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

The Arts District is one of the hottest neighborhoods in the Downtown L.A. area. From the district’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 LA’s industrial history.

The area 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.

Blue Bottle Coffee
Photo: Blue Bottle Coffee, Facebook

Blue Bottle Cafe - Arts District

Get your morning going at Blue Bottle in the artsy LA district with a cup o’ joe or perhaps a Dandy Espresso, a holdover from Handsome Roasters, which used to occupy the space. Blue Bottle also has a New Orleans-style iced coffee, a cold brew that’s infused with roasted chicory. For maximum buzz, popular food trucks such as Guerilla Tacos are often parked outside for lunch.

Display case at Bread Lounge in the Arts District
Display case at Bread Lounge | Instagram: @clairepreising

Bread Lounge

To go with your coffee, grab one of the many delicious pastries baked in-house from scratch at Bread Lounge. If you have trouble deciding which one, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Take one of L.A.’s best baguettes home or come back at lunch for one of their tasty sandwiches served on foccacia, or even a Balken Borek, a savory puff pastry.

Patio at Zinc Cafe in the Arts District
Patio at Zinc Cafe in the Arts District  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Zinc Cafe & Market Los Angeles Arts District

If brunch is in the cards - and when is it not? - head straight to Zinc Cafe & Market, a large and beautiful space with white tile, open patio, an excellent food menu with an expansive bar, and an artisanal market you can’t help but browse. They’re open until midnight on weekdays, but the boozy weekend brunch, which is served until 2 p.m., is their specialty.

Poketo Arts District
Poketo in the Downtown L.A. Arts District | Photo: Esther Lee, @eslee


After you’ve had your morning fuel, get some inspired retail shopping done over at Poketo art store. They’ve got a regular rotation of carefully hand-picked jewelry, furniture and other wares made expressly for the design-minded lifestyle. Also check their calendar for workshops, which range from lighting design to photography and wreath-making.

Live jazz at Urban Radish in the Arts District
Live jazz at Urban Radish  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Urban Radish

Located in the heart of the Arts District, Urban Radish includes a restaurant, market, and butchery geared towards ethically and community minded foodists. For the ultimate neighborhood vibe, enjoy live jazz every Wednesday night starting at 6 p.m. over grilled foods (vegetarians, pescatarians and omnivores welcome) as well as wine and cheese tastings.

Mikael B mural at Art Share LA in the Arts District
Mikael B mural at Art Share LA | Instagram: @mikaelbrandrup

Art Share L.A.

Art Share L.A. is a two-story, 28,000 square-foot warehouse is a creative center featuring 30 subsidized, live/work lofts on the top floor and community classes, exhibitions and events below. Art Share was created when a former textile workshop was purchased in 1997 and turned into an art space. Be sure to check the calendar for poetry and performance art events, and the gallery calendar for current showings.

Public House at Angel City Brewery
The Public House | Photo: Angel City Brewery, Facebook

Angel City Brewery

Founded in 1997, Angel City Brewery relocated to its present location in the Arts District in 2010 and its beer became an integral part of the area’s revitalization. Angel City offers brewery tours, an open-air Public House, a full roster of weekly events, and a welcome site for food trucks to offer great bites for customers to enjoy with their beer. Stop in for a tasting or a pint of your favorite style of beer.

Max Wanger photos at Alchemy Works in the Arts District
Max Wanger photos at Alchemy Works | Instagram: @alchemyworks

Alchemy Works

There are many DTLA art galleries, but Alchemy Works is a retail and gallery space which highlights designers and unique home wares, clothing and accessories. It hosts the Warby Parker Glass House, where you can have custom eyeglasses fitted. They regularly host events, bringing a community feel to this open-air, sophisticated design space.

Charcuterie Boards at Bestia in the Arts District
Charcuterie Boards at Bestia  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa


Bestia is the ever-popular Italian restaurant by native Angelenos, Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis. Inside the space, contemporary furnishings are beautifully set against an industrial backdrop. Guests enjoy fantastic charcuterie, handmade pastas, perfect pizzas, rustic meat dishes, and inventive desserts. If you can't book a table at Bestia but still craving Italian, head to the nearby Factory Kitchen, another Arts District restaurant also known for serving stellar pasta.

Patio at Everson Royce Bar
Patio at Everson Royce Bar | Instagram: @eversonroycebar

Everson Royce Bar

Everson Royce Bar (aka E.R.B.) has a subdued interior design and a bustling outdoor patio with the aim of being a true neighborhood bar. While the cocktail list is a small, refined collection of drinks, the bartenders can make you any libation your heart desires.

Bar at Villains Tavern in the Arts District
Photo: Villains Tavern, Facebook

Villains Tavern

Villains Tavern was one of the first bars to open in the revitalized Arts District, featuring a steampunk themed interior, diverse cocktail menu and an outdoor space for live music. There’s always neighborhood clientele saddling up to the bar or gathering in groups on the patio. With a dinner and late night menu, this is often the bar where you’ll end your night in the Arts District.

Pinball machines at EightyTwo
Pinball machines at EightyTwo | Instagram: @whereissavark


At EightyTwo, you’ll have access to more than 40 restored pinball and arcade games from the 1970s through the 90s, as well as a full bar and craft cocktail menu. There’s also a tree-covered patio with nightly DJs to provide a soundtrack to your spin around the arcade, and best of all there’s never a cover to get in. Take that as a cue to line up early on a weekend night (before 9 p.m.) so you can avoid a wait.