Eat, shop, art: Top 10 reasons to head downtown to L.A.'s Arts District


At first glance it's a warren of warehouses and industrial grit. But delve a little deeper into the Los Angeles Arts District to find that this is a neighborhood at the peak of its rebirth as a vibrant, hip, and delicious place to see and be seen. Here, the top ten reasons to make the trek to Downtown L.A.'s trending Arts District.

EAT

Smorgasburg LA
Most neighborhood revivals start with the food, and the Arts District is no exception. On Sundays the five-acre Alameda Produce Market is turned into a veritable smorgasbord with Smorgasburg LA, a West Coast outpost of the Brooklyn-based open-air market. Food vendors are carefully curated, from well-known celebrity chefs to up-and-coming local favorites, all bringing their best and most interesting bites to the market.

Smorgasburg LA
785 Bay St.
Los Angles CA 90021
Sundays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Wurstkuche
This place is the wurst. What's an Arts District restaurant without the minimalist architecture of bare brick walls, cement floors and plain wooden tables? Thankfully Wurstkuche's exotic and inventive sausages and international beers more than make up for the barren aesthetic of the physical space.

Wurstkuche
800 E. 3rd St.
Los Angeles CA 90013
Monday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 1:30 a.m.

The Springs
Can't have an Arts District that's all sausages and no vegan juices and kale salads. The Springs has got you covered on that front. It's both a restaurant and wellness center, offering an organic juice bar and kitchen, plus a yoga studio and spa. In keeping with the Arts District vibe, the space is open and beautifully lit, with large tables for studying and hanging out with friends.

The Springs
608 Mateo St.
Los Angeles CA 90021
Hours vary, depending on venue

Blue Bottle Coffee
Blue Bottle Coffee, that iconic NoCal enterprise, is making the moves on SoCal and this Arts District café is its first stop. Blue Bottle has moved into the space formerly occupied by Handsome Coffee Roasters and it's a perfect fit for the neighborhood — the space is airy and bright and the coffee is rich and earthy. Even the product packaging is cute and trendy. Try the popular New Orleans iced coffee, which is cold-brewed for 12 hours with roasted chicory and sweetened with organic cane sugar. You'll get your caffeine buzz and feel artsy at the same time.

Blue Bottle Coffee
582 Mateo St.
Los Angeles CA 90013
Monday – Sunday 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Zinc Café
Is there such a thing as vegetarian comfort food? If there is, Zinc Café nails it. Just a few steps from Blue Bottle, and with a physical space that has a lot in common with the coffee joint, Zinc Café is both a restaurant and a marketplace for tasty vegetarian eats. If the weather's nice or you have your dog with you (what hipster doesn't?!) sit outside on the sunny patio.

Zinc Cafe
580 Mateo St.
Los Angeles CA 90013
Monday – Saturday 7 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Sunday 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Weekend Brunch 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Bestia
If nothing screams "I'm ARSTY!" like impossible-to-get-reservations and paying for tap water, sell your firstborn in exchange for a meal at Bestia, an Arts District darling that's been buzzing since it opened in late 2012. The top-to-tail Italian served here will challenge your taste buds and might set you back a paycheck or two, but it's worth it because it's just so difficult to get a reservation. Nothing says Arts District glam like a place in a grimy industrial area that even celebrities can't get into without a four-week wait.

Bestia
2121 E 7th Pl
Los Angeles CA 90021
Sunday - Thursday 5 p.m.- 11 p.m.
Friday - Saturday 5 p.m.- 12 a.m.

SHOP

Poketo
No legitimate Arts District exists without some cool places to shop. Poketo, with its eclectic mix of stationary, handmade goods, and art, fits the bill. The space itself is like a mini art gallery, with wares displayed in clever ways all around the store. Poketo is the kind of place where you walk in not needing anything and walk out wanting everything.

Poketo Flagship
820 E 3rd Street
Los Angeles CA 90013
Monday 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Tuesday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

RIF L.A.
Looking for wearable art? Specifically for your feet? This California outpost of sneaker consignment shop RIF is the place to go. Since moving into L.A. from Japan nearly ten years ago, RIF has been attracting a steady stream of sneakerheads, who come looking for everything from rare Air Jordans to Nike SBs. The shop also carries streetwear brands like Supreme and A Bathing Ape.

RIF L.A.
334 E 2nd St.
Los Angeles CA 90012
Tuesday – Saturday 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Monday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

APC Shop
Minimalist French (and sometimes Kanye collaborator) brand A.P.C. has opened up in the Arts District, and the vibe of the neighborhood fits the clothes perfectly. The Arts District boutique carries the full A.P.C. men's and women's collections as well as denim, accessories and collaborations.

A.P.C. Downtown Los Angeles
125 W. 9th St.
Los Angeles CA 90015
Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

ART
Finally, you can't take a trip to the Arts District without viewing some street art. Check out the Coca-Cola Building, an Art Deco bottling plant designed to look like a ship with portholes, catwalk and a bridge. Stop by 7th and Alameda for a peek at the massive complex that used to hold American Apparel. Contemporary artist Retna has added his signature graffiti style to the outside of the building. And French artist JR has several murals scattered throughout the neighborhood that allow Los Angeles itself to become the perfect backdrop to the art.

South Pacific Building
747 Warehouse St.
Los Angeles CA 90021

Coca-Cola Building
1334 S Central Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90021



Elise Carter-Hyde came of age in London and now ages gracefully in Los Angeles. She only needs one reason to eat, shop or look at art.