Designed in 1971 by Charles Luckman, architect of Madison Square Garden and LAX’s famous Theme Building (now known as Encounter Restaurant & Bar), this largely featureless behemoth of a convention complex sprawls over several blocks’ worth of Downtown and plays host to dozens of industry showcases, genre expos and special events each year. Expanded in the mid-1990s (with a design by Ingo James Freed) and updated in the early 2000s, in 2008 it became the first U.S. convention center (and large building in Los Angeles) to be awarded LEED certification for its energy efficiency.
One of the largest convention centers in America, the LACC long seemed marooned in an increasingly-fading swath of Downtown, but in the late 1990s, it received a huge commercial boost from the creation of Staples Center and the adjacent L.A. Live entertainment/dining/hotel complex. The area surrounding the LACC is now booming with revitalization efforts which have rippled across the whole of Downtown.
Convention attendees are now spoiled for choice when it comes to lodging, high-end chain restaurants and bars, concert and sports venues, and a multiplex movie theatre. A popular coffee-meeting spot is the lobby of the J.W. Marriott Hotel, which features an Illy coffee café, and a Metro Rail station on the Red Line right beneath L.A. Live means that conventioneers can easily travel to other sections of Downtown, as well as Hollywood and Culver City.
Anything longer than one-hour street parking is essentially nonexistent near the Convention Center, so drivers should take advantage of the multiple lots surrounding the building. Parking rates vary and are posted outside or in front of each area, and average a one-time fee of $15.