Whether you’re a local or just visiting, this is your downtown Los Angeles bucket list.
Downtown Los Angeles offers many hidden treasures in its nooks and crannies if you’re willing to put the time in to look. It’s sophisticated but gritty, old but exciting, and will beguile even the most cynical downtown critic. We’re talking food, drink, architecture, and music that can easily hold its own (or exceed) what the Westside has to offer. We know you’re busy, so we did all the work for you (you’re welcome).
1. Eat at Grand Central Market || 317 S. Broadway
The Grand Central Market, an emporium for food, produce, coffee, drinks, flowers, and more, is LA’s largest and oldest public market. Originally opened in 1917, it was revitalized in 2013 to bring in new vendors and make it a culinary destination. The incredibly popular (and crowded market) is open from 8am-10pm seven days a week and is a great starting point for wandering around downtown LA. Check out fan favorites Sticky Rice, EggSlut, G&B Coffee, Wexler’s Deli, and Horse Thief BBQ (it’s a little hard to choose).
2. Visit the light-filled Bradbury Building || 304 S Broadway
Right across from the Grand Central Market is the Bradbury Building, the interior of which has been featured in movie “gems” like Bladerunner and 500 Days of Summer. It’s downtown’s oldest commercial building (built in 1893) and its design was influenced by the 1887 utopian science fiction book Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy. The interior features beautiful birdcage elevators, ornamental cast iron, intricate tiling and patterned staircases, and a large skylight that floods the interior with natural light. So, how do we convince our bosses to move our offices here?
3. Listen to Jazz music at Seven Grand || 515 W. 7th St
Watch live jazz and blues Mondays through Wednesdays at this classy and sophisticated hunting lodge-themed whiskey bar. The bar, which features more than 265 brands of whiskey and bourbon, a pool table, and an outdoor patio space, is known for revitalizing the cocktail renaissance in downtown LA. If you’re a whiskey snob and enjoy a little more quiet, you might enjoy drinking at Bar Jackalope, an tiny, intimate, and high-end Japanese whiskey bar hidden within Seven Grand.
4. Venture to the Olvera Street Market || 845 N Alameda St
Step onto Olvera Street and you’ll be transported to what you would imagine early California to look like. The beautiful tree-shaded, brick-lined street is surrounded by old structures (including the oldest standing building in Los Angeles) and lined with painted stalls selling Mexican handicrafts, pottery, belts, and folk art, restaurants, and more. After grabbing an incredible caramel filled-churro from the to-the-point-named Mr. Churro, sit back on the patio of one of the restaurants facing the street to enjoy drinks, live music, and some shady respite from the hot summer sun.