We don’t know about you, but our ideal vacation destination is one whose cultural spirit is a seamless blend of old and new elements. A place where skyscrapers and futuristic buildings share the stage with museums and historical buildings. No, we are not describing some picture-perfect location out of a fantasy novel, we are talking about downtown LA. Earlier downtown LA used to be frowned upon for being a bit too dull and drab, but the region has undergone a dramatic makeover over the last few decades.
If you’re new to this place and have been scouring the internet looking for fun things to do in downtown LA, you can end your hunt here. Sit tight and buckle up, because we’re about to give you not one, not two, but as many as twenty-seven ideas to spend your time in downtown LA.
History buffs, if you are looking for fun things to do in downtown LA, look no further than the Broad Museum. Located in Grand Avenue, this contemporary art museum is named after Eli and Edythe broad. To that extent, the duo also financed the construction of the $140 million building that currently hosts the Broad art collections. Among the principal downtown LA attractions, Broad Museum owes its immense popularity to its bevy of fascinating segments such as the mirror rooms and the America sign. It also houses Robert Therrien’s popular art piece, “Under The Table”- a larger than life-size table underneath which you could walk, run, and play.
Address: 221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, United States | Timing: Wednesday to Sunday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/fNfCNADNrKca2oBJ8 | Phone Number: +12132326250
The unique architecture of Walt Disney Concert Hall
Architecture students, if you aren’t already planning your next industrial visit to Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown LA, then believe us, you’re missing out on a lot. Besides playing host to spectacular theatricals and concerts, this hall doubles up as a fascinating architectural case study too. Regarded by many as the piece-de-resistance of downtown LA’s music center, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is also home to the LA Master Chorale and the LA Philharmonic. If this isn’t enough, the hall is also believed to have the best acoustics in all of LA. If you’re a music aficionado, then you simply can’t afford to miss the free audio tour that they provide.
By Michael J Fromholtz, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Address: 111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, United States | Timing: Refer to the website for events calendar Concerts and Events Calendar | LA Phil | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/k9DUazQzTW6Jz1ueA | Phone Number: +13238502000
This is one of the most central landmarks of downtown Los Angeles. Often considered as the heart of all community activity, this square opened up for public use way back in 1866. Not only for its strategic location as the melting pot of a bevy of activities, but you will also love the way this space is aesthetically decorated with seating platforms, amphitheater, and fountains. While strolling through the different areas of the square, you will come across quaint bakeries with freshly brewed coffee and bakes. Do indulge and create some wonderful memories with your loved ones.
Address: 532 South Olive St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States | Timing: Thursday to Wednesday: 5:00 am to 10:30 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/PrAQC4P26dsRKnZR7 | Phone Number: + 12138474970
Just eat and eat at Grand Central Market
From catering to your street food hankerings to filling your kitchen with the freshest of produce out there, Grand Central Market has got it all covered for you. It easily finds its place amongst the top-tier downtown LA attractions. Established in 1917, Grand Central Market has been a darling of the downtown community for well over a century now. What makes this place feature amongst the prime downtown LA attractions, however, is its diverse food options. No matter to which cuisine your taste buds are committed- Chinese, Mexican, or American- you’re sure to find a fix for them over here.
By manfred matticka, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Address: 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 8:00 am to 9:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/grandcentralmarketla?share | Phone Number: +12136874247
Escape Room LA
Did your childhood comprise a staple diet of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot’s adventures? Then, you’ll have the time of your life at Escape Room LA. Escape Room LA contains five different mysteries that are sure to put your deduction skills to the test. Running short on ideas for a fun family outing? Head over to the Escape Room La and script your adventure! We already know whose stories are going to take at the upcoming family gatherings, don’t we?
Address: 120 E 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014, United States | Timing: Monday: 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Tuesday to Friday: 12:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Saturday: 12:30 pm to 9:00 pm, Sunday: 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/xCde1v1GsvFoRKpF9 | Phone Number: +12136893229
You wouldn’t find a better place for a family picnic in all of downtown LA than Grand Park. Chock-full of benches, fountains, and lawns, Grand Park is a perfect hang-out spot for people of all ages. This Park is also a hotspot for several musical and theatrical performances, community events, and food festivals. The ambiance of Grand Park makes it the perfect companion for both a morning jog, as well as a solitary late-night stroll post a long, and tiring day of work.
By Photographersnature, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Address: 200 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 5:30 am to 10:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/grandpark_la?share | Phone Number: +12139728080
Grammy Museum LA Live
Do you eagerly look forward to the Grammy’s every year? In that case, you’d probably want to set up a permanent camp inside the Grammy Museum to LA Live. Sprawling across an area of 30,000 square feet, the Grammy Museum is an educational and interactive museum that aims to celebrate as well as preserve the legacies of its past winners. It is home to an array of exhibits, film clips, and memorabilia pertaining to the stars who are an intimate part of the Grammy’s rich and decorated history. What’s more, the Grammy Museum also contains microphones that you can sing into and instruments that you can play!
By biofriendly, CC BY 2.0, Link
Address: 800 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 11:00 am to 6: 00 pm, Tuesday: Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/sGf7197ABSMP7CBV6 | Phone Number: +12137255700
Go on a Helicopter Tour
While downtown LA is pretty gorgeous when you see it at ground level, the visual appeal escalates by leaps and bounds when you have a bird’s eye view of the district. Wondering how you can make it happen? Just book yourself a helicopter ride at any of the numerous tour operators in the region.
Irrespective of whether it’s day or night, the views you’ll get atop a helicopter will never fail to leave you in utter and unadulterated awe of them.
The Ritz-Carlton Spa
When was the last time you truly pampered yourself? It’s time, then, to make amends at the Ritz-Carlton Spa. Get a first-hand taste of la la land’s glamour with the exquisite manicures, pedicures, and facials offered at the Ritz-Carlton? Did we mention their twenty-four-carat gold powder body shimmer already? Our suggestion- cap off your visit to downtown LA with a visit to this place; it’ll both rejuvenate your weary bones as well as make all those travelling memories that extra bit sweeter.
By Tony Webster, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Address: 900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015, United States | Timing: Monday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday & Thursday: closed, Friday to Sunday: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/3qRQFGfoRPAvabix8 | Phone Number: +1213763440
As the name indicates, Little Tokyo, located in the heart of downtown LA, is where you’d go to get a taste of space culture. From shopping to eating, or even simply sightseeing, Little Tokyo packs enough attractions to keep you occupied for an afternoon or two. Declared as a National Historic Landmark District in 1995, Little Tokyo also plays host to the annual Nisei Week festival.
Address: Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/7kfNcTBSTGQpefiU8
The Movie Famous “Bradbury Building”
Blade Runner fans, here’s an interesting nugget of trivia for you. Do you recall the zigzag staircases from the movie’s iconic climax? Well, those staircases are a part of the Bradbury building in downtown LA. However, that is not this building’s sole claim to fame. Bradbury building is also recognized as the oldest commercial building of this residential district.
Though the wood, brick, and iron framework of this building are rather nondescript, there is something inexplicably endearing about the rustic appeal of this place. Sure, you won’t be able to use its old elevators, but you are always free to scale some of its staircases and marvel at the stunning architecture of the Bradbury building.
By Kevin Stanchfield, CC BY 2.0, Link
Address: 304 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States | Timing: Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/c258LGih2Yn2Qc8L7 | Phone Number: +12136261893
The Museum of Contemporary Art or MOCA is no less than a haven for art lovers. Art enthusiasts wondering what to do in downtown LA will find themselves spellbound by the multiple exhibitions at the MOCA. The art collections over here are as visually engaging as they are thought-provoking, so make sure you have sufficient time in your hands before planning a visit to this museum. Admission to the MOCA is free. It can’t just get better than this.
By Minnaert, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Address: 250 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, United States | Timing: Check the Website for programs https://www.moca.org/programs | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/wJk5HUZnvE6fjvoF7 | Phone Number: +12136266222
Operating since 1901, the Angels Flight Railway is hands down among the major downtown LA attractions. Although the ride aboard this tramcar-like carriage lasts for merely a couple of minutes, the experience it packs in that time window is downright priceless. A tourist hotspot, this twin-railed funicular track carries upwards of a million passengers every single year. Don’t forget to collect your souvenir return ticket; it makes for a perfect memento.
By MikeJiroch, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Address: 350 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 6:45 am to 10:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/bEYF8CZetmWqhn1X9 | Phone Number: +12136261901
The Staples Center is one of the great tourist landmarks of Downtown LA. If you have time in your hands, then you must book a ticket for either a sports event or a musical. This is the best way to experience the spirit of Los Angeles downtown. If you love NBA, then this is your Mecca because Staples Center is home to the two most popular basketball teams namely the Los Angeles Clippers National Basketball Association and Los Angeles Lakers.
Who knows, you can get too lucky to have a live musical concert, by superstars in the likes of Beyonce and Mariah Carey, scheduled during your stay in LA. This center is very strategically placed. After stepping out of an event, you can stroll to the neighboring Grammy Museum at La Live.
Address: 1111 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015 | Timing: Refer to the website for events calendar Events | STAPLES Center | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/5P6bEAPujvmnAZ7F9 | Phone Number: +12137427100
The very existence of Chinatown is the greatest proof of the fact that downtown LA’s culture is a melting point of myriad elements. Dotted with local food stalls, shopping outlets, and other such attractions, a single stroll down the Chinese lanterns-laden streets of Chinatown is enough to transport you to a new land altogether. If you want to experience these lamps in all their glory, better choose the hours of the night to visit this place. Is there something you’ve been meaning to achieve or own for since long? Because the place also has a wishing well into which you can toss coins and try out your luck!
By Johnnydeezwax, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Address: Central Plaza, 943-951 N. Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90012, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/yNYwbiRU7LUnwSfV6 | Phone Number: +12135050348
Thinking of catching a movie in downtown LA? Book a seat in any one of the fourteen screens at Regal Cinemas and embark on a movie viewing experience of a lifetime. After all, how many multiplex movie theaters that you know of have fog or strobing lighting, air and water effects, and moving seats that vibrate? Believe us when we say that watching a movie at the Regal Cinemas is as good as living in one. If you’re a cinema lover, then attending a first night opening at the Regal Premiere House must be a part of your to-do list.
Address: 1000 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015, United States | Timing: Variable timings as per movie screenings | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/5seNtp1gXxwsupat9 | Phone Number: +18444627342
The Santee Alley
Do you love to shop till you drop? If yes, then you cannot afford to miss a serious stroll across the Santee Alley, more popularly recognized as Downtown LA’s fashion district. With mind boggling 2000 independent retail outlets for apparels and accessories, you will seriously go insane with unique collections each of them has to offer. The first-time visit can be really overwhelming if you want to cover most of the highlights in limited time. Start your shopping with Olympic Boulevard and then go onto explore the Accessories store for jewelry at 99 cents. Do grab the famous bacon wrapped hot dogs at Alley Dog.
By Jenna Pittaway/Neon Tommy, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
Address: 210 E Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015, United States | Timing: Friday to Thursday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/zgjdBV9SJvxUyS9Q7 | Phone Number: +12134881153
Take a Walking Tour
There’s no better way of satiating your wanderlust than by getting from one place to another at the destination of your choice on foot. A walking tour in downtown LA allows you to absorb the exquisite architecture of this place in thorough detail. Pause and fill your mental scrapbook with the many wondrous offerings of downtown LA’s streets! The best way to go for a walking tour is to partner with some of the well-known tour operators in the likes of LA Walking Tours and Los Angeles Conservancy. They not only help you make the most of your limited time but also help you soak into the history of the cultural landmarks.
By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Address: Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/JGLMdnYC6RChr4X38
The Music Center
Eat, breathe, and sleep music? Then, the music center must feature in your downtown LA itinerary. Renowned for hosting the who’s who of music in the form of multiple performances ranging from opera to theatrical shows, the music center is exactly the stuff that every music lover dreams of. It is home to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Ahmanson Theater, CalArts Theater, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and Mark Taper Forum.
Address: 135 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, United States | Timing: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/WH6EZoWv5ELRWyJr6 | Phone Number: +12139727211
The Last Bookstore
We’ve already highlighted enough things to do in downtown LA for film, art, and history geeks in this article. Now it’s time we turned our attention to bibliophiles. The Last Bookstore’s vast collection of books is enough to populate your reading list for years on end. It also houses a maze of literary photo ops where you’d willingly want to lose yourself. Fashioned from an erstwhile bank building, the two-storey bookstore also has a book tunnel and an old bank vault that flaunts an extensive array of criminal novels.
By vagueonthehow, CC BY 2.0, Link
Address: 453 South Spring Street Ground Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 11:00 am to 8:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/lastbookstoreLA?share | Phone Number: +12134880599
No matter how many malls you visit in your lifetime, you’ll not find yourself drawn to the charm of an open-air mall, such as the FIGat7th. Spread across three hundred thousand square feet of retail space and comprising three floors, FIGat7th is the quintessential shopaholic’s paradise.
Besides housing the retail stores of some of the most celebrated brands in the world, the mall also packs an extensive array of coffee shops and eateries. What’s more, FIGat7th also hosts several workshops, art exhibitions, and fun days, including a Farmers Market every Thursday.
Address: 735 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Q8fWKRPCuGB55efg8 | Phone Number: +12139557170
What makes the Art’s District one of the must-visit places in downtown LA is its extensive range of eateries as well as the breathtaking murals that can be seen on its buildings and walls. Keep your camera handy, because a single stroll down this neighborhood is guaranteed to give you a lifetime’s fodder for your Instagram feed! As you would have probably already figured out from its name, Art’s District is home to a bevy of creative souls including those working in the architecture, green technology, and entertainment industry.
Address: 527 Molino St #108, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States | Timing: Open 24 hours | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/9AsWxfymcbWbdryL6 | Phone Number: +13233561682
El Pueblo de Los Ángeles
What makes El Pueblo de Los Ángeles downright iconic is that it’s both a cultural tour-de-force as well as a living museum. It is regarded by many to be the symbolic and historic heart of the city.
Every year it attracts upwards of 2 million visitors who frequent its many museums, restaurants, and other attractions. Easily accessible by public and private transport alike, this historical monument is an excellent gathering spot for crowds of all ages.
By Eot1986, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Address: 125 Paseo De La Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/UQbPM6hWMS2TnRRr6 | Phone Number: +12134856855
Located on the 73rd floor of the tallest building of the West Coast, the InterContinental Hotel, Spire 73 is the tallest open-air bar in the whole country. Head over with your friends to grab a drink or a snack, and immerse yourselves in rounds of endless banter while looking out over the spectacular nighttime city lights of downtown LA. The service at the place perfectly complements the sophisticated ambience of this place, ensuring that you experience an evening that stays with you for long.
Address: 900 Wilshire Blvd fl 73, Los Angeles, CA 90017, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 5:00 pm to 12:00 am | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/hQpfRtcWoPP8HdN56 | Phone Number: +12136887777
Hauser & Wirth
Hauser & Wirth in downtown LA is part of a global chain of art galleries that house the choicest contemporary artworks out there. It is a vibrant and thriving communal space that is dedicated to engaging the diverse population of the city in a rousing dialogue revolving around the arts.
To that extent, the gallery routinely collaborates with nonprofits, universities, and cultural organizations, both local and international.
Address: 901 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States | Timing: Tuesday to Sunday: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday: Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/pySLau9GZhkrCJwo8 | Phone Number: +12139431620
Besides featuring among the most rewarding things to see in downtown LA, Union Station also offers you a literal walk down memory lane. The unique architecture of this decades-old structure is a treat for sore eyes. Such is the visual appeal of the Union Station that it has routinely been roped in as a location for many Hollywood movies, the 1982 sci-fi blockbuster “Blade Runner” (dir. Ridley Scott) is perhaps the most notable among the lot. A single visit to the Union Station is enough to leave you in awe of its inimitable grandeur and rich history, irrespective of whether you are a fan of train rides or not.
Address: 800 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 4:00 am to 1:00 am | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/wdsqxD9JHeNsL1vT6
Visit the historic Olvera St
Popularly referred to as “the birthplace of LA”, Olvera Street is a Mexican Marketplace and tourist hotspot courtesy of its many street vendors, restaurants, old structures, cafes, museums, and gift shops. This historic street is also a part of the city’s El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument. A culturally vibrant and fun place to explore, Olvera Street is an excellent spot for families and solo visitors alike. Additionally, the street is a sight to behold during the Day of the Dead Festival that takes place each year around Halloween. Next time you’re stuck planning what to do in downtown LA, you can simply take a walk across Olvera Street.
By Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Address: 845 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 am- 7:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/jfqxLYei7uZ5cCdv5 | Phone Number: +12136281274
From feeding your artistic senses at Los Angeles Live to getting a firsthand taste of Japanese culture, the list of downtown LA things to do is virtually endless. So, the next time you ask yourself what to do in downtown Los Angeles, just refer to this list.