los angeles | Culture

Bright Lights, Big City: 24 Hours in Downtown LA

January 9, 2015
Written by: Yasha Wallin

Once just synonymous with Skid Row and government offices, Downtown LA has gotten a face lift in recent years and with it, a new, vibrant pulse. Now foodies, culture seekers, and nightlife aficionados head to the district in droves to sample the best of this eclectic area. To get a feeling for the hood, we’ve broken down how to spend 24 unforgettable hours in DTLA.

9:00 am
The intimate juicery, Sustain, is the perfect way to start any morning. Smoothies and juices are made 100% fresh ingredients like coconut and kale, and the friendly staff can whip up pretty any combination you desire. For breakfast with a kick, go for something powerful like the “AWAKENING”: spinach, kale, parsley, collards, habanero, beet, lemon, ginger.


10:00 am
Most people don’t walk in LA, but downtown is one of the easiest to buck that trend. It’s also a great way to take in the rapidly changing landscape, which is a mix of new loft high-rises juxtaposed with Art Deco architecture from the booming ’20s. Speaking of old-school, walk over to The Last Bookstore for a reminder of what information looked like before the internet. This buzzing space is California’s largest book and record store, with 250,000 books and plenty of vinyl. You can also trade any gems you have lying around for anything on their shelves.


12:00 pm
Grand Central Market opened in 1917 and has been a mainstay for local food vendors ever since. In recent years, the market has undergone a complete overhaul and now you can get everything from tacos to the sweetest of sweets to European espresso. There’s even a Jewish deli with some serious pastrami on rye. Grab something to go and walk over to the Walt Disney Concert Hall Community Park to picnic.

grand central market

2:00 pm
Take in some art post-lunch at MoCA, one of LA’s best contemporary art institutions. Through mid-February, you can view one of Andy Warhol’s most ambitious paintings, “Shadows,” made up of 102 parts.


4:00 pm
For a little retail therapy, at Apolis: Common Gallery, you’ll find everything from ties to indie magazines. They appeal to the “global citizen” with the shop stocked with sustainably and locally sourced items from around the world like button-down shirts, tailored at a 90-year-old Honduran cooperative.


5:00 pm
Happy hour never comes soon enough especially if it involves the prohibition-era style cocktail menu from Faith and Flower. Cozy up to the bar or grab a table outside for some people watching. Try one of their many creative concoctions like the Orchard Smash with Clyde May Alabama Whiskey, Lemon, Mint, Ginger and Baked Apple Bitters.

faith and flower

7:30 pm
Once properly buzzed, head over to Staples Center to take in a game or show. Even better, watch it from the Hyde Lounge, located on suite level C of Staples Center. This lux 4,000 square-foot lounge has three bars, ledge seating, and even a dancehall. It will even make the Lakers look good.


10:00 pm
Even if you’ve hit up one too many stadium vendors at the game, there’s always room for a proper dinner at Katsuya L.A. Live. Feast on some shrimp teriyaki while recapping Kobe Bryant’s game-winning layup. Tip: Bring a local with you to dinner as downtown residents get 15% off dining.


1:00 am
Go ahead, have one last drink at Seven Grand Whiskey Bar. This hip watering hole is known for its monthly tastings and massive whiskey selection.


3:00 am
For your best night sleep, cab it back to The Redbury and check into one of the spacious Matthew Rolston-designed flats. Or if you plan ahead, The Redbury will hook you up with a free ride back, parking included!