Posted in North America, Travels, United States

Worth the Hype? OUE Skyspace

SoCal residents (even many of us in NorCal) have heard about one of LA’s latest attractions — the Skylide at OUE Skyspace. It opened in the summer of 2016 and all the hype from the advertisements made me curious. Of course, I don’t like crowds, so I waited to visit when summer was over and everyone had to get back to their normal lives. Click below for my experiences and some helpful (I think) tips for planning your visit. Too tired to read the whole thing? Scroll all the way to the bottom of this post for a summary.

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Seen from the top

OUE Skyspace is situated at the top of the US Bank building in Downtown LA (apparently the tallest building west of the Mississippi, according to their in-house trivia). At the time I went, I believe it was about $33 for a Skyslide package — admission to the top floor and a ride on the Skyslide included. You can park for the building either along the street or across the street underneath the LA Public Library. If you park at the library garage, be sure to either buy parking for OUE online or pay at the information desk on your way out of OUE — either way you’ll get an $8 voucher. Or you can pay the $20-something that the library charges for an hour-ish.

My favorite travel tip to tell people is to go early and go in the middle of the week, which usually is true for any place that attracts a lot of people and has lines. I went on a Thursday around noon. No lines. I bought my tickets on my phone and the Mother and I proceeded up the faux-Spanish Steps to the Skyspace entrance. Pass through security and up a couple of elevators along the way and you’re golden. After the first elevator, you pass through a level that has panoramic videos of the LA skyline, as well as TV monitors along the hall that have trivia about LA and the US Bank building.

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On the way down

Up the last elevator and you’re greeted with large windows, giving you a 360° view of downtown LA. In all honesty, LA’s downtown skyline isn’t as magnificent as those of, say, New York or Chicago, but it’s still nice to get a bird’s-eye view of your surroundings.

Take a seat on what literally feels like a giant piece of microfiber carpet, scoot your ass to the edge, and slide down one level on the Skyslide. The attendant was nice enough to let me snap this picture right before I scooted myself to the edge, but you can’t have your phone out on the way down the slide.

Going down the slide only takes about 3 seconds. Keep your head turned to the left as much as you can to get a view of the downtown area. Or you can look straight ahead to a padded concrete floor, or to the right to see the lovely side of the building. Nice rush of adrenaline.

The Mother went down on the slide as well, which surprised me because she has a fear of heights and thought the glass the slide was made out of would be too thin and cheap to support her weight. I weigh 170, she weighs less, and nothing cracked when either of us went down the slide. I think it can support much more than that, but I don’t know what their weight limit is. Take a tip from the Mother and sit up as straight as you can when going down the slide. Somehow, the Mother ended up sliding down sideways and lying down. Even the people who worked there were surprised. I had to get pulled to the side to calm down — the laughter was too real.

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Artwork at the end

Overall, it was a nice experience, but something I would only do once. Definitely a notable tourist attraction. I’ve heard from others that it’s really nice at night and a great place to run a special event. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • I would recommend going at night or at sunset for the best views. I personally haven’t been here at night, but I liked the night views of other city skylines better. OUE also has a “Sun & Stars Day Trip” ticket package where you can go in the morning and at night.
  • Yes, I know this place is pretty pricey. It was $33 at the time I went. If you break it down, it’s $25 for admission to Skyspace and $8 for the slide. So really, you’re just paying to go to the top. You might as well add the slide if you don’t have a problem with heights.
  • Follow the attendant’s directions for going down the slide. Don’t end up like the Mother.
  • The parking is valet-ish if you park at the city library. Valet-ish meaning you park your own car and hand your key off to the attendant. Don’t forget to get your parking voucher before you leave Skyspace ($8 with paid admission).
  • Even if you just want to go up for the view, there is ample space for just staring at the skyline. A couple of patios and plenty of standing room inside in front of large windows. Feel free to take photos while you’re up there. I found it a tad difficult while being up there at noon — there was glare from the windows in all of my pictures, and I haven’t figured out how to avoid it.

Not sure if my experience helped those on the fence about going, or are just curious about the space. Any questions I didn’t answer? Do you know how to get rid of glare from photos or avoid it in your sunny-day photos? Let me know below.

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