Despite living in Southern California my entire life, I’ve never really taken the time to explore our downtown area until recently. While this blog has certainly inspired me to see more of the world, it’s also helped me appreciate where I live. Downtown Los Angeles has been rapidly expanding and growing trendier by the minute, and I’m here today to share with you a few of my favorite spots. I hope you enjoy and stick around for the giveaway at the end!
#1 Bottega Louie
Bottega Louie, known for their beautifully packaged macarons, is a bustling restaurant and gourmet market. This place is almost too cool for Downtown L.A. and I feel as if it belongs somewhere like New York City! No offense, Los Angeles. While their colorful desserts are tempting, I’d recommend sitting down for their weekend brunch. On my most recent visit, I tried their ham and leek quiche with Gruyère cheese which was fluffy and delicious. However, I had major food envy thanks to the table next to us who ordered lemon ricotta pancakes and a Kobe beef hamburger. Next time!
#2 The Last Bookstore
Housed in an old bank building, The Last Bookstore, also known as Heaven on Earth (in my opinion), is my favorite place to spend an afternoon in Los Angeles. With a record shop, knitting corner, coffee bar, and art galleries, this is clearly so much more than just a bookstore. But trust me, there’s no shortage of books. My favorite spot has to be the “Labyrinth” upstairs where you’ll find room after room of used $1 books and A BOOK TUNNEL. Yes, you read that correctly.
They’re always hosting readings, book signings, writer’s groups, and open mic nights so be sure to check before your visit. It’s such a creative and welcoming space and you can easily find yourself spending all day there… or maybe that’s just me. If this really was the last bookstore in Los Angeles, I wouldn’t even be mad about it.
#3 Grand Central Market
Grand Central Market has been around since 1917, making it the city’s oldest (and largest!) market. Yet, somehow, I waited until last month to visit. This is a food lover’s paradise, offering fresh produce at great prices and food stands run by families who have been there for decades. One of my absolute favorite stands is Tacos Tumbras a Tomas who have been there for almost 20 years. Be prepared to wait in line but it is SO worth it. I’d recommend their $3 tacos but don’t over order like I did! One taco actually comes with two extra tortillas because they are very generous with their portions and you’ll have leftover meat.
Be sure to check out the produce as well. I saw bags filled with ripe apples for $1 and the same deal for avocados which are practically a delicacy in California 😉 If you don’t like avocados, just leave now. We don’t want you.
A few new and trendier stands have started opening up like Eggslut and Belcampo Meat Co. While I didn’t get a chance to try their food, a newer stand called Sticky Rice is famous for their Thai food and their spicy shrimp fried rice is to die for. I don’t have one bad thing to say about this market and I encourage both locals and tourists to visit!
While not in the Downtown L.A. area, the 10th Annual Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show will be held in Long Beach on February 21-22nd. This is the largest travel show in the nation and I have a pair of 2-day passes to give away to one of my fabulous readers! I’ve attended the past two years and each time I walk away so incredibly inspired to travel to new destinations. Here’s a quote from their website that perfectly sums up my feelings, “It’s like walking through a living guide book with thousands of world experts to talk to.”
They always have such an amazing list of speakers and my absolute favorites are Samantha Brown, Rick Steves, and Pauline Frommer. Also, with several activities such as rock climbing, zip lining, water activities, and dance performances, it’s a great place to bring the whole family. The entire day will be fun and inspiring and I encourage anyone who’s in the area to attend.
If you’re interested in winning a pair of 2-day passes, just leave a comment below and make sure you’re following me on Twitter and/or Bloglovin. The last day to enter is Friday, February 6th. It’s that simple!
Good luck and happy travels!