1005 Mateo St., Arts District
Rolling Greens in the Arts District (there are also locations on Beverly and Jefferson) is a city within a city, but greener. Two acres of flowers, plants, and home décor ideas hug the Los Angeles River—and we can’t get enough of this place. The former scrap-metal yard is the perfect one-stop shop to kit out your house and yard with Cali-appropriate plants, pottery, and gorgeously rustic pieces. There’s a cute café on-site because mulling over rosebushes and landscaping conundrums with Rolling Greens’ designers is more fun with a cappuccino to sip. We also keep the cavernous entertainment space at the back of our minds for friends hunting for a beautiful wedding venue or event space.
710 S Santa Fe Ave., Arts District
It’s as improbable as it is genius: Take an Arts District firehouse that was built in 1927 and served for half a century as a firehouse and transform it into a hipster paradise. That’s the general story behind the Firehouse Hotel. From the outside, it’s still a 1927 firehouse, but inside, it’s everything but. Rooms are unique and lofty and named for colors. The Black Room is especially intriguing. The restaurant plays all the greatest hits (classic burger and fries, whole branzino, etc.), and every detail—from the firepit to the bistro lights to the industrial bar—is a study in design as atmosphere.
707 E. 4th Pl., Arts District
EightyTwo is a bar, but the drinks are more like a bonus here. The real draw: one room full of quarter-operated classic video games and another dedicated to the great game of pinball. Rotating food trucks make regular stops in the back courtyard, so you can take a break in the middle of a Pac-Man tournament.
923 E. 3rd St., Arts District
Like many spots requiring hard-won reservations, Nightshade is sequestered down a quiet, need-to-know-it-to-find-it Arts District alley. Chef Mei Lin’s firstborn restaurant combines punchy Chinese flavors with Cali comfort food—beautifully prepared, bursting-with-freshness vegetables—and the results had us booking our next meal before the first was over. Lin’s staple dish is a snug layering of egg noodles, pork ragù, and silky tofu cream. If you crave heat, order the Szechuan hot quail served over a thick piece of Japanese milk bread—it tastes like the best chicken sandwich of your life but better.
1331 E. 6th St., Arts District
The word on Officine Brera hasn’t quite gotten out yet. Maybe it’s the location, almost hidden in a warehouse building in an industrial pocket of the Arts District—you need to know it’s there to find it. Angelo Auriana and Matteo Ferdinando, who run this place, grew up in Italy’s Po Valley and, fittingly, serve no-nonsense, traditional Northern Italian trattoria food. In short: Officine Brera is the real deal. A simple, unfussy interior and sensational food. Come hungry and order the beef carpaccio, drizzled in a grassy, green olive oil to start. The stinchetto—a big hunk of falling-off-the-bone pork shank on a bed of polenta—is ideal for three people to pull apart. Then the dumpling dishes: The capunsei are made with ricotta, the pisarelli with bread, and the gnocchi with potato. Oenophiles will appreciate the breadth of the wine list, full of the heavy-hitting Barolo and Amarone bottles alongside more unusual, small-production labels.
816 S. Broadway, Arts District
Gentle Monster has finally brought their long-awaited, avant-garde style eyewear to the West Coast with a new concept store meets gallery space in DTLA.
1855 Industrial St., Arts District
The authenticity of this Belgium beer bar runs so thick it makes us feel as though we're grabbing a pint in Brussels rather than DTLA.
300 S. Santa Fe Ave., Arts District
Whether you’ve had Van Leeuwen on the streets of Brooklyn or parked up on Abbot Kinney, it’s instantly recognizable by its sunny yellow truck. They’re particularly famous for their vegan ice cream, a combination of cashew milk, coconut milk, cocoa butter, and carob beans that’s incredibly creamy and indulgent (and a major victory for the dairy-sensitive). They’ve got a few locations now: Greenpoint, Boerum Hill, and Williamsburg in Brooklyn; the East and West Villages in Manhattan; and the Arts District and Culver City in LA. You can always track their many food trucks on their website.
Silver Lake Wine Downtown
1948 E. 7th St., Arts District
Inarguably the best wine shop on the East side, Silver Lake Wine is quickly becoming an institution. The no-frills shop brings all of the benefits of an upscale wine shop (read: a world-class buy) with none of the fuss as you'll find the staff to be knowledgeable, but friendly and down-to-earth. It's also an important community asset—the original location on Glendale hosts wine tastings all week long, meaning that the community of East-side oenophiles is growing quickly.
374 E. 2nd St., Arts District
A testament to owners (and real-life couple) Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung’s creativity and taste, this color-happy shop in Little Tokyo somehow manages to look entirely different from visit to visit. While the core categories—home décor, stationery, accessories, and kids—stay the same, the assortment is constantly updated to keep up with the latest and greatest in design and still meet Poketo’s playful aesthetic. Expect to find Japanese stationery, tabletop pieces from Danish firm HAY, beautiful art books, and so much more. There's also a sister location in Culver City and in The Line Hotel.