The Music Center: Top 10 Things to See and Do


1. Walt Disney Concert Hall 

disney concert hall

The Music Center is a huge part of what makes Downtown LA a world class cultural hub. Several gorgeous buildings, taking up more than a few city blocks, are the sites of numerous artistic performances and exhibitions. Perhaps the most iconic is the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Hailed for its impeccable acoustic design, Disney Hall has been known as a landmark ever since its construction in 2003. Plenty of fabulous performances take place in the now-famous concert hall, and there’s much to explore apart from a full-length show. Free public tours of Walt Disney Concert Hall, Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theatre, and Dorothy Chandler pavilion are offered Tuesday through Saturday at 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM. Learn about the history, construction, and family programs of each institution. There is great in-depth tour of the Walt Disney Concert Hall that travels through the interior and into the gardens, offered on select days at 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM.

If you prefer to move at your own pace, self-guided audio tours are available on select days from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM, and include commentary from architect Frank Gehry.

2. Los Angeles Philharmonic

la phil

With its home at the Walt Disney Concert hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic offers the best in both acoustic and visual wonder. Music Director Gustavo Dudamel has had an impressive impact on classical music worldwide, and has been delighting LA Phil audiences ever since his debut in 2005. The Philharmonic presents a wide range of talent, season after season, with recital, jazz, world music, songbook, visiting orchestras, and holiday concerts. (They are also known for show-stopping performances in conjunction with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, which Dudamel also directs.) Although most well known for adult-friendly performances, the LA Phil puts on a number of shows for families throughout the year.

Explore their calendar to find out what shows are best for your family. And if you're looking for a reason to enjoy another notable venue, check out the LA Phil's Hollywood Bowl schedule.

3. Glorya Kaufman Dance at the Music Center

glorya kaufman dance

The Music Center is Los Angeles’ premiere venue for dance appreciation. Classical companies like The National Ballet of Canada, The Joffrey, and American Ballet Theatre delight ballet buffs and the everyday admirer alike, and contemporary performances bring the audience to their feet. Glorya Kaufman Dance at the Music Center continuously curates phenomenal seasons, and every family should make an occasion out of at least one (if not more). One hour before every performance, tune in to DanceTalks either in person or from your phone for behind-the-scenes info about the making of the show you’re about to see.

Take a look at the Special Engagements page to find out about off-season public programming.

4. World City

world city

World City at The Music Center combines art workshops and shows from internationally acclaimed performers in a celebration of different cultures that thrive within LA and beyond. Past seasons have included performances of everything from Incan to Russian dance and music, and these events a great excuse to spend the day with your family outside in our diverse city.

The shows are all free to the public, but read our article about the experience of taking kids to World City to learn how to get your tickets.

5. LA Master Chorale

la master chorale

There are many reasons the LA Master Chorale is the resident chorus of Disney Hall. Grammy nominations, three ASCAP/Chorus America Awards, and a Margaret Hillis Award. The Chorale performs for over 30,000 audience members every year, and offers programming that ranges in theme and targeted age group. Their Handel's Messiah and holiday season programming are a must event for every one that grows up in LA.

We recommend sing-alongs to introduce your family to the wonders of choral  music.

6. Toyota Symphonies for Youth

toyota symphonies for youth

The Toyota Symphonies for Youth program at the Walt Disney Concert Hall is the perfect way to introduce your child to the wonderful world of classical music. Shows are conducted by Dudamel and always infused with excitement. Created by the LA Phil with the goal of incorporating classical music into the lives of young children, Toyota Symphonies for Youth caters to kids ages 5-11 by enacting the stories of composers and bringing to life the themes of the featured music. Hands-on arts and crafts workshops are open before shows, enabling kids to become familiar with the work of the composer they are about to hear, as well as the themes of the piece. There are only about eight performances per year, but book early because these sell out quickly.

Learn more by reading our story about the experience of attending these special events.

7. Grand Park

8040_Goodman_Grand Park

Grand Park is the park for everyone. With plenty of open spaces, walking paths, an interactive “splash pad” and more, Grand Park is the perfect place for a family picnic, birthday celebration, or afternoon stroll. Even furry four-legged members of your family are welcome, just be sure to keep Fido on a leash. The park opened during the summer of 2012 and is open year-round from 5:30 AM until 10:00 PM. Recurring events like “Lunch A La Park” (Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, food trucks located on Olive Court and the Marketplace) and “Lunchtime Yoga reTREAT" (Wednesdays and Fridays from 12:15-1:00 PM) are perfect for grabbing a bite or finding your zen.

Check the calendar for other engaging, family friendly events – from Free Taco days to Book Fairs and Dance Parties.

8. Theater


Center Theatre Group is the resident, non-profit company that puts on a wide variety of both modern and classical plays and musicals, but other companies have been known to make welcomed appearances. Operating on three stages  – the Ahmanson Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum and the Kirk Douglas Theatre – the CTG brings the best theater in the world to LA audiences.

9. REDCAT Theater

Ann Magnuson 10/08

Inside Disney Hall lies The Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, or REDCAT. This contemporary arts center offers a fresh roster of live performances, exhibitions, literary events, and film screenings. A self-proclaimed risk taker, REDCAT presents patrons with bold, thought-provoking programming options during nearly 200 performances throughout the year.

Check the calendar for other engaging, family friendly events – from Free Taco days to Book Fairs and Dance Parties.

10. The Plaza 

music center plaza

The plaza at The Music Center really ties everything together. A cute little café right in the middle offers all sorts of refreshments for before or after shows, and the plaza itself is often the site of many performances and free events. The fountain at the plaza is the site of many a childhood memory, and kids of all ages will have a blast running around, daring the 280 high-powered jets to spray higher and higher.

music center fountain