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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  • 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


Whatever time your day's dining begins, the Pie Hole is a good place to be. This family-owned cafe, whose interior consists of a few basic wooden picnic tables and chairs, offers one-of-a-kind sweet and savory pies. Popular choices include Mexican chocolate and savory mac and cheese (both $6). Across the street, you'll find the biergarten-esque sausage phenomenon, Wurstküche. On weekends, the line to get in might extend halfway down the block, but this sausage kitchen's mouthwatering creations—they're got everything from Polish-style kielbasa ($6.50) to spicy rattlesnake and rabbit ($8)—make it clear just why. Pair your links with a large "groot" ($5.50) worth of skin-on frites and a Belgian beer on tap for a meal that packs a serious punch. If your cravings tend to veer in the direction of beef and buns, head a few doors down to the spanking new Umami Burger. Suck down a housemade truffle burger and one or two of 30 local brews out on Umami's rear patio, for a hardy yet artisinal lunchtime siesta.

Those looking for a mid-day meal slightly lighter than burgers, sausage and pie should make their way to the charming, ivy-overgrown nook that is the Daily Dose. Try their breakfast and lunch items, which include not-so-ordinary options like the Guildsmith ($10) sandwich with pan-fried Akawi cheese, avocado, tomato, serrano peppers, feta cheese, arugula and sauce verte on ciabatta and the Ballerina ($10), ciabatta layered with butter, apricot jam, Toma cheese and fried duck egg.

For dessert, swing by the South Hewitt St location of Urth Caffé to enjoy some vegan chocolate cake while admiring the brick and stained glass exterior. This architectural masterpiece perfectly backdrops the outdoor tables of urban Angelenos discussing their latest installations while slurping organic java. If you fancy yourself a true coffee geek, your next stop should invariably be Handsome Coffee Roasters. Part coffee bar, part roasting plant, the shop is more than particular about their brew, offering a straightforward menu of coffee, espresso and espresso drinks made with whole milk, no sugar, no exceptions. What's more? Handsome stays open late Wednesday nights for a pop-up farmers market from the Produce Project, where said coffee geeks can shop a well-curated selection of local produce and coffee beans. If by the late afternoon, you still haven't met your day's caffeine quota, make your way down to Stumptown Coffee. The PDX coffee company makes it way to Downtown LA in a 7,000-square foot warehouse space that houses a 60-kilo Probat coffee roaster, pastries from Sugar Bloom and a menu of 20+ coffees and espresso-based drinks. Plan your visit for 3pm, when the staff leads daily cuppings (that's coffee tastings, for you non-coffee nerds).

Dinner in the Arts District presents a spattering of excellent options, all within a few blocks of one another. Located in the loading dock of the Biscuit Lofts, Steven Arroyo's French bistro, Church & State, serves classic fare—think steak frites, escargot and steak tartare—to Angelenos with big budgets and a taste for nuanced interiors. Across the street, one can expect a more beer-centric dining experience at Little Bear—a laidback, dimly lit café that proudly pours an extensive array of Belgian style brews to match eats best described as traditional Belgian with a modern twist. The kitchen's open til midnight and bar til 2am to suit Downtown's nocturnal. A warehouse on the Eastern-most border of the Arts District is home to all-the-rage Italian restaurant, Bestia. The cosmopolitan vibe, titillating (albeit limited) wine list, delicious cocktails, creative appetizers and gorgeous, authentic pizzas combine to make Bestia a cool-as-hell neighborhood eatery, a foodie's paradise and totally off-limits to those without a reservation.


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