There’s so much happening in downtown Los Angeles these days. It feels like new spots are popping up on the daily, which I totally love. It’s a sign of good things to come. Not to mention, more places for me to explore. So here’s a roundup of everything that’s coming soon (or already here!) in the greatest neighborhood on the planet.
Things that are already here! Hooray!
8th & Olive in downtown LA
Full disclosure: I’m Boston born and bred and bleed jelly filling. So you can imagine my delight in being able to watch my beloved Dunkie’s pop up all over the greater Los Angeles area in the last two years, starting in Santa Monica. I’ve been waiting patiently for them to come east (my precioussss)—and finally my sugary prayers have been answered. The East Coast has arrived near Hotel Figueroa at 8th & Olive in downtown LA, and I’ve already been about two dozen times to eat as many donuts as I can. Plus, you can’t imagine how good it feels to walk up to the counter and chirp: “Medium regular, please.” Now serving coffee, donuts and happiness just a half mile from Hotel Figueroa.
HAUSER WIRTH & SCHIMMEL
E 3rd & S Garey – International Contemporary Art Gallery
I’ve covered this astonishing new mega-gallery on this blog before
, but now that it’s officially open as of March, I wanted to highlight it again because it should definitely be on your radar for places to visit in downtown Los Angeles. They’ve got a great sculpture exhibit running through the summer called Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947-2016. Plus, Manuela—the museum’s new locally sourced restaurant named after Manuela Wirth—is on track to open this summer (with its very own garden!). Helmed by Wes Whitsell (who helped open Gjelina in Venice) with dishes inspired by his native Texas as well as LA’s own Mexican roots, Manuela promises to be some seriously good grub. Come for the free contemporary art and scene-y courtyard, stay for the north-and-south-of-the-border cuisine. This gallery is just a quick 10-minute drive in downtown LA from Hotel Figueroa.
DINNER IN THE SKY
LA Center Studios, West 5th & S Bixel
If you’ve been to Vegas in the last few years, you’ve probably seen/been petrified of the high-flying culinary experience dubbed Dinner in the Sky. That’s where you’re hoisted 150 feet in the air around a giant dinner table fit for Beetlejuice, and eat a four-course meal as though you’re not on the verge of plummeting to your death because of one too many glasses of wine. It’s dining on a dare. And now it’s daring its way to downtown LA! The latest from the Fun Group (actual name), Dinner in the Sky LA will join 45 cities around the globe that have done these aerial outings—without incident, mind you. Check out this bonkers video to see what you’re in for! Tickets for the dinner service in downtown LA run about $399. Reserve now for dinners starting July 1. Many Angelenos already have a pretty high opinion of themselves, so I’m glad these guys decided to literally see their opinion and raise them. 😉
8th & Broadway
Just last month, Apple is rumored to have nabbed a lease for a brand-new flagship store downtown. Their new digs will be inside the historic Tower Theatre on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles—a section of town that’ll benefit from such a cool addition to the ‘hood. And Apple has a pretty great track record of inhabiting historic spaces, like Regent Street in London and Grand Central in New York. Built in 1927 by S. Charles Lee (who you might remember from such theaters as the Los Angeles Theatre
), the Baroque Revival theater was the very first to be wired for talking pictures, proudly premiering The Jazz Singer in 1927. Though it’s technically the runt of the Broadway historic theater litter at just over 900 seats, the building boasts some gorgeous touches, like the terracotta clock tower (the tippy-top of which was removed after an earthquake) and the beyond-cool vertical TOWER sign that lights up the building—the same way Apple’s new flagship is gonna light up Broadway. The new flagship store and Tower Theatre are less than a mile from Hotel Figueroa in downtown LA.
8th & Hill
The East Coast invasion continues with Shake Shack (and New York transplants are losing their freakin’ minds). Taking over the 801 Hill nightclub digs just a short walk from Hotel Figueroa, the burger-and-fries chain will bring meaty goodness to downtowner LA, joining its locations in West Hollywood as well as Hollywood, Glendale and Century City (all coming soon). From one little-cart-that-could in NYC’s Madison Square Park more than 10 years ago to just shy of 100 shacks around the world today, this hot(dog) spot has stolen the hearts and stomachs of many. Construction for the downtown Los Angeles location kicks off the summer, with an eye on opening sometime in early 2017.
7th & Alameda
The current home of American Apparel in the Arts District of downtown Los Angeles is getting a huge makeover, courtesy of developer Atlas Capital. Opening Summer 2016, the seven-building complex, about 2 miles from Hotel Figueroa, will house creative office space, event space, more than 20 restaurants and 100 stores. Each themed street will offer different options, from Dock Street’s dining to The Narrows’ entertainment-inspired stores. First built from 1917-1923 along the Southern Pacific Railroad and originally imagined as a hub for distributing produce, the Row DTLA will become a hub of an entirely new kind. I’m especially excited for Smorgasburg, the Brooklyn-based open-air food & flea market that’ll host about 80 vendors every Sunday, from Blossom Vintage and Big Daddy’s antiques to Nikki Montoya Jewelry and Pauline Wolstencroft. Sorry, Pasadena. There’s a new flea market in town.
S. Santa Fe & Bay St
London’s sought-after private club Soho House is coming to the Arts District of downtown Los Angeles in early 2017, creating their second exclusive location for creatives in the city of Angels. Now Downtowners won’t have to battle traffic to West Hollywood to have their fill of the good life. The six-story space will be located a few miles from Hotel Figueroa and house a screening room, gym, spa, salon, performance space, rooftop pool and “public” market with a restaurant, bar and “backyard.” If you’re not a member yet, now may be the time to think about joining. And if you are a member, well, I make a great plus-one. Fact.
11th & S Flower
“I felt impotent and out of control. Which I really, really hate. I had to find sanctuary in a place where I could gather my thoughts and regain my strength… [cut to: The Mall].”
In the timeless words of the esteemed motion picture Clueless, enter downtown LA’s newest (and fanciest) sanctuary: the mall. The $1 billion Oceanwide Plaza will be the yin to L.A. Live’s yang, opening right across the way on Figueroa Street right near Microsoft Theatre and the Staples Center—and introducing a long-overdue retail offering (153,000-square-feet-worth!) to an area of downtown LA flush with restaurants and entertainment. Check out this cool little fly-through of the retail space, which’ll be called The Collection at Oceanwide Plaza< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omOXWBc9w1c>. I don’t know about you guys, but when this place finally opens in late 2018 I’ll be skipping over there from Hotel Figueroa yelling, “Sanctuary!” in the streets like I’m Quasimodo.
So that’s the roundup of what’s here, what’s hot and what’s next for downtown Los Angeles and the area around Hotel Figueroa. When everything’s said and done, downtown LA will be the neighborhood about which you’ll brag, I knew it when.
‘Til Next Time,