Once a hardworking industrial neighbourhood, today’s Downtown LA is a destination reborn with an emphasis on culture and green spaces.
From the magnificent beasts and dinosaurs of the Natural History Museum to Chinatown’s exotic buildings and temples to the Mexican music, traditions and foods of Olvera Street, Downtown LA is rich with artistic, cultural, ethnic and historic experiences.
The area spans eight square miles (21 square kilometers) and is split into 16 distinct districts, including the uber-trendy Fashion District, the educational institutions of Figueroa Corridor and the cultural delights of Bunker Hill.
Venture into the ethnic enclaves of Chinatown and Little Tokyo for a bounty of rich tastes, sights and sounds. Try some sizzling sliced eel in Chinatown, enjoy taquitos in Olvera Street and sample sushi in Little Tokyo.
Downtown LA is instantly recognizable for its collection of head-turning architectural gems, including a skyline of gleaming skyscrapers, Union Square’s fusion of art deco and Spanish Colonial Revival and the striking stainless steel curves of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
The Frank Gehry-designed building is part of LA’s thriving performing arts scene. Here you can see classical music performed by choirs, orchestras and artistes with global reputations, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
If there are kids in your party, check out the Natural History Museum, where you can see T-Rex roar and prehistoric beasts roam. The California Science Center features interactive exhibits, shows and spectacles that explore how the planet and the universe work.
Though it’s often considered an urban jungle, Downtown LA has a surprising number of parks and green spaces. Kick back for a few lazy hours on the hillside haven of Angels Knoll, by the fountains of Maguire Gardens or on the rooftop of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, where you’ll find a public garden.