The past month has been full of travel…I’ve been to Los Angeles every other week since New Years! Though I’ve spent a lot of time there over the years, this month was the first time I explored completely new territory for me: downtown Los Angeles. So, if you’ve seen Hollywood a hundred times or you’ve never even been out west, here’s my rundown of the coolest places to see while staying in downtown L.A….
- STAY (top right): J.W. Marriott Live. This resort hotel is simply amazing! From the incredibly beautiful atrium to the super helpful staff, this hotel does it up right. It’s next door to an awesome movie theater, a few steps from the Staples Center, and the charm of historic downtown. My room was beautiful, the bed was comfortable, and the food there was delicious! (I recommend checking out the Saturday brunch in their restaurant, Ford’s Filling Station from 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.) I think we paid around $20/person, but the selection was so incredible! The staff was friendly and always willing to help when I needed documents printed, fresh towels, or recommendations on where to go. I can’t recommend this hotel enough.
2. EAT (middle left): Bottega Louie. This restaurant is always packed because it’s just. that. good. We ate there on a busy Saturday night, but only waited 20 minutes for a table, which is a testament to the efficiency of the staff. This place is the bees knees because it’s fine dining on a conservative budget! Bottega Louie is a 255 seat Restaurant, Gourmet Market, Patisserie and Café and a full bar. The Gourmet Market and Patisserie offers sweets that will blow your mind. This place is a must-see.
3. DO (middle right): The Last Bookstore. I like bookstores, and they are harder and harder to find these days. The Last Bookstore (named for this very reason,) is hands down the absolute coolest bookstore I’ve ever been in. It’s inside a historic bank building, replete with the old vault, where they house the murder/mystery/true crime books. There are art sculptures created from books, a book tunnel, and an art gallery featuring local artists. The store is massive; and on a Saturday night, the place was packed. If you’re a book lover or just enjoy seeing unique, repurposed places, this is one you don’t want to miss.
4. DRINK (bottom middle): Clifton’s. Ever seen a California redwood tree that rises up five floors in the middle of a downtown restaurant? Here’s your chance! (The tree also has a fireplace at the bottom.) Clifton’s Cafeteria opened in 1935 by Clifford Clinton and served 15,000 diners a day. The restaurant was sold in 2010 and five years and $10 million dollars later, it reopened. This cafeteria has delicious looking food, savory and sweet items for on the go, and the bar is hopping! Even if you aren’t hungry for a full meal, grab a drink and dessert just to take in the beauty and wonder of this place. Plus, there’s a huge buffalo upstairs. Oh, and they also have all kinds of Jello! Old school favorite.
5. EARLY MORNING (bottom right): EggSlut. Do you love eggs? This is THE place. Right inside Grand Central Market, EggSlut offers selections like “Slut”, which is a cage-free coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar, topped with gray salt and chives, served with slices of baguette. Gourmet eggs for sure! You can also get something sweet, like their Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie, which is a dark chocolate chip cookie, topped with gray salt, baked fresh every morning.
So….how did we find all these great places? We did a walking tour of the city and learned so much about the history and charm of downtown Los Angeles. I can’t say enough good things about exploring the city with an expert. The tickets aren’t expensive, and you feel like you’ve been on an exciting field trip!
Where do you like to visit in Los Angeles? Let me know where I should go next. 🙂
Photography: S. Jackson and my iPhone7