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California Spotlight: Downtown L.A.
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California Spotlight: Downtown L.A.

Take a visual tour of Downtown Los Angeles, the vibrant L.A. neighborhood with world-class museums, entertainment venues, and hip hotels.

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5 min read

May 25, 2022

Disclaimer: California.com is not receiving any type of compensation for reviewing any of the products and businesses mentioned in this article.

The birthplace and pulsating heart of Los Angeles, Downtown L.A. is a vibrant hub reflecting the city’s past, present, and future. What started as a small settlement in 1781 evolved into the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles, now home to 4 million people. But D.T.L.A. has evolved into a world-famous destination in its own right. A recent renaissance has created a more walkable, dynamic urban center dotted with beautiful buildings, renowned museums, exclusive entertainment venues, innovative hotels, and critically acclaimed restaurants. Thanks to rapidly expanding public transit and bike-sharing options, it’s easier and better than ever to see the iconic neighborhood in all its glory.

Join the crowds on a tour of all the best attractions in Downtown Los Angeles.

There are countless things to do in Downtown Los Angeles, so for your next urban escape, head to this hoppin’ ’hood and spend a weekend exploring the network of bustling streets bursting with buzzy nightlife destinations, coveted cultural attractions, historical landmarks, and numerous shops and boutiques. Here’s a peek at the adventures that await.

All The Fun Things To Do and Places To Visit in D.T.L.A. 

1. Get Lost Under the Shadows of the D.T.L.A. Skyscrapers

Seven of the Golden State’s ten tallest skyscrapers can be found in Downtown L.A. From afar, these towering buildings provide magnificent skyline views, and up close they are a sight to behold. The Wilshire Grand Center and U.S. Bank Tower are two that deserve mentioning, as they both stand above 1,000 feet. Take a walking tour of the giants and try to fit them in as many photos as you can—we assure you that every photo of the Downtown L.A. skyscrapers will be postcard-perfect.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall is recognized as one of the most acoustically sophisticated concerts halls in the whole world.

2. Admire the Amazing Architecture of the Walt Disney Concert Hall 

Located in D.T.L.A., the Walt Disney Concert Hall has one of the most iconic architectures in Los Angeles. The hall, which was designed by American-Canadian architect Frank Gehry, was completed in 2003 and resembles a ship sailing down with its enormous silver wings. You can walk up and down the stairs of this remarkable acoustic architecture and take as many photos as you can from around its silver wings.

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3. Get Lost in the Infinity Mirror Rooms at The Broad

The Broad is one of L.A.’s top art museums and rightfully so. The admission-free museum exhibits over 2,000 pieces of art across its two floors, and we all have Eli and Edythe Broad to thank for them. Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Chuck Close, and Takashi Murakami all have their works displayed at this one-of-a-kind museum. But, there is more to The Broad than its rotating exhibitions. The museum is home to Yayoi Kusama’s famous infinity mirror rooms, which gives you the illusion of gazing straight into the future.

The Bradbury Building is L.A.’s biggest architectural movie star, appearing in numerous movies and TV shows.

4. Visit the Famous Bradbury Building

You might think that between all of D.T.L.A.’s towering skyscrapers a small commercial building would look so insignificant. Not when that building is the Bradbury Building, the oldest commercial building in Los Angeles. With its skylit atrium, elaborate ironwork, beautiful marble staircases, and unique cage elevators, the five-story building is arguably the most beautiful old building in Downtown Los Angeles. The structure, which is home to many offices and one of L.A.’s most exclusive clubs, NeueHouse, is a must-visit while in the area.

5. Dine at 71Above

Care to dine among the clouds? 71Above not only gives you the opportunity to dine high up in the sky, but it also is one of the best restaurants in Downtown Los Angeles. The Luxe eatery sits on the 71st floor of the U.S. Bank Tower and offers 360 degrees of uninterrupted views that stretch from Malibu all the way to Laguna Hills. Enjoy high-end, modern American cuisine as you share a romantic dinner with your date while sitting 1,000 feet above the ground.

6. Spend a Romantic Afternoon at Grand Park

In an effort to turn Downtown Los Angeles into a vibrant cultural destination, a portion of Grand Park opened to the public in 2012, adding romance to the city sinking between its tall buildings. The 12-acre park is a charming piece of land, dotted with fountains, benches, and picnic lawns. During your visit to the district, pack a picnic, and spend a romantic afternoon in this gorgeous park.

The last bookstore, with its labyrinth of books, is one of the most photographed bookstores in the world.

7. Enjoy the Smell of Books at the Last Bookstore

The last bookstore is an iconic representation of Los Angeles. Its unique interior design earned the bookstore its popularity, and you’ve surely seen interesting and beautiful photos of it in your news feed. The famous used bookstore is home to over 250,000 books. But, there’s more to the bookstore than just books and photo ops. It also has thousands of vinyl records, an art gallery, a yarn shop, and spaces for book club meetings. Stop by this one-of-a-kind bookshop, buy a book or two, and enjoy the labyrinth of book structures.

8. Appreciate the Contemporary Art Pieces at the Museum of Contemporary Art

Looking for a free thing to do near Downtown Los Angeles? A visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the only L.A. museum founded by an artist, would be the perfect thing to do. The free art gallery exhibits thousands of lesser-known contemporary art pieces, which you can easily admire for hours. The beauty of the museum doesn’t stop at its content. Before leaving, make sure you check out the unique architecture of the building, which reinterprets geometric forms.

Angels Flight, which was built in 1901 by Colonel J.W. Eddy, is the world’s shortest incorporated railway.

9. Board the Angels Flight 

Olivet and Sinai are two of the most popular names in Downtown Los Angeles, California, and no, they are not celebrities, but more like celebrity funicular cars — after all, they did appear in “La La Land”. The narrow gauge funicular railway is located in the Bunker Hill district of D.T.L.A and its cables run 298-feet up and down the hill. You can board the Angels flight either from Hill Street or Olive Street, and go towards your own “La La Land”.

10. Stay in A Luxurious Apartment

Not living in Downtown Los Angeles doesn’t mean that you don’t get the chance to experience life in the area like a local. You’d be surprised at the number of incredible Airbnbs available for rent in the neighborhood. If you’re looking to enjoy life in the area as an A-lister, you better start at the Downtown Los Angeles Luxury Apartment. The gorgeous apartment offers you breathtaking views of the city and has everything you could possibly need for a comfortable stay. The best part is that all the best attractions are just a walking distance away from this luxury apartment in Downtown Los Angeles.

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