The cat has officially emerged from the bag, and most of the world is savvy to the hippest place in America: Downtown Los Angeles, or #DTLA if you ask Twitter. Every so many decades a perfect storm of architecture, artists, cocktails and history collide to create a euphoric crescendo of culture. And that’s exactly whats happening right now in DTLA.
Life’s greatest treasures are often just out of sight – just beyond reach – and the same applies to DTLA’s most tantalizing offerings including 15 unique districts each concealing their own gems. While it’s completely possible to head into the historic heart of downtown and have a perfectly enjoyable day eating, people-watching and exploring. But aimless wanderings wont likely deliver you to the crux of the culture; the things that have people ooo-ing and ahh-ing.
If you want to jump into the eye of the storm, head to the Arts District , which occupies the northeast corner of DTLA and extends to the LA River. This district, originally known for providing loft living for artists and being the most frequently filmed location in the world, is now an international destination for coffee, food, cocktails and of course, art.
A well-rounded day downtown should involve at least one trip to a caf. The Arts District houses numerous coffee shops that shatter stereotypes about LA’s absent coffee scene: Urth Caf (a time-tested pillar of LA hipness), Handsome (a young gun, where they don’t offer sugar) and Daily Dose Caf , which is mysteriously tucked into an ivy-laden alley. All three offer exceptional atmospheres and their own reflection of downtown culture.
The Arts District is overflowing with recommendation-worthy food options, the most lauded being Church and State and Bestia . Each of these culinary superpowers draws foodies far and wide with farm-to-table offerings and new urban interpretations of fine dining.
If the question is where to get an exquisite cocktail and enjoy nightlife in the Arts District, the answer is indubitably Villains Tavern, with its potion-like bottles and vibrant live music. However, it must be said: The One Eyed Gypsy and The Far Bar are also nearby hot spots for cocktail aficionados.
It’s not uncommon for people to refer to the renaissance taking place downtown, which implies a rebirth of a previous boom-era. In DTLAs case, the golden years were the roaring 1920s. So many aspects of this current era embrace the prohibition mentality of the bygone 20s. What does this mean for you? This means speakeasies-plenty of speakeasies. To experience DTLA the way locals do, visiting one of these spots is essential: Canas Rum Bar, The Association, Honeycut, Varnish and most famously, The Edison, who offers 35-cent vintage cocktails at vintage prices on Thursday night for happy hour.
The time will come for you to make your dinner reservations, and you only need to remember one name: Josef Centeno. That’s the name of the kingpin of DTLA dining the culinary mastermind behinds three of the hottest spots downtown: Baco Mercat, Orso & Winston and Bar Ama. All three are within a one-block radius, and if you’re waiting for your reservation at Baco Mercat (its worth the wait) the hostess will send you to Bar Ama next door and text your party when your reservation is ready! It’s a clever system, accompanied by homemade chips and salsa.
Finally, the latest talk of the town in DTLA is Alma, winner of the 2013 Best Restaurant in America award by Gourmet Magazine. This tasty oasis, tucked between unkempt buildings and parking lots on Broadway, embodies everything DTLA dining stands for its unassuming, natural, fantastical, artisan, and most importantly: in a dog-eat-dog world, it’s an underdog.
Ready to experience DTLA and Southern California for yourself? Contact Time & Place today to book a stay at one of their ultra-fabulous luxury villas for a California dream you’ll never want to wake up from!