GQ called it ‘America’s next great city’ but it is not really a city at all. It’s more a city within a city. Downtown L.A. has been undergoing a transformation from no-go to must-do over the last 15 years. What used to be a place you escaped before the sun when down is now a destination that draws crowds 24/7.
The Downtown L.A. develop boom is still in full swing with new hotels, new event spaces and new places to see and be seen.
Downtown L.A. is also something you don’t normally associate with Los Angeles – it’s totally walkable or scootable if you’re so inclined with public e-scooters on every corner. It’s also very safe, with Downtown one of the 28 friendliest neighbourhoods in the United States according to National Geographic Traveler’s latest list.
Wherever you’re based in Downtown L.A., you are only a walk away from some of the best restaurants, bars and museums in the country. Downtown L.A. is even a haven for those who just like to take a neighbourhood stroll with its historic core and beyond offering some of the city’s most fascinating architecture, from the iconic Bradbury Building (featured in movies such as Blade Runner) up through to L.A.’s cultural corridor with the likes of the Frank Gehry designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, Museum of Contemporary Art and The Broad museum which features more than 2000 works of postwar contemporary art.
Anchoring the Downtown L.A. experience, sports and entertainment complex L.A. LIVE sits adjacent to Los Angeles Convention Center and features several event venues including the 7000-seat Microsoft Theater; the 2300-seat The Novo; an 800-seat Premiere House; the Terrace, a function space with jaw-dropping skyline views; a 1000-person-capacity nightclub and several restaurants.
Downtown L.A. also has one of the hottest dining scenes in the city, if not the country. It’s L.A. so expect everything from Fatburger through to Michelin Guide award winners. New additions like Bestia, Faith & Flower, Redbird, Alma and Baco Mercat complement the diverse and ever-evolving restaurant scene which offers something for everyone, from elegant restaurants in luxury hotels to casual dining spots and street food stalls.
The hotel scene in Downtown L.A. is also booming with 14 hotels opening in the last six years and many more set to open soon including InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, NoMad Los Angeles and forthcoming Hoxton Hotel to name a few.
Downtown L.A. is in a state of constant evolution – so here are the latest additions to this L.A. culture powerhouse.
Downtown L.A. Proper
Proper Hotels is slated to transform a historic 1924 building at 11th and Broadway into Downtown L.A. Proper, a high-end lifestyle boutique hotel geared toward leisure and business travelers. When it opens later this year, the 13-story hotel will offer 148 guest rooms, two unique presidential suites as well as a rooftop with a restaurant, bar and swimming pool.
The Hoxton, LA
Chic British brand Hoxton will debut The Hoxton, LA in a transformed 1925 building that was once the headquarters of the LA Railway Authority. Located in Downtown L.A.’s Historic Core at 11th and Broadway, the 10-story hotel will feature 174 guest rooms, three restaurants including one on the roof, multiple bars and a rooftop pool when it debuts in late 2019.
Located on the corner of 7th and Olive Street, The NoMad Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles continues in the spirit of the original NoMad in New York by taking residence in the historic building, Giannini Place. Originally built in the 1920s as the headquarters for The Bank of Italy, the building’s gold and blue Italianate lobby ceiling has been fully restored and serves as inspiration throughout.
Vacant since the mid-1980s, the former Commercial Exchange Building was recently converted into the trendy Freehand Hotel which features suites, premium hotel rooms and shared ‘poshtel’ accommodations. Located on the rooftop pool deck, Broken Shaker is the spot for private events, offering handcrafted cocktails, small bites, and stunning views of the city.
Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles now stands in the historic United Artists building in Downtown LA. The Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles offers several spaces for private events including the majestic Theatre at Ace Hotel, a delicately restored, 1600-seat movie palace from the 1920s with a three-story, 2300 square foot grand lobby, an ornate open balcony and mezzanine and a vaulted ceiling with thousands of tiny mirrors that glimmer when lit; as well as a rooftop pool with city views in all directions.
The London-based Soho Warehouse is the third in L.A. and set to open in the south Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles. Soho Warehouse will span more than 110,000 square feet, making it one of the biggest standalone Houses and the first with guestrooms on the West Coast. The property will include bedrooms, a gym, club spaces and a rooftop with a pool.
The Wayfarer DTLA is a community-focused hotel coming to Downtown L.A.’s historic Broadway Corridor in the former Ritz Milner building. The property will feature 156 total shared and private rooms, four food and beverage spots including a rooftop bar, and a stairwell gym. This is the second hotel under the Wayfarer name with the first located in Santa Barbara.
Oceanwide Plaza, the mixed-use project being built adjacent to STAPLES Center and L.A. LIVE, will include L.A.’s first hotel under the Park Hyatt luxury badge. Slated to open in 2020, the Park Hyatt Los Angeles will have 184 rooms, including 34 suites, meeting and events space, a swimming pool, and access to the retail and amenity podium known as The Collection at Oceanwide Plaza.
The first L.A. project for Grupo Habita, a hotel group that develops some of the hippest hotels in Mexico City, Chicago, and New York will take over a 109-year-old brick warehouse in the Arts District transforming it with modern accommodations, a rooftop lounge, garden and pool. Construction on the property is ongoing with a projected opening date of summer 2020.
Opening in mid-2020, the 250-room W Los Angeles Downtown will be located across the street from L.A. LIVE and STAPLES Center and will be the W brand’s third location in Los Angeles. The hotel will feature a spa, outdoor pool deck, destination restaurants and approximately 15,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
Formerly headquarters for Unocal, the 1958 Tower Building has been restored to its original state, emphasizing classic elements of vintage Modernism including black terrazzo floors, glass and aluminum walls. Paving the way for new uses of historic buildings, Los Angeles Center Studios is now a 20-acre entertainment campus offering myriad venues for special events including six 18,000-square-feet sound stages, outdoor decks with stunning Downtown views, a 400-seat theatre, executive boardrooms and a private park.
Located in the Historic Core of Downtown Los Angeles, Vibiana was the City of L.A.’s first Archdiocese Catholic Cathedral. Today, Vibiana has been beautifully transformed into a stunning full-service event venue with a lighting and sound system, custom rental equipment, an event management staff, and an extensive dining and craft libations program.
An estimated US$1.25 billion project will transform the Convention Center and adjacent L.A. LIVE into a fully integrated 100-acre meetings and conventions destination with over 2 million square feet of total event space; 2240 on-site hotel rooms; 20 restaurants; unique venues and more. The entire campus project is expected to be fully complete and operational by February 2022 for the Super Bowl Fan Fest.
The Tijuana-style Tacos 1986, which started as a Hollywood stand, have opened their first brick and mortar in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. The extra cheesy tacos, created by Victor Delgado and Jorge “Joy” Alvarez -Tostado, are a star on social media and have gained positive acclaim from restaurant critics like the LA Times.
Notable New York City-born cocktail bar Death & Co., considered one of America’s greatest, will come to the popular 3rd Street stretch of the Arts District later this year. The 3,000-square-foot bar and kitchen will have a menu like NYC’s East Village location as well as a secondary bar in the back of the venue for private events.