The gold-plated bronze coffin, covered in red roses, was taken out of the Forest Lawn Memorial park and put into the back of a black hearse.
It then began the journey to the Staples Centre, where the Billie Jean singer had been rehearsing a comeback show before his death on 25 June.
Roads were closed off and concrete barriers erected outside the venue in an effort to keep crowds under control. Earlier reports that there was to be no funeral procession turned out to be wide of the mark.
Inside the venue, which was decorated with flowers, fans and stars began to filter in. Among the first inside included actress Brooke Shields, who was romantically linked to Michael when she was a teenager, and basketball star Magic Johnson.
Wesley Snipes was also snapped at the venue, as was R'n'B star Usher, who was expected to take to the stage to give a poignant rendition of the star's 1993 hit, Gone Too Soon.