What you Should Know about the Los Angeles Arts District in 2022
Update February, 2022: The DTLA Arts District has no doubt taken a massive hit due to the COVID pandemic. My old client Hammer and Spear closed their original location there in 2020 (they are still on La Cienega).
While it’s still worth visiting, just know that it’s definitely been set back. So many restaurants and stores have closed, but we hope to see a turnaround as we all make our way into a brighter future. I have updated my list below to reflect what is open and have removed those that are now closed indefinitely. R.I.P. so many gems that will be greatly missed.
Original Post from 2017: My client, Hammer and Spear, first introduced me to the Los Angeles Arts District four years ago, when they moved to the neighborhood, befriended everyone, and became a design destination and representation of what was to come.
They knew the owner of Bestia and could get a table any night of the week, when it was the hardest reservation to snag in town. They met a local photographer—who they later partnered with—to form a printing company that pays homage to the neighborhood. They launched Saint Rita Parlor, a hand-crafted eyewear company made in DTLA, and have since helped propel the careers of other artists and designers with unique perspectives and stories.
But this isn’t just a story about Hammer and Spear. It’s a story about why the Los Angeles Arts District has quickly become the most vibrant, creative neighborhood in the country right now. The foundation was built on community.
In a world full of big box retailers and cookie-cutter experiences, DTLA is full of talented individuals who had a vision for creating something local. Read on for a roundup of my favorite independent shops, bars, and restaurants that are all walkable in a city that rarely recommends walking anywhere.
Things to do in the LA Arts District
Where to stay the night: The Hoxton and the DTLA Proper are the newest hotels to open in DTLA. Both are Arts District adjacent and an easy Uber ride away.
Where to get caffeinated: Boxx Coffee Roasters or Blue Bottle on the other end.
Where to go to feel like you’re in the “art world”: Hauser & Wirth Gallery (don’t miss the book shop!)
Where to have a vegetarian lunch that doesn’t feel vegetarian (and a cocktail while you’re at it): Zinc Cafe & Market
Where to eat the best meal in LA for under $20 (beer included): Wurstküche (do not miss the fries!)
Where to mix dinner with art: Manuela
Where to get high-end Mexican food and a roof top view: LA ChaChaCha
Where to get a cocktail in a lovely setting: Garden at Manuela (just down the way from the main restaurant inside Hauser + Wirth
Where to find the best books on architecture in Los Angeles: Hennessey + Ingalls
Where to brag to your friends that you’ve been: Girl and the Goat
Where to satisfy your sweet tooth: The Pie Hole or Salt & Straw
Where to mix fashion with art: Dover Street Market
Where to get a nightcap: Death & Co. or E.R.B. (Everson Royce Bar)
Photos by Ashley Burns Photography
PS. Another Los Angeles neighborhood you should know about
15 thoughts on “A Guide to the Los Angeles Arts District (Updated February 2022)”
I’ve still not been to Bestia, however my better half has been a few times! Poor little ol’ me.
Tip for Wurstküche is to get 2 small fries (for 2 people) vs 1 large, to stake your claim on which are in fact YOUR fries. Sharing may be caring but those are my fries!
Um You in fact HAVE been to Bestia! But this is why I don’t feel bad going places without you because you never remember when you’ve been lol. And very good tip!! x
Or perhaps it was my robot replacement. Either way, I hope you had a good time. My robot replacement tells worse joke than I do, if you can believe it.
Of course in my universe, not having been to Bestia is a badge of honor, haha! But that Pie Hole place is a different story altogether…looks amazing! And again, your photos make me actually proud to live in LA, since they present it in a way in which I never see it.
You would LOVE the Pie Hole!! Thank you San! xo
I actually know someone who was once a bartender at Bestia. I am not sure if she is still there. Small world, reading this very detailed post. I have never really explored LA but hope to one day soon. I will have to refer back to this post. Thank you for sharing!
That’s so cool! Thanks so much for the note 🙂
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I just added The Pie Hole to my LA itinerary for my August trip, so thank you very much for that! Honestly I wasn’t really even looking forward to LA that much, but now that I know there’s pie… 🙂 Seriously, though, your photos are gorgeous!
Great suggestions. I’ve lived in the Arts District for over 8 years now. I highly recommend Bavel (sister restaurant to Bestia) Verve Coffee Roasters, and the matcha at Eight Fold Coffee. There’s also an amazing taco truck/ parking lot BBQ at the Japanese market on Alameda and 4th. The burritos and ribs are to die for.
Eat Drink Americano has been there for ages, previously known as Cafe Metropol, when Arts District was not so popular, before Hauser and Pie Hole and Boxx.Surprised is not mentioned, it has a great history.
Great one for me to add! It’s been a while since I’ve eaten there…need to go back.
Thank you for the suggestions! I love Bavel!
I also highly recommend Bavel, Bestia’s sister restaurant. I live right on the corner between Bavel and Girl & The Goat. Needless to say, my neighborhood always smells AMAZING.
I love Bavel! Need to add. Hard to get them all!