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.

Mariachi Plaza

Taking In the Culture of East Los Angeles


Javier Guillen

One of L.A.’s oldest neighborhoods, East Los Angeles has a lineage of culture that can be found in its shops, businesses, and community. No stranger to change, East L.A. has been the subject of recent transition. While community members have pushed to improve quality of life, they also stand on the front line protecting the neighborhood’s vibrant history and traditions. Quietly sporting some of the best restaurants (by far the best tacos), unique stores, budding businesses, and landmark locations, East L.A. is fundamental to the heritage of Los Angeles.

Olvera Street vendors

The Guide to Olvera Street in Downtown Los Angeles


Discover Los Angeles

Olvera Street is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Los Angeles, located in the oldest district of the city as part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument. The colorful Mexican marketplace opened on Easter Sunday, April 20, 1930 following a preservation campaign that was spearheaded by Christine Sterling. Several of L.A.’s most historic buildings are located at Olvera Street, along with dozens of craft shops, restaurants and other businesses. Nearly two million annual visitors stroll the tree-shaded, brick-lined block. Read on and discover historic Olvera Street in Downtown L.A.

El Portal Theatre

The Guide to the NoHo Arts District


Esther Tseng

North Hollywood is one of the first neighborhoods you'll encounter when you head “over the hill” into the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. While much of entertainment history has taken place in the area, it has undergone a renaissance as of late with a slew of new destination points for daytime hangs, kitschy shopping and eclectic nightlife. Journey through all the cultural offerings North Hollywood has available, as there are a slew of creative mediums being showcased at a variety of venues in the North Hollywood Arts District. A great part about this microcosm of the San Fernando Valley is that it's entirely accessible right now thanks to the Metro Los Angeles. Just take the red line all the way north and you'll end up right in the center of all the action.

@sincerelyjules visits Venice Beach

@SincerelyJules Visits Venice Beach


Julie Sarinana

I recently teamed up with Discover Los Angeles for a little staycation in Venice Beach. I love everything about L.A. and feel so lucky anytime I get the chance to have adventures in my own city. Every time I take a staycation I fall more and more in love with Los Angeles.

Bradbury Building in Downtown L.A.

The Guide to the Historic Core of Downtown Los Angeles


Tanja Laden

There's a reason why one of Downtown L.A.'s most vibrant districts is called the Historic Core. Located between Hill and Main Streets and 1st and 9th Streets, this eclectic neighborhood showcases many of the things that originally put Los Angeles on the world stage, including lovely parks, ornate movie palaces and other architectural marvels. It's also where visitors can experience places that have helped contribute to L.A.'s more contemporary reputation as a food and arts destination. With no shortage of beautiful buildings, cutting-edge art galleries, trendy bars and gourmet restaurants, the Historic Core is where L.A.'s golden era meets modern times.

Wild Style on Melrose Avenue

The Guide to Melrose Avenue East


Elina Shatkin

Designer boutiques and high-end housewares stores dominate the western end of Melrose Avenue. As you continue exploring Melrose from Fairfax Avenue, the glossy boutiques give way to a funkier vibe.

Melrose Avenue

The Guide to Melrose Avenue West


Elina Shatkin

Along its western end, Melrose Avenue is all about strolling and shopping, so bring dough and plenty of it. The street begins where the cities of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood meet, otherwise known as the intersection of posh and funky.