If GQ Magazine is your go-to while you get your nails did, you would have seen that the newest issue declared Downtown L.A. as America’s Next Great City. It’s kind of a big deal since for a good many years Downtown L.A. was anything but glamorous. In fact, you were probably a whole lot better off just avoiding it.
I’ve been living here for about four years now (fun fact: Jaime lived in an amazing warehouse in the Arts District pre-Scarlet. There was also a bathtub in her living room. Jealous.). Throughout the last few years Downtown L.A. has gone through a major transformation. It seems that every day there is a new shop to explore, renovation project in the works, and a gourmet restaurant to try. While these are all things that get my gears going, it’s not every day you overhear a child saying, “Mom, I’m dying to try the roasted marrow with mushroom croquette at The Gorbals.” And yes, it is incredible.
The Downtown LA City Guide for the Family covers all things you and the kids can enjoy together. It’s a walkable loop you can do in one day or space out over your trip. Find out the best place to soak up the sun,
try a tasty treat,
see a stunning view,
stop to smell the flowers,
learn a thing or two,
and where to end the day in a cozy bed.
Check out the Downtown LA City Guide for the Family and get the link for the downloadable map after the jump…
Start your journey with the Map of Downtown LA City Guide for the Family.
A) Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles: 929 South Broadway
Stay a night at the brand new Ace Hotel Downtown L.A. It is located in the United Artists building, which was built in 1927 and was the stomping ground for many prolific artists of the time. The gorgeous United Artists Theater will soon open as The Theater at the Ace Hotel and will hold concerts starting with Spiritualized over Valentine’s Day.
Splash around in the pool while enjoying the beautiful 360 degree view of Los Angeles. Take the kids down to try out the classic photo booth in the lobby and listen to records on the turntable in your room. Family dance party, anyone? Before you head out for the day, grab breakfast at the LA Chapter restaurant next to the lobby. I swoon over those gold tables.
Keep your eye out on the beautiful Eastern Columbia Building across the way, word on the street is that Johnny Depp owns a residence in there.
B) Spring for Coffee: 548 S Spring St. #106
Take a walk down Broadway to spot the ornate architecture and theaters that once lit up the street. Cross on over to Spring Street to pick up your energy boost for the day at Spring for Coffee. If you’re looking for where the locals go, this is it. It was awarded the Best Coffee Downtown and absolutely lives up to that. The baristas are very nice and keep an assortment of pastries, granola bars, and organic treats at the counter. They also make a mean hot chocolate for the kiddos.
More on Spring Between 5th and 8th:
Smoothies and Juice:
Juice Crafters: 702 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Panini Stop: 702 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
LA Cafe (Open 24 hours): 639 S. Spring St. L.A. CA. 90014
Syrup Desserts: 611 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Mediterranean City Grill: 609 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Ensenada Restaurant: 517 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
C) Historic Core Farmer’s Market: 5th Street Between Spring and Broadway
If you are traveling around on a Sunday, stop by the Historic Core Farmer’s Market open from 9AM to 1PM. It might be small, but it packs a punch. They have a live band, artisan crafts, fresh flowers, and tasty fruits and veggies. Pick up a few goodies to take with you to your next destination.
If you can’t hit up the farmer’s market, it’s not a problem. Prepare for lunch by getting sandwiches made at Two Bits Market located at 210 W 5th St. This is one of my favorite places because of their organic and local produce. Pick one of their tasty sandwiches off the menu or build your own. You can grab chips, cookies, fruits, veggies, and something to drink here too.
D) Angels Flight Railway: 351 S. Hill St.
Go for a ride on the historic Angels Flight Railway for only fifty cents. This railway is The Shortest Railway in the World measuring only two hundred and niney-eight feet. It dates back to 1901 when people would use it as a way to get ferried up the steep slope between Hill and Olive. It has since been moved half-a-block south and was reopened in 1996.
You might recognize the grassy knoll and benches next to the Angels Flight Railway from the film (500) Days of Summer.
E) Grand Central Market: 317 Broadway
Get a taste of the Los Angeles community cuisine at the Grand Central Market. This large market is filled with an assortment of dishes and ingredients from all over the world. Kids can let out their crafty side at the Little Junebugs Craft Bar open every weekend from 10AM to 4pm.
F) Grand Park LA: Between Grand and Spring, Temple and First Street
Run off some energy at Grand Park LA located right near City Hall. This large park is a great place for kids to take their bikes for a ride and splash in the water at the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain. Bring a blanket and sit down in the sunshine for a family picnic. Check out their Events Calendar before your trip to see what fun activities are going on. Last year Stevie Wonder sang here!
G) Walt Disney Concert Hall: 111 S Grand Ave.
As you leave the park make sure to stop by the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Check out their Toyota Symphonies for Youth to see if there are any upcoming concerts you can all enjoy together. The next one up on the list is the LA Phil’s performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for kids.
On your way to the Los Angeles Central Library, head over to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA Grand Avenue: 250 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012) to see their newest exhibits.
H) Los Angeles Central Public Library: 630 W. 5th Street
Get lost in literature at the Los Angeles Central Public Library. The Children’s Literature Department is located on Level Two and is an absolute must-see. It is gorgeous inside with a glowing chandelier and beautiful murals covering the ceiling. Take a peek at the Special Collections for a look at a two hundred piece collection of original children’s book art, a historical collection of Mother Goose literature, and five thousand picture books from around the world. Every Saturday at 2pm they have fun programs for kids that focus on a collection, complete with puppet shows, musicians, and storytellers.
I) Bottega Louie: 700 S Grand Ave
Wind down the day with something sweet at Bottega Louie restaurant and pastry shop. The macarons are my absolute favorite, but literally everything there is delicious. If you are all hungry for dinner, they have tasty pizzas on their menu and small plates you can share. Did I mention the full bar for Mom and Dad? Bottoms up!
Looking to venture out a bit farther in Downtown? Check out…
L.A. Live at Staples Center – 1111 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90015. This is also walkable from the Ace Hotel.
Olvera Street – 125 Paseo De La Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Little Tokyo – 2nd Street and Azusa Street
Chinatown – Cesar Chavez & N Broadway
The Bob Baker Marionette Theater – 1345 W. 1st St. Los Angeles, CA 90026
Dodger’s Stadium – 1000 Elysian Park Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Natural History Museum – 900 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007
California Science Center – 700 Exposition Park Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90037