The cultural resurgence of downtown Los Angeles has been taking place for decades, but there’s no time like now to visit and experience DTLA which is on it’s way towards becoming the modern day metropolis that it was always destined to be. Downtown is filled with destinations for both locals and tourists, from museums and cultural institutions atop Bunker Hill, restaurants and bars in the Historic Core and sporting events in South Park. Downtown’s classic older buildings and contemporary skyscrapers may not have the hype of other parts of Los Angeles, yet, but it’s quickly becoming the heart and soul of the city and is on it’s way towards reclaiming it’s status among all the glamor of Hollywood and its neighboring beachfront communities that make up the greater Los Angeles area. Below are some of our highlights of what can’t be missed while visiting DTLA.
Eat & Drink
Soul food classics created by Chef Jeremy McBryde are deeply personal and have a storied past that connect each to his own family, from cousin Kina’s mac and cheese to maw maw’s candied yams. Comfort LA is best known for its classic chicken wings, greens and cornbread, all of which are hearty and oh so satisfying. Learn more.
Oahu native Tim Lee brings homey Hawaiian cooking to Downtown Los Angeles. In Hawaii, locals use the phrase “broke da mout” to describe food so good, one hardly has time to chew, hence the name of Lee’s DTLA restaurant. Brunch is served here all day long and visitors should definitely try the Local Plate, served with grilled Portuguese sausage, sunny-side up eggs and purple rice. Learn more.
For quick, simple and out of this world incredible tacos, check out this Tijuana-style restaurant from Victor Delgado and Jorge “Joy” Alvarez-Tostado who have mastered the art of simplicity with handmade tortilla, salsas and guacamole. Choose from asada, mushroom, adobada and chicken. Learn more.
Shibumi means creative restraint in the arts and the restaurant prides itself on upholding traditional techniques from 1600s-1800s Japan. There are three meal options, all coursed plates, and depending on your level of self-proclaimed royalty status, guests can max out with the Emperor’s Meal which is a long-lasting, beautifully presented and paced out feast for all your senses to enjoy.
In the heart of downtown, practically next door to Level South Olive, on a rooftop pool deck you’ll find Broken Shaker, a James Beard Award finalist and winner of Tales of the Cocktail’s Best American Hotel Bar award, this rooftop bar brings exotic homemade elixirs that bring a bit of the beach to the center of the city. Try the PB&J Old Fashioned made with a peanut butter fat washed lot 40 rye, makers mark bourbon, guava cordial and everything bagel bitters. Learn more.
Play & Explore
Wine and gelato inside the Spring Arcade Building
Guests can walk through the terracotta archway of this 1924 arcade where they will be greeted with a glass-roofed alleyway lined with shops and restaurants. Stop by Guisados for a chorizo taco, pick up bao from Rice Box or indulge in some gelato at Gelateria Uli. When it’s time to wind down with wine, transport yourself to Paris by stepping inside Garçons de Cafe.
Walk back in time at El Pueblo de Los Angeles
The city’s oldest section, established in 1787 as a farming community, El Pueblo has an authentic, Spanish colonial feel. The area is made up of 26 historical structures, 11 of which are currently open to the public, as well as the famous Olvera Street, which is perfectly made up of local independent makers and vendors, all selling mostly hand-crafted goods.
Get lost inside the Last Bookstore
Currently housed in an old bank building, the Last Bookstore is not only popular for its intense book selection within the 22,000 sq feet of space, but also for its marble columns, giant doors and its labyrinth of literary photo ops. Inside you will also find a record store, comic book store, 5 art studios, a yarn shop, a famous book tunnel, vaults filled with the unknown and of course, ghosts (ghosts can’t be confirmed).
Take a ride on the Angels Flight funicular
Most recently making a comeback is the little funicular that could, seen in the movie, La La Land. The 118 year old two car train, once known as the world’s shortest railway, has given over 100 million rides on its hillside track and offers views of the Historic Core below as it bumpily makes its way up Bunker Hill. You can board Angels Flight from either Hill Street or Olive Street, but be prepared for routine mechanical problems as it’s been chugging along for over a century.
This place is a favorite among locals looking for distinctive one-of-a-kind items. Specializing in independent and local designer collections as well as hand-selected vintage pieces, Sixhundred has fair pricing on an extremely unique collection for everyone.
The Santee Alley
Here you’ll find a curated collection of housewares, clothing for all genders, leather goods, stationary, books and jewelry. Poketo is a design driven community hub for locally made goods and works of art. The owners work with over 200 international artists on exclusive products, meaning there’s always something new inside just waiting to be discovered.
32 acres have been transformed into an all-encompassing destination within downtown Los Angeles. Here you will find a growing collection of globally recognized shops and restaurants as well as innovative offices that are spread over six buildings to create their own unique space and environment that exude a new and unique L.A. vibe. Learn more.
Historic Downtown Farmer's Market
If in need of groceries to stock the kitchen while in town to put your in-suite kitchen to good use, experience a community market curated by the people of DTLA. Find fresh produce, artisans, local food, and live music every Sunday from 9am - 3pm. Located a short drive or a 15-minute walk from Level LA’s three properties. Learn more.