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Please direct all media inquiries to Jim Yeager at breakwhitelight public relations.
By Rebecca Misner
Illustration by Rodica Prato
The opening of the Broad Museum in Downtown Los Angeles has the potential to transform the surrounding neighborhood into a hip, walkable paradise. Here's how to explore one of the country’s most exciting neighborhoods.
This month, the much-anticipated Diller Scofidio & Renfro–designed contemporary art museum will finally open, bringing further momentum to a Downtown L.A. reinvention that—judging from all the cranes, razed buildings, and scaffolding—has only just begun. Still, the area around the 120,000-square-foot museum, a beautiful mashup of glamour and grit, old and cutting-edge, isn’t yet the pedestrian paradise it will one day become.
1 Grand Central Market
Start here and have breakfast at this historic market, which has been in continuous operation since its opening in 1917 and underwent a significant makeover last year, with new stands joining old- school produce and spice vendors, taco joints, and cheap lunch counters. Find your caffeine fix at G&B Coffee; then get in line at Eggslut (there will be a line, but it moves fast). The Fairfax—soft scrambled eggs with chives, cheddar, and sriracha mayo—is more miracle on a brioche than egg on a roll.
2 Bradbury Building
Across the street from Grand Central Market is the city’s oldest landmarked building (the first floor is open to the public). If this structure—with its birdcage elevators, ornate iron and woodwork, and five-story, light-filled central court—feels vaguely familiar, it’s because it was the setting for Rutger Hauer’s “Tears in Rain” monologue in Blade Runner.
3 Observation Deck at City Hall
City Hall is a ten-minute walk (mostly downhill) from The Broad. Few tourists—or locals, for that matter—know about the free outdoor observation deck on the twenty-seventh floor of this 1928 government building. This means it’ll be just you (no selfie sticks, no jockeying for ￼￼￼￼position) and 360- degree views of L.A.
A handmade sign that hangs on the wall at former Fig chef Ray Garcia’s new casual taco spot reads, "making tacos, changing lives." A grandiose statement until you’ve polished off a plate of his calabacitastacos (squash cooked in cream). Order a side of the tangy ensalada de nopalesand a blood orange agua fresca.
5 Last Bookstore
The 20,000-square-foot former bank is filled with 250,000 new and used books. Think of it as the brick-and-mortar equivalent of flipping the bird to all those “print is dead” proselytizers. Check out the just-opened art and rare books annex and the massive selection of dollar books.
6 The Springs
Drive or Uber five minutes east on Sixth Street (you don’t want to walk this stretch) to this airy oasis in the middle of the Arts District. With a raw and vegan restaurant and juice bar, a yoga studio, and a bodywork center, it’s an ambitious wellness concept even by Los Angeles standards. Get the hot and cold jade stone massage—so much better than the typical heated basalt version—followed by a Firefly juice.
Raved-about restaurants seem to open weekly in Downtown L.A., butAlma is still the one. In the span of a few years, 28-year-old chef-owner Ari Taymor and co-owner Ashleigh Parsons took Alma from a Venice Beach pop-up to a critically acclaimed restaurant in a permanent Downtown location (Ace Hotel and Acne Studios subsequently opened across the street). Jump in the car and drive five minutes west on Seventh Street, where you’ll find this gorgeously lit, minimalist dining room with sweet wildflower bouquets on every table. The diver scallop was perfectly and simply cooked and served with a dollop of fermented corn, braised bacon, apricot, and basil.
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