5 Best things to do in Downtown Los Angeles

Los Angeles (also known as L.A.) is California's most populous city. It is world-famous for its entertainment industry, year-long sunshine and beaches.
However, many people don't know that many of the things L.A. is famous for aren't actually in Downtown LA (DTLA). Some of its most iconic sights, such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame or Santa Monica Beach, are about 30 minutes (or an hour if there's traffic) from downtown! Beverly Hills, Venice Beach, Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood sign, and other well-known sights are in the L.A. area, not downtown.
So, you may be wondering, "If I go to DTLA, what can I see?"
There are plenty of sights to see downtown. Downtown LA is a thrilling center for culture, arts, entertainment, shopping, and history.
Everyone can find something they like to do in the city.
If you are interested in visiting, here are five things to do in DTLA.

Zorhan Mokoele | TDO local expert from South Africa


By Kelsey Toyoda

I am a Southern California native who is enthusiastic about all things travel. Over the years, I have lived in Spain, Ohio, and Vermont and have traveled to over ten different countries on four continents. In the United States, I have visited over 30 states. I am passionate about connecting others with remarkable places around the globe and helping them get there. I’ve even made a career out of travel -- working with U.S. college students who are interested in studying abroad. Outside of exploring the world, I love to try new recipes, meet new people, and play tennis.

a Los Angeles based traveler

One of the L.A. area's unique attributes is that people from almost every country in the world call the city home. Downtown Los Angeles has several centers that honor the city's multicultural heritage. These cultural sites include:

Little Tokyo
This bustling area is the largest of the U.S.'s three official Japantowns. The site has delicious restaurants, fascinating museums, and exciting retail.

Olvera Street
Part of the Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Olvera Street pays homage to the city's Mexican history and heritage. You can find unique vendors, delicious food, and L.A.'s oldest house on this street.

Chinatown is the largest of L.A.'s cultural centers spanning several DTLA blocks. It features numerous bustling markets, tasty restaurants, and art galleries.

DTLA has a thriving art scene. You can find everything from contemporary art to art collectives. If you love art, you should visit:

The Broad Museum (pronounced Brode)
If you love modern art, you need to check out the Broad. This museum's permanent collection is free for visitors! Collections include works from Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Roy Lichtenstein, Cindy Sherman, and more.

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
Contemporary art enthusiasts flock to MOCA to see its outstanding contemporary art collection. Artists established the museum in 1979, making it L.A.'s only artist-founded museum.

Arts District DTLA
This district is an artist's haven filled with colorful murals and artists' workshops. Stroll through its streets to take in all its beauty.

Entertainment – in all forms—is a cornerstone of L.A.'s culture. Whether it's sports or music, L.A. has it all. If you are an entertainment junkie or sports fan, visit:

Staples Center
The Staples Center is home to several L.A. sports teams, including the Lakers and Clippers. If it is basketball season, you can catch a game there or explore the grounds.

Grammy Museum
This museum has interactive exhibitions highlighting the extensive history of the Grammy Awards. You can see artifacts, including costumes, instruments, and recordings.

Walt Disney Concert Hall
Perhaps one of the most iconic and gorgeous buildings in the city is the Walt Disney Concert Hall. If you can, catch an L.A. Philharmonic show at this spectacular music hall.

Downtown LA has some excellent shopping destinations. Whether you are looking for name-brand clothing, bargains, or books, L.A. has somewhere for you.

FIGat 7th, Fashion District, Last Bookstore
Nestled into the heart of downtown, this shopping, entertainment, and dining center is an exciting hangout spot for visitors. You can find almost any name-brand store there along with some unique eats in the food hall.

If you're looking to support small businesses and go "treasure hunting," the Fashion District is for you. The top area to do this is at Santee Alley.

Last Bookstore is a unique store with a massive selection of new and used books, graphic novels, etc. This beautiful book store is a must-see for all literary lovers.

DTLA has many historical buildings that are a part of the city's exciting story. Here are a few highlights that you should check out:

Union Station, Bradbury Building, Clifton's Cafeteria
Union Station: Union Station is more than just the largest passenger railroad terminal in the western U.S. It is a magnificent blend of Spanish Colonial Revival style and Streamline Moderne design. The station has appeared in countless movies and T.V. shows.

Unassuming from the outside, the Bradbury Building, is remarkable on the inside. Its internal courtyard is ornate and charming.

While you can grab a delicious cafeteria-style meal here, that is not Clifton Cafeteria's primary allure. Inside looks like a mini theme park with a multi-story fake redwood tree and tiki bars.