Wilshire Boulevard

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Wilshire Boulevard
Namesake Gaylord Wilshire
Length15.83 mi (25.48 km)
Nearest metro station
West endOcean Avenue in Santa Monica
I-405 (1961).svg I-405 in Los Angeles
California 110.svg SR 110
East endGrand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles

Wilshire Boulevard is one of the principal east-west arterial roads in the Los Angeles area of Southern California, extending 15.83 miles (25.48 km) from Ocean Avenue in the city of Santa Monica east to Grand Avenue in the Financial District of downtown Los Angeles. It is also one of the major city streets through the city of Beverly Hills. Wilshire Boulevard runs roughly parallel with Santa Monica Boulevard from Santa Monica to the west boundary of Beverly Hills. From the east boundary it runs a block south of Sixth Street to its terminus.


Wilshire Boulevard and the Los Angeles County Art Museum, 1965 Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Wilshire Boulevard, 1965.jpg
Wilshire Boulevard and the Los Angeles County Art Museum, 1965
The Miracle Mile Miraclemile1.jpg
The Miracle Mile
Wilshire Boulevard in West Los Angeles Wilshire Boulevard in Brentwood.jpg
Wilshire Boulevard in West Los Angeles
Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown Wilshireview.jpg
Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown
Metro Rapid 720 bus headed to Santa Monica NABI60brt.jpg
Metro Rapid 720 bus headed to Santa Monica
Purple Line train Purple Line train on Wilshire-Western line.jpg
Purple Line train
Wilshire Boulevard street sign at Scottish Rite Temple, 2015 Wilshire Boulevard street sign at Scottish Rite Temple, 2015.png
Wilshire Boulevard street sign at Scottish Rite Temple, 2015
The Wilshire Regent WilshireRegent.jpg
The Wilshire Regent
LACMA West (formerly the May Company Department Store) Highsmithmaycompanywilshire.jpg
LACMA West (formerly the May Company Department Store)
Wilshire Boulevard through Miracle Mile in the 1960s Miracle Mile 1960s Postcard.jpg
Wilshire Boulevard through Miracle Mile in the 1960s
Wilshire Boulevard at the eastern border of Beverly Hills 8383 Wilshire, Beverly Hills.jpg
Wilshire Boulevard at the eastern border of Beverly Hills

Wilshire Boulevard is densely developed throughout most of its span, connecting Beverly Hills with five of Los Angeles's major business districts to each other. Many of the post-1956 skyscrapers in Los Angeles are located along Wilshire; for example, the Wilshire Grand Center, which is the tallest building in California, is located on the Figueroa and Wilshire intersection. One Wilshire, built in 1966 at the junction of Wilshire and Grand, is said to be "...the main hub of the internet for the entire Pacific Rim" due to the large concentration of telecommunications companies renting space there. [1] [2] Aon Center, at one point Los Angeles' largest (and presently third-largest) tower, is at 707 Wilshire Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles. [3]

One particularly famous stretch of the boulevard between Fairfax and Highland Avenues is known as the Miracle Mile. [4] Many of Los Angeles' largest museums are located there. The area just to the east, between Highland Avenue and Wilton Place, is referred to as the "Park Mile". [5] Between Westwood and Holmby Hills, several tall glitzy condominium buildings overlook this part of Wilshire, giving it the title of Millionaire's Mile. This section is also known as the Wilshire Corridor and Condo Canyon.

The Wilshire Corridor, located next to Century City, is one of Los Angeles' busiest districts, and contains many high-rise residential towers. The Fox and MGM studios are located in a series of skyscrapers, along with many historic Los Angeles hotels.

Wilshire Boulevard is also the principal street of Koreatown, the site of many of Los Angeles' oldest buildings, as well as skyscrapers. Koreatown and Mid-Wilshire are among Los Angeles' most densely populated districts.


Much of the length of Wilshire Boulevard can be traced back to the indigenous Tongva people who used it to bring back tar from the La Brea pits in today's Miracle Mile section of Wilshire Blvd, back to their settlement on the coast. This road was later used by Spanish explorers and settlers, calling it El Camino Viejo ('The Old Road'). The route that ultimately became Wilshire crossed the original pueblo of Los Angeles and five of the original Spanish land grants, or ranchos. [6]

Wilshire was pieced together from various streets over several decades. It began in the 1870s as Nevada Avenue in Santa Monica, and in the 1880s as Orange Street between Westlake (now MacArthur) Park and downtown. Nevada and Orange were later renamed as parts of Wilshire. [6]

The boulevard was named for Henry Gaylord Wilshire (1861–1927), an Ohio native who made and lost fortunes in real estate, farming, and gold mining. [7] In 1895 he began developing 35 acres of a barley field, [8] stretching westward from Westlake Park for an elite residential subdivision, and donated to the city a strip of land 120 feet wide by 1,200 feet long for a boulevard, on the conditions that it would be named for him and that railroad lines and commercial or industrial trucking would be banned. [6] The road first appeared on a map under its present name in 1895. [9] A historic apartment building on the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and S. Kenmore Ave., the Gaylord, carries his middle name. [10] [11]

The Wilshire Boulevard home of J. Paul Getty was used as the filmset for the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard : it was demolished in 1957. [12]



The Purple and Red subway lines of the Los Angeles Metro run along Wilshire Boulevard from just past the 7th/Figueroa Street station before serving the Westlake/MacArthur Park and Wilshire/Vermont stations, where the Purple Line continues along Wilshire to serve two stations at Normandie Avenue and at Western Avenue in Koreatown, while the Red Line branches off to terminate in North Hollywood.

The construction of the future Purple Line extension along Wilshire Boulevard commenced in November 2014. The construction timeline would see the project from the existing Wilshire/Western station to the planned Wilshire/La Cienega station on the corner of Wilshire and La Cienega Boulevard, to be completed by 2023. The second phase got officially under way on February 23, 2018 from Wilshire/La Cienega to Century City Station. Phase three of the Purple Line extension, when fully completed, will extend to UCLA and Westwood/VA Hospital, and will follow Wilshire Boulevard for most of its route. Phase four to downtown Santa Monica is still in the planning stages and has no funding.


Metro Local Line 20, Metro Rapid Line 720, and Santa Monica Transit Line 2 operate along Wilshire Boulevard. Due to the high ridership of line 720, 60-foot (18 m) NABI articulated buses are used on this route, and bus lanes are in place along some segments of the line.


All of the boulevard is at least four lanes in width, and most of the portion between Hoover Street and Robertson Boulevard has a raised center median. The widest portion is in the business district of central Westwood, where mobs of pedestrians crossing Wilshire at Westwood Boulevard must traverse ten lanes (including two left-turn pockets). According to a 1991 study by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, this and the nearby intersection of Wilshire and Veteran are among the busiest in Los Angeles. [13] The boulevard's widest portion is in Westwood and Holmby Hills, where it expands to six, and briefly, eight lanes.

The sections of Wilshire Boulevard in the city of Los Angeles are notorious for their giant potholes. [14]

MacArthur Park connection

Wilshire Boulevard formerly ended at the MacArthur Park lake, but in 1934 a berm was built for it to cross and link up with the existing Orange Street (which ran from Figueroa to Alvarado) into downtown Los Angeles. Orange Street was renamed Wilshire and extended east of Figueroa to Grand. This divided the lake into two halves; the northern half was later drained.

The boulevard from west to east

Wilshire Boulevard runs through or near the following: [15]

Landmarks from west to east

Major intersections

The entire route is in Los Angeles County.

Santa Monica Ocean Avenue
Lincoln Boulevard
UnincorporatedI-405 (1961).svg I-405 (San Diego Freeway)  Sacramento , Long Beach Interchange; former SR 7; I-405 exit 55B
Sepulveda Boulevard
Los Angeles Westwood Boulevard
Beverly Glen Boulevard
Beverly Hills California 2.svg SR 2 ( Santa Monica Boulevard )
Robertson Boulevard
La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles Fairfax Avenue
La Brea Avenue
Crenshaw Boulevard
Western Avenue
Normandie Avenue/Irolo Street
Vermont Avenue
Alvarado Street
California 110.svg SR 110   San Pedro , Pasadena Interchange; SR 110 exit 23A
Figueroa Street Former US 6
Grand Avenue

American singer Lana Del Rey mentions Wilshire Boulevard in the song Honeymoon on her 2015 album of the same name, as well as American Rapper Nipsey Hussle, in the song "Dreamin'" on his fifth mixtape titled "The Marathon". [16] The 1997 film Volcano features the boulevard being destroyed by volcanic lava. On March 9, 1997, American East Coast rapper The Notorious B.I.G. was seated in the front passenger seat of an SUV, which came to a stop at the red light at the intersection of Wilshire and Fairfax. Another vehicle pulled up next to them, and the driver drew out a pistol and shot B.I.G. four times in a drive-by shooting, killing him.

See also

Related Research Articles

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  1. Bullock, Dave (03 March 2008). "A Lesson in Internet Anatomy: The World's Densest Meet-Me Room". and Wired. Accessed 21 September 2013.
  2. "One Wilshire: Telco Hotel Central". Center for Land Use Interpretation. Accessed 21 September 2013.
  3. Ottens, Cale (22 August 2013). "Life at the top: In L.A.'s skyscrapers, diverse firms, great views". LA Times. Accessed 21 September 2013.
  4. Masters, Nathan (11 April 2012). "How the Miracle Mile Got Its Name: A Brief History of L.A.'s Unlikely Retail District". KCET.com. Accessed 21 September 2013.
  5. Roderick (2005), 105
  6. 1 2 3 "Birth of the Boulevard | Los Angeles Conservancy". www.laconservancy.org. Retrieved 2016-10-15.
  7. Hawthorne, Christopher (23 March 2013). "Wilshire Boulevard, a Main Street that stands apart". LA Times. Accessed 21 September 2013.
  8. Roderick (2005), 16
  9. Roderick (2005), 10
  10. "History". The Historic Gaylord Apartments. Accessed 21 September 2013.
  11. Meares, Hadley (June 21, 2013). "The Gaylord Apartments: Luxury, Socialism, and L.A.'s First Failed Co-op". Departures. KCET. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  12. "The top houses from the movies". Daily Telegraph.
  13. Hill-Holtzman, Nancy (06 January 1991). "Westside Has L.A.'s Busiest Intersections : Traffic: A city survey attributes the rush of cars to population growth and the area's attractions." LA Times. Accessed 21 September 2013.
  14. Steven Leigh Morris, "L.A. Metro Buses Hammered By Potholes on Aging Wilshire Boulevard," LA Weekly, 5 September 2008.
  15. Neighborhoods of Wilshire
  16. "Lana Del Rey releases eerie new track, 'Honeymoon'". Entertainment Weekly's EW.com.

Further reading