Downtown / LA Metro (87)

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.

“Balloon Dog” by Jeff Koons at The Broad

Grand Avenue Arts: All Access


Discover Los Angeles

On Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 the world-class arts and culture destinations along Grand Avenue will turn inside out with open rehearsals, architecture tours, museum exhibitions, performances, food and drink, and kids film screenings. Gather your friends and family to experience Grand Avenue Arts: All Access, an extraordinary peek behind-the-scenes for an unforgettable Los Angeles field trip.

CicLAvia riders on Broadway in Downtown L.A.

Oct. 18, 2015: CicLAvia - Heart of L.A.


Discover Los Angeles

Taking place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., CicLAvia - Heart of L.A. will have six miles for participants to explore by bike, foot, skateboard, wheelchair and other non-motorized traffic. The route will take people through Boyle Heights, the Arts District, Little Tokyo, Civic Center, Chinatown, the Historic Core and as far west as Macarthur Park.

Redwood tree and atrium at Clifton's Cafeteria

Clifton's Cafeteria: The Story of an L.A. Icon


Elina Shatkin

How magical would it be to instantly trade the sidewalks and steel of an urban downtown for a woodland utopia? Clifton's spanned 16,000-square-feet of faux redwoods, frolicking forest creatures, scenic murals, a brook babbling with limeade and a 20-foot waterfall cascading over artificial rocks. To say that Clifton’s was unique is like saying LeBron James is a pretty decent basketball player. Imagine a larger-than-life diorama designed by Walt Disney on a Pine Sol-fueled bender. Simply put, it was unlike any other restaurant in 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.

Lobby of the Los Angeles Theatre in Downtown L.A.

Discover the Historic Theatres on Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles


Discover Los Angeles

Stretching for six blocks from 3rd to 9th Streets along South Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles, the historic Broadway Theatre District includes 12 movie theatres built between 1910 and 1931. The Broadway Theatre District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in May 1979, the first and largest historic theatre district listed on the Register. It is the only large concentration of movie palaces left in the United States.

At its height, the neon-drenched district had the highest concentration of cinemas in the world, with seating capacity for more than 15,000 patrons. In a February 2006 article for the Los Angeles Times, Cara Mia DiMassa wrote: “Dozens of theaters screened Hollywood's latest fare, played host to star-studded premieres and were filled nightly with thousands of moviegoers. In those days, before World War II, Downtown L.A. was the movie capital of the world."

Efforts by the Los Angeles Conservancy, the Bringing Back Broadway initiative, the Broadway Theatre Group and the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation have restored many of these theatres to their original splendor. New generations of Angelenos can now experience live performances and cultural events at these spectacular venues. Read on and discover the great movie palaces of the Broadway Theatre District.

Chungking Studio art opening in Chinatown

The Guide to Chung King Road Galleries in Chinatown


Discover Los Angeles

Chung King Road is located in historic Chinatown, just steps from the Hill Street exit off the 110 Freeway. Just 40 feet wide, Chung King Road is bare and quiet during the day - occasionally someone will make their way through as a shortcut to Chinatown’s main attractions. But on art opening nights, throngs of L.A. art enthusiasts pack the little alley to check out the latest exhibits on view at the new generation of art galleries. Read on for a guide to the galleries of Chung King Road.

Cappuccino at Daily Dose

The Best Places for Coffee in the Downtown L.A. Arts District


Discover Los Angeles

Since Urth Caffe opened in 2008, the Arts District in Downtown L.A. has become affectionately known as the “Coffee District,” home to some of the top third wave coffee purveyors in the city. Read on for the best places in the Arts District to get your caffeine fix and more.