Historic Angels Flight is known as the world's shortest railway.
Angels Flight is a funicular railway that connects downtown L.A. to attractions on Bunker Hill, and is known as the world's shortest railway.
Two trains travel 298 feet up and down Bunker Hill, between stations on Hill Street and California Plaza.
Tickets can be purchased at either end of the railway, at the bottom station (351 South Hill Street, LA 90013), or the top station (California Plaza on Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90071).
There's also a free stairway if you'd prefer to walk, but the steps can get pretty exhausting!
The original Angels Flight railway opened in 1901, one block north of today's location, and transported passengers from downtown L.A., to their stunning Victorian homes at the top of Bunker Hill.
5 best things about Angels Flight railway
1. Angels Flight has two trains, Sinai and Olivet, running in opposite directions.
2. The trains travel 298 feet up and down Bunker Hill on a shared cable.
3. The railway has been featured in numerous films and TV shows.
4. Most recently the Angels Flight railway appeared in the 2016 Oscar winning movie La La Land.
5. There's a lot of attractions walkable from the Angels Flight railway. These include The Last Bookstore, Grand Central Market, the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Broad, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Grand Park.
Attractions near the top station, at Angels Flight
MOCA & The Broad are contemporary art galleries, across the road from each other. The Broad is free, but register for a ticket to avoid waiting in line.
Walt Disney Concert Hall is next door to The Broad.
Grand Park has a wonderful splashpad for kids with spectacular views of the LA Town Hall. There's also a Starbucks for refreshments.
Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels is adjacent to Grand Park, and is architecturally stunning.
Attractions near the bottom station, at Angels Flight
The Last Bookstore is an LA icon, housed inside a 22,000 square foot historic bank with a vault. The art installations created from books, attract lots of interest.
Grand Central Market opened in 1917 and is the perfect location for a meal or snack. Grab a coffee and taste delicious food offerings from around the world.
The historic Bradbury Building (1893) is popular with photography enthusiasts. This five-story Victorian building has an interior courtyard floodlit with ethereal light from a dramatic atrium. The courtyard is architecturally stunning, with birdcage elevators, intricate ironwork and marble stairways. The public can access the lobby and first stair landing. It's free to visit.
Why was Angels Flight constructed?
The Angels Flight railway opened in 1901, one block north of today's location, transporting passengers from downtown LA, to stunning Victorian homes owned by affluent citizens at the top of Bunker Hill. These grand homes were constructed in the late 1800's, and included some architectural masterpieces like the Bradbury Mansion.
However, by the 1920's these beautiful mansions fell into disrepair, as their owners relocated to new neighborhoods like Pasadena. The mansions were soon converted to cheap boarding houses, and rented out to working class tenants. Bunker Hill subsequently became rife with crime and over-crowding.
A travesty then occurred when every Victorian home on Bunker Hill was razed to the ground in the 1960s to make way for modern, commercial buildings. It's topography was also permanently altered when the hill was flattened, and over 20,000 working class citizens were displaced.
The Angels Flight railway was dismantled and the cars, archway and ticket booths were put into storage. The Angels Flight railway then disappeared for 27 years.
In 1996 it re-opened in its second location a block south. However a fatal accident in 2001 again closed down the railway when a passenger died.
The Angels Flight railway opened again in 2010, but a 2013 derailment led to another closure. The Angels Flight railway was redesigned with improved safety features and re-opened in 2017.
Take a train to downtown LA to see Angels Flight
Both the Red Line and Expo Line travel to downtown LA, and are a cheap way to travel.
The Red Line travels from Hollywood to downtown's Pershing Square station. This station is 0.2 miles from Angels Flight.
The Expo Line travels from Santa Monica to downtown's 7th Street/Metro Center station. This station is 0.6 miles from Angels Flight.
Know before you go
- Bottom Station: 351 South Hill Street, LA 90013 (across from Grand Central Market).
- Top Station: California Plaza on Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90071.
- Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at either end of the railway. There's also a free stairway if you'd prefer to walk.