Doing Downtown LA
A Burgeoning Neighborhood
Downtown LA was once an empty wasteland of office buildings, abandoned theaters, and signs from the bygone era of old glamorous glitz. However, Downtown LA today is an almost-established neighborhood filled with all kinds of emerging businesses (and booming ones, too). This includes many artists pursuing large workspaces and cheap rent. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day—and Downtown LA is no different.
First off, the exciting additions to the neighborhood include countless art galleries–like Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, Maccarone, 356 Mission, Venus, and Parrasch Heinjen. Local artists and Downtown pioneers reside at Francois Ghebaly, The Mistake Room, Cirrus Gallery, The Wulf, Grice Bench, and more.
Along with consuming art, you can also consume great food here. Our new favorites include the restaurant at the Ace Hotel, P.Y.T., Manuela, 71Above, Faith & Flower, and Shibumi. However, we can’t forget originals like the Nickel Diner and The Original Pantry Cafe.
For the architecture buffs, Los Angeles itself is a wonderland. Downtown is home to several photogenic buildings that will make angle-seeking nerds gasp–like the Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. Grab your camera and let your eye lead the way.
The Standard, Downtown LA
The Standard Hotel is one of Downtown LA’s institutions. This mid-century modern high-rise features 207 large rooms, special events, movie screenings, a beer garden–and most importantly–a spectacular rooftop pool and bar with panoramic views of LA. They even have their own Ping-Pong club. A word of caution: book here and you may not want to leave the premises.
Opened in 2014, this recent addition to Downtown’s hangout options is a gem. The Ace Hotel is quiet and laid back, the rooms are comfortable but not over the top, and the restaurant/cafe downstairs is a definite win. If you’re in the mood for a more social ambience, you can head up to the rooftop bar and pool for some action.
Keeping with the industrial loft vibe that Downtown offers, the O Hotel merges style and comfort. They feature standard amenities such as a gym, restaurant on premises, and a spa. For those wanting to squeeze in a bit of work, check out their meeting rooms. This spot is for you if you’re looking for a no-nonsense hotel without fancy designer details.
Fresh on the scene is Hotel Figueroa, an establishment that is leading the charge in chic, cozy, Spanish-influenced aesthetics in the Downtown sea of industrial style. The beautiful structure stands in contrast to a lot of the new, glass-covered Downtown construction. The building’s history goes way back to the 1900’s, when a group of NYC women started a women’s-only facility within it. Fast forward to 2016, and the hotel offers a culturally rich offering of design, lodging, food, and drink.