When you’re visiting downtown Los Angeles, there are plenty of interesting and entertaining places to visit. Blessed with sun and great weather, you can easily explore downtown LA comfortably at most any time of the year. From browsing around the Last Bookstore, to testing your fear of heights at the SkySlide, to catching a game at the Staples Center – Downtown truly has something for everyone. Got kids? Check our list of the 15 best things to do with kids in LA. Or for a more complete list, check out our 50 best things to do in Los Angeles.
Get your visit to downtown LA started on the right foot by reviewing our guide to the top 10 interesting and popular destinations in downtown LA.
1. The Last Bookstore
If you like books, or maybe you like seeing the unusual side of LA, you should check out the Last Bookstore. This cavernous 22,000 square foot bookstore is known for its creative sculptures and partitions made entirely from books. The Last Bookstore is built inside of an old bank building and features books on 2 levels and also in the old bank vault. Opened in 2005, this space is somewhat of a museum dedicated to the dying art of spending hours browsing through stacks of books.
2. SkySlide at Skyspace LA
If you’re afraid of heights, or don’t like the feeling of falling from 1000 feet up, then you probably should stay away from Skyslide in downtown LA. This 45-foot all-glass slide is part of OUE Skyspace, a fun destination downtown that features a 360-degree view deck where you can take in all of LA from a bird’s eye perspective. With a full-service bar, you can sip a creative cocktail or enjoy a local LA microbrew from way up high.
3. Little Tokyo
For a taste of Japanese culture right in the heart of Downtown LA, Little Tokyo is an immersive shopping and dining experience. Check out the Japanese Village Plaza, a bi-level mall lined with great Japanese eateries, gift shops, and retailers, or visit the Zen Koyasan Buddhist Temple for a calming experience. We’d highly recommend visiting this unique corner of downtown.
4. Grand Central Market
Located in the beating heart of downtown Los Angeles, Grand Central Market is in the ground floor of the iconic Homer Laughlin Building and is the largest and oldest public market in LA. Here, you’ll find a colorful assortment of fresh produce and a multitude of food vendors and restaurants where you can enjoy a unique meal in an even more unique atmosphere. The Grand Central Market is renowned by foodies everywhere to be one of LA’s culinary gems.
5. Two Bit Circus
The Two Bit Circus is a one-of-a-kind entertainment destination in downtown LA. Considering itself a “Micro-Amusement Park”, This modern take on indoor entertainment is part arcade and part circus, with fantastic games, virtual reality experiences, and mechanical spectacles. With 37,000 square feet of space, this large indoor space can accommodate 800 visitors at a time and should really make it on your downtown todo list.
6. Walt Disney Concert Hall
The Walt Disney Concert Hall is a true masterpiece of architectural design and a must-see for any who appreciates modern design and the arts in general. Opened in 2003, there is seating for 2,265 people and is the home to multiple popular classical music groups, such as the LA Philharmonic Orchestra. Check out the lineup of shows here.
7. Angels Flight Railway
The Angels Flight Railway is a historic railway in downtown Los Angeles Bunker Hill district which features a short 298-foot inclined railway. There are 2 cable-supported cars that pull these rail cars up and then down, connecting the historic downtown area up to Bunker Hill. If you like to experience historical points of interest, We would recommend taking one of these antique cable cars for a ride.
8. Echo Park Lake
Echo Park Lake sits within view of the Downtown LA and is part of the densely populated Echo Park community. Designed as a reservoir in 1868, the water quality has been historically poor, but recently a large-scale rehabilitation project has turned the lake into a beautiful and fun recreation area for the whole community, complete with swan paddle boats you can rent, and running and walking paths. If you are exploring downtown LA, Echo Park Lake is definitely worth experiencing.
9. The Broad Museum
The Broad Museum is located in downtown LA and is itself a work of modern art. Open to the general public, you can visit the museum’s permanent collection of modern art from over 200 individual artists. Unlike other art destinations throughout LA, this museum’s 2000+ piece collection really pushes the boundaries of the general conception of art. So, we’d really recommend the Broad museum for those who have an open mind and who want a unique art experience.
10. The Staples Center
If you’re in LA and want to experience a Laker Game, or see one of the many top music acts that come through town, you’ll most likely be visiting the Staples Center. This is one our top things to do in LA at night. This huge facility is located in downtown LA right next to the LA Convention Center and is home to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Kings, and the Los Angeles Clippers among other professional sports teams. If you are a sports fan, then, we’d highly recommend catching a game if you can. Check out the Staples Center schedule here to see what’s coming up and if it could fit into your visit to LA.