Downtown Historic District
Downtown Historic District
3.5

The area

Neighborhood: Downtown
Downtown Los Angeles is a busy metropolis of towering buildings, bustling streets, and industrial warehouses. There is a distinct multiplicity of cultures here with a growing influx of business professionals and hipsters. Many call the evolution of Downtown over recent years gentrification. New lofts, bars, hotels and restaurants are popping up regularly. Downtown is home to some of the very best restaurants in the city leading the LA foodie scene, plus it is the location of cultural and sports venues including the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Staples Center, and the Coliseum at the University of Southern California.
How to get there
  • Pershing Square • 3 min walk
  • 7th St/Metro Center • 10 min walk

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


3.5
3.5 of 5 bubbles245 reviews
Excellent
58
Very good
105
Average
49
Poor
22
Terrible
11

permia
Ireland63,588 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
We were staying practically in Downtown so had many opportunities to see a multitude of sights and partake in fine dining.

Broadway is a great street to stroll along, bustling with activity and lined with an array of marvellous theatres dating from the golden age of performance and movies. Many if not all are still in use, albeit re-purposed for the 21st century.

Spring Street has the LA Times Building, no longer home to the famous publication but still elegant. Further south is the incomparable Last Bookstore with a vast collection of books and music, vinyl and CD, and sofas for relaxing.

A gorgeous building is Bradbury, restored to its former exquisiteness. It was marvellous entering the foyer and gazing at the tremendous ironwork, elevators and ceiling.
Written February 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

FactReporter
Palos Verdes Estates, CA94 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2013 • Friends
Are you on a budget to tour Los Angeles? Or uou would like to visit something different from Southern California amusement parks? Here is an economical WALKING tour, which will only cost you 50 cents to enjoy downtown Los Angeles. The distance between each attraction is about 1~10 minutes normal walking pace. This walking tour may take 4~6 hours including one hour lunch and one and half hours for Symphonian tour. You will have many places to sit down, rest and enjoy the surroundings in between attractions, no worries about finding restrooms neither.

It would be helpful to you if you could map out all the attractions in this walking tour ahead of time. Address for each attraction is provided. You can change the sequence of which attraction you want to visit first and next. There are two Symphonian tours, one at 10:30 AM the other one at 12:30 PM. If you planned to take the Symphonian tour, you need to be there on time. All other attractions have no time constrains.

1. Metro Civic Center/Grand Park Station (101 S Hill St, Los Angeles 90013)

This walking tour starts from here. If you took a metro Red line or Purple line then get off at Civic Center/Grand Park. Take exist to the Grand Park. There are many buses stop here too. If you drove, you can park at parking lot nearby Grand Park. All-day parking is about $15-$20.

2. Observation Deck at City Hall (201 N. Main St Los Angeles Tell 213-485-2121)

When you are at the Metro Civic Center/Grand Park Station, face south and you will see LA City Hall straight ahead. Grand Park is recently completed; it is new and beautiful. It also has modern and clean public restrooms.

As you walk toward to City Hall, please note you will enter from the public entrance, which is at 201 Main Street (the backside) to get to Observation Deck at City Hall. The Observation Deck offers an outstanding view of the downtown L.A. city skyline. There are unobstructed views of Union Station, Disney Concert Hall and other downtown LA attractions. This is open to the public, Monday through Friday from 9AM to 5PM. Admission is free, but you will need to check in at the security desk at the Main Street entrance. You will pass through the Tom Bradley Room on the 26th floor. The walls on this level are covered with pictures of all past mayors of Los Angeles. After you are finished looking at the pictures, you will walk up a grand staircase to the Observation level on the 27th floor. Most of the level is an open space filled with chairs and a podium. It's interesting to imagine what sort of conferences or meetings might occur from this vantage point overlooking the city. You can go outside on this level and walk around the perimeter of the floor. The view is great, and there are signs to let you know what's where.

Observation Deck may be closed if there were any meetings in sessions.

3. Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (555 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 tel: 213-680-5200)

This is a modern and beautiful catholic church where Pope will visit if he was in LA. You can check the link http://www.olacathedral.org/ to get more information. You can attend a mass or just sit there to meditate. There are café, gift shop and restrooms. Make sure you visit the lower level where they have beautiful stain glasses.
If you drove, you can park at the underground parking for $18 a day.

4. Walt Disney Concert Hall (111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012)

Please check the hours and tours offered on line to make sure they are available on the day you visit.
http://www.musiccenter.org/visit/Exploring-the-Center/Tours/
http://www.musiccenter.org/Global/Tours/Feb-Apr%20Tour%20Calendars.pdf

Self-guided 10am-2pm (60 min)
Guided 12pm & 1pm (60 min)
Symphonian 10:30am & 12:30pm (90 min)

SYMPHONIAN FOUR THEATER TOUR
The docent-led Complimentary Symphonian Tour begins in the Grand Lobby of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This tour includes architectural highlights and a historical overview of The Music Center. It takes visitors into all four venues, including the Ahmanson Theatre, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Mark Taper Forum and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, as available. I highly recommend this tour. But if you don’t have the time, then self-guided tour is good too.
Underground parking at Disney is about $20 a day.

5. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) (250 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012)

There is admission cost to MOCA. This attraction is optional if you had time and energy to walk and are a fan of contemporary arts.
Check the link http://www.moca.org/ for more info. MOCA is across from Disney Concert Hall.

6. Angel of Flight (351 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90013)

This is the only attraction in this walking tour will cost you 50 cents. Senior discount is 25 cents. This is a short and fun ride.

7. Grand Central Market (317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013)

This market opens daily 9:00 am–6:00 pm. You can stop here for quick bites, replenish some liquids, and buy some fruits and veggies. I always stop by a Mexican food stand (near the Broadway entrance) and get their cat fish soup, which is really tasty.

8. Bradbury Building (304 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013)

This is an office building with very distinctive interior, which you may have seen it in many movies. The most recent movie filmed here was “The Artist”. Check the links below for more details.
http://dornsife.usc.edu/la-walking-tour/bradbury-building/
http://laplaces.blogspot.com/2009/05/bradbury-building.html

9. Pershing Square (532 South Olive Street, LA, CA 90013)
Metro station is here. If you were done for the day, you can take the metro home.

If you had more time and wanted to visit more places either by walking, taxi, metro or buses, please see the list below.
LA Central Library http://www.lapl.org/branches/central-library 630 West 5th Street, LA, CA
Little Tokyo http://littletokyola.org/ 100 Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles, CA
Chinatown http://www.chinatownla.com/ 700 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Union Station 800 North Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Olvera street 125 Paseo De La Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Guided tour http://elpueblo.lacity.org/elptourgt.htm
St. Antonio winery http://sanantoniowinery.com/ 737 Lamar St. LA, CA 90031

For more Downtown LA walking tours and info, please check the link below.
http://dornsife.usc.edu/la-walking-tour/la-tour/
Written August 29, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TeamWard
Nottingham, UK5,690 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019
I was our family tour guide during our morning stroll around Downtown, pointing out the various film, TV and amazing architecture, just love the place so different in styles and vantage points, well worth a good couple of hours just wandering.
Written December 26, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Horsham0710
Horsham, UK300 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2016 • Couples
I visited downtown LA having already done Hollywood, Beverley Hills, Culver City and Santa Monica. They all had mostly good things - the 2 hours we spent in LA were jaw dropping. I am from London and am used to seeing rich and poor living side by side, streets that need cleaning, homeless people in doorways. But LA is shocking. I lost count of the homeless and mentally ill shambling around or shouting out loud. Whole streets had tents and shopping trolleys full of possessions taking up the sidewalks. The shops are dire, the streets are filthy, the wonderful architecture of the historic bit has faded shamefully, and it's not remotely designed to encourage tourism. It was like some zombie apocalypse film set. I took my watch off as didn't feel safe, and I am 6'2 and over 300lbs. We got out of there ASAP to see the very pleasant natural history museum.

See it so you can validate for yourself - but don't stay long!
Written September 5, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

George316
Los Angeles, CA18 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2013 • Family
I was born and raised in L.A. and learned more about downtown on foot. You lose most of the experience when you're driving. There's a lot to see and everything cannot be seen in a day. I would recommend taking the bus around to avoid huge parking fees. The transit authorities have provided DASH buses that travel most major city streets for 25 cents! The high parking fees discourage a lot of people from visiting downtown. The oldest part of L.A. is the Northern part around Chinatown where there are shops, restaurants, and lots of people. Olvera Street, farther South and across the street from the L.A. Union Station is also a historical landmark. Interesting folks everywhere. Homeless people are usually in the parks or grassy areas around public buildings, so be prepared. You will see more of the homeless towards the East side of downtown and less towards the west where there are more upscaled highrises and condos. L.A.'s Civic Center is beautiful with a recently renovated City Hall which was once the city's tallest building-you can take a ride on an elevator to the 27th floor to the observation deck free of charge where there is lots to see of this sprawling city. Little Tokyo is approx. 1 block Southeast. with more cafes and shops. I suggest getting a map and wearing your most comfortable walking shoes. Downtown L.A. was built around cars. The most pedestrians you will see are going to their cars or public transit.
Written June 17, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Luis C
Colombia135 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2016 • Solo
Downtown LA is a mix of extreme poverty and extreme wealth. For a small part of downtown you get to see this nice tall buildings and well taken care of buildings with really high rent. Restaurants and bars all over the place.

On the other hand you have the ugly part of downtown that spreads its webs all over the place! You got tent communities just taking over the sidewalks and living there. For gods sake! This is Los Angeles, this should not happen in the US. Every corner and every pen had homeless people there. Some clearly were mentally ill people just screaming and acting quite erratic.

I recommend you stick to the middle of downtown and that you can it everywhere. The place seems dangerous and will make you feel unsafe.
Written March 12, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GaboSantiago_Chile
New York City, NY55 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2013 • Couples
Downtown LA is not an easy place. As anything in LA, it is big, and may take much more than expected to get to see. The vast size of everything and disturbingly low level of movement (compared to, say, downtown NYC, London or Hong Kong... actually, any other rich world large cities) contrast the intense experience hidden here. There are many attractions (Disney Hall, Museums, parks, the Library) and fascinating architecture, ranging from Art Deco to the most modernist (simply unique: the Westin hotel). LA hides incredible surprises. On the positive side, there are precious restaurants and cafés, for instance, Bottega Louie (on the 7th st) and a vibrant market (Grand Market, visited mostly by working class Latinos who go there for unexpensive and tasty lunches. Try Mexican meals!). On the other side, you'll find a shocking abundance of homeless people in certain areas and a intriguing sense of void (i.e. Pershing Square) . Sometimes you'll think the zombie apocalypse may have already started. Visiting Downtown LA was a rather philosophical experience. A must see.
Written April 20, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RPK89
Melbourne, Australia883 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2015 • Solo
I love Architecture & DTLA is home to some of my favourite era's in design. My favourite building in all of DTLA is by far the Eastern Columbia Building. All the theatres have so much beauty and charm. You can spend an entire day easily, just perusing the streets and admiring the buildings this city houses. The best thing to do is just look up. It's so beautiful. Download the free map from the Los Angeles Conservancy website and be prepared to be wowed. Truly amazing architecture!
Written September 23, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

pkrissel
Salem, OR1,311 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2014 • Couples
Our first impression, I have to admit, was not good. I had been to downtown LA many times over the years for business, but rarely stayed long enough to see more than a hotel room, a meeting room, and a cab ride to the airport. This time we stayed at the Millennium Biltmore hotel for 6 days surrounding a 3 day conference. That gave us a lot of time to explore the area.

On our first walk during the day around the old downtown, we were struck by the number of closed and dilapidated store fronts, and the many shops selling cheap clothes and electronics. There are many homeless people on the streets and we were accosted many times by people asking for money. At least once per block of the walk. The more days we spent, the more we came to appreciate the mix of this changing area. Many people are moving back downtown, creating a market for many restaurants at many points along the price range. There are shops selling candies and baked goods, wine and specialty cheeses and meats, outdoor cafes and coffee shops, and street buskers and hawkers of many types. We found book stores and antique shops and many other interesting places to hunt and poke around. The people asking for handouts are still there, but a polite refusal deals with that and no one causes any harm. That is a sad reality in our midst and we would do well to figure out a better way to help people back on their feet.

By the end of our stay we enjoyed discovering more nooks and crannies of this town, and wondered if the mix of income levels can be sustained. There is a need for more accommodations for the homeless and low income, while increasing the number of young professionals and working people that bring economic vitality.

It is an easy walk to areas like bunker hill and the public library, the Grand Central market with restaurants and fruit and vegetable vendors. Come and visit, and stay a few extra days. There are many cheap and easy public transportation options to visit favorite LA area attractions like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Hollywood, the various studios, and get out to Santa Monica or Venice Beach.
Written March 30, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stephen J
Milton Keynes363 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2013 • Solo
This size of Downtown takes some understanding but using the sw-ne axis Metro trains helps cover the bigger distances, leaving local walks, at least the north-south ones, for exploring individual blocks and areas.

At first there does not seem to be much logic as to what to expect to find at ground level and there isn't really. Some blocks have few shops or amenities at ground level, others many. Generally and it is generally, I found the whole eastern side of Downtown to be somewhat run down at street level with some fairly desperate shops and individuals to be seen. My guide book suggested Downtown could be covered off in a day: yes it could by skipping meal breaks and ending up with sore feet. Two/three days more realistic.

The juxtaposition of hotels, restaurants, some retailing and distinguished buildings makes for more interesting walks in the central, northern and western portions. Worth going there if only to see City Hall and environs, Union station, the LA County LIbrary and the Biltmore Hotel. And wait for the white hand sign to appear before crossing the roads, if you're from, 'Out of town.'
Written June 6, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Downtown Historic District - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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