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The Theatre at the Ace Hotel

Hip meets historic at a hotel’s movie palace

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Stay at the über-cool Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles and, without even leaving the premises, you can go to cultural events in one of the country’s most lavish and historic movie palaces. The hotel sits atop the 1927 United Artists Theatre—the first movie theater built for that studio—and it has reinvented this Spanish Gothic landmark as a state-of-the-art performance space: the Theatre at the Ace Hotel.

The lineup of events at the 1,600-seat capacity venue typically includes lectures, movie screenings, rock concerts by the likes of Patti Smith and Modest Mouse and comedy sets by A-listers such as Jim Gaffigan. Once inside, it may be a little jarring to find a lobby bar in the midst of design inspired by a 16th-century cathedral in Segovia, Spain, but it just serves to remind you that no matter how elegant the interior is, this is still a rock venue. Elaborate features include the ornate proscenium and vintage murals depicting film legends (Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford were among the founders of the studio that built the theater). Look up to see a vaulted ceiling glittering with thousands of tiny, glimmering mirrors.

After a show, head out for a nightcap (or late-night bite) at Upstairs, the Ace’s open-air rooftop bar, where the views of the city stretch out in every direction.

Insider tip: If your visit inspires you to take a deeper dive into DTLA’s historic past, book a guided tour of the neighborhood. The L.A. Conservancy offers a Broadway Historic Theatre and Commercial District walking tour on Saturday mornings, as well as a number of self-guided tours.

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