Things to do in Los Angeles: Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District

We reveal the best things to do in Los Angeles' Downtown Arts District. Here's where to eat. drink, shop and play in LA's new favorite neighborhood.

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It may seem like a no man's land at first glance, but the Downtown Arts District is a whole 'nother beast when you take a closer look. Equal parts warehouse wasteland and burgeoning hub for LA's young, professional and creative, the enigmatic Downtown Arts District is the city's neighborhood to watch. And with approximate limits of Second Street to Seventh Street and Alameda Street and the LA River, surprisingly, the Southeast section of Downtown from end to end is totally walkable. Sprinkled amidst these perimeters are the makings of a community rich in character, featuring stylish galleries, socially conscious boutiques and some of the best restaurants and bars. These pockets of budding establishments lie amidst a stretch of early 20th-century warehouses—many ex-factories—some of which are deserted, but all of which hold the promise of artist studios and loft apartments with exposed brick walls and floor-to-ceiling windows. Before it's crawling with crowds and Silver Lake expats, get the lowdown on the Arts District's best places to eat, drink, shop and play.


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  • Photograph: Courtesy Guerilla Atelier

    Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: Guerilla Atelier

  • Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: Apolis Common Gallery

  • Photograph: Courtesy Downtown Design League

    Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: Downtown Design League

     

  • Photograph: Courtesy Urban Radish

    Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: Urban Radish

     

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: Mango jalepeño sausage at Wurstküche

  • Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: the Daily Dose

     

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: The Original at Umami Burger

  • Photograph: Becky Reams

    Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: Spaghetti rustica at Bestia

  • Photograph: Becky Reams

    Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: Crostata al cioccolato e caramello salato at Bestia

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: Little Bear

  • Photograph: Courtesy Villains Tavern

    Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: Villains Tavern

     

  • Photo: Jakob N. Layman

    Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: Produce Project at Handsome Coffee Roasters

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: Latté at Stumptown Coffee Roasters

  • Photograph: Ben McCambridge

    Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: Art Share LA

     

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: The French Slip at Angel City Brewery

Photograph: Courtesy Guerilla Atelier

Neighborhood guide to Downtown Arts District: Guerilla Atelier



Shop | Eat & Drink | Play


The options for exercising your retail addiction in the Arts District are unconventional (in a good way). Your day begins with the delicately curated fashion, home decor and furnishings at Guerilla Atelier. If you have a few hundred-dollar bills handy, you might walk out with a handcrafted military-inspired jacket or linen scarf. The shop's open floor plan and handsome displays make it seem almost as much like a museum as it does a boutique. So, even if you have no intention of buying, feel free to take a purely observational spin.


Cross the street to husband-and-wife-owned shop, Poketo, to find all sorts of eclectic goods, from vinyl wallets and quirky coffee table books to colorful socks and tees. The store also takes an occasional break from vending to host art shows, classes and musical performances. With your newly acquired knick-knacks in tow, swing by the adjacent Apolis Common Gallery to purchase a pair of leather sandals crafted by a four-person collective in Tel Aviv or a '50s-style sweater hand knit by a women's co-op in Nepal. In addition to selling culturally driven handmade goods from the world round, the storefront also serves as a gallery and event space (of course).


Make your way to the Toy Factory Lofts on the Arts District's south side where you'll find Downtown Design League, a well-hidden, luxurious boutique. Behind a sophisticated glass storefront, you can peruse handcrafted clothing, footwear, leather goods and accessories—many of which are Angeleno-made. After all, what excuse do you have not to top off your day's collection with a pair of custom tailored suede shoes?


Conclude your Arts District shopping spree at Urban Radish, a grocery store recently beamed down from heaven to Imperial Street. Fill up on organic produce, grass-fed meat, artisan cheese, custom brewed coffee and beyond. Before heading home, choose a bottle of wine from Urban Radish's in-store collection to enjoy on the front patio with your new block of Manteca cheese.


  1. Shop
  2. Eat & Drink
  3. Play

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