Are you planning a trip to Ottawa? It’s a beautiful city to visit in any season, for its architecture and its parks. While developing our Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt, we identified many iconic buildings in Ottawa that sign the visual landscape of this city which we thought you should take time to admire.
14 iconic buildings in Ottawa
Government Conference Center
Built in the Beau-Arts style by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1912, the Government Conference Center by the Rideau Canal faces the Chateau Laurier hotel and is very close to Parliament Hill. It was originally Ottawa’s Union Station, the main rail hub.
Today, this building serves to host various conferences and political activities such as the G20 in 2001. A section of the Berlin Wall resided in its entrance from 1991 until 2011 when it moved to a museum.
The Lord Elgin Hotel was built in 1941 in the chateau style. It bears the name, like the road it is on, of James Bruce (1862-1863), 8th Earl of Elgin and first Governor General of United Canada. He was the official representative of the British Crown in this British province – before it became a country.
The post office on Sparks
This beautiful château and art-deco style building was built in 1939 as a Post Office. It has been classified as a national landmark. Note the inscription at 59 Sparks, a reference to a prior institution.
The Confederation Building was erected in 1931 for the ministry of agriculture, in the Chateau style, like the Chateau Laurier hotel. Many MPs have their offices here today.
Also built in the Château style, the Justice Building opened in 1938 for the RCMP – Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Ian Fleming’s novel « For Your Eyes Only » (1960), which became a film in 1981 with Roger Moore, brought James Bond to meet the RCMP here. It accurately describes the building and its interior. However, none of the 24 films in this franchise has set foot in Canada.
Supreme Court of Canada
This institution is the highest judicial level in the country, hearing 40 to 75 cases per year. Decisions from the 9 judges are final. No appeal is possible. The only possibility of overthrowing or changing one of their rulings is an Act of Parliament, which must be voted by the House of Commons, or lower house of the government.
The cornerstone of this building was laid in 1939 by Queen Elizabeth, Queen Elisabeth II’s mother and spouse to King George VI. You may know her best as the Queen Mother. It was completed in 1946. However, there’s an error in the date on the cornerstone. The Queen faced bad weather in her Atlantic crossing and was delayed by 1 day to the ceremony. As it was already engraved, it was laid as such.
The national history museum is also located in Hull, next to the Children’s Museum. Its original name was the Canadian Civilisation Museum
Its goal is to collect and present objects that illustrate the human history of Canada and its cultural diversity.
National Arts Gallery
This museum, founded in 1880 by the Governor General of the time who was married to Princess Louise, who was an artist. In 1882, the museum moved to Parliament Hill in the same building as the Supreme Court. It moved in 1911 to the Victoria Memorial Museum which later became the Canadian Museum of Nature. In 1962, it moved yet again to Elgin road near the British Embassy. Finally, it moved to its own new home in a large glass building on the northern point of Ottawa, in 1988.
The Canadian Parliament was originally built between 1859 and 1878 in the Neogothic Style, similar to the Chateau Style. Inspired by French, English and Flemish architectural elements, its construction employed mostly wood.
In 1916, a great fire ravaged the central building. Only the library, at the back, escaped unscathed because of an employee’s quick reflexes in closing the firewall door connecting it to the central building. Stone comprises the bulk of the current building, completed in 1920. Keep in mind this construction occurred during World War One which ended in 1918.
The Parliament building houses the Senate, composed of 105 members, as well as the Chamber of House of Commons, composed of 338 representatives from all regions of Canada.
In the center, you can see the Peace Tower, built between 1919 and 1928, grander than the original Victoria Tower. The bell from the original tower stands exposed behind the parliament among other monuments. At its base is the Remembrance Chapel, dedicated to Canadians killed in armed conflict abroad.
The main entrance is Confederation Hall, commonly called the Rotunda.
The Chateau Laurier hotel, today operated by Fairmont, opened in 1912. The Canadian Pacific Railway built it in tandem with Union Station across the street.
Prime Minister’s Office
The offices of the Prime Minister of Canada and the Privy Council are located to the front left of the Canadian Parliament Hill, on Wellington. It opened in 1889, built in the Second Empire style.
United States Embassy to Canada
The American embassy in Canada is at 490 Sussex Promenade, next to Major’s Hill Park. It opened in 1999. The is the most important embassy in Ottawa, as well and the most impressive of American embassies around the world.
Royal Canadian Mint
This museum is on the eastern edge of the downtown area. Learn how money gots designed and fabricated in Canada throughout its history. It stands next to the Ottawa River.
We invite you to try our Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2-hour self-guided walking tour of the downtown area that you do with your smartphone (how it works). It costs $35 for a group of 2 to 6 persons. You’ll come across most of these buildings and much more. Moreover, you’ll enjoy solving the various challenges at each step of the way while learning the history of Ottawa.
This is the principal Amtrak terminal for the city, as well as a central hub for the various metro lines crisscrossing the city. The current Beaux Arts building is the third railroad structure to stand on this site, now covering 48 acres. Railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt built the original Grand Central Depot in 1871. The number of railroad companies quickly outgrew the Depot, In 189, demolition took place to replace it with the six-story Grand Central Station.
Back then, trains were steam-powered. After a 1902 catastrophic collision, a decision switched steam to modern electric trains. Again, the existing building was rebuilt to accommodate electric trains. Grand Central was no longer just a stop along a route, but the final stop. Hence, it became Grand Central Terminal and officially opened in 1913.
The nicest feature of Grand Central Terminal is the ceiling of the grand hall, a colossal, breathtaking mural of the zodiac constellations.
Located 3 city blocks from Grand Central Terminal, the United Nations is headquartered in New York City, in the neighborhood called Turtle Bay.
This complex as served since 1952 along the East River. Note that all of the United Nation’s specialized agencies are located outside New York City. Many large art installations can be found throughout the grounds.
New York Public Library
Patience and Fortitude are the two majestic lions outside the main branch of the New York Public Library. They have been the institution’s mascots for more than a century.
It has been NY’s largest and busiest circulating library. Renovations undertaken in August of 2017 keep most of the building closed. You can still access the entrance which is worth a quick visit. It will reopen in early 2020.
The world-famous Chrysler Building is an Art Deco-style skyscraper, built in 1928.
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building opened in 1931, also in the Art Deco style. It is currently (2018) the 5th tallest skyscraper in the United States.
It is located on an original lot of an 18th-century farm. The Astor family built a hotel here in the 1890s. They sold it in 1920. After a teardown, the structure we see now emerged. The Airship mast on top, now an antenna, ensured it would be the world’s tallest building, beating the Chrysler Building and others in construction at the time.
Visiting the Empire State Building costs $37 for adults and will take about an hour of your time.
At 6 Times Square is the Knickerbocker Hotel.
This Beau-Arts style 1906 construction operated as a hotel until 1920. At that time, a complete conversion turned it into offices for Newsweek magazine until 1959. It’s been converted back into a hotel in 2013. You will find at its very top, the St.Cloud rooftop bar with a great view of Times Square.
Rockefeller Center is home to NBC Studios which you can tour. You’ll also find here the Top of the Rock attraction. To experience either of these two, you will want to enter the center from 6th Ave. You’ll find The Top of the Rock midway through. This is the home of Saturday Night Live.
The entrances are gilded and adorned with wonderful mosaics.
The Cathedral of St. Patrick is a decorated Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral church in the United States and a prominent landmark of New York City. It is the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.
Construction began in 1858, under Pope Pius IX. Work paused during the Civil War and resumed in 1865. Completed in 1878, dedication took place on May 25, 1879.
No hotel is as much a New York icon as the Waldorf-Astoria, built in 1931. The hotel lobby is normally well worth a visit; however, the hotel undergoes a complete renovation and restoration at the moment. It should reopen by 2022.
The beautiful Art Deco Helmsley Building, in the middle of Park Ave at E 46th It was originally the New York Central Building, the headquarters for the New York Central Railroad Company (founded by Cornelius Vanderbilt).
When New York Central sold the building to real estate mogul Harry Helmsley, he renamed it the New York General Building. His wife, Leona Helmsley later renamed it the Helmsley Building after her deceased husband.
MetLife Building looms above the Helmsley Building and Grand Central Terminal.
This 59-story skyscraper opened in 1930, and still referred to many New Yorkers by its original name, the Pan Am Building. There aren’t many fans of the MetLife building other than the building’s landlords. That’s because its architectural school called Brutalism that uses concrete and blockish forms dwarf the regal Helmsley Building you just saw.
Incidentally, in the Avengers movies, the MetLife Building turns out to be the Avengers Tower.
Tourist Scavenger Hunts
We invite you to try our Tourist Scavenger Hunt in New York Midtown. It is a 2.5-hour guided walking tour throughout Midtown Manhattan from Grand Central Terminal to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and everything in between. You do it on your mobile phone (how it works). It only costs $30 for your group (1 to 6 people). Moreover, you will enjoy seeing these iconic buildings and much more while completing challenges and learning about Midtown’s history.
Are you planning a visit to Los Angeles? Considering visiting its downtown / civic center area? In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in Downtown L.A., we came across a lot of information. Some we use exclusively in the actual scavenger hunt, but other we’d like to share with you.
As part of that research, we came across many iconic buildings you’d readily identify as “Los Angeles”. You can see these buildings as you do the scavenger hunt. To enumerate, here are 6 iconic buildings in Downtown L.A.
Located at 800 N. Alameda St., Union Station is Los Angeles’ is the main railway station in Los Angeles and the largest railroad passenger terminal in the Western United States. It opened in 1939. Union Station not only services Amtrak but local Metrolink commuter trains and several Metro rail subway lines. It is located steps away from this historical city center, where Los Angeles was but a town way back when.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
This building is an architectural marvel. It opened in 2003 and is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
A visit to the Walt Disney Concert Hall is free and very much worth your time.
When the steel walls were initially installed, light reflecting off them heated up the nearby sidewalk to 140 degrees Fahrenheit! Since then, their surface has tarnished just enough to the panels to no longer affect the surrounding temperature.
OUE Skyspace is the highest observation platform in the city of angles. And that is across the 5th street from the exquisite Central Library.
Located on 5th street, across from the OUE Skyscape, the Central Library is an architectural beauty. The Los Angeles Public Library provides free and easy access to information, ideas, books and technology that enrich, educate and empower every individual in our city’s diverse communities.
From the exterior, the building at 304 S.Broadway isn’t very impressive. The Million Dollar Theatre at the Grand Central Market across the street is much more significant architecturally.
However, stepping inside the Bradbury Building lets one discover its steampunk ironwork and wood-paneled interior. It was inspired by a science fiction book and built in 1893. The ground floor is easily accessible. However, beyond that, access is restricted.
Los Angeles City Hall
Built in 1928, Los Angeles’ City Hall was the tallest building in the city until the 1960s.
Entrance is free, bt there are metal detectors. You can explore on your own with the self-guided tour materials available at the information desk on the 3rd Floor. We encourage you to see the observation deck on the 27th floor for a wonderful view of the surrounding area.
We invite you to try our Downtown L.A. Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2-hour guided walking tour throughout the downtown core of Los Angeles you do on your mobile phone (how it works). It only costs $30 for your entire group. Moreover, you will enjoy seeing the sights and hidden gems you might have missed otherwise. All this while completing challenges and learning about Downtown L.A.’s history.
Do you love architecture, or seeing buildings from your favourite film scenes? San Francisco is chock full of these as many productions had shot scenes in and around the neighbourhood. This post presents 14 of San Francisco’s iconic buildings.
Whether you are planning a visit San Francisco, or if you live here, this list is for you. As a matter of fact, in our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in San Francisco, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.
However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here 14 of San Francisco’s iconic buildings.
14 Historical and Iconic buildings to see in San Francisco
The Castro Theatre
The Castro Theatre, designed by Timothy Pflueger, represents early Spanish Colonial style. In like manner, it evokes a Mexican cathedral. Equally impressive, the ceilings in this cinema house are breathtaking. The Castro neighbourhood rests west of the Mission District.
Lillie Hitchcock Coit donated to the city the necessary funds to build this art deco tower in 1924. Construction completed later in 1933 and the observation deck at the top opened for visitors. From the top, a full 360 view of the city and the bay is available and breathtaking. The elevator ride is 7$ (or so).
Further, there is a Christopher Columbus statue in the parking below, in Pioneer Park. The city’s Italian-American community donated it back in 1957.
The de Young Museum stands within Golden Gate Park, across the music concourse from the California Academy of Sciences. It showcases American art from the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. These include modern and contemporary art, photography, textiles and consumes.
Admittance starts at $6.
Ferry Building Marketplace
This food mecca rivals Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Constructed in 1898 overtop an original wooden 1875 Ferry House, it hosts regular farmer’s market and local artisans. Moreover, many unique shops and restaurants line its halls.
Grace Cathedral, on Nob Hill, took inspiration from Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral. However, it is very different from Notre Dame where the glasswork and exterior stonework is concerned. It stands next to a Freemason Grand Lodge.
The Maritime Museum appropriate stands in the Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building. Correspondingly, the structure looks like an old white ocean liner. In the centre of the park, this art deco structure sits across the street from Ghirardelli Square.
Here you will find 35,000 items on display about the local maritime tradition around San Francisco.
Mission Dolores incredibly is the oldest, still-standing, structure in San Francisco, having survived the 1906 earthquake. Founded back in 1776 in order to bring Spanish settlers to the area. Henceforth, it ministered to the local Native Americans.
Painted Lady Victorians
The world-famous Painted Ladies stand in the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood. They look to the west at Almo Square. These Victorian homes, seen in so many films and postcards, are a beautiful sight indeed.
Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco is the last remaining structure built for the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. This pink and beige stone building with arcade sits next to a pond. It is near the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge on the north side of San Francisco.
In light of its history and architecture, it now figures prominently on the National Register of Historic Places.
San Francisco City Hall
SF City Hall stands in the Civic Center district next to War Memorial Opera House and Asian Art Museum. It was build in Beaux-Arts style and could easily pass as the Capitol of California – however, that is in Sacramento.
SFMOMA intended to be the 1st modern art museum on the west coast of the United States. Since 1935 when construction completed, renovations were undertaken across its 10 floors. It reopened eventually in 2016. As a result of this renovation, it now looks like a giant white meringue. Snohetta designed SFMOMA.
Mary’s Cathedral is a very modern looking church with distinct architectural lines. As an illustration, some describe it as a Maytag washing machine agitator. In contrast, others ascribe it to a part of the female anatomy. You must see it for yourself in order to make up your own mind about it. Mary’s Cathedral stands between Japantown and Laguna Heights.
The Sentinel is a flatiron building in the Financial District owned by film director Francis Ford Coppola. In fact, this is where he maintains his office. Construction completed back in 1907 on this distinctive flatiron. To demonstrate its distinctiveness, copper graces most of its exterior surfaces.
The Transamerica Pyramid opened in 1972. It keeps its name despite the corporation no longer occupying it. The Transamerica Pyramid, together with the Golden Gate Bridge, are likely the 2 most iconic visual markers of San Francisco.
In summary, we invite you to try our San Francisco Tourist Scavenger Hunt. All in all, it is a 2-hour self-guided walking tour throughout the heart of San Francisco. Also, you’ll complete challenges and discover your next destinations directly on your mobile phone (how it works). In short, it costs $30 for your group but is currently free. Moreover, you will enjoy seeing San Francisco’s iconic buildings while learning about San Francisco’s history.
Do you enjoy architecture? When you travel, do make it a point to see a city’s unique architectural highlights? There are a great many architectural sites to see in Philadelphia. Many historical gems restored to their former glory can be seen throughout the city.
Whether you are planning a visit Philadelphia, or if you live here but haven’t taken the time to take in these architectural sites to see in Philadelphia’s museum district, this list is for you. In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in Philadelphia’s museum district, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.
However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here are 7 architectural sites to see in Philadelphia.
City Hall is the largest municipal building in the entire United States. It contains over 631 thousand square feet of floor space. Isn’t it breathtaking? Sculptures cover its exterior. They represent the seasons, the continents, as well as allegorical figures. Alexander Milne Calder sculptured and designed all the art adorning city hall including the 27-ton statue of William Penn atop the tower. John McArthur, architect, designed City Hall in the Second Empire style. Construction lasted from 1871 until 1901. City Hall opened its doors to administrators in 1898.
Of course, you will find City Hall where Market St. meets Broad St., on John F. Kennedy Blvd. You can tour city hall weekdays from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
The Free Library of Philadelphia represents the 13th-largest public library in the United States. An independent city agency, a board of directors as well as a separate nonprofit organization, together called The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation, govern it which is unique among public libraries in the US. Furthermore, several ancient books are available for consultation here.
In this case, Julian Babel and Horace Trumbauer designed the Free Library of Philadelphia for its opening in 1927 in the Beaux Arts style.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is the largest museum in Philadelphia. It showcases objects from many different periods from Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Almost 800,000 people visit it each year. Located on Fairmont hill, PMA stands at the opposite end of Benjamin Franklin Parkway from City Hall.
Julian Babel and Horace Trumbauer also designed the Philadelphia Museum of Art for its opening in 1928 in the Classical Greek temple style.
The museum opens Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am until 5 pm, 8:45 pm Wednesday through Friday. Admission is $14 for youth and $20 for adults.
Behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art, beyond the Statue Garden, stand Greek architectural buildings. Fairmont Water Works opened in 1812. It served as the city’s second municipal waterworks and is not a museum of any kind. Frederick Graff designed the Fairmont Water Works. Moreover, authorities designated it a National Historic Landmark in 1976. Additionally, the water’s edge is a great place to take wonderful pictures, weather permitting.
The Franklin Institute, opened in 1924, is as clever as its namesake. In particular, its eminently touchable attractions explore science in disciplines ranging from sports to space. Moreover, the Tuttleman IMAX Theater is found within. John T Windrim and John Haviland designed the Franklin Institute, located off of Logan Square.
The Franklin Institute opens daily from 9:30 am to 5 p, and costs $16 for children, $20 for adults.
This Masonic Temple finished in 1873 is referred to as a Great Wonder of the Masonic World. Indeed, the museum presents thousands of texts and artifacts relating to the history of the Fraternity in the Commonwealth.
Tours operate between 10 am and 3 pm and cost $5 for children / $15 for adults.
We invite you to try our Philadelphia – Museum District Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 4-hour guided walking tour around Philadelphia’s museum district you do on your mobile phone (how it works). It only costs $30 for your group. You will enjoy seeing these parks, plazas and much more while completing challenges and learning Philadelphia’s history.
Do you love architecture, or seeing buildings from your favorite film scenes? Hollywood is chock full of these as many productions had shot scenes in and around the neighborhood. This post presents 9 Hollywood iconic buildings.
Whether you are planning a visit Hollywood, or if you live here but haven’t noticed these monuments to see in Hollywood, this list is for you. In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in Hollywood, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.
However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here 9 Hollywood iconic buildings.
Top 9 Hollywood iconic buildings
This 1927 landmark is a beautiful example of Spanish colonial design. At one time it welcomed all of Hollywood’s A-listers. It’s worth walking into the downstairs lobby to see the architecture and design. If you have a chance to see the Tropicana Pool, it presents a wonderful mural by famed British painter David Hockney.
This hotel served as the set for not only Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), but also The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), Internal Affairs (1990) as well as Almost Famous (2000).
Of course, the very first Oscars ceremony took place here as a private dinner for only 250 attendees. In fact, entry cost the stars only $5. Moreover, the ceremony lasted only 15 minutes and was not televised!
As a matter of fact, Marilyn Monroe stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel for 2 consecutive years in suite 1200!
You will find the Roosevelt Hotel located at the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Orange Dr.
Located on Melrose Ave at Wilton Pl., south of Hollywood Blvd, the Hollywood Melrose Hotel is a redbrick 1927 hotel with original bathtubs in rooms and suites. Designed by architect S.Charles Lee, this is now a historic landmark and member of the National Register of Historic Places.
The world-famous Chinese Theatre, built by Sid Grauman in 1927, is a great place to catch the latest movie, ideally, in the main theatre. However, most people come here to see the hand and/or foot imprints of approximately 200 Hollywood stars.
The Chinese Theatre served as the backdrop for many scenes in Blazing Saddles (1974) and Singing in the Rain (1952).
You will find it located on Hollywood Blvd at Orange Dr. You can take a tour of the theatre or actually see a film here.
The Taft Building is located at the southeast intersection of Hollywood & Vine. Indeed, this twelve-story building first opened in 1923. Architects Percy Eisen and Albert R Walker designed this 1st high-rise office building in Los Angeles. Not to mention, it has now been designated as a World Heritage Site.
Built over the Hollywood Memorial Church (torn down), it represents an example of Classical Revival architecture. Not only did Charlie Chaplin and Will Rogers have offices here but also did the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Capitol Records Building
You will find the Capitol Records Building, owned by Universal Music Group, on Vine one block north of Hollywood Blvd. Capitol Records represent many well-known artists such as Katy Perry, The Eagles as well as The Beatles. It also represents Sam Smith, The Beach Boys, Avenged Sevenfold, Frank Sinatra together with the Beastie Boys.
This 1922 movie house built by Sid Grauman, the same man who later built the El Capitan and the Chinese Theatre. The American Cinematheque faithfully restored the Egyptian Theatre in 1998, including a large inner courtyard featuring columns and hieroglyphs. Today you can see here classic films on the big screen.
The Egyptian is also on Hollywood Blvd near N.McCadden Pl.
Originally built in the 1920s as a private art museum, this Japanese-style palace today serves as a well-rated Asian restaurant overlooking Hollywood. In fact, the restaurant serves Japanese, Korean and Chinese traditional fares.
The Yamashiro stands in Hollywood Heights above the Magic Castle and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
The Knickerbocker Hotel
The Renaissance Revival / Beaux Arts style luxury apartment building opened in the 1920s and became a hotel soon after. It played a key role in Tinseltown history for decades.
Marilyn Monroe and Joe Dimaggio honeymooned here in 1954. Equally, other celebrities have been regulars of the Knickerbocker include Harry Houdini, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Frank Sinatra, Mae West, Laurel & Hardy, as well as Cecil B. DeMille.
The Knickerbocker Hotel resides on Ivar Ave just north of Hollywood Blvd, 1 block west of Vine St.
Crossroads of the World
Located on Sunset Blvd between Cassil Pl. and Las Palmas Ave, Crossroads of the World opened in 1936 as L.A.’s first modern shopping mall. Indeed, the centerpiece resembles an Art Deco ocean liner with portholes, railings, and life preservers. Moreover, an outdoor village of small old-European-style bungalows surrounds the Crossroads.
Today, an office complex calls the Crossroads of the World home which includes art galleries and a few retail shops.
We invite you to try our Hollywood Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2-hour guided walking tour throughout the heart of Hollywood you do on your mobile phone (how it works). It only costs $30 for your group. Moreover, you will enjoy seeing Hollywood iconic buildings and much more while completing challenges and learning about Hollywood’s history.