L.A. is a city of diverse cultures, and many are showcased in or around Downtown. While Downtown has been considered primarily a business and manufacturing hub for the last couple of decades, its long-heralded revival has really gained some traction recently, 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 twentieth century. Following the white flight to the suburbs after WWII, 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 1950s 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 as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. South of this is the rapidly gentrifying southwest corner of Downtown, labeled by developers in recent years as "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. 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.
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.
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 then on. Downtown isn't that big. Most likely, a DASH shuttle has a stop where you want to go.
By commuter rail
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 subway / light rail
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 subway brings riders from the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood, cutting across the Financial District, the Jewelry District, the Civic Center, and El Pueblo, passing near the Historic Core and Bunker Hill, making four stops in Downtown LA (7th/Metro Center, Pershing Square, Civic Center, and Union Station).
- The Purple Line subway brings riders from Mid-Wilshire, joining with the Red Line subway to cut across the Financial District, the Jewelry District, the Civic Center, and El Pueblo, passing near the Historic Core and Bunker Hill, making four stops in Downtown LA (7th/Metro Center, Pershing Square, Civic Center, and Union Station).
- The Blue Line light rail brings riders from South Los Angeles (also known as "South Central"), Long Beach, and other southern suburbs, to two Downtown LA stops: Pico Station in the South Park district, and 7th/Metro Center in the Financial District. Both of these stops are shared with the Expo Line, which brings riders to Downtown from Culver City, Crenshaw, South Central, Exposition Park, and the University of Southern California.
- The Gold Line light rail brings riders from the San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena, Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles to three Downtown LA stops: Chinatown Station in the Chinatown district, Union Station, and Little Tokyo/Arts District Station in Little Tokyo.
Greyhound has a bus terminal in Los Angeles, and Megabus' terminal is at the Patsaouras Transit Plaza adjacent to Union Station. BoltBus' terminal is on the west side of Union Station. Union Station is also the terminus of the Fly-Away Bus to Los Angeles International Airport.
Metro buses Downtown Los Angeles can be reached by a number of buses to elsewhere in the city. Buses going to/from downtown are numbered 1-99 (local routes with multiple stops, orange colored); 300s (Rapid Ride routes w/ limited stops, red colored); and 400s (downtown Express, blue colored). The Metro Silver Line provides frequent service to Downtown from El Monte, East Los Angeles, South Los Angeles and the Harbor Gateway. Downtown is connected to other parts of Los Angeles County by frequent rapid and local bus service provided by the Los Angeles Metro, including Hollywood (2, 4, 302, 704), West Los Angeles (4, 704, 16, 316, 20, 720, 28, 728), Mid-Wilshire (20, 720), Venice (33, 733), South Los Angeles (40, 45, 745, 51, 52, 352), East Los Angeles (18, 66, 68, 70, 770, 720), the San Gabriel Valley (70, 770, 76, 78, 79), Northeast Los Angeles (81, 90, 91, 94, 794) and the San Fernando Valley (94, 794). The transit agencies of the Antelope Valley, the Foothills, Santa Clarita, Santa Monica, Montebello, Torrance and Orange County provide freeway express service into Downtown.
From LAX in Westchester
From LAX Airport there are two relatively frequent public transportation options to Downtown LA: the FlyAway Bus, and Metro Rail.
- For the FlyAway Bus option, simply walk to the nearest platform with a green shuttle sign outside your terminal. The FlyAway Bus will stop at each terminal to pick up passengers bound for one of several locations around Los Angeles; be sure to board the Union Station-bound FlyAway Bus, or you will end up far away from Downtown LA. This express bus uses the carpool lanes and busways on major freeways from LAX straight to Downtown, and runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- For the Metro Rail option, which is usually slower due to the many transfers necessary, first board a free LAX G-shuttle to the Metro Green Line platform at Aviation Station. Then take a Norwalk-bound Green Line train to Imperial/Wilmington station, where you will walk down the stairs and board a Los Angeles-bound Blue Line train. The Blue Line ends in the Financial District, at 7th/Metro Center, connecting to the Red and Purple Lines. Trains run until about 1AM everyday.
From Bob Hope Airport in Burbank
Bob Hope Airport is served by two rail networks, both of which use the Burbank Airport train station - walking distance from the main terminal building.
- Metrolink commuter rail: Use the ticket vending machines to purchase a ticket from Burbank-Bob Hope Airport to Union Station, the main train station downtown. Metrolink runs 15 trains in each direction on the Ventura County Line on weekdays during commute times (use Amtrak at night and on weekends). See the Metrolink Burbank-Bob Hope Airport schedules on the web for exact departure times. This trip takes from 14 to 31 minutes.
- Amtrak: Use the ticket vending machines to purchase a ticket from Burbank-Bob Hope Airport to Union Station, the main train station downtown. Amtrak runs 5 trains in each direction on the Pacific Surfliner Line 7 days a week, with the last train departing at 9:13PM from Burbank-Bob Hope Airport. This trip takes about 26–43 minutes.
If you must drive, park at the NE corner of Hill and 9th to check out the Fashion/Garment District. Incredible deals, great restaurants, beautiful architecture (check out the Orpheum and Eastern Columbia Buildings across from the lot). There is also Cliftons further up Broadway, The Arcade Building which, like many of the historic building downtown, is being converted into upscale lofts.
- Parking: 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. But Pershing Square has good centralized parking. If you are checking out the Convention Center (only do if you are actually going to a convention there) consider parking there, although it is adjacent to Staples Center, which is a block from the Hotel Figueroa (check out the bar and the Moorish architecture), which is a block from the Pantry...well, you get the idea.
Downtown is one of the few areas of L.A. that one can reasonably cover on foot.
- Metro Bus is the most extensive bus system in the region. All major streets have at least one (and in some cases, several) bus lines running daily.
- Metro Rail is the subway and light rail system for Los Angeles County. Downtown LA can be traversed using the six downtown rail stations that are served by four of the five lines in the Metro Rail system. At the northern end of Downtown LA, the Gold Line stops at Chinatown on its way northeast to Pasadena. The Red and Purple Line subways meet with the Gold Line light rail in Union Station, where connections can be made to buses, Metrolink commuter trains, and Amtrak. From Union Station, the Red and Purple Line subways run along Hill Street, making stops at the Civic Center and Pershing Square, before turning west under the Financial District. There they connect to the Blue Line light rail at 7th/Metro Center. From there the Red and Purple Lines run northwest and west, respectively, and the Blue Line runs south through Downtown LA's redeveloping South Park district, with a stop at Pico, towards the city of Long Beach.
- DASH is a shuttle service run by L.A. Department of Transportation. When your feet get tired or to better expand your travel area use the DASH. 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 currently costs 50 cents (25 cents for seniors) and pamphlets are available from most MTA stations (Union, 7th/Olive) and convenience stores Downtown.
- Chinatown. Primarily centered around North Broadway; unlike Chinatowns in many other cities, it has a wide, main, busy street filled with small shops and restaurants. At about the middle point of N Broadway in Chinatown is an open market much like those found in Hong Kong. Be sure to haggle!
- Little Tokyo. The Japanese district features restaurants, museums, and shops. It sits in the area between Temple and about 5th and Spring through Alameda.
El Pueblo de Los Angeles
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (between Main and Alameda Streets; across from Union Station), ☎ +1 213 485-6855. This small district is where Los Angeles was founded as El Pueblo de Los Angeles. Today, sandwiched in a few square blocks is a collection of museums and historic buildings centered around the Old Plaza and Olvera Street, which is lined with Mexican-themed trinket stands and restaurants.
- Avila Adobe and Visitor Center, East 10 Olvera Street, ☎ +1 213 628-1274. Daily 9AM-4PM. The oldest house in Los Angeles, built in 1818 and today open as a museum furnished as it might have appeared in the 1840s. The house also holds the El Pueblo Visitor Center, with information on the district and a gift shop selling books, maps, and souvenirs based on El Pueblo. Free.
- América Tropical Interpretive Center, 125 Paseo de La Plaza. Tu-Su 10AM-3PM; winter mural viewing Nov-Mar 10AM-noon. Visitors can take a look at the recently restored and controversial mural América Tropical by famed Mexican artist David Siqueiros, complete with its own museum. Free.
- Chinese American Museum, 425 N. Los Angeles Street, ☎ +1 213 485-8567. Tu–Su 10AM–3PM. Housed in the last surviving building from Los Angeles' original Chinatown, which was almost entirely demolished to make way for Union Station, this museum has exhibits on the Chinese American experience in the region, with artifacts and a recreation of a Chinese herb shop. Free; donations requested.
- LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, 501 North Main St, ☎ +1 213 542-6200. M, W-Th noon–5PM, F-Su noon-6PM. A small campus of historic buildings and gardens with interactive exhibits and films on the Mexican American history of the area. Free.
- Museum of Social Justice, 115 Paseo de la Plaza (facing the Plaza), ☎ +1 213 613-1096. Th-Sa 10AM-3PM, Su 10AM-1PM. Housed in the 1925-era La Plaza Methodist Church and operated by the United Methodist Church, this small museum has changing exhibits drawing from the church's extensive historical photo archive. Free; donations accepted.
- Plaza Firehouse Museum, 134 Paseo de la Plaza, ☎ +1 213 625-3741. Tu-Su 10AM-3PM. This was the original fire station for the City of Los Angeles. Built in 1884, it has been restored to its original condition. The knowledgeable docents offer a peek into Los Angeles in the 19th Century. Free; donations accepted.
- Sepulveda House, 12 Olvera St. Tu-Su 10AM-3PM. A Victorian-style house dating back to 1887, today open as a period museum.
- Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), 250 S Grand Ave, ☎ +1 213 626-6222. Th-M 11AM-5PM. 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 student (includes admission to Geffen Contemporary).
- Geffen Contemporary, 152 N Central Ave. A branch of MOCA tucked away in Little Tokyo. Same opening hours and shared tickets as MOCA on Grand.
- Japanese American National Museum, 369 E 1st St, ☎ +1 213 625-0414. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. Covers the Japanese-American experience, with a special emphasis on the concentration camps of World War II. $8.
- Grammy Museum, 800 W Olympic Blvd (entrance on Figueroa St), ☎ +1 213 765-6800. M-F 11:30AM-7:30PM, Sa-Su 10AM-7:30PM. History of music, with listening posts. Adult $12.95.
- The Broad, 221 S. Grand Ave., ☎ +1 213 232-6200. Tu-Su, hours vary. A contemporary art museum, whose name is pronounced "brode," built to house the collection of billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad. Opened in September 2015, the museum has a collection of almost 2,000 pieces of postwar and contemporary art. Free.
- Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), 919 S Grand Ave, ☎ +1 213 624-1201, toll-free: +1 800 624-1200. Gorgeous campus of FIDM and ongoing free exhibits make this a pleasant way to kill a couple of hours.
- The Los Angeles Central Public Library, 630 W 5th St, ☎ +1 213 228-7000. Huge library rebuilt in the 1980s and '90s. Almost always has a public exhibition going.
- Music Center and Disney Hall, 135 N Grand Ave, ☎ +1 213 972-7211, e-mail: email@example.com. Impressive hall architecture complete with tours most days. The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is open to the public Christmas Eve day with almost round the clock performances by amateur cultural arts groups. The Walt Disney Hall has daily tours, check website for schedules.
- The 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, including Blade Runner in 1982. 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, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.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 City Hall, 200 North Spring St (enter on Main Street). 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 and the "Hall of Mayors" on the 26th floor. Free.
- St. Vincent Court, 7th St, between Broadway and Hill. A tranquil hideaway tucked in the heart of the Jewelry District.
- 2nd Street Tunnel (between Hill and Figueroa Streets). A somewhat obscure but very recognizable landmark is this tunnel, built in the 1920s beneath Bunker Hill, 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. The Figueroa Street entrance is the more attractive (and recognizable) one; it's 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. 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 is like it was in the 1940s. It is used in lots of movies, including Blade Runner, where the main hall was used as the police station.
- U.S. Bank Tower (Library Tower), 633 W 5th St (across 5th St from the downtown central library). At 73 floors and 1,017 feet, this is the tallest building in the Western United States and is said to be the tallest building between Chicago and Hong Kong. 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.
Various groups offer free or cheap walking tours of Downtown LA.
- Downtown Art Walk. A free monthly self guided tour--and free walking tours, reservations required--held on the second Thursday of every month, to art galleries and museums in Downtown L.A.
- L.A. Conservancy Walking Tours. See the grand Vaudeville/Movie theaters of the 20s and the impressive Art Deco office buildings in several easy to handle walking tours. Strongly recommended for those wanting to grasp a feel of LA's history. Reservations are strongly recommended.
- Las Angelitas del Pueblo. This is a group of volunteer docents who give free tours of El Pueblo de Los Angeles to the public.
- Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: In A Lonely Place bus tour. An occasional bus tour of sites downtown and in Hollywood from the films, books and lives of Raymond Chandler and his anti-hero Philip Marlowe. $58, includes snacks.
- The Real Black Dahlia bus tour. A true crime and social history tour that intimately explores the last weeks of Elizabeth Short's life, asking not "who killed her?" but "who was she?" $58.
- John Fante's Dreams of Bunker Hill bus and walking tour. An occasional bus and walking tour of sites downtown and in Hollywood from the life and work of novelist John Fante and his great fan Charles Bukowski, plus crime scenes from forgotten horrors of old Bunker Hill, Sonora Town and beyond. $58, includes snacks.
- Staples Center, 1111 S Figueroa St. Home to four of LA's pro sports franchises; Lakers (NBA), Kings (NHL), Clippers (NBA), and Sparks (WNBA), plus many concerts, shows and conventions.
- LA Lakers, Staples Center. Do they need an introduction? They are the most popular basketball team in the city. Prices are very high (the most expensive ticket in the NBA) but you will rarely be disappointed with Kobe Bryant and the beautiful Staples Center.
- LA Clippers, Staples Center. The Los Angeles Clippers are a rising NBA team. Tickets are slightly cheaper than Laker tickets but most likely will not remain so for long as the Clippers are taking over the title of best "LA NBA team." The basketball season runs from late October to June.
- LA Kings, Staples Center. LA's hockey team - One of the NHL's brightest young teams with stars like Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. A fun hockey experience and a great, affordable way to experience the Staples Center.
- LA Sparks, Staples Center. LA's women's basketball team - they especially need your support! A good, inexpensive family outing and a chance to be shown that women are just as capable of dazzling the crowd with their athletic prowess as men!!
A number of music, theater, and convention venues are located in Downtown Los Angeles.
- Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 South Figueroa St (Between 11th and Pico two blocks west of the 110 Freeway), ☎ +1 213 741-1151. varies. Los Angeles' main venue for conventions and expositions, it is where Anime Expo, E3, and the Los Angeles Auto Show are held.
- Microsoft Theater, 777 Chick Hearn Ct (Between Figueroa and Georgia). varies. Built in 2007, it is Los Angeles' premiere venue for rock concerts and awards shows.
- Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 South Grand Ave. varies. One of four halls of the Los Angeles Music Center, it is where the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Master Chorale perform
- Ahmanson Theater, 135 North Grand Ave, ☎ +1 213 628-2772. varies. One of four halls of the Los Angeles Music Center, it is the primary venue for theatrical runs in Downtown Los Angeles.
- Mark Taper Forum, 135 North Grand Ave, ☎ +1 213 628-2772. varies. The most intimate of the four halls of the Los Angeles Music Center, it serves as Los Angeles' venue for experimental theater
- Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 North Grand Ave. varies. One of four halls of the Los Angeles Music Center, it currently serves as the venue for the Los Angeles Opera and Dance at the Music Center
- Conga Room, 800 West Olympic Blvd, ☎ +1 213 745-0162, fax: +1 213 745-8771. A nightclub at L.A. Live specializing in Latin music
Downtown's shopping districts are sights in themselves.
- Fashion District (near the convergence of Spring St and Main St). The area is largely a manufacturing and wholesale showroom center, with hundreds of retail shops carry cheaply made and priced goods catering to budget shoppers and the large Latin-American community that work in the area. Recently it's being injected with a dose of young trendy brands like Acne, Oak, and Aesop, mostly centered around 9th & Broadway.
- Arts District. The Arts District houses a plethora of unique clothing, houseware and knick-knack boutiques, amidst a rapidly evolving area.
- Flower District, 766 Wall St. The cheapest and best place to buy flowers in the city, it's where most of the florists get their supply. Come very early for the best selection. Two huge warehouses spread across both sides of Wall Street (the Original Los Angeles Flower Market and the Southern California Flower Market). $1 admission Sa, $2 admission M-F.
- Jewelry District. Wonder where all of those West Coast Rappers get their bling bling? Well, if they are frugal, they get it in the Jewelry District. Bounded by Olive-Broadway and 6th-7th, it is conveniently close to Pershing Square (parking and Red line access).
- Santee Alley (Fashion District) (between Santee St and Maple Ave, starting on Olympic Blvd). A bustling outdoor flea market crammed in an alley, home of knock off designer labels and impossibly crappy jewelry. Come here for interesting atmosphere, or to buy cheap socks.
- Urban Outfitters, 810 S Broadway (in The Rialto Theater), ☎ +1 213 627-7469. 10A-9P Monday - Saturday, 11A-8P Sunday.
- The Last Bookstore, 453 S Spring St – Ground Floor (Corner of 5th Street and Spring ( near Pershing Square Metro station)), ☎ 213-488-0599. Monday-Thursday 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm, Sunday 10a-9pm. California's largest used/new book and record store in downtown LA. Located in a downtown LA loft totaling 22,000 square feet, it has over 250,000 used and new books and 10,000 records for sale on 2 floors with a yarn gallery, arts and rare book annex and a small art gallery. Events like book reviews, book signings and open mic nights are held here as well.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
|Mid-range||$10 - $25|
- Cole's Pacific Electric Buffet, 118 E 6th St (between Main and Los Angeles), ☎ +1 213 622-4090, e-mail: email@example.com. 9AM-10PM daily. Bar/restaurant in nearly continuous operation since 1908, but recently shut for a year and a extensive upscale redesign. Along with Philippe The Original, one of the possible originators of the French Dip sandwich.
- 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. 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 Street. $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. At present, 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 St. 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, 422 E 1st St, ☎ +1 213 625-0566. 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. The best barbecue in town. 27 microbrews.
- Scoops Ice Cream, 727 N Broadway Ste 125 (in Far East plaza), ☎ (323) 739-8675. Opens at 12PM and closes at 10PM (except Sunday-closes at 6PM and closed all day Monday). 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 LA's best 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, Los Angeles CA 90013, ☎ +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.
- Riordan's Tavern, 875 S Figueroa St, ☎ +1 213 627-6879, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 11AM-10PM daily. Good (but slightly pricey) pub food in the heart of downtown near the Staples Center. The Mayor's Burger is a one pound beast with chili, bacon, and all the fixings, or you can try the daily carvery sandwich. Steaks and seafood are also decent, and the drinks are poured stiff. $15-30.
- 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.
- 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. The best seafood and overall service period. Perhaps a bit pricey, but elegant and wonderful.
- Handsome Coffee Roasters, 582 Mateo St (at Willow St), ☎ +1 213 621-4194. M-F 7AM-6PM, Sa-Su 8AM-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. Best 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.
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.
The large number of business hotels can be used to your advantage if the timing is right; try for deep discounts on weekend stays.
- 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, e-mail: email@example.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 (located 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.
- 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.
- , 404 S Figueroa St, ☎ +1 213 624-1000. Recognizable from various movies it has appeared in.
The area bounded by 3rd Street, 7th Street, Alameda Street and Main Street is often referred to as "Skid Row" or "the Nickel" and has one of the largest homeless populations in the United States. The Greyhound Station is located here, but the area is unsafe for pedestrians regardless of the time of day.
- Indie Desk, 816 S Broadway, ☎ +1 213 221 2836. 9AM-6PM M-F. A coworking space if you need easy access to a desk and internet access, short term or long term. $20/day, $125-225/month.
- South Central LA - Despite its rough reputation, this neighborhood south of downtown is worth a visit for its museums, the University of Southern California, and the space shuttle Endeavour.
- Wilshire District - Located northwest of downtown, the Wilshire district is home to Koreatown, as well as attractions that include the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Peterson Auto Museum, and the world-famous La Brae Tar Pits.
- Northwest LA - Located northwest of downtown, this area is home to Dodger Stadium and the massive Griffith Park and its world-famous observatory.
- East LA - The Eastside of LA is home to several neighborhoods that date back as far as the late 19th century and includes Heritage Square, a historic collection of old buildings moved from other parts of LA. The Eastside is east of downtown.
- Gateway Cities - The Gateway City of Huntington Park borders downtown to the south.
- Arroyo Seco Historic Parkway (110 Freeway) (starts at the intersection of the CA-110 and the US-101, heading north from that junction). Drive the Parkway, a National Scenic Byway that runs for 9.4 miles (15.1 km) between Downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena. The Parkway passes from the skyscrapers of Downtown, through Chinatown into the Arts-and-Crafts style neighborhoods of South Pasadena and ends in Pasadena at Colorado Blvd, home to the famous Rose Parade. There is also a bike path that runs along the LA River, roughly the same route.
|Routes through Downtown Los Angeles (by car)|
|Sacramento ← Northwest L.A. ←||N S||→ East LA → Santa Ana|
|Santa Monica ← Wilshire ←||W E||→ East LA → San Bernardino|
|Pasadena ← Montecito Heights ← Becomes ←||N S||→ South Central L.A. → San Pedro|
|Santa Barbara ← Northwest L.A. ←||N S||→ END|
|Santa Monica ← Northwest L.A. ←||W E||→ East LA → Barstow|
|END ←||W E||→ East LA → Riverside|
|Routes through Downtown Los Angeles (by public transit)|
|END ←||N S||→ South Central L. A. → Long Beach|
|North Hollywood/Koreatown ← Westlake ←||N/W S/E||→ END|
|Pasadena ← Highland Park ←||N E||→ East L.A.|
|Culver City ← Expo Park ←||W E||→ END|
|San Pedro ← South Central L.A. ←||S E||→ East L.A. → El Monte|