The California Science Center opened as the California Museum of Science and Industry in 1951, following renovations to the 1912 State Exposition Building. Having expanded into a 245,000 square-foot complex in 1998, with an additional exhibition wing opening in 2010, the free museum continues to expand. When complete, the planned Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will add 200,000 square feet of exhibit space and will provide a permanent home for the recently arrived Space Shuttle Endeavour.

A photo posted by Syed Nasir (@syed_tank_nasir) on

3. Exposition Park Rose Garden

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3990 Menlo Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90037
Built on the site of the park's former racetrack, this attraction began as a sunken garden in 1915, with more than 100 types of roses planted in 1927. In 1986, the LA Coliseum Commission floated plans to replace the garden with a parking structure (featuring vegetation on the roof), but public opposition defeated that proposal and the Rose Garden remains as one of the city's few Beaux Arts-style public spaces.

4. California African American Museum

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600 State Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90037
(213) 744-7432
Visit Website
The African American Museum opened in 1981 and moved into its current location in 1984, while the city was playing host to the Olympic Games. Designed by African American architects Jack W. Haywood and Vincent J. Proby, the museum has thousands of artifacts and works of art in its permanent collection, along with a large research library open to the public by appointment.

A photo posted by Joyce Angelos (@joangelos) on

5. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

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3911 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90037
(213) 747-7111
Visit Website
Completed in 1923, the Coliseum is one of the oldest active sports stadiums in the nation (though, locally, the Rose Bowl has it beat by a year). Host to not one, but two (and maybe someday a third) Olympics Opening Ceremonies, the structure gained its signature cauldron in advance of the 1932 games. Now operated by USC, the Coliseum will soon get a major renovation that will bring two massive digital scoreboards to the venue and supplement the democratically uncomfortable rows of seating with cushy luxury boxes.

Throwback to watching the worst team in the NFL #thankgodimapatsfan

A photo posted by ||Sabrina Stewart|| (@sabrina_l_stewart) on

6. Expo Park/USC Metro Station

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661 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Directly across the street from the Rose Garden, this Metro stop provides easy access to all of Exposition Park's attractions. It sure beats $100 parking on game days.

7. Jesse Brewer Jr. Park

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The most, well, park-like part of Exposition Park, this little patch of green space features a playground and some fun animal sculptures. It's named for LAPD Assistant Chief Jesse Brewer, the highest-ranking African American officer on the force at the time of his retirement in 1991.

The dogo

A photo posted by Rick (@7lassi7) on

8. Alexander Science Center School

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3737 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 746-1995
No, that abstract, futuristic building on Figueroa is not a Bond villain's secret laboratory. It's an elementary school. Not surprisingly, the Science Center School focuses its curriculum around science and technology. It's part of a complex of buildings operated by the Science Center itself. Also included: the Wallis Annenberg Building for Science Learning and Innovation, originally built as the 160th Regiment State Armory in 1912.

A photo posted by Mel McGowan (@visioneer) on

9. Banc Of California Stadium

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This Gensler-designed 22,000-seat soccer stadium will replace the Los Angeles Sports Memorial Arena, which closed for good last year. The new venue will be the future home of the Los Angeles Football Club, one of the many teams on LA's rapidly growing list of sports franchises. Set to open in 2018, the project will also bring 100,000 square feet of restaurants and a soccer museum to the park.

10. Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

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3800 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90037
Designed by Ma Yansong, the Lucas Museum will be devoted to the art of storytelling, with items in the collection including an original Darth Vader mask, illustrations by Robert Crumb, and paintings by Norman Rockwell. Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson will invest $1 billion into the five-story, 312,000-square-foot museum, which will include an underground parking structure. Garcetti told the Times that Lucas has also expressed interest in helping to guide a master plan for Exposition Park's continued redevelopment going forward.

11. Expo Center

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3980 Menlo Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90037
This public athletics facility is centered around the Los Angeles Swimming Stadium, built to house aquatic events at the 1932 Olympics. Offering classes, sports programs, and after-school care, the facility includes a swimming pool, soccer field, rec center, senior center, and outdoor amphitheater.

Always welcome the pressure. #LEBRON12

A photo posted by Nike Basketball (@nikebasketball) on

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1. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

900 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007
Designed to be the cultural focal point of Exposition Park, the museum opened to the public in November of 1913, the same month that water began flowing from the Los Angeles Aqueduct. (The large fountain in the Rose Garden was built at the same time, as a somewhat lavish display of the city's bountiful new water supply.) Originally called the Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science, and Art, the museum was initially devoted to all those things, but narrowed its focus a bit starting in the 1960s, when its collection began to outgrow the available gallery space.
900 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90007

2. California Science Center

700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90037
The California Science Center opened as the California Museum of Science and Industry in 1951, following renovations to the 1912 State Exposition Building. Having expanded into a 245,000 square-foot complex in 1998, with an additional exhibition wing opening in 2010, the free museum continues to expand. When complete, the planned Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will add 200,000 square feet of exhibit space and will provide a permanent home for the recently arrived Space Shuttle Endeavour.

A photo posted by Syed Nasir (@syed_tank_nasir) on

700 Exposition Park Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037

3. Exposition Park Rose Garden

3990 Menlo Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90037
Built on the site of the park's former racetrack, this attraction began as a sunken garden in 1915, with more than 100 types of roses planted in 1927. In 1986, the LA Coliseum Commission floated plans to replace the garden with a parking structure (featuring vegetation on the roof), but public opposition defeated that proposal and the Rose Garden remains as one of the city's few Beaux Arts-style public spaces.
3990 Menlo Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90037

4. California African American Museum

600 State Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90037
The African American Museum opened in 1981 and moved into its current location in 1984, while the city was playing host to the Olympic Games. Designed by African American architects Jack W. Haywood and Vincent J. Proby, the museum has thousands of artifacts and works of art in its permanent collection, along with a large research library open to the public by appointment.

A photo posted by Joyce Angelos (@joangelos) on

600 State Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90037

5. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

3911 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90037
Completed in 1923, the Coliseum is one of the oldest active sports stadiums in the nation (though, locally, the Rose Bowl has it beat by a year). Host to not one, but two (and maybe someday a third) Olympics Opening Ceremonies, the structure gained its signature cauldron in advance of the 1932 games. Now operated by USC, the Coliseum will soon get a major renovation that will bring two massive digital scoreboards to the venue and supplement the democratically uncomfortable rows of seating with cushy luxury boxes.

Throwback to watching the worst team in the NFL #thankgodimapatsfan

A photo posted by ||Sabrina Stewart|| (@sabrina_l_stewart) on

3911 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90037

6. Expo Park/USC Metro Station

661 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Directly across the street from the Rose Garden, this Metro stop provides easy access to all of Exposition Park's attractions. It sure beats $100 parking on game days.
661 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089

7. Jesse Brewer Jr. Park

Los Angeles, CA
The most, well, park-like part of Exposition Park, this little patch of green space features a playground and some fun animal sculptures. It's named for LAPD Assistant Chief Jesse Brewer, the highest-ranking African American officer on the force at the time of his retirement in 1991.

The dogo

A photo posted by Rick (@7lassi7) on

8. Alexander Science Center School

3737 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007
No, that abstract, futuristic building on Figueroa is not a Bond villain's secret laboratory. It's an elementary school. Not surprisingly, the Science Center School focuses its curriculum around science and technology. It's part of a complex of buildings operated by the Science Center itself. Also included: the Wallis Annenberg Building for Science Learning and Innovation, originally built as the 160th Regiment State Armory in 1912.

A photo posted by Mel McGowan (@visioneer) on

3737 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90007

9. Banc Of California Stadium

Los Angeles, CA 90037
This Gensler-designed 22,000-seat soccer stadium will replace the Los Angeles Sports Memorial Arena, which closed for good last year. The new venue will be the future home of the Los Angeles Football Club, one of the many teams on LA's rapidly growing list of sports franchises. Set to open in 2018, the project will also bring 100,000 square feet of restaurants and a soccer museum to the park.

10. Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

3800 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90037
Designed by Ma Yansong, the Lucas Museum will be devoted to the art of storytelling, with items in the collection including an original Darth Vader mask, illustrations by Robert Crumb, and paintings by Norman Rockwell. Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson will invest $1 billion into the five-story, 312,000-square-foot museum, which will include an underground parking structure. Garcetti told the Times that Lucas has also expressed interest in helping to guide a master plan for Exposition Park's continued redevelopment going forward.
3800 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90037

11. Expo Center

3980 Menlo Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90037
This public athletics facility is centered around the Los Angeles Swimming Stadium, built to house aquatic events at the 1932 Olympics. Offering classes, sports programs, and after-school care, the facility includes a swimming pool, soccer field, rec center, senior center, and outdoor amphitheater.

Always welcome the pressure. #LEBRON12

A photo posted by Nike Basketball (@nikebasketball) on

3980 Menlo Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90037