Warning.. this post does not feature the stereotypical things one expects to see in LA.
No tanned bodies, bleached hair, glitz and glamour. Welcome to a little trip with me in Downtown LA.
DTLA is about a 25-45 mins drive from where we live. It’s dependent on the notorious LA traffic. Sometimes, a 20-minute drive to LAX can take 2 hours (fact: it happened to me last week). At times like that, I feel like just blasting the radio, get onto the roof of the car and just dance. Except that I worry that people will throw things at me. Or make me pay them for having to watch. Or both.
So anyway, back to DTLA. There’s Skid Row, Toy District, Fashion District, Arts District, Little Tokyo and is full of history (duh! which Downtown doesn’t? – I know. But I ain’t Wikipedia, so I’m not going to go into all that.) Have explored some of them by car, and a wee bit on foot. Skid Row is high on the list because it’s so fascinating to me. (Cue Darkwing Duck: Lets. Get. Dangerous.) Mr A and I have seriously considered dressing up as hobos and hang out along Skid Row for a day. No, I’m not being obnoxious. Just super curious. A good friend of mine and I once drove through the red light district back home in Singapore one night, and I suggested that we should park the car for a couple of minutes, stand on opposite sides of the street and check our “market value”. True story! But she looked at me with deadpan eyes, locked the doors from her driver-side and drove us off into the night. What can I say? I was a Sociology major. So that makes me an Anthropologist. Yeah, right. Ok, I digress.
Hobo impersonations and Pretty Woman fantasies aside, here are some things in DTLA that I’ve found enjoyable so far:
Old world charm set against blue skies
I don’t have anything against clouds. In fact, I love them and want to eat them. But there’s something about a pristine blue sky that makes me feel super happy. It’s akin to seeing a beautiful blue ocean.
I looove the Art Deco architecture and there’s an Art Deco Walking Tour that I need to remember to go check out. But as far as city skylines go, I’ve seen better. In case you are a diehard DTLA skyline fan, please don’t get all riled up and burn down my blog. (Not sure how you’d go about doing that, but just thought I’d put it out there and implore you not to).
I love how some parts of DTLA remind me of Brooklyn (where we used to live in NYC some years back). Old warehouses and factories are now lofts, restaurants, art galleries, cafes a la DUMBO and Williamsburg.
The Last Bookstore is a beautiful example of turning-something-old-into-a new-which-looks-old. The walls, columns and beams that used to house a bank now lend their charm to a gorgeous bookstore filled with old and new books, art and space for hungry minds to feast, wander and find serenity. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed when I realized that the bookstore is only 2 years old. I wanted to believe that despite the rise and fall of all those other bookstore giants, there was this little independent bookstore that stayed strong through through time, bucked the trend, and grew into the biggest independent bookstore in California. The last part of that statement is actually true though and kudos to its owner for the humble beginnings in a tiny apartment.
Handsome Coffee Roasters
Nabisco Factory Lofts
Biscuit factory-turned-lofts. I have creamy butter dreams of living here.
Hope you enjoyed DTLA as much as I have.