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6 Cool Things to Do in Downtown Los Angeles

Tracy Givens
December 16, 2022

Are you looking for cool things to do in downtown LA? We've got you covered. When you've finished reading our guide, you'll be able to find your way around like a local—or at the very least, someone who knows where all the hip spots are. And don't worry about renting a vehicle—getting around Los Angeles without a car is easier than ever.

Whether you're looking for family fun, a shopping adventure, or a musical extravaganza, you'll be able to find it in the City of Angels. Are you a sports fan? A book fanatic? An outdoor enthusiast? You'll have a great time in LA. The question is, where do you begin? That's where this guide comes in.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Disney Concert Hall

Though the Disney name might make this sound like a kiddie destination, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is the home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, one of the most diverse and groundbreaking orchestras you'll find. If you’re looking for a family-friendly event, everyone will enjoy Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. But if you'd prefer a more adult-oriented evening, you're sure to find a performance that suits your tastes here.

Grand Central Market

The name alone conjures up images of a bustling market teeming with vendors, and this hip shopping venue doesn't disappoint. While visiting, take advantage of one of the featured events, such as a workshop in charcuterie making or cookie decorating. Stroll around and sample some of the delicious offers, including authentic carnitas tacos from Villa Moreliana or fried seafood from the Broad Street Oyster Co. If there are kids in your party, there are plenty of family-oriented activities available—even visits with Santa around the holidays.

The Last Bookstore

Despite its vast interior, The Last Bookstore has a cozy old library vibe. Owner Josh Spencer is committed to keeping the printed word relevant, and his love of books is fully displayed here. You can shop for the latest titles, revisit childhood favorites, or browse through rare finds in the Annex. Remember to stop by the merch section for a cool hoodie or mug to take home. Gift cards are also available.

Angels Flight

Angels Flight

Even if you're not a train enthusiast, this journey is a must-do for anyone visiting Los Angeles. Angels Flight is the world's shortest railway and has been in operation for over a century, though it does close on occasion for maintenance. The ride, which takes passengers between Hill Street and Grand Avenue on Bunker Hill, will surely be a hit with the kids. If you're looking for cool things to do in downtown LA, this is one of the most laid-back options you'll find.

Olvera Street

You probably already know that "Los Angeles" is Spanish for "the angels," and the city's Latin history is fully displayed on Olvera Street. The street is affectionately known as the birthplace of Los Angeles, and it was created to preserve the spirit of early California. The narrow, brick-lined, shaded street is packed with painted stalls, cafes and vendors, and gorgeous architecture. Many of the vendors are descendants of the original merchants who peddled their wares here, and several museums help to keep the spirit alive.

L.A. Live

L.A. Live

LA's answer to Times Square, L.A. Live, is a shopping and entertainment district with something for everyone. You can strap on a pair of skates and channel your inner Peggy Fleming at the ice-skating rink, take in a movie at Regal Cinemas, or catch the latest sporting event at one of the many bars. Public spaces are available to book a corporate meeting or social event if that's what you're in town for.

Have fun exploring all these cool things to do in downtown LA!

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