In between the excitement of the Gen Beauty conference last June, I found myself with a lot of downtime in Downtown LA. While many view this part of the city as undesirable and even dangerous, I found it to be charming, sweet smelling, and full of character .
Motivated by hunger, I ventured out of my hotel (on the far side of the 2nd Street tunnel) in the late evening, and was surprised to see that I had limited options for food within walking distance. I decided to walk a little further and stumbled upon an amazing farm to table restaurant called Blue Cow.
I thoroughly enjoyed my meal, the cozy outdoor seating, and the extremely friendly staff. My server, noticing that I was alone, asked if I was from out of town, and armed me with a detailed list of places to visit in the area. I was feeling a little jetlagged, so I chose sleep over more exploring, and planned out some daytime activities for the following morning.
Donning my sparkly cat ears, I started my day with a walk through Grand Central Market (not be confused with the train terminal in NYC). I overzealously purchased a saccharine cup of iced coffee that I immediately swapped for a single origin brew from G&B Coffee. For breakfast, I picked up a tin of raspberries in the fresh section of the market for only 69 cents.
After a moment of East Coast bitterness – seriously it’s more $5 a pint at home – I hurried across the street to glide up the shortest railroad in the world, Angel’s Flight.
Continuing with my budget buys (sans coffee), I anted up a whopping 50 cents to board the brightly colored funicular. Built in 1901, this teeny tiny railway shuttled wealthy citizens in the then fashionable Bunker Hill neighborhood, up and down the steep slope between Hill and Olive streets.
The ride obviously short, but provided a great view of the area, and I loved the adorable cars, ticket booth, and station.
There was an adorable park located near the staircase to the right of the cars called Angel’s Knoll. I was lured by the sweet smell and gorgeous purple color of the Jacaranda trees, but was even more delighted to find out the park was a filming location for one my favorite movies, (500) Days of Summer
The park is pretty small, so finding the bench where Summer and Tom shared two important moments in the film wasn’t too difficult, but I asked for guidance from a park ranger nonetheless.
He knew right away which bench I was referring to, and informed that a plaque with characters and movie title attached to the back was stolen not too long after it was put up. Sigh.
I took a moment to enjoy the view that Tom loved so very much in the movie, and then walked to LA Live for the rest of the conference.
On the way back to my hotel, I grabbed a snack at Sixth St. Tavern, across the street from the Standard Hotel. The bartender recommended their signature cheese fries that I paired with a summer wheat ale on the patio. The fries were good, but admittedly, smoked gouda is not my favorite, so I would skip that next time and go straight for a beer.
After the pit stop, I headed to the hotel, grabbed my luggage, and said goodbye to DTLA.
Downtown LA is often a forgotten part of the city, but I think it has a lot of offer if you’re willing to get past its grittiness and explore the new establishments and beautiful old style architecture.
Have you been to DTLA? What places should I visit next time?