The Perfect Day and Night in Downtown L.A.'s Arts District
When you’re in the City of Angels, everything can get a bit LA LA with the bright lights of Hollywood, the buzz of Beverly Hills and, yup, all that driving. Take a break by spending a day off the road exploring the most exciting and rapidly developing part of the city.
In downtown L.A. you’ll find the best contemporary art museums and an abundance of open and private artists’ studios, amazing restaurants (many of the best kitchens are attached to new museums) and beautiful boutique hotels to stay at or even just enjoy a poolside or rooftop cocktail. Welcome to DTLA.
TO BE IS TO DO
A great way to nip around the neighborhood is by bike—a luxury that the rest of extensive L.A. and its manic roads won’t allow. The Wheelhouse is a coffee shop and a bike shop in one. You can have a coffee while you shop/rent.
The Broad is famous for holding one of the strongest contemporary permanent collections in not just Los Angeles but in the US. Broad favorite Yayoi Kusama recently showed her Infinity Mirrored Room here, and now her Infinity Mirrors show in full through January 2018.
MOCA (the Museum of Contemporary Art) is vast and could take up a whole day in itself. Rauschenberg, Rothko and many other prolific great’s works take up much of the space. You’ll discover an abundance of ambitious and thought-provoking contemporary exhibits.
Architecture and Design Museum
L.A. is not a city known for its architecture unless you’re talking about the modernist and avant-garde glass houses stuffed with Eames that you find perched on hilltops up in Sherman Oaks or the Valley. Here at the A+D, you can learn about some of the city’s lesser-known landmark structures and the stories behind them in a consistently good rotating series of exhibitions on all things urban.
Museum of Ice Cream
The Museum of Ice Cream is fun and ridiculous and fascinating all at once, and great for the whole family or on a first date with the cutie you picked up at the museum. This place, so aesthetically pleasing with its bubblegum pink decor and design, is a haven for both the sweet-toothed and obsessive Instagrammers.
WINE AND DINE
Grand Central Market
You know the pupusas (savory stuffed tortilla) Emma and Ryan chow down in LA LA Land? Find them here, plus so much more including the hipster brunching mecca, Eggslut, and the best lobster roll. The vibe at this indoor street market is lively without being stressful, and you can usually find a seat and get chatting to locals about their chosen cuisine that day.
Otium at the Broad
This light-filled conservatory-like restaurant is part of the best contemporary museum in LA, and the food here demonstrates ample competition and newness. Try a house botanical cocktail aperitif before watermelon salad, grilled bass, some fresh pasta, washed down with Napa Valley wine from its Californian chef before or after you catch the new Kusama exhibition.
La Reyna Tacos 2#
Food trucks are big in LA, and most people queue up outside their offices at lunch to get the best, freshest and most affordable culinary delights. This taco truck is a hidden gem, open for the dinner slot of 5pm-midnight daily—cash only.
Bestia is a classy, contemporary, family-run, Italian spot set within an industrial space. If you like bone marrow, try it here and polish it off with a Primitivo from Puglia.
New to the neighborhood in 2017, Manuela is located inside the celebrated Hauser & Wirth Museum. The brunch, dinner and drinks menus are super up to date and innovative. It’s a great spot to dine with a small group of friends.
Salt & Straw
A modest but excellent ice cream shop, Salt and Straw is perfect for after your ice cream museum visit. Try one of the unusual house specials and be surprised that soft, rich gelato tastes much better than plain old vanilla.
Urban Radish is a cute market and deli with a family-kitchen Esque aesthetic with a focus on local produce and sustainability. Some nights see live jazz music being played here, where you can order wine and cheese and relax like Ryan Gosling in LA LA Land.
Words: Alexandra Pereira