The Top 9 Things to Do And See in Downtown Los Angeles

110 Freeway @ Rush Hour | ©Prayitno/Flickr
110 Freeway @ Rush Hour | ©Prayitno/Flickr
Photo of Yoselin Godoy
8 March 2019

If you’re a college student or traveling on a budget, or simply in search of a cheap day out in the beautiful city of Downtown Los Angeles, here are some places you should definitely check out. From entertainment stadiums to Mexican candy stores, let us facilitate your next DTLA trip.

People are constantly looking for new adventures and may sometimes consider adventures to be only places far from their reach, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. So many new foods and destinations can be found in your local neighborhood, and what better place to start than in the heart of Los Angeles. Here are ten different things to do and see in DTLA for visitors and locals alike.

Olvera Street

The Los Angeles Mexican American community comprises a huge portion of the city, and the Latino culture of the community is beautifully showcased on Olvera Street. The streets are lined with taquerias and little shops where you can find authentic Mexican candy. Vibrant rainbow guitars and pottery decorate the windows on the brick-covered road. It is the perfect place to learn about Mexican culture while being able to indulge in Mexican food, candy, and quirky knick knacks.

Philippe the Original

Sandwich Shop, American, French
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Roast Beef and Cheese Double Dip | © Kim / Flickr
Philippe the Original is a must when in DTLA. This place has one of the best French dipped sandwiches in town – indeed this very location is where the sandwich originated way back in 1918. Their prices won’t put a hole in your wallet either. If a French dipped sandwich isn’t what you’re looking for, they have plenty of other delicious options.

The Original Pantry Cafe

Cafe, Restaurant, American, $$$
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The Pantry Cafe in Downtown at the corner of 9th and Figueroa.
Crowds of people wait to enter The Pantry Cafe in Downtown LA | © vesperstock / Shutterstock
The Original Pantry Cafe is an iconic L.A. institution that has only closed once since their doors first opened in 1924; on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It is an old-fashioned diner on the corner of 9th Street and Figueroa, serving American cuisine. The portions are huge, so those who decide to dine here should come with an equally huge appetite.

Rooftop Bar (at the Standard Hotel)

Bar, American, Pub Grub, $$$
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View from Rooftop Bar
View from Rooftop Bar | © ollie harridge/Flickr
The Rooftop Bar is located on the roof of the Standard Hotel. The hotel itself has a groovy, modern vibe that is enhanced through their choice of décor. The bar’s main feature is the heating swimming pool, although they will charge you a cover unless you are staying at the hotel. Completely worth it when you keep in mind that you get a great view of the city, and a enjoying a couple drinks while doing so doesn’t hurt either.

Grand Central Market

Market, American, Dim Sum, Seafood, Street Food, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free
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Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles.
Grand Central Market is a foodie's paradise in Downtown Los Angeles | © EddieHernandezPhotography / Shutterstock
Grand Central Market is located not too far from the Standard Hotel, and it boasts over 30 vendors to choose from. It is a place that brings together the diversity found within the city via its wide array of food and beverages. There’s a huge variety of dining options, ranging from pupas to ramen to oysters, some even serving craft beer. The Grand Central Market also hosts several events, including game nights, movie nights, and special food/beverage promotions.

MOCA Grand Avenue

Museum, Shop, Building
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The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, otherwise known as MOCA, is divided into four locations spread throughout the city of L.A. The main one is located in downtown L.A. and is known as MOCA Grand Avenue. MOCA is a contemporary art museum that allows visitors to learn about the art through the use of educational programs and exhibitions. There is a small fee to enter the museum unless visited from 5pm to 8pm on Thursdays. MOCA also has a shop where some pieces of art are sold as well as other novelty items.

Union Station

Building, Train Station
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Union Station
Union Station | © Lisa Brewster/Flickr
Los Angeles’ Union Station, originally known as the ‘Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal,’ opened in 1939, serving as a fully functioning train station. It still serves as the departure point for travelers, via railroad or bus, and it is a great place to find information on nearby communities, spend time during layovers, and just appreciate the history in the building itself. The interior displays beautiful, wooden ceilings and gorgeous tile floors.


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If museums, restaurants, and bars aren’t for you, then you should definitely check out RIF. RIF is a ’sneaker-head’s’ paradise, priding themselves in selling rare shoes and clothing. It caters to those looking to sport some serious Los Angeles swag. It has some of the latest sneaker and clothing releases, including clothing and shoes from their in-house brand.

LA Live/Staples Center

Sports Center, Building
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Just some of the entertainment options LA Live has to offer
Just some of the entertainment options LA Live has to offer | © Danny Thompson/Flickr
Staples Center has been said to be ‘the world’s most successful arena,’ which hosts many, if not all, the major Los Angeles sporting games. It is the home to the LA Lakers, the LA Clippers, the LA Kings, and the LA Sparks. Not only does it host sporting events, it also hosts huge musical performances and televised entertainment events. When people think about Los Angeles, it is hard not to associate it with the Staples Center. A subdivision of the Staples Center is LA Live, which includes a movie theater, bars, concert theaters, restaurants, hotels, and ballrooms. LA Live is also home to the ESPN broadcast offices where, if lucky, those into sports can attend a taping of ESPN’s “SportsNation” show.

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