More than five decades have passed since The Music Center began hosting the world’s most prestigious dance companies, theater productions, and musicians at venues along Grand Avenue. Now, thanks to a $41 million makeover that took nearly two years to complete, the cultural destination’s plaza is poised to welcome more performers and guests for years to come.
Home to the Ahmanson Theatre, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Mark Taper Forum, Grand Park and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Music Center is one of the most visited performing art centers in the world, with the DTLA plaza connecting the prestigious venues. It’s not uncommon for locals and visitors alike to enjoy meals or downtime in the plaza while waiting for a show to begin, and The Music Center regularly invites the public to attend events at the plaza like the free dance classes held in the summer as part of Dance DTLA. The goal of the renovation is to create a space where more people can participate, making it possible for the outdoor space to host larger gatherings like film screenings, performances, and community events.
As part of the renovation, The Music Center’s “Peace on Earth” sculpture—created by Jacques Lipchitz and dedicated in 1969—was relocated from the main square and positioned to a new level, while the space now has additional access points from Grand Avenue. Newly installed escalators and elevators make the trip to the plaza easier for those that require ADA access, and the plaza’s capacity has now doubled to 5,000 thanks to the expansive design. The new Lisa Specht Welcome Center will help keep visitors informed about local events, and the renovation added permanent public restrooms and ambitious new culinary options.
Guests can now grab a drink at a new outpost from beloved coffee shop Go Get Em Tiger, or at The Mullin Wine, a wine bar featuring offerings curated by local wine shops. The Music Center plaza’s makeover also marks the debut of Abernathy, a 125-seat full-service restaurant with a rotating dining concept, hosting a different chef—and menu—for just three months at a time. Shirley Chung of Ms. Chi in Culver City serves as the first chef featured at Abernathy. Gardens, landscaped vistas, and a reinstated fountain complement the revamped outdoor space, and new LED screens invite guests to create digital art.
The re-opening of the plaza also came with a $12 million gift from City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski and her Ring-Miscikowski /The Ring Foundation to support the new TMC Arts Fund, which is dedicated to making high-quality arts and educational programs produced at the plaza available for all.
We’re continually inspired by the creative energy of Downtown Los Angeles. For local recommendations—and to hear from the diverse individuals who make DTLA what it is today—head to our Meet You Downtown blog.