OUE Skyspace: LA From the Ground Up
For someone who has always lived a measly half an hour outside of Los Angeles, I rarely make a point to drop by. While the "city of stars" seems to have a never ending supply of entertainment, I often find that fighting freeways clogged with less-than-friendly drivers is seldom worth it. Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in LA could understand why I have a natural aversion to it. This brimming city is charming in all the right places, but not always the most reputable. Even so, when Elise and I were given an opportunity to see LA from a new perspective, we had to take it.
For Christmas this year, Elise’s parents gifted us two passes to the OUE Skyspace. For those of you who don’t know, the Skyspace is famous (and infamous) for being home to a giant glass slide that dangles over the side of one of Los Angeles’s most iconic, mammoth skyscrapers: The U.S. Bank Tower. Although a very thoughtful gift, it presented a bit of a problem. Despite my many crazy ideas, lofty aspirations, and strictly cerebral risks, there’s one thing I am certainly not: a thrill seeker. I’ve never been able to tolerate shaky fairground roller coasters, and the thought of being high off the ground makes my skin crawl. Of course, free-falling down a glass panel 70 stories above the unforgiving pavement isn't something I would typically be excited for… yet I found myself strangely allured to the idea. As we revved up the car and headed to my probable fate, I felt assured by the wonderful experience I was sure to have.
After battling the hustle and bustle and finding our way to the atypical "dollar a minute" parking lot, my nerves began to take hold of me. Stressed, yet still oh-so ready to do this, Elise and I made our way to the entrance. After rather embarrassingly walking into a door clearly labeled “Not Skyspace Entrance” (Hey, if they have to have a sign it means we weren’t the first do it!) we headed up an elevator, not entirely sure what to expect. All we knew was that the elevator took us high enough to make our ears pop. Should have brought gum!
The Interactive Room
We were surprised to learn that the slide was only a small part of the entire experience. Before the real fun begins, you're warmed up with an interactive room featuring a wall-to-wall panoramic time lapse of LA, a silhouette panel that pixelates your movements, and most notably, an illusion that creates an infinite drop below you. I think the marketing manager in charge of this attraction was simply told to scare the pants off of us.
My recommendation would be to make the most of everything this room has to offer, but there’s no real need to spend too much time here.
The Sky Slide
When you exit the second elevator to the final floor, you're plopped down right in front of the entrance to the sky slide. While I’ve heard reports of wait times exceeding an hour, we were fortunate enough to have only a few people in front of us. After an hour of endless nervous procrastination, I heroically let Elise go down first so she could tell me how terrifying it was.
She made it through in a zip, thankfully very alive, and I was immediately forced to look my fear straight in the eyes and conquer it. My blood was pumping and the adrenaline was making my hands shake. I sat down and the instructor (who's name was also Andrew) told me to go ahead. One last deep breath and I was off, best case scenario to my painless death. But in reality, all of that nervousness was for nothing. The slide lasted all of 5 seconds, and I was completely enclosed and felt incredibly secure. I think the concept of a glass-bottom slide is infinitely more terrifying than the slide itself. Is that to say I regret it? Absolutely not! What an experience! I am now able to say that I slid down a petrifying feat of engineering that hangs nearly 700 feet above the ground, and I didn't even dry heave my way back to the car! I'd call that a great success, and an incredible memory.
The Observation Deck
The sky slide drops you off at an outdoor observation deck on the lofty 69th floor. This was the best part of the whole experience for me by far. With two exterior observation decks offering unparalleled views of Los Angeles, and two more floors that allow you to walk 360 degrees around the building, my preconceived distaste for LA began to completely melt away. Maybe it was just a fanciful enigma... or, as the Postal Service put it, “Everything looks perfect from far away.” In all honesty, the city’s inherent beauty made a believer out of me. Elise and I found ourselves spending hours pointing out interesting landmarks, helicopter pads (hosting ACTUAL helicopters that dove around our building), and the tiny people and cars passing by in a blur below. This grimy town is romantic and sprawling and incredibly grimy, but that's what makes it unique. Travelers don't love India for of it's sparkling hotel rooms and polished cutlery, they love it for it's character. And it was at that moment, atop my alternate perspective, that I felt the city of stars shining just for me.
I know it's clear that I like La La Land a lot. It has a lot of applicable themes, don't judge me...
From comfy couches to daredevil opportunities, the OUE Skyspace in Los Angeles blew my expectations out of the water. If it wasn’t for our two hour parking validation we would have spent all day up there, and it turns out we could have. If you come on a Saturday like we did, you can receive free all day parking validation! This gave Elise and I the opportunity to explore and make the most of our unusually amazing day. Just as the sky slide has helped me with my fear of heights, the OUE Skyspace has helped me remember why I loved LA in the first place.
Let us know what you love and hate about LA in the comments! Plus, if you have any recommendations that we absolutely must see, we would love to chat about it with you. Thanks for reading, and get excited for next week's article... It's a special one!