Hidden Gems of the Arts District

The Public House | Photo courtesy of Angel City Brewery, Facebook

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.

The Public House | Photo: Angel City Brewery, Facebook

Angel City Brewery

Angel City Brewery is a well-known craft beer producer and pub. Perhaps less well-known are the events that happen at this Arts District hub. Regularly scheduled events include "Run + Yoga + Beer," which includes a Downtown L.A. run, an hour-long yoga class and beer; as well as art-minded meetups like "Paint Nite" and "Drinky Draw." There's also "Angel City's Beer Bazaar," where you can purchase goods made by local vendors, and the live recordings of the podcast "Two Truths and a Lie."

Art Share L.A.

Art Share L.A. is a 28,000 square-foot live-work space that opens to the public on Wednesday through Sunday. During the afternoon, you can check out the gallery's current show or make a studio visit. They also host evening events, like Community Sing (yes, where people get together to sing) as well as poetry and theater events. On Wednesday evenings, they host a life drawing workshop open to people of all skill levels. Check the website for a calendar of events and information on upcoming exhibitions.

"Urban Rez" | Photo courtesy of Cornerstone Theater Company

Cornerstone Theater Company

The long-running Cornerstone Theater Company has its base in the Downtown L.A. Arts District. While the company takes their shows out into various different locations, they have a program called Two-Day Intensives that takes place at their headquarters. Here, theater artists spend a weekend diving into courses on how to bring "community-collaborative" theater to life. The workshops take place once or twice a year. Check their website for upcoming dates and registration information.

Photo courtesy of EightyTwo, Facebook


Located right where Little Tokyo and the Arts District butt up against each other, EightyTwo is an arcade for adults. Here, the games are mostly vintage and the alcohol flows while DJs bust out the jams. The venue is 21+ and there is no cover, although plays will cost 25 cents for video games and 50 cents for pinball. The L.A. Pinball League meets up here on Tuesday nights and the arcade is also home to other competitions. EightyTwo rotates games and pinball machines, so you'll want to check out their website beforehand to see what's available when you visit.

Jason Rhoades, “My Madinah. In pursuit of my ermitage…”, 2004 at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles | Instagram by @amy_miz

Hauser & Wirth

Hauser & Wirth is an international art gallery that transformed an old L.A. flour mill into a massive arts complex. Inside the gallery, you'll likely be able to check out multiple, concurrently running exhibitions. But, there's more than just art going on here. Hauser & Wirth hosts film screenings, workshops, reading groups and talks too. The complex is also home to an on-site restaurant, Manuela, and SHOP, which sells books from Hauser & Wirth Publishers and products from local artisans. 

"Woo Lagoon" at the House of Woo | Instagram by @jenkfood

House of Woo

Designer Staci Woo has been working out of the Arts District since the 1990s and her made-in-L.A. clothes are available at the House of Woo boutique/headquarters. The space is a little off the beaten path inside the Arts District, but you'll want to seek it out. The front part of the shop is the boutique area, where you'll find fashion along with an assortment of odds-ands-ends that are uniquely L.A. and make for great souvenirs. In the back, you'll find the workshop and maybe an installation, like the recent "Woo Lagoon." Check the House of Woo website for workshops, where children ages 4 through 12 can work with an assistant designer on their own outfits.

Photo courtesy of Lot 613

Lot 613

Lot 613 is an event space situated so deep in the Arts District that you probably won't notice it when you're wandering around the neighborhood. It's best known for Prototype, a series of electronic music parties that bring together local and touring artists focused on forward-thinking sounds. Lot 613 has also hosted events like the recent "Super Future" exhibit, which featured a wild intersection of art and technology. Follow Lot 613 on Facebook for information on upcoming events. Also note that this is a pretty long walk from the Gold Line's Arts District stop and parking can be difficult to find - using a rideshare app is the most convenient way of getting there.

Rogue Collective | Instagram by @hellokestan

Rogue Collective

Al's Bar was a cornerstone of alternative culture in Los Angeles throughout the 1980s and '90s. By the early 21st century, though, it had closed. Even though Al's is long-gone, it's memory still lives inside Rogue Collective. Located on the bottom level of the American Hotel, the shop is a fashion and lifestyle-centric space featuring cutting-edge brands. The walls feature old show posters from the heyday of Al's Bar. You'll see nods to the local bands that played the venue, like the Bellrays and 400 Blows, and let your imagination take you back to the neighborhood's past.

"The Duck and The Document: True Stories of Postmodern Procedures" | Photo courtesy of SCI-Arc, Facebook

Galleries at SCI-Arc

The world-renowned architecture school, SCI-Arc has two gallery spaces on its Arts District campus. In keeping with the school's mission, the shows focus on architecture as art. Zaha Hadid, the late Pritzker Prize winner, exhibited at SCI-Arc in 2012. More recently, they showed "The Duck and the Document: True Stories of Postmodern Procedures," a collection of artifacts from buildings of the late 20th century. Check the website for information on upcoming public events.