The Arts District in Downtown LA has undergone a revival from gritty no-man's-land, to city hot spot. In the late 70’s, this run-down area was frequented by writers, musicians and artists making the most of cheap rents in dilapidated buildings, whilst the rest of the city stayed away.
Thanks to red tape being lifted, a downtown renaissance has occurred. Formerly abandoned buildings have been converted into loft apartments and new residents have rushed in to join the artists and galleries which have existed here for years.
It’s our favourite spot in LA and here are some of our favourite hangout spots.
WHERE TO VISIT
Flavour bombs and craft beers, all with a Japanese twist. There’s a reason why Unami has made the best burger and best LA restaurant lists and now there’s one in Downtown LA and we’re very happy.
For the aesthetically-inclined, visit Alchemy Works for its eclectic mix of homewares, accessories and vintage products curated by husband and wife duo, Raan and Lindsay Parton. Alchemy Works is both retail store, gallery and event space, although it feels more like your older, cooler siblings’ apartment, covered with insta-bait.
Grab your coffee from the paired back menu at the counter, then take a pew on one of the communal tree stumps outside on the patio. If you’ve the time, try the avocado on toast. It’s big!
Salt & Straw is THE go-to for feel-good, handmade ice-cream using locally sourced organic ingredients. Flavours conjure up feelings of rainbows and fairgrounds, and sherbet, sparking once again that uncontrollable childhood excitement that only ice-cream can induce! There’s a story to every flavour and we love stories! To get your taste-buds going here’s a couple of our favourites: Lemon Grand Poppy Sherbet and Almond Brittle and Salted Ganache.
Just a few blocks away from East Third Street, you'll find cooler-than-cool Ace Hotel and the Palace Theatre. The Ace Hotel occupies the former United Artists Building featuring gothic architecture which play homage to Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia. The work of local designers’ adorns the walls, giving the feel of walking into an artists warehouse studio. A studio with a rooftop pool!
Next to the Ace Hotel is the Palace Theatre. Step into this historic building which was originally opened in 1911 and you'll be carried back to the golden age of Hollywood. Extravagant and ornate, the design of the theatre is reminiscent of a Florentine early Renaissance palazzo. It’s played host to greats from Fred Astaire, Harry Houdini and Rita Hayworth and has to be seen to be believed.