Built for the vaudeville circuit in 1926, the Orpheum Theatre underwent a major renovation in the early 1990s and is now the best-preserved palace-style theater in LA. With a Beaux Arts exterior and a Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ below its curtained stage, this is a living remnant of the city’s magnificent Broadway Theater District.
Visiting the historic Orpheum Theatre puts you in illustrious company; the likes of the Marx Brothers, Lena Horne, Will Rogers, and Aretha Franklin have stood onstage over the years. Most recently, the venue hosted auditions for American Idol. The best way to experience the Orpheum in its full glory is to attend a performance. The events calendar is packed with everything from ballet and classical music to plays and stand-up comedy.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Orpheum is a must-see for history buffs and music lovers.
- The camera-use policy varies from event to event, so check before arriving.
- The main floor and balcony are both wheelchair accessible.
- It’s wise to buy tickets ahead of time—shows can sell out.
How to Get There
The Orpheum sits rather conveniently between Santa Monica 10, Harbor/Pasadena 110, and Hollywood 101 Freeways in Downtown L.A. You’ll find ample public parking in the vicinity.
When to Get There
The best time to visit The Orpheum is during a performance, which allows you to experience the hall as it was designed to be experienced. Performers typically offer multiple showings, both in the late afternoon and evening.
The Los Angeles Broadway District
With a dozen movie houses (all built between 1910 and 1931) in a few-block radius, the Broadway District was once the entertainment epicenter of LA. Today it’s a National Historic District, replete with office buildings and department stores that have been repurposed into restaurants, shops, and bars. Many of the classic Greek, Italian Renaissance, and Roman-style façades remain.