The London List Abroad City Guide: The best things to do in Downtown Los AngelesThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 28 May 2014

The sprawling metropolitan city of Los Angeles is completely unique, its relaxed West Coast lifestyle offering so much diversity and so many things to do. To make the most of your time in LA, we always bunch our itinerary into neighbourhoods, so we’ve broken our city guide down too. Read on for our favourite Downtown hotspots, stores and eateries, and check out West Hollywood, Arts District, Venice and our favourite Attractions in the rest of the guide.

Grand Central Market (above)
A Downtown landmark and tenant of the iconic Homer Laughlin Building since 1917, Grand Central Market is Los Angeles’ oldest and largest public market. Still home to stalls selling local produce, more recently the market has become a hotspot for some of the best pop-up restaurants in the city. Home to Belcampo Meat Co. burgers, the somewhat crudely titled – but undeniably delicious – Eggslut, G&B Coffee, our desert choice McConnell’s ice cream and many more, come with friends and choose from a real worldwide cuisine.
317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013


Bäco Mercat/Bar Amá/Ledlow/Orsa & Winston
Josef Centeno’s takeover of Downtown 4th and Main sees four restaurant/bars within a single block radius. From the signature “Bäco” flatbread sandwiches at Bäco Mercat (pictured), to Bar Amá’s free-wheeling Tex-Mex, the remained Modern American cuisine at Ludlow, and – possibly the pick of the bunch – Orsa & Winston’s Asian-Italian tasting menus, each of Centeno’s downtown restaurants has a relaxed and playful vibe, all within walking distance of each other. By the time you are reading this, there will probably be a fifth and sixth member of “Centenoland” too.
Bäco Mercat, 408 S Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Bar Amá, 118 W 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Ledlow, 400 S Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Orsa & Winston, 122 W 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013


Tanner Goods
Fine leather goods originally out of Portland, Tanner Goods’ amazing range of hand-crafted products spans wallets, cases and every other form of leather accessory. While Tanner Goods have expanded to carry shirts, denim and other mens and womenswear, our favourite thing in the store is the build-a-belt wall. With over ten shades of leather, multiple widths and lengths, just add your buckle for the perfect custom belt, put together right there in the store.
860 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014


Oak Los Angeles
Opening just this March, Oak’s LA store is their West Coast flagship and only the fourth brick-and-mortar residence worldwide. The rough-and-ready store fits the apparel perfectly, their deconstructed jackets, slouchy daywear and worn-in denim is minimalist and best in monochromatic black and white. They run great quarterly sales too.
910 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015


Acne Studios
Another in the burgeoning Downtown LA retail scene, Acne Studios’ store in the Eastern Columbia Building is a futuristic space carrying their whole high-ticket range. Popular with hip and stylish Los Angelinos, the Swedish store has become a must-visit on the tour of Downtown shop spots. Though beware the pushy staff because that shirt or jacket is probably already more than you can afford.
855 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014


The Varnish
With live jazz every Sunday-thru-Tuesday, The Varnish is your classic speakeasy-inspired cocktail lounge with a Los Angeles twist. From local nightlife veteran Cedd Moses, The Vernish takes up residence in the back of the newly refurbished Cole’s french dip sandwiches restaurant, and offers a range of exquisite cocktails from our favourite the Rum Old Fashioned to the tequila-tastic Medicina Latina.
118 E 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Check out our favourite West Hollywood, Arts District and Venice hotspots, plus our favourite Attractions in the rest of the guide.

FAN THE FIRE is a digital magazine about lifestyle and creative culture. Launching back in 2005 as a digital publication about Sony’s PSP handheld games console, we’ve grown and evolved now covering the arts and lifestyle, architecture, design and travel.

We’ve been featured on the front page of Reddit and produced off-shoot club night Friday Night Fist Fight, launched a Creative Agency and events column The London List.

FAN THE FIRE is edited by founder, Creative Director and Editor-in-Chief, Sam Bathe. Site by FAN THE FIRE Creative.

You can contact us on:

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Dribbble, Instagram and RSS.