A Local’s Guide to 12 Fun Things to Do in Downtown Los Angeles, CA

Updated on August 10th, 2023

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Downtown LA is a prime location for those looking for apartments in Los Angeles and homes in LA, and sites like Redfin can help you find the perfect place. However, the appeal of downtown extends far beyond its housing options.

Downtown Los Angeles is a vibrant and diverse neighborhood, boasting a wealth of exciting experiences and attractions. Whether you’re a newcomer or a local who’s been living in Los Angeles for years, downtown LA has something in store for you.. In this article, we will explore 12 fun things to do in downtown Los Angeles. From exploring iconic landmarks to trying out trendy restaurants and discovering hidden gems, we’ll help you uncover the best of what this bustling area has to offer.

Aerial Downtown Los Angeles Skyline at Night _ getty

1. Angel’s Flight Railway

Discover the charm of downtown Los Angeles with a visit to the iconic Angel’s Flight Railway. This historic railway offers a unique and enjoyable way to explore the city, transporting visitors up the steep incline of Bunker Hill in vintage wooden cars. As you ascend, take in the breathtaking views of famous landmarks such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Broad Museum, capturing the perfect photo opportunity.

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2. Grand Central Market   

Grand Central Market, established in 1917, is one of the oldest open-air markets in LA. This historic market has evolved over the years into a modern gastronomic paradise, offering a vibrant and diverse foodie experience for locals and visitors alike. From the famous Egg Slut serving up mouthwatering egg sandwiches to Tacos Tumbras a Tomas dishing out flavorful tacos, and Broad Street Oyster Co. offering fresh oysters, there’s something for everyone. 

As you stroll through the market’s lively atmosphere, you’ll encounter a melting pot of cultures, which embodies the true essence of Los Angeles.

3. Bar 82  

For enthusiasts of vintage gaming and inventive libations, Bar 82 is an essential destination. This unique bar whisks you back to the 80s with a selection of 55 iconic arcade games and pinball machines. Offering 10 draft beers and a 80s-inspired cocktail menu, guests can savor drinks such as the “Tron-tini” or “Mario Mule” while engaging in friendly competition with classics like Mortal Kombat or Galaga. The lively ambiance, ideal for a night out with friends or a unique date spot, is elevated by a listening bar featuring a full-time DJ spinning nostalgic 80s tracks.

4. Bestia/Bavel  

Discover downtown Los Angeles’ upscale dining scene at the acclaimed restaurants Bestia and Bavel, which offer distinct and remarkable culinary adventures. Bestia, an Italian bistro, presents a modern twist on traditional dishes, like homemade pastas and wood-fired pizzas, in a rustic, chic atmosphere ideal for special occasions or romantic date nights. Bavel, on the other hand, captivates diners with its Middle Eastern-inspired menu, featuring wood-fired meats, exotic spices, and innovative ingredient pairings. The stylish and lively setting, complete with an open kitchen, makes Bavel perfect for unforgettable evenings.

 5. Olvera Street  

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in Mexican culture, Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles is a must-visit destination. This historic street, also known as “the birthplace of Los Angeles,” is a vibrant and colorful hub that offers a taste of Mexico City right in the heart of LA. Explore Olvera Street’s vibrant Mexican culture with authentic shops, delicious cuisine, mariachi bands, and cultural performances.

6. Crypto.com Arena   

Crypto.com Arena is a hub of sports and entertainment in downtown Los Angeles. With a seating capacity of 20,000, this iconic venue is home to some of LA’s most beloved sports teams, including the LA Kings, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, and LA Sparks, making it a hotspot for sports enthusiasts. In addition to hosting thrilling sports games, Crypto.com Arena also attracts some of the world’s biggest musical artists for concerts and performances, offering unforgettable live music experiences for music lovers.

7. The Edison  

For a unique and immersive cocktail experience, The Edison is a must-visit destination. Tucked away in the basement of an old power plant, The Edison offers a one-of-a-kind experience that will leave you delighted and your Instagram followers dazzled. The ambiance is truly incredible, with carefully curated decor that exudes an old-world charm. The Edison is also known for its absinthe experience, adding to the immersive experience that makes it a truly memorable destination.

8. Clifton’s  

Clifton’s is a legendary eatery operated by the same company that brought you The Edison (The Neverlands). With a treehouse-inspired interior, each level of the restaurant/bar boasts a different themed area, creating a truly immersive experience for diners. From the ground floor with its cafeteria-style serving of delicious American cuisine to the basement with its historic neon lamp, Clifton’s is a feast for the senses. The oldest, active, still-lit neon lamp in the world can be found in the basement, adding to the allure of Clifton’s and making your visit all the more memorable.

9. Walt Disney Concert Hall  

The Walt Disney Concert Hall is not only known for its world-class performances, but also its stunning architecture. Designed by the legendary architect Frank Gehry, the concert hall is a masterpiece of modern architecture, with a distinctive stainless-steel exterior that creates a striking visual spectacle. As you approach the concert hall, you’ll be mesmerized by the interplay of light and reflection on the building’s unique facade, making it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts and architecture lovers.

City Life Friends at Night _ getty

10. The Broad  

For art enthusiasts visiting downtown Los Angeles, The Broad is the perfect destination. This contemporary art museum offers a unique and immersive experience that will leave you captivated by its diverse collection and striking architecture. The Broad is known for its rotating exhibits, featuring works by some of the most influential contemporary artists from around the world. One of the highlights of The Broad is its famous infinity rooms, which offer a mesmerizing and immersive experience that challenges your perception of space, time, and reality.

11. The Last Bookstore  

The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles proudly preserves the magic of the printed word and offers an immersive experience that will transport you to a bygone era. Spanning a massive 22,000 square feet, this iconic bookstore is a treasure trove of new and used books, carefully curated by passionate book lovers. From bestsellers to obscure titles, from contemporary works to timeless classics, there is something to satisfy every bookworm’s craving.

12. The Varnish

The Varnish is a hidden speakeasy-style cocktail bar located at the back of Cole’s French Dip in downtown Los Angeles. It’s renowned for kick-starting the craft cocktail trend and still draws in enthusiasts with its intimate, vintage decor and dimly lit atmosphere. Embracing its speakeasy roots, The Varnish exudes exclusivity, making it a must-visit spot for those in the know.

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Marissa Crum

Marissa is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about real estate trends and home improvement. Her dream home is a contemporary-style house with ample outdoor space.

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