Tag Archives: los angeles

Downtown LA Guide

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

hollywood sign downtown la

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…

westin bonaventure

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.

grand union market

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.

eggslut grand union market

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.

kitchen table downtown la

kitchen table

Kitchen Table
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.

press brothers juicery grand union market

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.

The Standard
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.

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Sunday Selection: Los Angeles

venice beach los angeles

In a little while I’ll be flying to Los Angeles! I’m looking forward to touching down in the City of Angels and exploring what the area has to offer. I’ve never had a burning desire to visit LA but the more I read about the city the more I want to see and do. Blogs like Cupcakes and Cashmere have shown me that there’s more to being a local than a desire to work in the film industry and I’m totally addicted to Curbed’s LA mansion tours.

Like New York, Los Angeles is a city I have learnt about and experienced through film and television. From The OC to Californication I’ve always wondered whether the reality lives up to the fantasy.

Popular opinion states you need a car to get around LA, but we will be exploring the city how we explore London; on foot and by public transport. Everyone I’ve spoken to thinks we’re mad, but then everyone I’ve spoken to doesn’t spend much time on foot or on public transportation in the UK either. I’ve done a bit of research and it seems LA is more accessible by public transport than ever before, so I’m hopeful we will get around just fine.

For now I’ll leave you with a few interesting articles about Los Angeles that I’ve read recently:

  • A fun push to highlight that the LA metro system has the second best transit coverage in the nation
  • Restaurants like AXE make me think I’m going to love LA (we’ll save the burgers for Vegas)
  • How the Mojo Robot created a place a fun public space in Los Angeles
  • Political street art in LA
  • Guess what I’ll be doing in LA? A ‘Clueless’ map guide to Los Angeles

As ever, any tips about what to do in LA (or California in general) would be most welcome. Thanks for all your suggestions so far!

Image: Gratisography