In some respects, the Arts District in Downtown L.A. is one big hidden gem. Save for the relatively recent addition of One Santa Fe, there's not much here that screams "Shop here!" or "Eat here!" Restaurants and stores are tucked away in old buildings. Parties happen inside former warehouse spaces. Signage is often easy to miss when you're busy staring at massive murals or stenciled sidewalks. In general, the Arts District takes more time to explore than other L.A. neighborhoods and it's big enough where you might want to split it up into multiple trips. While you're here, keep on the lookout for these local treasures.
Atwater Village is small, but it's packed with hidden gems. The neighborhood is located right by the L.A. River and that alone will give outdoorsy types lots to explore. It's a neighborhood with a music history memorialized in the mural portrait of late Beastie Boy MCA and a future that's being forged inside nearby Swing House Studios. For being such a small neighborhood, Atwater Village's bar game is strong and includes spots where you can check out up-and-coming local talent too. Whether you're looking for an afternoon adventure or a dose of L.A. nightlife, Atwater Village has you covered.
Within three square miles, the streets of Koreatown comprise a most eclectic urban landscape where neon signs in Korean mix with various types of architecture providing clues to a multi-faceted history—from art deco to Spanish and Renaissance revival to Moorish and modern. Multi-level shopping malls are markers in between small shops and restaurants, and not everything is as it seems. Among it all are fascinating gems—some truly hidden and others that contain intrigue and wonder.
A hilly area situated between Downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena along the Arroyo Seco, Highland Park is one of L.A.’s oldest settled areas. In the early 20th century, Highland Park and Pasadena were known as havens for the artists and intellectuals who led the Arts & Crafts movement. In the 1960s and 70s, it became populated predominantly with Latinos and other ethnic groups.
In the 2000s, Highland Park once again became a mecca for creatives, who were attracted by the historic Craftsman homes and relatively low rents. Trendy shops, galleries, restaurants and bars have opened along Figueroa Street and York Boulevard, with businesses on both streets being the reasons why Highland Park is the hot L.A. neighborhood of the moment. But there are many hidden gems in the area that are off the beaten path and worth checking out, both old and new.
The 12th annual Lummis Day Festival is taking place on Friday-Sunday, June 2-4. Lummis Day celebrates the arts, history and ethnic diversity of Northeast Los Angeles through educational and cultural events at locations like the Southwest Museum, Avenue 50 and the Lummis House. For more info, visit www.lummisday.org.
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The DASH Observatory Bus offers convenient transportation every day to two L.A. icons, the Griffith Observatory and the Greek Theatre.