Usually “downtown” is understood as the center of any city of the world. This is not the case with Los Angeles.
Even though Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s video of the song “Under The Bridge” in 1991 partly takes place on Downtown’s Broadway, it is still only slowly getting more and more popular today.
In fact Los Angeles doesn’t have any city center. But in comparison to Santa Monica, Venice Beach or Hollywood, Downtown had been neglected for many decades, and still is despite of having improved a lot. Of course Venice is more popular because of the beach, Santa Monica for the same reason but also for good shopping places, and hiking in the Santa Monica hills as well (Pacific Palisades)…
Hollywood on the other hand is attractive for film fans as well as for hiking lovers. Any mountain area in LA is beautiful! Once you’re up in the Hollywood hills running or walking, you can find some very good spots for breathtaking views over entire Los Angeles!
Downtown Los Angeles was an area to avoid until about 5 years ago because of a lot of crime and many homeless people.
It’s the first time for me that I consciously chose to stay in a hotel here. I had been told that this part of the city is about to become very trendy. Many artists chose to have their ateliers and exhibitions here. For whatever reason the conditions in Downtown seem to have improved. Even though walking through the streets in Downtown, especially at night, is still a bit scary for me (I am even more scared here than in São Paulo!) and also a bit disgusting because of the bad smell, downtown residents insist on making me believe that this is very harmless nowadays in comparison to 5 years ago.
And maybe they’re right. The homeless people whom I get asked by for money every 5 seconds, don’t get mad when I explain to them that I am out of change because I gave it to other homeless people just a minute before. They even apologize to me!
Also, as long as you are on Main Street and Spring Street moving north and NOT south, you’re not only safe but also in a cool area. There, it’s even fun to watch the “cool” people walk by or at the bars (look at the instagram of “Springstbarla” or “beelmansdtla”).
Honestly, I haven’t seen this many attractive men and women in their particular style in any other area of L.A. (On the streets of Hollywood people are more trashy and crazy, in Venice either careless in their outfits or in beach style, and in Santa Monica they look rich).
This correlates with the cool bars and restaurants Downtown has to offer. Whether it is one after another on Spring Street or the Bar/Restaurant of the Ace Hotel on Broadway (the staff’s appearance is incredibly cool & rock’n roll!).
The buildings remind one of New York’s Manhattan: here, too, you can find a mix of modern and ancient architecture. If you are hesitant about moving to Downtown, I think seeing all these lofts that are advertised makes it easier for one to decide. Maybe the rent is even not that high as in the above mentioned popular areas! And again, I have seen many cool looking people coming out of these lofts…
In case you do feel the need for some beach time it’s very easy to get there from Downtown even if you don’t have a car. There are two buses, the 33 and the 733, driving from Spring Street in Downtown to Santa Monica, stopping in Venice at the corner of Abbot Kinney Road and Main Street.
It takes a little bit more than an hour. But don’t let this discourage you. Because honestly, you won’t be that much faster by car or taxi getting stuck in traffic for sure. Busses usually have their own lane to not stay stuck in traffic… Plus, it gives you time to take care of things during your bus ride. Whether it is phone calls, write blog articles, read the paper, or think about your next (film) project.
If you feel like being close to the Hollywood hills or film glamour of Hollywood, the red subway line takes you there directly from Pershing Square/Hill Street in Downtown. It will take about 20 minutes. There you can stroll on Hollywood or Sunset boulevard and go to the movies or do some shopping at the coolest shops like “Amoeba Music” or “Urban Outfitters”. OR: go to a Jimmy Kimmel Show!
The fares are pretty cheap. I bought a 7 days pass for subway and bus for $25!
The Hotel I stayed in Downtown was the “Stay on Main”. The only unpleasant thing might be the guests staying there. One might need to be unsensitive to see “unusual” people in that big hotel that is a hostel at the same time. But: The rooms are clean, and it is located on Main Street/7th Street, really close to the coolest places I have mentioned and to the busses and subway. The prices are reasonable for people who don’t pretend too much. For a private room with shared bathroom the price starts at $42. A private room with private bathroom starts at $72. I stayed once in one with the shared bathroom, and the second time in one with its own bathroom. Both worked out really fine. In each there is a queensize bed, so that two persons can stay in that room and share the price.
One last thing, for the ladies! I have found a cool fashion store where they sell glamorous dresses you can wear for such events as the Grammys, Emmys, Oscars, etc.! It’s close to the fashion school on 9th Street/Grand Street. The dresses only cost $50!!!
Over all, I have discovered a new cool area in LA where I will go back to next time I’m there! I recommend you to check it out, too!