It seems not long ago, the only thing happening in the L.A. Arts District was solely concentrated on a little street called Mateo, where a few small clothing factories had set up shop and semi-trucks barreled through between the 10 and 101 freeways. Nearby Urth Caffé was the only spot you could even dream of getting coffee. Things have changed. A lot.
The Arts District, as it’s now readily known, has become a bit of a one-stop shop, the kind of place where you can get third wave coffee, world class art, and all the on-trend home decor accessories your Pinterest board demands. Mateo is still the main drag, only now there’s a lot more to explore. Herewith, our guide to navigating this swiftly shifting nabe.
By way of San Francisco. Blue Bottle is the place you come when you like your caffeine buzz with a healthy side of pretension. (Stick to the menu here, lest you want a blank, bored stare from the barista.) But the brews will send you flying like nowhere else can, and the pastries are unique and divine.
582 Mateo St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Zinc Cafe & Market
Zinc Cafe is one of the best places–if not the best place–to sit down for a happy hour snack and a glass (or three) of rosé. The inside is spacious and open, like an industrial cafeteria of sorts. But outside is really the highlight. Their gravel-covered patio is walled in and shaded by olive trees, giving the whole thing a secret garden kind of feel. An unexpected treat in Downtown L.A.
580 Mateo St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Hauser & Wirth
Ranking up there with the Hollywood Bowl and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, international art house Hauser & Wirth’s Downtown L.A. outpost is one of the most beautiful spaces in town. Check out thought-provoking installations in the sprawling 100,000 square-foot indoor/outdoor space. Remember to look for hidden details in the architecture: they left plenty of evidence of the building’s previous life as a flour mill.
901 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Grow up? No, thank you. Eighty Two is a bar that capitalizes on the 21+ set’s craving for cocktails–and nostalgia. There’s a huge arcade with classic games and pinball machines. Expect scenes from a really beta-looking Street Fighter projected on the wall above the bar.
707 E 4th Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Hip, hip, hip. Poketo is that store you go to when you really need a gift for your friend that–though you love them–is absolutely impossible to shop for. Everything in here has been carefully chosen (dare we say “curated”) in the palates du jour. It feels a little bit Danish, a little bit Japanese, and a lot like you spending the entire afternoon perusing slim-line pens and woven hats. There’s rumors this location is soon closing, so get there while you can.
374 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
As a certain design aesthetic reaches its apex, Kinfolk Magazine is a polarizing topic. But, if you fall into the camp that still loves the sort of uber-pleasant, white-washed taste Kinfolk has come to represent, Alchemy Works is the store for you. It’s a playful space, where you can find black-frame glasses, wooden wine holders, surfboards, and more. All you need, really, for the life you’ve always dreamed of.
826 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
The saying “No one walks in L.A.” requires an addendum: “…and they don’t eat bread, either.” Where summer bod is a year-round pursuit, this town is an enemy to carbs. But that’s exactly what Bread Lounge delivers–and delivers well. Racks and racks and racks are filled with delicious loaves, from wheat and walnut to sunflower poppy seed. The croissants are absolute paradise. The danishes will transport you back to Europe, the flour-friendly motherland.
700 S Santa Fe Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90021