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Ultimate Guide to DTLA: 5 Must-See Districts

Ultimate Guide to DTLA: 5 Must-See Districts

Picture of Jasmine Ashoori
Updated: 9 February 2017
From underground bars and classic street food to towering skyscrapers and architectural treasures, there is no question that the streets of downtown LA are filled with character. All you’ve got to do is look up. A mixture of both the new and the old, DTLA is ‘the cultural epicenter of the west coast’ and the ultimate destination for exotic food, historic buildings, live music, and premier art galleries. Home to 13 districts including Chinatown, Little Tokyo, the Financial District and a few others, the streets of downtown transport you from one world to another; from food to fashion and everything in between, these five popular districts are guaranteed to have something for everyone.
Downtown LA Jewelry District | © Jasmine Ashoori
Downtown LA Jewelry District | © Jasmine Ashoori

Jewelry District

Located in central DTLA, the Jewelry District is recognized around the world for more than just its wholesale prices on costume jewelry, gold, silver, precious stones, and simulated diamonds. Historic architectural feats tower over the busy metropolitan streets, welcoming LA locals, business people, and sightseers into the concrete jungle. A popular spot within the district and the DTLA community is Pershing Square, a public park with a perfect view of the cityscape, as well as many activities, including ice-skating in December and weekly summer concerts. With over 5,000 shops, the Jewelry district is one of the largest jewelry havens in the US and features LA’s most iconic historic buildings, monuments, and age-old vintage theaters. Be sure to check out the charming St. Vincent’s court for a stretch of exotic food, delis, and bakeries offering a multi-cultural experience.

DTLA Broadway Theater District| © Neda Kerendian
DTLA Broadway Theater District| © Neda Kerendian

Broadway Theater District

DTLA’s Broadway Theater District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the first and largest historic theater district, representing the greatest concentration of pre-World War II theaters in America. Stretching for six blocks, the Theater District is comprised of 12 vintage movie theaters that have been featured in numerous films over the years. The ornate outdoor entrances remain the same, preserved with neon signs that had once welcomed Vaudeville acts and premier showings of classic Hollywood movies. Today, many of the theaters have been converted to clothing stores, churches, and flea markets. Keep an eye out for these timeless treasures. Surviving theaters include the Million Dollar Theater, Roxie Theater, Cameo Theater, Arcade Theater, LA Theater, Palace Theater, State Theater, Globe Theater, Tower Theater, Orpheum Theater, and the United Artists Theater.

Downtown LA Skyscrapers | © Jasmine Ashoori
Downtown LA Skyscrapers | © Jasmine Ashoori

Fashion District

Where street food meets street fashion, this district offers wholesale and retail apparel, footwear, accessories, lingerie, and cosmetics to the public at an unbelievable steal. Every last Friday of the month, the California Mart attracts hundreds of eager shoppers from all over the city with designer merchandise at discount prices, anywhere from 50-90 % off. Work up your appetite at the Santee Alley, one of LA’s largest outdoor marketplaces, with over 100 shops that include everything from baby turtles to iPhone cases. Open 7 days a week, the Fashion district calls upon fashion aficionados, bargain lovers, and foodies all over LA. Local vendors sell bacon-wrapped hot dogs, DTLA’s tastiest tacos, homemade churros, and freshly cut fruit cups seasoned with chile powder, lemon, and salt.

Downtown LA Flower Market | © Jasmine Ashoori
Downtown LA Flower Market | © Jasmine Ashoori

Arts District

Channel your inner artist with colorful murals, graffiti-covered buildings, and incredible street art in downtown LA’s Art District. A thriving mecca for the city’s most creative souls, warehouses throughout the district unearth artistic passions through galleries, cafes, performance venues, and weekly art shows. Every second Thursday of the month, DTLA’s Art District hosts an art walk showcasing original artwork in galleries, as well as street performances and a selection of food trucks. Venture out into the crowded streets echoing with creativity and be sure to grab a map highlighting the many vendors and galleries. Other popular spots in the Art District include Art Share LA, which includes a dance studio, painting workshop, and other lofts for artists.

The excitement doesn’t stop there. Stop by the Arts District Farmers Market on Thursdays from 5-9 PM for a wonderful collection of fresh produce, prepared foods, and local art. Where else in Los Angeles can you sit under the stars with a tub of fig sweetened yogurt and a cold beer, all whilst listening to live music?

Angel City Brewery | © Jozayez
Angel City Brewery | © Jozayez

Flower District

Warehouses upon warehouses of flowers, from beautiful arrangements to the perfect centerpieces for any occasion. With everything from orchids originating in Thailand to sweet succulents, this marketplace offers an endless selection of the most highly prized speciality flowers. The Flower District is the perfect place to buy wholesale flowers , so wake up and literally smell the roses.

Ace Hotel Historic Entrance | © Jasmine Ashoori
Ace Hotel Historic Entrance | © Jasmine Ashoori


Salvage Bar: Acoustic Open-Mic night in the Financial District held every Tuesday at 9 PM until August 25th.

Bar Ama: Hidden gem located in the historic Old Bank district. Signature puffy tacos and Tex-Mex comfort food.

Casa la Dona: Choose from a dozen salsas, $1 Taco Tuesdays.

Mrs. Fish: A multi-faceted underground venue held in the basement of the historic Pershing Square building featuring live music and DTLA’s finest craft cocktails.

Tulip Cafe: Mediterranean cuisine in a European cafe setting.

Daily Dose Cafe: Intimate alley with twinkle lights and the finest baguettes and fresh coffee in DTLA

Factory Kitchen: Traditional Italian food in the heart of DTLA’s art district.

Angel City Brewery: Popular LA brewery, hosts many weekly activities including Monday Mayhem game night 7-9PM, Taco & Trivia Tuesdays, Wednesday Bingo night, and Sunday Run + Yoga + Beer.

Historic Downtown Farmers Market: Every Sunday 9AM-2PM

Coffee Colab: Tucked away in Santee Village, instagram-worthy latte art and vintage decor.

Verve Coffee Roasters: One-stop shop in the heart of the Fashion district. Perfect spot in DTLA for a meet-up, coffee fix, freshly made pastries, and green juice.

Regent Theatre: Rock N’ Roll Flea Market held from 10 AM- 3 PM, every first Sunday of the month.

Pellicola Pizzeria: Classic Movie Night Every Tuesday at 8 pm.

The Springs: A casual vegan eatery and urban oasis. Includes an organic juice bar, yoga studio, wellness center, and raw vegan restaurant & wine bar. Live music in the lounge Tues, Thurs-Sun at 8 PM.

Falls Lounge: Trendy watering hole, famous for craft beer, karaoke nights, and live music.