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Downtown L.A. viewed from the Arts District

A Visual Walking Tour of the Arts District in Downtown L.A.


Esther Tseng

The Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles is one of the hottest neighborhoods in L.A. From the area’s beginnings as Jean-Louis Vigne’s vineyard to an orchard growing mostly oranges and grapefruit, by the late 1800s it became an industrial center for railroads and manufacturing. Eventually, the railroads gave way to the trucking industry and industry moved to other L.A. County areas like Commerce in order to build larger buildings to accommodate their growing businesses.

In the 1970s, artists braved dangerous conditions and began to occupy the area’s dilapidated buildings, having been priced out of areas such as Venice and Hollywood. Eventually, they opened art galleries and began to develop these buildings themselves, thereby preserving a big part of L.A.’s industrial history.

The area again underwent another downturn in the 1990s before being saved by Joel Bloom and his supporters, who officially renamed the area the “Arts District.” Today, it is home to many creatives, including those in green technology, architecture and entertainment. Read on for a visual walking tour of this burgeoning urban oasis.