Known simply as DTLA to the locals, this area is very different from any other Downtown city areas. It’s a mix of old and new, historical buildings sharing space with steel and glass skyscrapers, old school movie theaters, museums, a funicular railway, the tallest building on the West Coast along with a glass slide located about 1,000 feet above DTLA, art, graffiti, breweries and amazing food. Check out the 3-day itinerary below and get ready to be immersed in a world of wonder.
Stay at the NoMad hotel located in the Giannini Place historic building. It was originally built in the 1920s as the headquarters for The Bank of Italy and has kept its gold and blue lobby ceiling even after the complete restoration, determined to preserve its rich history while at the same time becoming a Neoclassical landmark with a contemporary California-inspired design.
Start the day with a hearty breakfast at Egg Slut in the Grand Central Market.
Eggslut, as the name eloquently puts it was designed by a love for eggs and bringing a new twist to this classical comfort food. The menu is a balance of comfort and innovation, celebrating food that appeals to both novice and extreme foodie through an all encompassing key ingredient, eggs.
Browse through the Grand Central Market and head out to the Angels Flight right outside. This super short ride funicular is over 100 years old, having opened in 1901 and it’s the world’s shortest railway (only 298 feet), yet it has become a landmark of DTLA and it’s always a fun ride uphill.
The Bradbury Building is probably one of the most recognized buildings in Los Angeles due to its zigzagging staircases featured in the 10982 movie, Blade Runner. Most of the building (built in 1893) is actually reserved for private office spaces, however you can visit the light-flooded lobby area and walk up about half a flight of the zigzag stairs.
The next item on this day’s itinerary is something completely different. The Santee Alley Flea Market is almost impossible to describe. Think of is as a mix between a bazaar, mall, souvenir area and pretty much anything else you’d like to find from clothing to handbags and accessories.
Artesano Tamaleria was born with one goal in mind – to bring tamales to the mainstream audience and also elevate them to a gourmet standard. Try the queso de cabra (goat cheese) or cochinita pibil (slow roasted pulled pork) and don’t forget to pick up a Piña & Coco (pineapple and coconut) for a sweet treat.
The Last Bookstore is probably one of the most impressive bookstores you will ever see. And if you’re response to that is “I have a Kindle”, then you should probably know that the name itself was chosen ironically as a reaction to the books going digital. The Last Bookstore hosts California’s largest used and new book and record store. But the place itself is so much more than a bookstore. With its labyrinthic design and artistic flair, this place has something for everyone – even if it’s just that perfect spot for your next Instagram photo.
Finish the day at Angel City Brewery, a place that’s both a brewery and an art space, a blank canvas for the city’s artists, musicians, and crafts makers. Yes, the beer is exceptional and the food just as well, but the place feels more like an embracing community of art with cool events such as Taco and Trivia Tuesdays.
The breakfast at Row DTLA is a unique discovery due to its selection of food trucks where you can find food for every taste. Grad something and head to one of the picnic areas to enjoy your food undisturbed, while people watching.
Walk over to Grand Park for some more people watching in this urban oasis full of romance that hosts a lot of performances and community events. Hang out on one of the bright pink benches overlooking the fountains and bask in the LA sun while watching the kids play in the water.
Take a tour with the Los Angeles Conservancy Walking Tours. There are so many to choose from, we could fill the entire 3 days (and maybe more) just with these walking tours. Choose between tours of modern skyscrapers or the Historic Core, Art Deco icons or Victorian mansions. Most tours meet at Pershing Square, near the mini-groves of orange trees. Make sure you book them in advance as they tend to sell out.
To continue the day on a cultural note, head over to The Broad Museum, the home to more than 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection, which is one of the world’s most prominent collections of postwar and contemporary art. The tickets are free, but make sure you make a reservation in advance and put yourself on the waiting list for the Yakoi Kusama Infinity Mirror Room as soon as you walk in as the wait can be long. This way, you can actually see the rest of the museum while you wait your turn for the Mirror Room.
Across the street from The Broad, you can see the Walt Disney Concert Hall, one of the most iconic buildings of DTLA. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, Walt Disney Concert Hall is an architectural landmark and one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world as well as a home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Catch a concert or just walk around it if classical music is not your scene and marvel at its beauty.
From there, walk over to the Oue Skyspace (about a 10 min walk), California’s tallest open-air observation deck and a fantastic destination for panoramic views of Los Angeles. Located in the iconic U.S. Bank Tower, nearly 1,000 feet above downtown Los Angeles. LA honors the culture, community, and people that make Los Angeles unlike any other city in the world and includes a surprise thrill unlike any other – a glass slide 1,000 feet up in the air for the courageous ones. You can also enjoy a beautiful view of the sunset while sipping cocktails and enjoying the view from the mountains, across the Hollywood Sign and all the way to the ocean.
Enjoy breakfast at Blu Jam Cafe inside the Spring Arcade Building, a sunlit covered outdoor space built in 1924 and transformed into a vibrant and diverse, dining destination. Try the crunchy French toast, the crab scramble or the steak hash for a delicious and filling breakfast.
Go across the street to Union Station, the last of the great American rail stations to be built. It’s a beautiful work of architecture with its Mission-style exterior, marble floors, high ceilings and decorative tiles that make it a popular destination for moody photography.
Continue on to FIGat7th, one of DTLAs newest shopping and dining destinations for some light shopping before diving into the adjacent area of Little Tokyo for some cool souvenirs and some amazing photo ops. Charming, walkable and friendly, Little Tokyo is a relaxing space full of delectable food options, great bars, live performances, world-class museums, and shopping that is not only eclectic but also affordable.
Stop at Daykokuya Ramen for their famous Daikoku Ramen made with a tonkotsu soup base infused with a secret blended soy sauce, homemade tender pork belly chaser, marinated boiled egg, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, green onions, and sesame seeds. Daykokuya is cash only so make sure you bring some cash with you.
End the night at the Tuesday Night Café Project for drinks and some great live music. The Tuesday Night Cafe Project is one of the longest-running free arts series in Downtown LA and is the oldest Asian American mic series in the country. The series runs on the 1st & 3rd Tuesday of each month, April through October, and features a curated program of multidisciplinary visual and performing art as well as an open mic section.