By Scianna Garcia
Home to the most renowned tourist attractions and the biggest major-league sports teams is Downtown Los Angeles.
DTLA, as it’s known by locals, is comprised of many diverse neighborhoods, each with its own personality and community, featuring a number of local businesses and attractions.
From its historic theaters on Broadway to the famed murals, there are an endless number of attractions and places to discover when visiting DTLA.
Stay: Hotel Indigo
In the heart of Downtown LA is Hotel Indigo, a property designed to interpret the city’s vibrant history and attractions.
Hotel Indigo, one of the largest intercontinental hotel companies in the world, with close to 7,000 properties, strives to encapsulate the history of its neighborhood.
With 22,000 square feet of meeting space and 350 guest rooms, each room design offers a true-to-the-era art inspiration and timeless take on LA’s storied past, along with floor-to-ceiling windows offering cityscape views in every direction.
The luxurious, modern-style hotel is inspired by the story of Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American actress.
All the rooms draw inspiration from LA’s colorful and immersive history with vintage and modern design touches with full-wall murals to pay homage to Wong’s legacy.
Guests are welcomed by an elegant, expansive lobby that truly glamorizes Downtown LA with nods to the Jewelry District, Hollywood’s Golden Age, La Fiesta de las Flores (now known as the Rose Parade), and the underground speakeasies of the Prohibition era.
From the lobby level, guests are intrigued with the La Fiesta de la Flores theme, with flower murals decorating the walls paired with velvet drapes and other nods to the parade.
From the wheel-shaped chandeliers representing the carriages in the parade to the varying dark and light elevator designs, truly every aspect of the hotel is a tribute to Wong.
Also set right at the lobby entrance is the double display of top hats, each holding numerous hats, only one being bright red.
As the story goes, Wong and her father attended La Fiesta de la Flores and, to avoid losing her father in the crowd, he wore a red top hat.
Hotel Indigo’s meeting spaces are outfitted with state-of-the-art technology, both indoor and outdoor event spaces, a dedicated event management team, on-site catering and internet service.
A popular space for weddings is the grand staircase located in one of the junior ballrooms, with its 40-foot ceiling.
“We had to pay homage to the Jewelry District, which is walking distance from the hotel,” says Peter Choi, Hotel Indigo representative.
“The diamond pendants are a representation of the district, about half a mile away. Everything was kind of intentional, like the chandeliers being champagne bubbles to represent the end of Prohibition, which was a celebration, and there’s a lot of fun stories like that throughout this space.”
Along with a state-of-the-art fitness center, the hotel’s pool deck located on the fourth floor is notable for its full refresh, featuring new furniture, a heated pool, bar service, and an incredible view of the surrounding Downtown LA buildings.
The lobby-level Metropolis Bar + Kitchen restaurant furthers the neighborhood’s story of 1920s secret tunnels and underground parties of the Prohibition era. The design splits its space into two by inserting seating and a passageway through concrete tunnels.
18 Social is the upscale speakeasy cocktail lounge set in the skyline, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass walls that reveal unparalleled panoramic views of Downtown LA. The bar was purposely placed on the 18th floor, a nod to the 18th amendment that banned alcohol.
From the lounge, guests have all around views of Downtown LA’s most popular venues, including the Los Angeles Convention Center, LA Live, the Crypto.com Arena and the Microsoft Theater.
HBO series “Westworld” and Apple TV’s “The Morning Show” both used the 18 Social space to film some scenes as well.
Eat: Grand Central Market
Open since 1917, the Grand Central Market has served as an eatery attraction for food lovers of all types.
In the beginning, the open-air market offered bakery, deli, meat, fish, flower, candy and specialty item stalls. Today, the market’s 40 stalls are home to an LA exclusive blend of legacy vendors like China Cafe and Roast to Go, and success stories from the city’s buzzing food scene.
At more than 30,000 square feet of food stalls and retail space, the market also has interior and exterior sitting spaces provide a shared gathering place to meet friends, bring a date, or take the kids on a trip to Downtown LA.
Most-stop food stalls include Olio Wood Fired Pizzeria, specializing in authentic, wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas, or The Donut Man, offering a variety of treats, including the infamous, fresh strawberry and peach doughnut.
Customers can find a food concept based entirely on eggs at Eggslut, fresh slices of pie and other pastries at Fat & Flour, or next-level peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at PBJ.LA.
The oldest vendor, Roast to Go, which sells tacos, burritos and meats by the pound, opened in 1952. China Café offers dishes like chow mein, fried rice, chop suey and wonton soup. Another of the market’s longtime vendors, the Latin grocer Chiles Secos, has operated at the market since 1975 and offers homemade moles, dried beans, rice and specialty products.
The owner of Tacos Tumbras a Tomas, a vendor offering items such as tortas, tacos and burritos, started working at the market in 1972. His stall, which opened in the ’90s, continues to be one of the most popular spots at the market.
Visit: Grammy Museum
Paying tribute to music’s rich cultural history, this museum explores and celebrates the enduring legacies of all forms of music, the creative process, the art and technology of the recording process, and the history of the Grammy Award.
Through public and educational programs, exhibits and more, guests will experience an insider perspective that only the Grammy Museum can deliver.
The museum, located at LA Live, features four floors of permanent and special exhibits celebrating the power and history of music incorporating film, sound and interactive experiences, and exhibits highlighting genres such as rock and roll, hip-hop, country, Latin, R&B and jazz. Collections include lyric notebooks, archival photos, costumes, authentic Grammy awards and musical instruments.
Shop: Fashion, Jewelry, Arts districts
The arts district is perhaps Downtown’s most popular neighborhood, with its creative restaurants, microbreweries, art spaces filled with vibrant murals, and creative shops and galleries.
The district belongs in an industrial area of former warehouses and factories in DTLA that has been home to artist studios since the 1970s. There are several guided and audio tours available for the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District, including the LA Art Tours offering regularly scheduled Downtown LA Graffiti and Mural Tours, as well as travels through other LA art enclaves like The Brewery and the Santa Fe Art Colony.
The Fashion District in Downtown LA is spread across 100 blocks, with 150 vendors in wholesale trade shops and the Santee Alley offering bargain fashion and accessory apparel.
Shoppers also have their share of options for dining, as streets are lined with cafes and restaurants, from chains like Subway and El Pollo Loco to small businesses that can only be found in the streets of Downtown LA.
Roughly spread across 12 blocks is the jewelry district, a hotspot featuring thousands of wholesale and retail jewelers, suppliers and manufacturers. It’s renowned for wholesale prices on precious gems, watches and all types of fine jewelry.
Consumers can take advantage of savings ranging from 50% to 70% by purchasing from the source and cutting out the middleman. According to the Los Angeles Convention Center and Visitors Bureau, it is the largest jewelry district in the United States.