Funeral Planning in Los Angeles- Downtown - Guru Guide

Overview: Central Los Angeles, CA   

Los Angeles is the second most-populous city in America, making it exceedingly diverse. With all the big studios located here, it’s no surprise that LA is often called the “Creative Capital of the World” and offers tons of different options for all walks of life and death. Downtown LA used to be the central business area, but has been going through a transformation making way for residential lofts, restaurants and art galleries.

Funeral Homes

If you plan to have a traditional funeral service with the body present (regardless of whether you choose burial or cremation) you must work with a funeral home to make your arrangements. Note: In this area, we were particularly impressed by the funeral homes that were attached to cemeteries.

Name

Rating

Price Level

Religion(s)

Forest Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuaries

Highly recommended

Medium/High

All Faiths

Han Kook Mortuary

Highly recommended

Low

Catholic/Buddhist/ Welcomes all faiths

Hollywood Forever Funeral Home and Cemetery

Highly recommended

Medium

All Faiths

Kubota Nikkei Mortuary

Highly recommended

Medium

Buddhist/Catholic/
Welcomes all faiths

Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary

Recommended

Medium

All Faith

 

Crematories

The choices below are direct cremation companies and tend to be less expensive than working with a funeral home.  Most of the funeral homes mentioned, however, offer very reasonably priced cremations.

Name

Typical Price

All California Cremation

Low

Cremation Society of LA

Low


Cemeteries

You will work directly with the cemetery to arrange for a plot and the burial, but many of the details like buying a casket and body transportation will be coordinated by the funeral home you choose. Note: Some of these cemeteries have funeral homes on the premises.

Name

Rating

Price

Religion(s)

Location

Hillside Memorial Park

Highly recommended

Medium/High

Jewish

Culver City

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Highly recommended

Medium/High

Catholic

Hollywood

Forest Lawn Memorial Park

Recommended

Medium

Jewish

Glendale

 

Funeral Homes and Cemeteries- A Complete List

Recommended Highly

(Note: Since many of the funeral homes are connected with cemeteries we combined them for this guide)

Forest Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuaries
6300 Forrest Lawn Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90068
(323) 254-7251
www.forestlawn.com
This is a well-known, beautifully maintained and superbly designed funeral home and cemetery. The cemetery is hilly and has breathtaking views of Los Angeles. The funeral home looks more like a country club than a mortuary. Although the Tutor-style building is very nice, it does have a somewhat dark feel inside and smells like lilies and mildew. There are statues, mausoleums, niches and a special place for burying ashes. They also offer plenty of handouts and information available.
 

Han Kook Mortuary
2045 West Washington Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90018
(323) 734-5656
www.hankookmortuary.com
Originally catering solely to Koreans and Korean Americans, this lovely funeral home naturally “adapted to the changing environments” in their two locations (one is Central and one in Norwalk). They warmly welcomed us and could not have been nicer, more helpful, or more informative. Jenny sat with us for a while and explained traditional Korean funeral traditions, recommended restaurants and types of flowers. She was also more than willing to help non-Korean families as well. The building was very clean and incredibly well maintained with a large parking lot and chapel. We were totally speechless when Rick came to say goodbye to us and brought us flowers to bring home.
 

Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary
6001 West Centinela Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(800) 576-1994
www.hillsidememorial.org
This is an absolutely gorgeous combination Jewish cemetery and funeral home. It’s an exceedingly well maintained cemetery featuring different sections from the typical in-ground to niches. There were also beautiful areas with streams, sitting areas and even waterfalls. We were welcomed at the funeral home by a very nice, compassionate, and efficient receptionist named Vaughn. Then Leonard went beyond the call of duty and took the time to explain all the options available at Hillside; he gave a wonderful education and was very considerate. He did ask if we were looking to bury someone Jewish, noting that was necessary at Hillside; however, they happily bury significant others of Jewish people because they think it’s more important to keep families together than to be selective. Lots and lots of VIP burials.
 

Hollywood Forever Funeral Home and Cemetery
6000 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 469-6349
www.hollywoodforever.com
It’s not surprising that Hollywood’s A-list chooses to make this cemetery, which is a national historic landmark, their final resting place. The website has a movie of the cemetery that’s done in a way that’s pure Hollywood. The entire premise is outstandingly beautiful. A full service funeral home is located on the grounds and the staff is exceedingly forward thinking and helpful. Unlike other offices in this industry, each of the directors brought their personal charm to the space. We were calmed not only by Noelle’s knowledge and compassion, but also by the Buddhist statues and pictures of her pets in the office. She willingly gave her time, told us about the cemetery, and even gave us a genuine hug when we left her. The cemetery shows movies certain nights and was unbelievably gorgeous. There were peacocks, ducks, lots of vegetation and water and different types of interment options to suit all tastes and religions. This is easily one of the most gorgeous cemeteries ever. Diane Keaton got it right when she said there is “strong positive energy there!”
 

Kubota Nikkei Mortuary
911 Venice Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 749-1449
kubotanikkeimortuary.com‎
This Japanese-run funeral home has been in business for over 50 years. Although it’s slightly more expensive than others in the area it’s very appealing. There’s a peaceful Buddhist garden outside and inside is spotlessly clean and modern—a new dark wood floor is a pleasant change from the usual dark carpeting. The chapel has a combination of old charm and modern furniture and accents. One of the directors, Ken, was very kind and helpful.

 

Recommended
 

Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary
1218 Glendon Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 474-1579
www.pbwvmemorialpark.com
This SCI funeral home is located in the center of an urban section of Los Angeles. Our GPS got us lost -- the funeral home and cemetery are almost hidden inside a bunch of buildings. The cemetery is quite small, well maintained and home to many notable people.  Carol, an extremely kind staff member, greeted us.  Although we were bothered by the fact that there was nobody available to help us, the location was very nice, clean and a pleasant place to be. It was much smaller than other locations but there was an ample size chapel, a nice arrangement office and a sitting area with tea, coffee, snacks and sweets.

 

Cannot Recommend Yet
 

Abbott & Hast Mortuary
315 Silver Lake Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 661-1111
www.abbottandhastmortuary.net
 

Armstrong Family Mallow-Mitten Mortuary
931 Venice Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 747-9121
armstrongmortuary.com‎
 

Groman Mortuary
830 West Washington Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 748-0893
gromanmortuaries.com‎

 

Direct Cremation Companies

 

All California Cremations
(800) 575-0551
www.allcaliforniacremation.com
It’s rare to see reviews of cremation companies online; it’s even rarer to see multiple people say that they wish they could give it more than five stars! It seems that although they are one of the most reasonably priced cremation companies we have come across, they are very professional. We spoke to a few staff members and all were kind and knowledgeable, especially Pauline. Although their facility is in Palm Desert, you can pick up the ashes after the cremation at one of their two locations in Los Angeles at no additional charge.
 

Cremation Society of LA
(800) 615-5501
www.creamtionlosangeles.to
This is a reputable company that seems professional. We appreciated that they weren’t pushy and were pleased to hear that they cremains could be returned in only 5-7 working days. Again, this is one of the most inexpensive services that we found.

 

Hotels

Tens of millions of tourist visit Los Angeles each year; needless to say, there are plenty of hotels to accommodate all. Here you can find a hotel to suit a variety of tastes and budgets. Here are just a few in the area:

$                up to 150
$$             151 to 250
$$$           251 to 350
$$$$        351 and up

Hollywood Blvd Apartments
1714 N McCadden Place
Hollywood, CA 90028
This is a great option for those looking for more than just a hotel room. The property has an outdoor pool, a fitness center and a business center. All the apartments have complimentary Wi-Fi and kitchens are equipped with utensils and a coffee pot. $$$
 

The LA Hotel Downtown
333 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 388-8138
www.hotelnormandiela.com
This new addition to the Hyatt family is located in the heart of Downtown LA. The hotel recently underwent $25 million in renovations. Guests can take advantage of the beautiful pool, state-of-the-art gym, multiple restaurants, several event spaces and super comfortable (Serta Perfect) beds. $$

 

Normandie
605 South Normandie Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 388-8138
www.hotelnormandiela.com
Developed in 1926 by famed LA architects, Walker & Eisen, (The Beverly Wilshire Hotel and the United Theatre on Broadway for example) this is a landmark in Downtown LA. They put $5 million into modernizing the establishment while preserving the original details that make it so special. Guests can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi while staying at this centrally located, well-loved hotel. $$
 

The Omni Los Angles Hotel at California Plaza
251 S Olive St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(800) 843-6664
www.omnihotels.com/FindAHotel/LosAngelesCaliforniaPlaza.aspx
This is one of the most upscale hotels in the heart of downtown area, located atop the historic Bunker Hill. It went through a multi-million dollar update in 2011 and the results are striking. Guests can enjoy the luxury accommodations, modern fitness center and business facilities, wonderful restaurants and great location. $$-$$$

 

Restaurants

Needless to say there are numerous restaurants in Los Angeles. Here are just a few recommended options for venues close to the funeral homes that can accommodate a group. If you opt for another restaurant, just be sure to call ahead and ask if they can hold crowd your size; the restaurant might have a special event private room and/or menu. Also, you might want to consider a favorite local restaurant or a deli such as Redemption Foods or Grub to cater a Shiva or lunch at your home.
 

Colori
429 W 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 622-5950
www.colorikitchen.com
This relatively new (three-year-old) tiny restaurant quickly rose to the rank of favorite among many clients. The Italian owner has created cozy and casual Trattoria-inspired restaurant in the heart of LA. The food is yummy and the staff is friendly. It’s worth noting that they also do catering.

 

The Gorbals
501 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 488-3408
www.thegorbalsla.com
Located in the historic Alexandria Hotel in DTLA, this eclectic, funky, trendy, restaurant focuses on good food and good times for good friends. For those looking for a more upbeat place to celebrate a life, this is the ideal place. It’s also known for catering as well.

 

Mong “Dream” Korean BBQ
100 South Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(213) 388-7668
www.dreamkoreanbbq.com
This authentic Korean BBQ restaurant is the favorite among the clientele at Han Kook Mortuary. It has ample parking, plenty of space and if you mention the mortuary you can receive a group discount.


Flemings  
800 West Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 745-9911
www.flemingssteakhouse.com
This American steakhouse chain operates 65 locations in 28 states. Guests can enjoy multiple private rooms and state-of-the-art technology, which includes a video set-up to include guests who aren’t able to attend.

 

Other Helpful Local Resources


 

Made by DWC
325 S Los Angeles St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 225-8020
www.dwcweb.org/MADE/
Your second-hand treasures will certainly be put to a good use here. This resale boutique, run by Downtown Women’s Center (DWC), works to “break the cycles of chronic unemployment and homelessness.” All the proceeds from the retail store support their cause and they follow through on their mission by training and employing women.


Crossroads Trading Co.
‪7409 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 782-8152
www.crossroadstrading.com
This chain of vintage shops allows you to buy, sell and trade. It’s a favorite among Californians.

 

Goodwill
2823 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 746-3964
www.goodwillsocal.org


Out of the Closet
6210 West Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 467-6811
www.outofthecloset.com
This non-profit chain of thrift stores donates its proceeds directly to providing medical care for those living with AIDS. It’s operated by the AIDS Healthcare foundation and they also provide free rapid STD and HIV testing and counseling another location.