Skyslide

Downtown LA is the home to a few skyscrapers, but it lacks the distinctive skyline features of other major cities. San Francisco has the Trans America Pyramid, Chicago has the Sears Tower (which I irrationally refuse to acknowledge as the Willis Tower), and NYC has too many identifiable building to mention. While there’s been several taller, more distinct buildings that have come up recently, the LA skyline has been mostly defined by (since 1989, anyhoo) the Library Tower. Today it is known as the US Bank Tower, which is an a front to libraries everywhere.

This is all setup to say that, in 2016, the owners of the building added an observation deck on the 69th floor and adde a glass-enclosed slide on the exterior of the building from the 70th down to the 69th floor. Having a mild case of height anxiety (which manifests in a mild case of ‘throaticles’, the sensation of my testicles squirming their way up into my throat), this was absolutely something I needed to experience.

During a recent DTLA ‘Staycation’, Sylvia and I took the opportunity to give it a try. We missed sunset, unfortunately, and ended-up getting up to the observation deck after dark. That’s fine, I happen to agree with Roman Polanski’s assessment of the city, “Los Angeles is the most beautiful city in the world, as long as it’s seen at night and from a distance.”

But in terms of the slide, it’s a let-down. Literally. First of all, to ensure that you don’t get stuck, you have to sit on a blanket and use two hands to hold-on. This means the majority of the “view” is blocked by your own body. Then, the slide is supremely short- imagine describing the view from a typical playground slide. It ends before you can appreciate where you are and you really have to exert yourself to look down around your blanket-swelled form to see the view below.

Sylvia upon take-off

The balcony spaces are another story (no pun intended). There are a couple balconies setup on the 69th floor that feature all-glass enclosures. Standing along these sheer walls and looking down, especially in the corners where visibility is at a maximum is vertigo-inspiring. With the open-air feel, the height is enhanced. Looking up to see the famous ‘crown’ of the building just ~30′ above you (and knowing how high it looks from the ground) is undeniably exhilarating.

After spending some a few moments up at the observation area and scoping out the available food and drink options, we decided to head up to the restaurant on the 71st floor, cleverly named, “71 Above”. We’d read that sitting at the bar didn’t require reservations and the seating was spectacular. For once, these descriptions did not steer us wrong. The bartenders were friendly and helpful in recommendations, the food and drinks were fantastic.

“Be a tourist in your hometown” is one of those pieces of advice you often hear regarding easy ways to change things up. I recommend this. Our staycation in downtown LA allowed us to embrace this concept because it is both familiar and foreign. It’s a destination more than anchor. More holiday than home. But that slide is a waste of money.