The Downtown Los Angeles Guide
Bordered by Chinatown on one side and the Arts District on the other, what used to be a mostly industrial—and somewhat sketchy—expanse just a few years ago has blossomed into an exceedingly cool and covetable destination for some of the most inventive food in the city, under-the-radar shopping, and general good times.
Freehand LA416 W. 8th St | 213.612.0021
The Freehand is a thoroughly modern, chic hotel in DTLA. Yes, some of the rooms are shared accommodation, but they feel more like stylish cabins with rustic wooden bunk beds, colorful quilts, and chic tiled bathrooms. The décor is full of personality, with quirky details, like pink loungers by the rooftop pool and a wooden hut for a cocktail bar—a James Beard finalist for best American bar, no less.
The Ace Hotel Downtown929 S. Broadway, Downtown | 213-623-3233
In one of the more ambitious remodels in the city’s recent history, the Ace transformed the United Artists theater into a huge pull for locals and visitors alike. While downtown L.A. is undergoing a greater Renaissance, this 1920s institution is inarguably one of its crown jewels. Besides hotel rooms, there’s the popular restaurant Best Girl, a coffee bar, and an Acne outpost just around the corner.
The Line3515 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown | 213.381.7411
As much a neighborhood hangout as a place to spend the night, the Line is home to some of K-town’s coolest spots, all under one roof. There’s Commissary, a sun-soaked, greenhouse-inspired restaurant famous for its weekend brunch buffet (shout-out to the prime rib carving station); Pot Lobby Bar for happy hour Moscow mules and old-fashioneds; and Break Room 86 for karaoke and dancing. The guest rooms, meanwhile, are unlike anything else in LA. Imagine cement walls with bursts of bright orange on pillows and furnishings (orange is thought of as a happy color in Korea), Mexican upholstered chairs, and floor-to-ceiling windows—it’s an industrial-cool vibe with a bright, cheerful atmosphere. Book a north-facing room for cinematic views of the Hollywood Hills.
The NoMad Hotel Los Angeles649 S. Olive St., Downtown | 213.358.0000
You know a hotel is doing something right when the locals are rushing to book staycations. that's exactly what happened when New York's NoMad made its way to LA. The LA outpost is in a former bank building on Olive Street (the massive vault in the basement now leads to the restrooms), and the lushly decorated ground floor is where you'll find the lobby restaurant and coffee shop. Both are excellent, but for dinner, you want to be up in the Mezzanine. The rooms, with their freestanding tubs, marble counters, and floral fainting couches, have been known to send overnight guests home with heads full of redecorating plans. And while room service is as standard a room amenity as, say, a flat-screen TV, here the experience is elevated to an art form. Everything on the menu is a slam dunk—though several goop staffers have come back from staycations waxing poetic about the breakfast sandwich.