Downtown Los Angeles

Any long time Los Angeleno would tell you there was a time when the phrase “downtown Los Angeles” evoked feelings of fear and revulsion amongst residents of Los Angeles. Downtown Los Angeles was crime-ridden and was usually desolate by 5pm.

Everyone who worked downtown lived somewhere else and were on the freeways trying to get to their residences in other parts of the city like as fast as they could, once work was over.

However, over the years, something interesting happened, some developers came up with the brilliant idea of building a massive entertainment center — L.A. Live right in the heart of downtown.

The University of Southern California (U.S.C) also started buying up property surrounding its campus, chic residential buildings started to spring up and a massive renaissance took over downtown Los Angeles.

A newly rejuvenated downtown is experiencing one its best boom years.
Newly rejuvenated. Downtown Los Angeles is experiencing one its best boom years.

A part of town that was once dreaded became one of the fastest growing areas in the city.

More and more of the attorneys, bankers and students from the surrounding universities that previously fled downtown post-working hours chose instead to reside downtown.

As a result of this, so many businesses have opened up to serve this burgeoning group of young, urban professionals.

There is so much to do in the downtown area nowadays that it is possible to visit Los Angeles and not even have to venture to the more popular parts of town (Hollywood you are on notice!).

In essence, downtown L.A. has become a mini-city within a city.

Getting To Downtown Los Angeles

We would strongly recommend that you rent a car during your visit to the city. All of Los Angeles is a commuter city, so, unlike New York, where the metro can take you everywhere,
It is just not the same in L.A.

With that being said, there is public transportation to and from the downtown area and we have listed some options below.

By Metro

The 7th Street metro stop is right in the heart of downtown L.A.
The 7th Street metro stop is right in the heart of downtown L.A.

Your best bet would be to get a “TAP card” at the metro station and take the red or purple line depending on what station you are coming from to either “7th street/Metro Center”, “Pershing Square”, or the “civic center” stops.

By Bus

Getting downtown Los angeles by bus is also a great option.
Getting downtown Los angeles by bus is also a great option.

To get around by bus. Please access the Bus Schedule

Things To Do In Downtown Los Angeles

Visit L.A. Live

L.A. Live is one of downtown Los Angeles' premier entertainment venues
L.A. Live on Olympic and Figueroa st. is downtown’s premier entertainment venue.

L.A. Live is a massive entertainment complex which includes a movie theatre, the Staples center (home to the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers), if you like basketball and the Los Angeles Kings if you are a hockey fan.

There are also a ton of restaurants, nightclubs and bars at L.A. Live. Seriously, this place has it all. It would probably take forever to be able to visit all the restaurants and bars that make up the entertainment complex.

The standard downtown Los Angeles
Rooftop pool parties occur here every week due to L.A. being sunny all year round.

Attend A Pool Party At The Standard Hotel

The Standard Hotel is one of the most prominent hotels downtown Los Angeles; they also have another branch on Sunset Boulevard. The Standard is special because of the rooftop pool parties they have during the summer. A Ping pong bar has recently been added to the Standard, so make sure you visit that too.

The Standard was famous amongst a bevy of celebrities during the onset of this millennia but like all things L.A., The Standard cooled off the list of where celebrities like to hang. However, it is still super packed on Sundays especially during the summer months.

Moreover, it is also one of the best places to have breakfast downtown Los Angeles(pancakes are ahhhmmmaaazzzing!!!) on any given day.

Go Dancing At One Of The Many Nightclubs and Bars.

A snapshot of nightlife in downtown los angeles
A snapshot of nightlife in downtown los angeles

There are tons of bars and restaurants in the downtown area and we have provided a list of some bars where locals like to hang out below.

  • Perch
  • Edison
  • Casey’s Irish Pub
  • Mas Malo
  • Redwood bar and grill
  • Salvage Lounge
  • Library bar
  • Seven Grand
  • The Edison
  • Dublins

Mingle With Locals on Spring Street.

If downtown L.A. were it’s own city, Spring Street would be what bourbon street is to New Orleans or 6th street is to Austin READ POST HERE.

It used to be known as “Wall Street of the West” with a ton of restaurants, nightclubs and bars, all one has to do is stumble onto this street and the choice of where to party is up to you.

Visit The Ritz Carlton

Aerial View of Downtown Los Angeles.
Aerial View of Downtown Los Angeles Showing The Ritz Carlton.

The Ritz Carlton at L.A. Live is one of the most visible buildings downtown due to its blue tinted windows, and artistic design, it is almost impossible to miss it.

There is a lounge in the lobby called the L.A. market burrata bar that is worth visiting. Also on the rooftop is Ion lounge, which is great for pool parties in the summer.

Go Shopping At The Grand Central Market

The Grand Central Market Downtown Los Angeles
The Grand Central Market Downtown Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Grand Central Market on 317 South Broadway street is the place to go if you want to grab a meal or want to shop for organic groceries. There are several stalls that sell almost every variety of food that one can think of.

Let’s put it this way, the food available at this market reflects the diversity of the city of Los Angeles itself.

Watch The L.A. Philharmonic At The Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Walt Disney hall is famed for brilliant music by the L.A. Philharmonic
The Walt Disney hall is famed for brilliant music by the L.A. Philharmonic

The Walt Disney concert hall is the home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, if you are into classical music, this is a definitely a must visit. The architecture alone is breath taking and the hall has featured greats like Gustavo Dudamel, John Adams and, Herbie Hancock.

Have A Walk Through Calle Olvera

Spanish Influenced Olvera Street is a great place for shopping and dinning.
Spanish Influenced Olvera Street is a great place for shopping and dinning.

Calle Olvera (Olvera Street) is one of the oldest streets in all of Los Angeles and is famed for it’s Spanish influence. There is a lot to do here, from buying arts and crafts from local artisans to eating at many of the Spanish style restaurants.



Game day at U.S.C.
Game day at U.S.C.

Downtown Los Angeles is home to several colleges but the more prominent colleges in this area are the University of Southern California (U.S.C.) the Fashion institute of design and merchandising (F.I.D.M.).

While students from both colleges usually take time to hang out off campus, the students at U.S.C. have their own marquee bar on campus called “Traditions” or “Traddies”. At the end of 28th and Figueroa street there is another bar called “The 901 bar and grill”.

The Marquee for bar for students at the "University of Southern California" downtown Los Angeles
The flagship bar for students at the “U.S.C.” downtown L.A.

This is the flagship bar for most USC students, known as “The 9-0” amongst the student body, it’s basically a sports bar where most students from U.S.C. go to blow off some steam in between classes.

U.S.C. also has a strong commitment to greek life, so there will be lots of nights here where you run into ripped bros and equally gorgeous sorostitutes all affiliated with the school’s fraternities and sororities.

“The Row”, adjacent to “The 9-0” is a strip on 28th street where most of the fraternity and sorority houses at U.S.C. are situated. There are open house parties on this street from time to time where non-greek and greek affiliates can go over to party and have a good time.

While we are at it, make sure to pickup tickets at U.S.C’s football or basketball games, which can be a spectacle like none other or visit “Traditions” on the campus itself.

The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

F.I.D.M, a fashion school in downtown Los Angeles that has an alumni list comprising of some of television’s most celebrated personalities.

Unlike U.S.C., where students live on campus, F.I.D.M is more of a commuter school, so expect to run into students from this school at different venues when you are on a night about town.

Most of the students attending F.I.D.M. also tend to congregate in downtown residential buildings like Pegasus, 717 Olympic, and “The Met.”

In conclusion of our travel review of downtown Los Angeles, make sure you visit the “Fashion District” downtown for tons of street shopping.
In our next blog post we will be heading to Little Tokyo. So stay tuned to the press.

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    Published by Dante

    This article was written by Dante, a Chemical-petroleum engineer by study. He is a nightlife aficionado, an avid traveler, and a culturephile. | To get into touch with Dante please email him at or Follow Him On Facebook and Twitter

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