Los Angeles/Downtown

Travel Guide North America USA Western United States California Southern California Los Angeles County Los Angeles Los Angeles/Downtown

edit

Introduction

Los Angeles is a city of diverse cultures, and many of them are showcased in and around the city's Downtown. While Downtown L.A. has been considered primarily a business and manufacturing hub for the last several decades, its long-heralded revival has really gained some traction as new restaurants, retail chains, boutiques, and trendy hotels open at a rapid pace. Some highlights for the visitor in Downtown include Grand Central Market, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Olvera Street, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, and some unique and stunning examples of American and international architecture sprinkled throughout.

Bounded by a rough triangle formed by the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) on the south, the Harbor Freeway (CA-110) on the west, and the Los Angeles River on the east, the Downtown area encompasses several neighborhoods that are remarkably varied in character.

The Historic Core lies east of Hill Street and west of Main Street between 3rd and 9th Streets, and was the undisputed center of the city for the first half of the 20th century. Following the white flight to the suburbs after World War II, the district became a vibrant center of Latino culture. Today, while the area is a little sketchy, a significant amount of redevelopment has occurred here and the neighborhood has many superb examples of early 20th century architecture, including a high concentration of movie palaces along Broadway. South of Pershing Square, the Historic Core overlaps with the Jewelry District, noted for its many jewelry stores. To the north of the Historic Core is the Civic Center complex, which stretches west along Grand Park between 1st Street and the Hollywood Freeway (US 101).

To the west of the Historic Core, sitting between 1st and 8th Streets, are overlapping Bunker Hill and the Financial District, an area that was leveled in the 1960s for the many skyscrapers and plazas that were built here. Because of the numerous office buildings, this area can feel rather sterile in character, but it does hold the grand public library, a pair of major contemporary art museums and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. South of this is the rapidly gentrifying southwest corner of Downtown, labeled by developers "South Park," home to the convention center, L.A. Live, and the Staples Center, as well as many new hotels and high-end residential developments.

The southeast side of Downtown is more industrial in character. Infamous Skid Row sits east of Main Street and west of Alameda Street between 3rd and 7th Streets, and is generally deemed a place to be avoided, though the Greyhound bus terminal is here. Further east, between Alameda Street and the Los Angeles River, is the Arts District, a neighborhood of old industrial buildings converted to loft and studio spaces. South of Skid Row, roughly between Main Street and Central Avenue, is the Fashion District, a nexus of the West Coast apparel industry with its numerous manufacturers and wholesale stores.

The north side of the Downtown area is home to a few colorful ethnic and historic neighborhoods. Little Tokyo, a cultural center for Japanese Americans, is centered around the intersection of 1st Street and Central Avenue. On the north side of the Hollywood Freeway, across Alameda Street from the Union Station complex, is El Pueblo, the site of the original settlement of Los Angeles and today a Mexican-themed district with some historic structures centered around touristy Olvera Street. Spreading to the north is the sprawling Chinatown district, centered along North Broadway and housing many Chinese and Southeast Asian restaurants and shops.

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

Chinatown. Centered along North Broadway north of Cesar Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles' Chinatown is unlike those of many other cities in that it has a much more modern appearance, with a mixture of traditional Chinese and modern architecture along wide, busy streets. North Broadway is lined with shops, restaurants, and institutions serving the local Chinese-American population, as well as several urban malls and plazas leading off the street which hold many small shops, restaurants, and stalls.
Los Angeles State Historic Park, 1245 N Spring St (Metro Gold Line: Chinatown station), ☏ +1-323-441-8819. Daily 8AM-sunset. Also known locally as the Cornfield, this expansive public park on the north side of Chinatown opened after an extensive overhaul. The site has a long history, having been used as agricultural land near the original El Pueblo before becoming the first railyard in Los Angeles. A visitor center offers exhibits on the park's history. Outside are fields, a public orange grove, a naturalistic arroyo, and a pedestrian platform which offers an excellent view of the downtown skyline and passing Metro trains. Free.
Little Tokyo. Los Angeles' Japanese district features numerous attractions, restaurants, and shops geared towards the local Japanese-American population or those who take an interest in Japanese culture. The district is centered along 1st and 2nd Streets between Los Angeles and Alameda Streets.
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (between Main St and Alameda St north of US 101; across from Union Station), ☏ +1-213-485-6855. This small district is where Los Angeles was founded as El Pueblo de Los Angeles. Today, this touristy district holds a collection of museums and historic buildings sandwiched in a few square blocks centered around the 11 Old Plaza and along 12 Olvera Street, which is lined with Mexican-themed trinket stands and restaurants. Free guided tours led by volunteer docents are led by Las Angelitas del Pueblo.
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), 250 S Grand Ave, ☏ +1-213-626-6222. M W F 11AM-6PM, Th 11AM-8PM, Sa-Su 11AM-5PM, Tu closed. The permanent collection is fairly interesting, but the changing exhibitions can be more hit or miss. The museum has no 'traditional' art, so bring an open mind. The gift shop (free entrance) is fun for at least 20 minutes of wonder and awe. $12, $7 students/seniors, free for children under 12 (includes admission to Geffen Contemporary); Th evenings free.
The Broad, 221 S Grand Ave, ☏ +1-213-232-6200. Tu-W 11AM-5PM, Th-F 11AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 10AM-6PM, M closed. A newer contemporary art museum built to house the collection of billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad (pronounced "brode"). Opened in September 2015, the museum has a collection of almost 2,000 pieces of postwar and contemporary art, with some of the most famous names of modernism represented (Warhol, Lichtenstein, etc.). The building is a spectacular example of architecture, with a honeycomb-like exterior and visitors entering the third floor exhibit galleries via tunnels through a concrete "vault" that holds most of the museum's collections. Free; entry by timed ticket only, advance reservation recommended. Special exhibitions require fee.
Bradbury Building, 304 S Broadway. Built in 1893, the Bradbury Building is one of Southern California's most remarkable architectural achievements. Behind its modest exterior lies a light-filled Victorian court that rises 50 feet with open cage elevators, marble stairs and ornate iron railings. The building has been a set for many movies, perhaps most notably the conclusion of Blade Runner. Visitors without business in the building are allowed into the lobby and up to the first landing of the staircase.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W Temple St (between Grand Ave & Hill St), ☏ +1-213-680-5200, ✉ info@olacathedral.org. M-F 6:30AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 7AM-6PM (hours extended to 7PM during daylight savings time). This large and austere cathedral, dedicated to Saint Vibiana, is the head of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It was opened in 2002 at a cost of nearly $200 million, replacing The Cathedral of St Vibiana which was heavily damaged in the 1994 earthquake.
Los Angeles Central Public Library, 630 W 5th St, ☏ +1-213-228-7000. The huge central library, completed in 1926 and refurbished in the 1990s, is a remarkable Art Deco structure surrounded by a pleasant garden with pools and fountains. Inside is a monumental rotunda with elaborate murals and decorations, while most of the stacks are housed in the newer Tom Bradley Wing on the east side of the building, with its glass-roofed atrium. The library almost always has a public exhibition going, usually showing off local art or historical artifacts.
Los Angeles City Hall, 200 N Spring St (enter on Main St). M-F 9AM-5PM. Completed in 1928, this towering Art Deco building is the center of the city's government, housing the mayor's office and the city council meeting chambers, and was the city's tallest building for nearly forty years after it was built. An observation desk on the 27th floor offers a marvelous view of Downtown; you'll have to check in at the security desk at the entrance, and they'll give you directions to the observation desk. On the way up admire the spacious rotunda on the 3rd floor and the "Hall of Mayors" on the 26th floor. Free.
2nd Street Tunnel (between Hill St and Figueroa St). A somewhat obscure but very recognizable landmark is this tunnel, built in the 1920s beneath Bunker Hill and lined with glossy white tiles that bathe the tunnel in a soft glow. If you don't recognize it from one of the many films shot here (Blade Runner, The Terminator, Independence Day, and many, many others), chances are you've seen it in at least one of the dozens (possibly even hundreds) of car commercials that have made use of its unique lighting scheme. The Figueroa Street entrance is the more attractive (and recognizable) one; the tunnel looks considerably grittier on the other side.
The Theater District. The Theater District along Broadway had fallen into serious disrepair for decades, with most of the theaters being occupied by swap meets selling discount jewelry, electronics and $2 socks. Fortunately most of the architecture and marquees remain, and are being renovated and turned into glorious destinations once again - starting with an Urban Outfitters and the Ace Hotel.
Union Station, 800 N Alameda St. No trip to Downtown LA would be complete without a visit to the historic train station, built in 1939 with a Spanish mission exterior. The large waiting room and restaurant looks just as it did in the 1940s, which has made it a popular filming location for period films, and the interior courtyards with their bubbling fountains make for a pleasant space to wait for your bus or train.
U.S. Bank Tower (Library Tower), 633 W 5th St (across 5th St from the downtown central library), ☏ +1-213-894-9000. Daily 9AM-11PM; entry by timed ticket only, advance reservation recommended. At 73 floors and 1,017 feet, this was for a time the tallest building in the Western United States. And while it has been surpassed in height by the Wilshire Grand tower, it still dominates the Los Angeles skyline. An indoor and an open-air observation deck, the OUE Skyspace, is on the 70th floor, with a glass slide on the outside between floors 70 and 69. Note to photographers: the building's security personnel will try to discourage you from taking pictures of this building if you're on the grounds of the tower, but as long as you are standing on a public sidewalk you may legally take as many pictures of the building as you like. $25 adults, $22 seniors, $19 youth.
Wilshire Grand Center, 900 Wilshire Blvd (Wilshire and Figueroa). Completed in 2017, this skyscraper has claimed the title of tallest building in Los Angeles, owing to the tall mast atop the structure. A sail-shaped roof tops the building, which is brightly illuminated at night. A hotel occupies most of the building, with the top four floors holding restaurants and bars including a rooftop bar perched on the 73rd floor.

Top

edit

Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

Top

edit

Getting There

Downtown LA is simultaneously the hub of the freeway network, road network, commuter rail network, subway / light rail network, and bus network in the region, and thus very easily accessible. Parking lots are also plentiful, though rising steadily in price.

By Train

If your point of origin is within the urban and suburban areas of Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, or San Diego Counties, you may be able to avail of the growing commuter rail network known as Metrolink to visit Downtown LA. Six of the seven Metrolink commuter rail lines terminate at Union Station in Downtown LA's El Pueblo district. Tickets can be purchased from vending machines at each station, and fares are determined by time (peak or non-peak hour, weekday or weekend) and distance:

The San Bernardino Line runs 34 trains on weekdays between Downtown LA and the eastern suburbs (the "Inland Empire"), running through the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, and San Bernardino County. There is also limited weekend service, and terminating in Downtown San Bernardino.
The Riverside Line runs 12 trains on weekdays between Downtown LA and the eastern suburbs (the "Inland Empire"), running through the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, and Riverside County, and terminating in Downtown Riverside.
The 91 Line runs 8 trains on weekdays between Downtown LA and the eastern and southeastern suburbs (the "Inland Empire"), running through the Orange and Riverside Counties, and terminating in Downtown Riverside.
The Orange County Line runs 20 trains on weekdays between Downtown LA and the southeastern suburbs, running through Orange and San Diego Counties, and terminating in Downtown Oceanside. There is also limited weekend service.
The Ventura County Line runs 20 trains on weekdays between Downtown LA and the northwestern suburbs, running through the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County, and terminating in Ventura's Montalvo neighborhood.
The Antelope Valley Line runs 24 trains on weekdays between Downtown LA and the northern suburbs, running through the San Fernando, Santa Clarita, and Antelope Valleys, and terminating in Downtown Lancaster. There is also limited Saturday service.

By Car

Downtown LA can be accessed directly via the Pasadena Freeway (SR-110), the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10), and the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5 and US-101). Just outside Downtown LA, these freeways connect to the Golden State Freeway (I-5), the Hollywood Freeway (US-101), the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10), the Harbor Freeway (I-110), and the Pomona Freeway (SR-60).

Drive your car to a parking lot and go by foot from there. Downtown isn't that big and quite walkable, and there are plenty of Metro buses and DASH shuttles (see below) to shorten the walk. Some people are partial to parking at any one of the lots around the Music Center or Civic Center, in roughly the area bounded by Grand to Spring and Temple to 2nd. Pershing Square has good parking central to many attractions. On the south side of Downtown, the Convention Center has a large parking garage, although it is near the Staples Center and spaces will be in high demand on game days.

By Subway/Lightrail

For those visitors coming from within Los Angeles County, local subway and light rail service may be the best option to get to Downtown LA. Five of the six subway and light rail lines in the Metro Rail system terminate in Downtown LA at either Union Station or 7th/Metro Center.
The Red Line and Purple Line subway routes cut across Downtown, making four stops: Union Station, Civic Center, Pershing Square, and 7th/Metro Center. The Red Line continues northwest to Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, while the Purple Line continues west to Mid-Wilshire.
Two light rail lines bring riders to Downtown from the south: the Blue Line from South Central and Long Beach, and the Expo Line from Santa Monica, Culver City, South Central, Exposition Park, and the University of Southern California. In Downtown, both lines stop at Pico Station in the South Park district and 7th/Metro Center in the Financial District, where riders can transfer to/from the Red and Purple Lines.
The Gold Line light rail passes through the northeastern side of Downtown, bringing riders from the San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena, and East Los Angeles to three Downtown stations: Chinatown, Union Station (where riders can transfer to/from the Red and Purple Lines), and Little Tokyo/Arts District.

By Bus

Most major intercity bus carriers that serve L.A. stop in Downtown: Greyhound has a bus terminal at 7th St and Decatur in Skid Row, while Megabus and BoltBus stop at Union Station. From within Los Angeles, Metro buses radiate out of Downtown to many of the city's neighborhoods. Metro buses going to/from downtown are numbered 1-99 (frequent local routes with multiple stops, orange colored); 300s (limited routes at peak commuting hours only, orange colored); 400s (express routes, blue colored); and 700s (Metro Rapid routes w/ limited stops and frequent service, red colored). There's also the frequent Metro Silver Line, which operates along busways to/from El Monte, East Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, Harbor Gateway, and San Pedro. Additionally, many of the other transit agencies of the broader Los Angeles area provide some sort of express service into Downtown.

Top

edit

Getting Around

By Public Transport

Metro is the most extensive transit system in the region, operating buses, subway, and light rail across Los Angeles County. All major streets have at least one (and in some cases, several) bus lines running daily. Additionally, Downtown LA is served by four Metro Rail lines; see the Get in section above for details on individual lines and stations.

In addition to Metro is DASH, a shuttle service run by the L.A. Department of Transportation, which is handy for when your feet get tired or to better expand your travel area. It has several convenient routes that whisk you to almost all of the worthwhile spots Downtown. Most DASH buses run every 5-10 minutes weekdays 6AM-6:30PM, with spotty weekend service and no service after 7PM. A ride costs 50 cents (25 cents for seniors) and pamphlets are available from most Metro stations (Union Station, 7th/Olive) and convenience stores Downtown.

By Foot

Downtown is one of the few areas of L.A. that one can reasonably cover on foot.

By Bike

Metro operates a bike share system, with numerous stations scattered across the Downtown area. Single trips are $3.50 for 30 minutes of use (credit or debit card required), or you can load a monthly pass onto a TAP card for $20 which gives you free rides shorter than 30 minutes and $1.75 for every thirty minutes after that.

Top

edit

Eat

Cole's Pacific Electric Buffet, 118 E 6th St (between Main and Los Angeles), ☏ +1-213-622-4090. M-F noon-2AM, Sa Su 11AM-2AM. Bar/restaurant in nearly continuous operation since 1908. Along with Philippe The Original, one of the possible originators of the French Dip sandwich. Sandwiches $9-11.
Empress Pavilion, 988 N Hill St (Chinatown), ☏ +1-213-617-9898. M-F 10AM-9PM, Sa 9AM-10PM, Su and holidays 8:30AM-10PM. Most people come here for the dim sum on carts but there is also a menu.
Grand Central Market, 317 S Broadway, ☏ +1-213-624-2378. 8AM-6PM daily. Market place with stands to eat different types of food or buy seafood, spices, beans and peas, liquors and more. Very charming and lively place. Full of locals and tourists. Parking garage entrance 308 S Hill St. $10.
Mikawaya, 118 Japanese Village Plaza Mall (Little Tokyo), ☏ +1-213-624-1681. M Sa 10AM-7PM, Tu-Th 10AM-10PM, F 9AM-11PM, Su closed. Their motto says it best: "The finest name in Japanese pastries since 1910."
The Original Pantry Cafe, 877 S Figueroa St, ☏ +1-213-972-9279. 24 hours daily. The Pantry boasts that it has never closed or been without a customer since it first opened in 1924 (want proof? The front entrance has no lock on it). Come here on any morning and you will see a line stretching around the block - the wait is worth it, and the fast service will have hot plate of food in front of you within minutes of sitting down. Best place for breakfast after midnight. It is owned by former mayor Richard Riordan. Cash only.
Philippe's, 1001 N Alameda St (Chinatown, one block from Union Station), ☏ +1-213-628-3781. 6AM-10PM daily. An LA landmark a couple of blocks north of Olvera Street and Union Station is a nostalgic shop with hay and sawdust covered floors. Famous for their 'French Dip' sandwiches dipped in au jus ($4.90), but the real reason to go is the atmosphere and the pastrami — the joint opened in 1908 and the menu still features things like pickled eggs and pig's feet. Coffee is ten cents a cup, but their 60-cent lemonade is even more popular. Expect to line up at any time and the place is mobbed on the nights of Lakers and Dodgers games.
Señor Fish, 155 S. Main St, ☏ +1-213-265-7544. 11AM-9PM daily. Not really authentic -- it's sort of a variation on Baja-style Mexican -- Senor Fish downtown does just one thing well, but they do it better than anyone. Luckily, that one thing is an important thing: grilled fish tacos. Grilled, not fried. Their Shrimp Taco is amazing as well.
Spring Street Smokehouse, 640 N Spring St (in Chinatown, on Cesar Chavez and N Spring), ☏ +1-213-626-0535. M Tu 10:30AM-8PM, W-F 10:30AM-9PM, Sa noon-9PM. Among the best barbecue in town. 27 microbrews.
Scoops Ice Cream, 727 N Broadway Ste 125 (in Far East plaza), ☏ +1-323-739-8675. Tu-Sa noon-10PM, Su noon-6PM. Very good ice cream shop with excellent ice cream in the Far East Plaza in Chinatown.
Engine Co. No. 28, 644 S Figueroa St. M-F 7:30AM-10PM, Sa Su 11AM-10PM. Comfort food at its best. A restored actual fire station that churns out great meatloaf, fried chicken and lemonade, all in an elegant atmosphere with great service.
Kendall's Brasserie, 135 N Grand Ave (at the Music Center), ☏ +1-213-972-7322. Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM (also Sa-Su 11:30AM-2:30PM on matinée performance days at the Music Center); dinner: Tu-Su 5PM-close (seating closes 1 hour after final performance). Great French menu at a perfect location to catch any of the great evening programs at the surrounding venues. Whatever you order, do not miss their French Fries! Mains from $15.
LA Chapter, 929 S Broadway (inside the Ace Hotel). Run by the Five Leaves team from NY, excellent burgers and other changing menu items.
Perch, 448 S Hill St, ☏ +1-213-802-1770. Great rooftop setting on the 15th floor of a building, a nice place for a sunset meal, snack, drink, and to lounge with good company. French bistro style. 21+ after 9PM.
Wood Spoon, 107 W 9th St, ☏ +1-213-629-1765. Tu-F 11AM-3PM, 5PM-10PM, Sa noon-3PM, 6PM-11PM, closed Su-M. Features Brazilian-inspired dishes that are different from what most American restaurants serve as "Brazilian". Rice, beans and plantains are in use, but entrees such as a Brazilian-inspired pot pie and cinnamon water will be new to most diners. Jacqueline, the very gracious chef, will usually make the rounds once the kitchen closes and can tell some very interesting stories about her life after coming to the States. $10-20 per person.
Yang Chow, 819 N Broadway (at Alpine St, in Chinatown), ☏ +1-213-625-0811. Su-Th 11:30AM-9:30PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-10:30PM. Be sure to order the slippery shrimp and the dry sauteed vegetables (green beans and asparagus).
Yorkshire Grill, 610 W 6th St (at Grand), ☏ +1-213-629-3020. M-F 6AM-3:30PM, Sa 8AM-2:30PM. Yorkshire Grill has been operating since 1954, with many a lucrative business deal having been negotiated over the famous Yorkshire pastrami sandwich. Open early, the Yorkshire breakfast dishes are some of the best in the area and their old school diner coffee will get you off to a strong start to your day! Lunch is always packed at Yorkshire so be sure to get there early, however Yorkshire also offers delivery to your home or place of business. $10.
Clifton's Cafeteria, 648 S Broadway, ☏ +1-213-627-1673. Newly re-opened in October 2015 after a $10 million renovation, this legendary establishment contains a variety of bars and restaurants distributed over five floors. The decor includes a 40-ft artificial redwood tree, a waterfall, taxidermy dioramas of California wildlife, and a 250-lb meteorite among other things.
Phoenix Inn, 301 Ord St. Chinese with an emphasis on Hong Kong dishes. No liquor license, but you can bring your own.
Cafe Pinot, 700 W 5th St (Central Library Courtyard). Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM; dinner: M-Tu 5PM-9PM, W-Th 5PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 5PM-10PM, Su 4:30PM-9PM. A romantic French/Italian restaurant and a unique setting as part of the central library's front yard.
Cicada, 617 S Olive St (between 6th and 7th Sts), ☏ +1-213-488-9488. W-F 5:30PM-9PM, Su 6PM-9PM. Situated in the beautiful Arts Deco Oviatt Building, Cicada deftly blends elegance of design and superior Italian fare. A chic bar is upstairs, complete with marble dance floor. A perfect place for special occasions, a fine meal before the theatre or just any excuse to be dazzled, both by the atmosphere and the cooking.
Nick and Stef's, 330 S Hope St. Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM; dinner: M-Sa 5:30PM-9:30PM. Fantastic steak house, run by the Patina restaurant empire. If you like beef, this is some of the best in town, with a glass-enclosed aging room where you can view the meat as it ages. Try the dry-aged Ribeye, it will make your head spin. They also have 12 kinds of potatoes on the menu. Not sure why, but they're all good. In the Wells Fargo Center, across from MOCA.
The Palm, 1100 S Flower St (across from the Staples Center), ☏ +1-213-763-4600. Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-3PM; dinner: M-Th 3PM-10PM, F 3PM-11PM, Sa 5PM-11PM, Su 5PM-9:30PM (open Su at 4PM on Lakers/Clippers evening game days, Su at 3PM on Lakers/Clippers afternoon game days). The Palm is a casual white tablecloth restaurant with a mix of Italian, seafood and great steaks. Check out the collection of caricatures on the walls too.
Traxx, 800 N Alameda St (inside Union Station), ☏ +1-213-625-1999. Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM, dinner: M-Th 5PM-9PM, F-Sa 5PM-9:30PM (Traxx Bar open M-Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su 1:30PM-8PM). Fancy-Schmansy restaurant in Union Station. Good food, pricey but the ambiance of Union Station makes it worth a splurge.
Water Grill, 544 S Grand Ave (the Old Bank District), ☏ +1-213-891-0900. M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F 11:30AM-11PM, Sa 5PM-11PM, Su 4PM-10PM. Excellent seafood and service. Perhaps a bit pricey, but elegant and wonderful.

Top

edit

Drink

Blue Bottle Coffee, 582 Mateo St (at Willow St). Daily 7AM-6PM. Popular and excellent spot for coffee in the arts district.
Spring For Coffee, 548 S Spring St (at 6th St), ☏ +1-213-337-0936. M-F 6:30AM-8PM, Sa 7AM-8PM, Su 7:30AM-5PM. Small coffee shop with sidewalk tables and delicious coffee.
Stumptown Coffee, 806 S Santa Fe Ave (at 7th Pl), ☏ +1-213-337-0936. 7AM-7PM daily. Straight out of Portland, one of the newest coffee roasters to LA.
Broadway Bar, 830 S Broadway, ☏ +1-213-614-9909. Tu-F 5PM-2AM, Sa 8PM-2AM Su-M closed. Dark, popular spot featuring a bar in-the-round and a second floor smoking balcony.
Club Mayan, 1038 S Hill St, ☏ +1-213-746-4674. Great singles spot downtown! Dress code is enforced. Be sure to check out the annual Lucha Vavoom (lucha libre and burlesque).
The Edison, 108 W 2nd St #101, ☏ +1-213-613-0000. W-F 5PM-2AM, Sa 7PM-2AM, closed Su-Tu. Housed in what was once Los Angeles' oldest power plant, this 1920s-themed lounge is a stunning reuse of the structure, even down to preserving the old generators, giving the place an industrial steampunk vibe. Besides the amazing decor, absinthe and craft cocktails are available and the place often puts on burlesque and live music shows, in keeping with its classical vibe. Dress code enforced. $10 cover charge.
Elevate Lounge @ Penthouse, 811 Wilshire Blvd, ☏ +1-213-623-7100. Excellent views of the city.
Gallery Bar, 506 S Grand Ave (inside the Millennium Biltmore Hotel), ☏ +1-213-624-1011. Upscale cocktail lounge. House drink is the Black Dahlia cocktail, named for the famed victim of the notorious murder, who was last seen wandering through the hotel.
Golden Gopher, 417 W 8th St, ☏ +1-213-614-8001. Tu-F 5PM-2AM, Sa-M 8PM-2AM. Ms. PacMan + Jukebox + Classiness. Also sells alcohol to-go.
La Cita, 336 S Hill St, ☏ +1-213-687-7111. 10AM-2AM daily. Curious mix of Latinos and hipsters.
Library Bar, 630 W 6th St (entrance on Hope St between 6th and 7th Sts), ☏ +1-213-614-0053. M-F 3PM-2AM, Sa-Su 7PM-2AM. An upscale pub style bar with a floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall library that houses a wide range of literary classics, while playing great music from Jim Hendrix to The Who. Knowledgeable bartenders offer an extensive beer selection and cocktails that are both classic and innovative.
The Rooftop Bar @ The Standard, 550 S Flower St (at 6th St). Daily noon-1:30AM. This unique bar offers a hipster hangout with excellent views of the city from thirteen stories up. Wear warm clothes during cold weather, and be prepared for drink prices in the $10+ range for mixed drinks. Don't forget to try the waterbeds or even jump in their pool for a swim.
Seven Grand, 515 W 7th St (2nd floor), ☏ +1-213-614-0737. M-W 5PM-2AM, Th-F 4PM-2AM, Sa-Su 7PM-2AM. Popular whiskey bar owned by the owner of the Golden Gopher and Broadway Bar. edit
Redwood Bar, 316 W. 2nd St. Hip little dive with a goofy but fun nautical theme. Live music, pub food.
Spire 73 at Intercontinental Hotel Downtown, 900 Wilshire Boulevard 73rd Floor (near the 7th Street/Metro Center subway station), ☏ +1 213 688-7777. Tu-Su. Tallest open air bar in USA at the top of the Intercontinental Hotel Downtown Los Angeles in the Wilshire Grand Building. Bar and Restaurant with amazing views of Los Angeles at about 1,000 feet high. Cover is $20.

Top

edit

Sleep

Downtown has a plethora of hotels catering primarily to business travelers. While most others have tended to stay further west, the last couple of years have seen the addition of some hipper hotels catering to younger crowds.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles Downtown, 120 S Los Angeles St, ☏ +1-213-629-1200, fax: +1-213-622-0980. Featuring spacious rooms, modern decor, and a variety of amenities in Little Tokyo. $110+.
The LA Hotel Downtown, 333 S Figueroa St, ☏ +1-213-617-1133, fax: +1-213-621-1505. Has a small older theater in its basement where you can still see first-run movies for under $8.
Omni, 251 S Olive St (at California Plaza in Bunker Hill), ☏ +1-213-617-3300. The OJ jury was sequestered here. Convenient to MOCA, Disney Concert Hall, upscale Noe Restaurant and Bar is onsite.
Sheraton Hotel, 711 S Hope St, ☏ +1-213-488-3500, toll-free: +1-866-716-8130.
Ace Hotel DTLA, 929 S Broadway, ☏ +1-213-623-3233, fax: +1-213-623-6163, ✉ enquire.dtla@acehotel.com. Opened early 2014 in the historic United Artists building that was built in 1927 for what was then a maverick film studio. Includes free Wi-Fi and air-con. Terrace Suites are 633 square foot and include a private kitchenette, private terrace; some have Ace x Rega RP1 turntables and acoustic Martin Guitars. From $199.
Figueroa Hotel, 939 S Figueroa St, ☏ +1-213-627-8971, toll-free: +1-800-421-9092. For those looking for something unusual, Figueroa Hotel provides Moroccan styled luxury. Mystic and beautiful, this is where Cirque Du Soleil hosted their premiere party of Varekai.
Hilton Checkers, 535 S Grand Ave (adjacent to the Central Library and the Millennium Biltmore in the Financial District), ☏ +1-213-624-0000, toll-free: +1-800-445-8667. AAA Four diamond, renovated 1920s luxury hotel. Weekend packages are offered.
Millennium Biltmore, 506 S Grand Ave, ☏ +1-213-624-1011. The grand-daddy of all downtown hotels, with its gorgeous lobby and fancy restaurants. edit
Miyako Hotel, 328 E 1st St, ☏ +1-213-617-2000. A downtown Japanese hotel offering classic comfort accommodations, meeting rooms, and a health spa with Shiatsu massage, close to attractions.
Ritz Carlton, 900 W Olympic Blvd, ☏ +1-213-743-8800. This high-rise hotel is one of the newest in downtown, with stunning views from the upper floors. It's across the street from LA Live, the Convention Center, and the Staples Center. $450+.
The Standard, 550 S Flower St, ☏ +1-213-892-8080. Trendy hotel with designer rooms and a bar and swimming pool on the roof. There is also a West Hollywood location.
Westin Bonaventure, 404 S Figueroa St, ☏ +1-213-624-1000. Recognizable from various movies it has appeared in.

Top

edit

Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

Los Angeles/Downtown Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Los Angeles/Downtown

This is version 5. Last edited at 9:25 on Sep 27, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License