Take a free or self-guided tour of the central rotunda, the press room and council chambers. Enter off of Spring Street (only public entrance) and take the elevator to the 26th floor to see portraits of former mayors, and then go up to the 27th floor for a 360 degree observation deck. The 3rd floor has important memorabilia such as the Olympic torch.
Visiting City Hall was one of the highlights of our day trip to Downtown LA. We made sure this time to visit during the week (closed weekends) so we could go up to the tower on the 27th floor. We entered on the 1st floor on Main Street and actually had to wait to go in because there was a meeting up in the tower that was happening so we went to the park across the street and killed 30 minutes making up games and taking pictures.
After going through a security checkpoint (X-ray scanner for bags, metal detector for humans), we checked in at security (showed ID and signed in), were given visitor badges and then were told what floors we could visit.
TIP: There are 8 elevators. 4 go to only floor 10, the other 4 go to floor 22. The floor you want to go to is 26. So, take the elevator to floor 22 and then transfer over to the elevator on that floor that goes to floor 26. That floor has a set of stairs and a separate elevator that go to floor 27 where the observation deck is located.
We took the elevators up to the 26th floor and walked around it, looking at the paintings of past mayors. Then up the stairs we went to the observation deck. We loved looking through the arches (well protected by bars so it is safe for kids) at the city below on all 4 sides of the tower. There are old displays where you can mostly make out what buildings and areas are below you.
On our way down the elevator, we met the Deputy Mayor of Finance, Rick Cole. He was so kind and helped us find the Olympic torch on the 3rd floor.
Make sure to stop on the 3rd floor and visit the ornate rotunda with symbols and images on the ceiling. There is a Spanish Galleon in metal on the floor in the center that is also beautiful. Near the entrance to Spring Street in a little rotunda on the side is the Olympic torch from the Olympics held in LA in 1984 set into the wall. The kids thought that was pretty cool. On the 3rd floor towards Main Street was a display of artifacts from Japan that were also interesting to see.
We exited out towards Spring Street (not the side we came in on) and found it beautiful out there because it was originally the main entrance. There are quotes from Lincoln and Cicero on the facade of the building as well as arched porticos and flags that give City Hall quite a distinguished look.
We headed across Spring Street to Grand Park which will have a playground in 2015? and had flags on display and a great water splash pad (plus Starbucks) to make for a great after activity for City Hall.