If you go to Walt Disney World in Florida, you will find a replica of Crossroads of the World right at the entrance to Disney's facsimile of Hollywood Boulevard (at Disney MGM Studios.) But you can see the original Crossroads right here, on Sunset Boulevard.
This unusual little collection of shops has been called "L.A.'s first modern shopping mall." Built in 1936, Crossroads of the World is perhaps most notable for its unique architecture. The centerpiece building of the project resembles a miniature ocean liner, an Art Deco facade complete with portholes, railings, life preservers, and decks,. An outdoor village of small, European-style bungalows surrounds the "ship" (Italian, Mexican, Turkish, New England, French - there's even a lighthouse!), and rising above it all is a central 30'-foot Streamline Moderne tower, topped by an 8-foot, revolving globe of planet Earth.
Crossroads of the World was once a retail shopping center, but today it is a quiet office complex. Still, as Hollywood landmarks go, it's in good shape, and it's open to the public.
Alas, there's little for a visitor to do here on most days (other than satisfying one's curiosity), since Crossroads is now mainly a collection of business offices, without few single retail shops and no restaurants. But there are two retail art galleries at Crossroads: Tinlark Gallery (specializing in affordable emerging artists), and Kite & Overdun (on the corner of Sunset & Las Palmas).
Crossroads is photogenic, though, so if you're a camera buff, you might want to take some photos here. It was featured in the 1993 film "Indecent Proposal" (Demi Moore's character worked in a real estate office here). It was also seen several times in the 1997 film noir "L.A. Confidential" (where it served as Danny DeVito's tabloid office).
And if you're a fan of the pop group "America" ("Horse With No Name," "Sister Golden Hair"), you'll probably recognize the Crossroads center from an illustration in their 1975 "America's Greatest Hits" album. (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records.)
When you enter Crossroads from Sunset Boulevard, be sure to walk back north, to the rear of the center, where you'll discover a small lighthouse and some charming Bavarian architecture (hidden from the view of Sunset passersby), replete with a brick wishing well, a fountain, and gabled roofs.
Each September, Crossroads of the World plays host to an annual art festival called the "Hollywood Art Affair." This outdoor festival brings together more than 70 different artists to display their works, along with food and live music. It's a good opportunity for the curious to visit the historic center. For more information about this year's Art Affair, phone (323) 469-8311.
There's a paid parking
lot on La Palma, north of Sunset, as well as limited street parking north
Getting there: Crossroads of the World is located on the north side of Sunset Boulevard, between Las Palmas Avenue and Cherokee Avenue (about half a mile west of the Cinerama Dome). / From Hollywood & Vine, go south two blocks on Vine Street to Sunset Boulevard. Turn right (west) on Sunset, and go about half a mile west to Las Palmas. Crossroads will be on your right (north) side, just past Blessed Sacrament Church.
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