The Broad Museum in downtown Los Angeles. (Iwan Baan, Courtesy of The Broad)

A Modern Guide to DTLA: Amid Arts Renaissance, Downtown Is the Star of Los Angeles


Forget about Venice Beach, Hollywood or Play del Rey. Right now, Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) is the place to be.

Cutting-edge museums and art galleries, buzzy restaurants and concept retail shops have transformed what was once one of L.A.'s most avoided districts into what is now among the most exciting neighborhoods in the country. Hop a cheap Virgin flight and follow our guide to a stylish few days in DTLA.

What to See in DTLA

Sarah Cain's installation Now I'm going to tell you everything is on view at The ICA through March 11, 2018.

(Courtesy of Institute of Contemporary Art)

La La Land has always been known as the master of the silver screen. But these days, it is an array of art forms that's making Los Angeles is a destination for culture vultures.


There is perhaps nothing more emblematic of Downtown's L.A.'s artful renaissance than The Broad (221 South Grand Avenue), which opened its futuristic doors—designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with San Francisco–based Gensler—on Grand Avenue in 2015. The walls are hung and the galleries adorned with more than 2,000 rotating paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations by the most famous artists in the modern world: You'll recognize pieces by Andy Warhol, Ellswoth Kelly, Takashi Murakami, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jeff Koons; not to mention a remarkable 129 pieces by Cindy Sherman. This spring, pay a visit to Jasper Johns: Something Resembling Truth (Feb. 10 through May 13), the first U.S. survey of Johns' work in over 20 years. // In downtown's Little Tokyo, a former police car warehouse is home to the The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (152 N. Central Ave.), redesigned by Frank Gehry to highlight experimental exhibitions. Through May 13th, 2018, see the site-specific installation The Theater of Disappearance, a look at stages of decay in everything from bicycles to animal carcasses, by Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas. // Founded in 1984 as the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the rebranded Institute of Contemporary Art (1771 E. 7th St.) opened its downtown doors in 2017. The 7,500 square-foot space typically hosts two concurrent exhibitions of international artists. Look for Now I'm going to tell you everything, Sarah Cain's large-scale work inspired by the poetry of Bernadette Mayer. through March 11, 2018.


Row DTLA is the hottest (and largest) new development around, weaving together retail, restaurants, creative office spaces and events. Style world tenants rubbing elbows at Row's 1318 7th Street address include the East Bay's own Erica Tanov (#120); A+R (#100), a 6,800 square-foot modern furnishings store and events space with a library, kitchen and patio; Scent Bar (#150), specializing in niche perfumes from around the world; and the first brick-and-mortar location of the popular online jewelry shop Vrai & Oro (#148). Soon to join the party is Boston-based street wear and sneaker brand LA Bodega (#150), as well as San Francsco's own Tartine Manufactory, opening in March 2018. // Nearby, designer Sean Knibb and his wife, Stella Shirinda, have recently opened their downtown outpost of Flowerboy Project (416 W 8th St.), the hybrid flower shop and retail space that blossomed in Venice. Order a custom floral arrangement while browsing jewelry, design objects and candles named after L.A. districts.

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