From its world-class museums and cultural institutions to its entertainment venues, hip bars and innovative culinary scene, Downtown has emerged as L.A.’s long-awaited city center. “Having been a part of the Downtown renaissance since 2005, it is incredible to witness the amount of growth and development happening here,” says Maranda Blanton, Managing Director of The Agency Development Group, who reps one of the area’s most anticipated new residential offerings, Metropolis. “And while the emergence of development is exciting, there is still something romantic in the old architecture and history of Downtown; it is the convergence of development and history that makes Downtown L.A. unlike any other place.”
With a little help from Maranda, our in-house neighborhood expert, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best spots to wow a first date, round out your fall wardrobe, and while away a day in the city’s ever-evolving Downtown core.
IMPRESS YOUR DATE HERE → Touted as L.A.’s most ambitious new restaurant in years by L.A. Times’ restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, Otium’s artful, contemporary design makes the space as easy on the eyes as chef Timothy Hollingsworth’s food is on the palate, with sleek interiors, soaring ceilings, and an open kitchen reminiscent of the neighborhood’s iconic lofts. After dinner, saunter over to the incredible, Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall for an evening of classical music courtesy of the world-renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic.
ENJOY SIPS & SKYLINE VIEWS HERE → Inspired by Hollywood’s infamous Les Deux Cafe, the Upstairs Bar at Ace Hotel is always happening thanks to its revolving melange of book release parties, live bands, and pop-up shops. Cozy, white leather Mexican Equipale chairs and Southwest details bring a taste of the desert to the urban vibe of Downtown L.A. Broken Shaker, the neighborhood’s newest rooftop bar, sits atop the funky Freehand Hotel. The L.A.-by-way-of-Miami watering hole boasts major street cred as a James Beard Award finalist, along with lively, bordering-on-eccentric decor second only to its cocktails, which tout names as colorful as the neon hued-tinctures that fill them.
ROUND OUT YOUR FALL WARDROBE HERE → From slouchy suits to leather motorcycle jackets, the L.A. outpost of the cult favorite Swedish brand, ACNE, is the perfect place to go if you’re looking to add a little street-tough style to your wardrobe. Its location in the gorgeous, historic art deco Eastern Columbia Building is its largest yet. If your style is more Paris than Stockholm, neighboring French boutique A.P.C. offers smart ready-to-wear staples, from cozy sweaters and button downs to raw denim and that perfect Jean Seberg sailor stripe you’ve been searching for your whole life.
WHILE AWAY A DAY HERE → Grab a coffee to kickstart your morning and pay a visit to The Last Bookstore. This wacky bookstore happens to be California’s largest, offering a seemingly endless array of used and new books—over 250,000, to be exact—in an off-kilter space as mesmerizing and transportive as the titles lining its shelves. When you’re adequately spent, make your way to The Broad; if it’s your lucky day, you just might score standby tickets to the sold-out Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit. The museum’s first visiting special exhibition explores the artist’s immersive—and highly Instagrammable—Infinity Mirror Rooms. Either way, the museum’s permanent collection is worthy of a visit on its own, with works by Basquiat, Calder, Warhol, and more. Once you’ve worked up a sufficient appetite, make your way to Grand Central Market and explore the wide array of food stalls in the historic space, from inventive spins on the classic peanut butter sandwich at PBJ.LA to oysters and rosé at The Oyster Gourmet. When the clock strikes five, make a stop at Clifton’s Cafeteria and treat yourself to a frothy adult beverage at Pacific Seas, their much-touted—and sort-of secret—tiki bar.
LIVE HERE → Just moments from L.A. Live, STAPLES Center and the cultural offerings of Grand Avenue, Metropolis is an urban sanctuary in the heart of Downtown. The exclusive collection of residential towers combines panoramic city views with iconic design by AIA Honor Award-winning firm, SPAN Architecture. The designer-appointed studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom residences and penthouses feature floor-to-ceiling vistas of downtown along with a host of exclusive amenities, including resort-style pools, cabanas, a clubhouse lounge, screening room, fitness and yoga studios.