Los Angeles was the first stop on our California road trip, and if I’m honest, the bit I hadn’t even thought about. I’d done loads of research for San Francisco and Big Sur, but barely looked into what to do in LA.
We ended up staying in Downtown LA by luck. Although Downtown LA was fine, it’s probably not the best place to stay when you only have two days in the city. Essentially it all depends what you want from your trip, so just make sure you research everything beforehand. Nothing is nearby in LA so you really do want to find a base location that’s close to some of the things you want to do.
Downtown LA guide
Where to stay in Downtown LA
We only had two days to explore the city, so after landing at LAX in the afternoon we got a cab straight to our downtown hotel to dump our suitcases and freshen up. We got a great deal at Hotel Luxe, a hotel I’d recommend if you just need a base in the area. The rooms are large, clean and the showers are amazing. Plus you can see the Hollywood Sign from your room if you’re into that kind of thing.
If you’re looking for a hotel you can hang out in try the Standard up the road instead – although expect to pay a lot more. The Westin Bonaventure is the stuff of modernist dreams, but it caters more to the business traveller than the average tourist. Plus you can always just pay it a visit for free…
Where to visit in Downtown LA
The Westin Bonaventure Hotel
The Westin Bonaventure is a must. As long as you don’t get too geeky about it they don’t mind letting you in for a look around. Take a couple of the escalators on the outside of the building for great views over LA.
Los Angeles Convention Centre
If you can, try and get down to Los Angeles Convention Centre on a Naturalization Ceremony day. On our way to the metro we stumbled across many people leaving the building after the ceremony, posing proudly for photos with their certificate and mini American flag. It was a privilege to see what citizenship meant for them and an emotional moment of our trip.
Where to eat in Downtown LA
Grand Union Market
A visit to Grand Union market is a must. Purchase punnets of berries for a dollar each (a dollar! That’s 62p!) and then head to Eggslut for brunch.
According to a local DJ we got chatting to, Eggslut is the most popular spot for brunch in LA at the moment. Queues are often an hour long so we were pretty lucky to get a seat at the bar immediately. My friend Shula loved the coddled eggs but for me it was all about the Fairfax – scrambled eggs made with cream cheese in a brioche bun with sriracha mayo. The best thing about LA? So. Much. Sriracha.
On our first night we settled on this healthy restaurant after a walk around some of Downtown LA. Four hours after landing in the city we headed here to stock up on salad and detox after a day of heavy plane food. We toasted the start of our trip with a beauty booster shot (bee pollen etc, we felt ever so LA) and I demolished my chicken and avocado salad in true LA fashion.
Where to drink in Downtown LA
Press Brothers Juicery
It’s all about the juice in LA, and we loved the range on offer at Grand Union market. The guy behind the counter was super patient with us, giving us samples of everything before I settled on the green Balance Juice with apple, cucumber, celery, kale, parsley, lemon and ginger which tasted a lot better than it looked.
For something a little harder the bar at the Standard is probably the place to be seen in Downtown LA. However after a long flight and busy days we were in bed both nights by 10pm!
There are more things to do in Downtown Los Angeles but we wanted to see as much of the city as possible, so we spent the rest of our time in galleries, at food markets, on the bus (a lot of time on the bus) and in Venice / Santa Monica. All totally doable in two days.