Having already stayed at both Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica while in LA, last year I decided to mix things up and make Downtown LA my base.
While Downtown is still a little bit rough around the edges (there’s a large number of people living rough), it’s also in the midst of a cultural and architectural resurgence filled with great stores and restaurants, museums and beautiful buildings.
To make planning your next visit to La-La-Land easier, here are 9 things you should do in Downtown LA.
Grand Central Market
Grand Central Market, a European-style food hall has been operating on the ground floor of the iconic Homer Laughlin Building since 1917 and has so much great food on offer it can be overwhelming to choose where to start. Cool eateries including Horse Thief BBQ, G&B Coffee and Eggslut – which has huge lines but is totally worth the wait! The Market is open seven days a week, from 8am to 10pm and if you’re staying in DTLA, you can book a free shuttle ride to the Market! Also, be sure to check out the Million Dollar Theatre next door, named because it cost $1 million to build back in 1917!
Where to find it: 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles
The Last Bookstore
A literary treasure trove, The Last Bookstore was opened in 2005 with one aim — to keep the paper and ink book business alive. Recently named as one of the 20 most beautiful bookstores in the world, it’s home to more than 250,000 new and used books, and thousands of vinyl records and graphic novels. The huge second floor includes the Labyrinth Above the Last Bookstore (with it’s #instaworthy colourful bookshelves), Gather Yarn Shop, and the Spring Arts Collective gallery shops.
Where to find it: 453 S Spring St, Los Angeles
Oue SkySpace LA
On a clear day, OUE Skyspace LA at the iconic US Bank Tower offers breathtaking, 360-degree views of Los Angeles, but the best part of all is that it’s home to the Skyslide, a new attraction that’s taking thrill seekers to new heights. A height of almost 1000 feet, or 300 metres, to be exact. The 45-foot-long Skyslide is approximately 4 feet wide and made entirely with glass–so you can really take in the view as you slide from the 70th floor down to the 69th floor.
Where to find it: 633 W 5th St, Los Angeles
Colette Miller’s Wings
Visual artist Colette Miller brings a touch of the divine to Downtown LA and if you’re staying in the area, you definitely need to find – and photograph – a set of her iconic Wings. Although there are now sets scattered across the globe and as far away as Kenya and Australia, LA is where they first appeared. According to Miller, her Wings installations are “a perfect reminder of the angelic within us all”. There are four installations to be found; I could only find three of them on my visit, which seems like the perfect excuse for a return visit to LA.
Where to find them: Angel City Brewery, 216 Alameda Street, Los Angeles; on the roll-up door of the Regent Theatre downtown, 446 S. Main St, Downtown LA; next door to Art Share LA at 801 E 4th Pl, Los Angeles
Craving something sweet? Grab an afternoon delight at Peddler’s Creamery. Peddler’s produces high quality artisan bicycle-churned (yes, bicycle churned) organic dairy and non-dairy and vegan ice cream and frozen desserts. As well as the usual suspects of vanilla, chocolate and mint chocolate chip flavours, flavours also include Raspberry Poptart, Sweet Potato Pie, Snickerdoodle and Maple Pancake Batter. If you feel like burning (calories) and churning, you can jump on a bike and help churn; simply book a spot on the bikes and pedal for about 15-20 minutes and you’ll have whipped up a batch of ice-cream. Plus, for each batch you churn, you get a free scoop from one of the flavours available, or you can donate your scoop to charity.
Where to find it: 458 S. Main St, Los Angeles
Angel City Brewery
Housed in an airy converted warehouse, Angel City Brewery is an LA-based craft brewery located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. Starting modestly in 1997, Angel City quickly became a leader in the LA craft beer scene. Don’t forget to take your camera (or phone) because as well as boasting a set of Colette Miller’s Angel Wings, the Brewery also features antigirl’s Heart of Los Angeles. There’s also plenty more street art to be found in the streets surrounding the brewery.
Where to find it: 216 Alameda St, Los Angeles
The Walt Disney Concert Hall
If you’re keen to check out a tourist attraction/architectural marvel, make it the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Designed by Frank Gehry and opened in 2003, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is an architectural gem with its sweeping, metallic surfaces. Self-guided audio tours and guided tours of Walt Disney Concert Hall are offered by the Music Center most days.
Where to find it: 111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles
For a sweet start to your day, try the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Vermont maple syrup at one of the best places to eat in LA, Bottega Louie. As well as being named among the 30 Best Things To Do in LA and the Best Place to Break Bread with Friends, this restaurant/French patisserie/gourmet market also boasts the city’s best pizza . Don’t leave without buying some of their decadent macarons.
Where to find it: 700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles
The Standard’s Rooftop Bar
With a heated pool, waterbed pods, ping-pong tables, DJs & panoramic city views, the rooftop bar at The Standard Downtown LA is the place to be seen, especially during summer.
Where to find it: 550 S Flower St, Los Angeles
Have you been to Downtown LA? If you have, do you have any places you’ve been, things you’ve seen or venues you’ve visited that should be on my list? Add your comments below!