The 5 Most Instagram Worthy Locations in DTLA

Los Angeles is brimming with culture, street art, and glitzy hangs — so it’s no wonder it makes for one of the most ‘grammable cities in the country.  Not that you’d go anywhere solely for the Instagram photo ops (okay maybe sometimes), but these are super cool places to hang out and take in DTLA’s particular brand of creative eye candy.  And sure, get a photo for the gram while you’re at it!

The Last Bookstore

A multi-storied (and story-ed) building in DTLA housing thousands upon thousands of books and records makes it a bibliophile’s dream.   A tunnel made entirely of books on the upper floor has caught the attention of many Angelenos and visitors alike, quickly becoming a must-gram location when exploring DTLA.

The Broad

The Broad houses some of the country’s finest contemporary art and installations, but the building’s architecture alone makes The Broad visually striking and well-worth planning a day to see the space.  Plus, they often have really cool rotating exhibits that allow you to interact with the art!

Perch

Rooftop cocktails and the best view in town — can’t beat it.  From your perch at Perch, you’ll have a 360 view of the LA skyline from above, and a direct view into Pershing Square in the evening. Great for people and city watching!

 

The Ace

This historic LA building is now a hip downtown destination that is both a hotel, bar, lounge, and theater for all kinds of high-society LA events.  From the black and white tile and industrial design in the lobby to the rooftop pool and bar with spectacular city views, let’s just say The Ace doesn’t have a bad angle.  

The Museum of Ice Cream

Perhaps the most over-grammed spot in all of Los Angeles, The Museum of Ice Cream is a pastel-packed gramfest in DTLA.  This one takes some planning, you’ll have to reserve tickets in advance.  Once you’re in, the world is a dream sequence made of sprinkles and ice cream — doesn’t get much more insta-worthy than that.

 

Bradbury Building

If you ever saw 500 Days of Summer, Tom meets Autumn in the Bradbury Building at the very end.  This historical architectural gem has been around since 1893 and was also featured in Blade Runner!!  Try to soak up some historical significance between shots.

 

Besides the slew of destinations in DTLA to serve as insta-eye-candy, don’t forget to sneak in a few of DTLA’s  famous angel wing murals while you’re at it!

The Best Rainy Day Museums in DTLA

We know, we know — Southern Californians are truly “blessed” when it comes to sunshine.  Rainy days are such a rarity in LA (so much so BuzzFeed made this hilarious video about it), that sometimes we’re stuck feeling clueless on what to do when a little moisture hits.  Luckily enough for DTLA dwellers, we’ve got a multitude of museums and galleries at our fingertips — one for each rainy day of winter in LA!

MOCA

250 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary art is a world renowned museum housing some of the country’s finest contemporary art.  You’ll always find a thought-provoking exhibit on rotation at MOCA from photography, to painting, and interactive artwork.  Educators offer walkthroughs daily, no appointment necessary.  MOCA is open every day of the week except Tuesday from 11-6.  Thursday hours are extended to 8 and sometimes they have special events in the evenings, so be sure to check their site for details!

The Geffen

152 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Geffen is an arm of the MOCA that’s definitely worth paying a visit to on a rainy day.  An old police garage renovated by architect Frank Gehry, The Geffen has been transformed into a contemporary art space with rotating exhibitions that will delight art enthusiasts.  Located in Little Tokyo, The Geffen is the perfect place to spend a rainy day taking in modern art followed by a bowl of hot ramen!

The Broad

The Broad is one of LA’s newest and most sought-after museums in Los Angeles housing over 2,000 works of contemporary art.  The museum offers free general admission, although it’s best to reserve your ticket in advance!  Some of their rotating exhibits do require advanced registration and ticket purchase, so be sure to check their site for special exhibitions instructions.  The building itself is an architectural work of art, and the inside is just as appealing to the senses — you’ll be grateful a rainy day brought you into The Broad!

Japanese American National Museum

The Japanese American National Museum is located in DTLA’s Little Tokyo district right next door to The Geffen — hit two in one day if you’re feeling ambitious!  The museum is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of Japanese Americans and has been around since 1992.

Where To Order Thanksgiving Dishes In DTLA If You Don’t Feel Like Cooking For Thanksgiving

Want to leave the cooking to someone else and enjoy your day off?  We don’t blame you!  In fact, you can wear your stretchy pants all day and have Thanksgiving dinner delivered directly to your door if you’d like.  Without further ado, our favorite Thanksgiving dinners in Los Angeles (hope you’re not hungry!):

Patina

Want to treat yourself to an upscale Thanksgiving this year?  Patina is just the place!  For $95 per person you can enjoy a French-inspired Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends.  The menu includes a three course meal where you can choose from items like Pumpkin Agnolotti, Maine Lobster, and Jidori chicken. Yum! Make your reservations now if you’re trying to get in at this DTLA hotspot.

Spring

Do Thanksgiving like the french with chef Tony Ensault’s Spring Thanksgiving menu.  Entree selections like free-range turkey, prime rib, and the classic sides like mashed potatoes and stuffing are elevated to perfection within the gorgeous interior of the Douglass building. A three course meal will run you $65 and leave you happy as a clam.

Manuela

Manueal is one of our favorite DTLA restaurants to visit year-round, and their Thanksgiving feast is enticing to say the least.  Cider braised pork belly, green bean casserole, cornbread stuffing, delicata squash are a few noteables!  It’s not a pre-fixe menu so you can order everything you or your party want and enjoy sharing a little bit of everything.   

Le Petit Paris

We’re really on a French kick this Thanksgiving, but we couldn’t leave out Le Petit Paris.  Everything that comes out of this restaurant is fire, and the Thanksgiving menu does not disappoint.  They had us at “Vol au Vent” a dish comprised of asparagus, mushrooms, carrots, poached egg with a puff pastry and wine red sauce.  Bon Apetit!

The Best Pumpkin Treats in South Park

Birdie’s Pumpkin Spice Donut

If you haven’t been to Birdie’s yet, do yourself a favor and get over there immediately.  Their artisanal donuts are made fresh on the hour so you’ll never meet a stale donut at Birdie’s.  Their famous pumpkin spice donut is crafted with real pumpkin, topped with brown sugar and spice glaze, and topped off with spiced whipped cream pumpkin seeds and gold flakes.  Oh, and if you’re in the mood for something savory with your sweet, Birdie’s also makes free range fried chicken sandwiches that will melt your heart.

Brite Spot Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Venture just up the street from South Park into hip Echo Park and you’ll find a favorite breakfast and lunch hangout called Brite Spot.  This low key restaurant happens to make the most delectable pumpkin whoopie pies for the Fall season using real pumpkin spices for the ‘sandwich’ and sweet vanilla cream frosting in between.  It’s the perfect way to treat yourself to something sweet and seasonal!

Pumpkin Macarons at Le Petit Paris

Experience Parisian sophistication at its finest when you visit Le Petit Paris’ gorgeous brasserie and lovely patio.  Pumpkin macarons are on the menu for the Autumn season, and they’re truly something else.  You can order an assortment from the boutique and take them home as well!

Pumpkin Pie Bread Pudding at Miro

Miro is known for its handmade pastas, charcuterie, and Basement Bar, and during Autumn patrons rave about their pumpkin pie bread pudding.  Made with bacon fat caramel, braised pears, pork skin, and topped with Belgian beer ice cream and cranberry chutney — this dessert is sinfully delicious and a must-try for local Angelenos!

Enjoy your pumpkin perusing, be merry!

The Best Cross Fit Studios in City West

By now you’ve probably already heard all about crossfit — a high intensity training program that blends weightlighting, gymnastics, circuit training, and aerobic exercise.  But perhaps its best known for its loyal followers, so much so that crossfit has become a way of life.  There is a reason for the fervor, crossfit is one of the best cross disciplined exercises you can do for your body and mind. So if you’re ready to join in on the craze, here’s a few great spots in our downtown City West ‘hood!

CrossFit 213

CrossFit 213 in the heart of Downtown LA is the real deal.  Their mission to get your looking, feeling, and performing your very best is not taken lightly, and you’ll be supported whether you’re a total newbie to crossfit or a seasoned crossfitter.  A two hour fundamentals class will help newcomers get up to speed on the workouts and give any sort of individualized attention or modifications you may need.  In fact, they even offer one on one time with a coach and/or chiropractor!  The instructors and the clientele are known to be passionate about their workouts and helping one another reach fitness goals — you have nothing to lose (except a few lbs) and everything to gain by checking out CrossFit 213! @crossfit213

Trojan Athletics CrossFit

Trojan Athletics is a comprehensive workout space filled with equipment and plenty of experienced coaches to help you be fit and happy!  The cool thing about Trojan is that you’ll have open access to the gym from 6am to close, and over 12 group coaching sessions per day.  From those 12 sessions, you can choose from three different goal-based programs. Choices, choices, choices! Another bonus you’ll find at Trojan is their paleo meal pick-up services and nutritional guide services.  So if you’re already thinking ahead on your New Year’s resolutions, Trojan might be the place for you to stick to your goals! @trojancf

The Rec Center CrossFit

The Rec Center is all about a broad, general, and inclusive style of fitness — whatever it takes to get you faster, stronger, and more efficient throughout your life!  They help you meet your goals with a logging program.  The logging program is for your personal progress, but not to worry, there’s plenty of incredible coaches on The Rec Center team to help you along the way.  It’s a super friendly atmosphere

@TheRecCenterCrossFit

Halloween Events in DTLA

Just because you’ve come to the terms with the fact that you’re too old to trick-or-treat doesn’t mean you have to skip out on all of the Halloween fun! Get that costume ready and take yourself out on the town for one of Los Angeles’ hottest Halloween soirees!

Unicef Masquerade Ball at Cliftons

Always wanted to try out one of those mysterious and elegant masks?  The Unicef Masquerade Ball is just the place!  This high-brow celestial themed bash at Clifton’s, a DTLA historical landmark and super cool maze of bars and old-school cafeteria,  boasts an open bar, DJ sets, and plenty of opportunities for dancing in your evening wear.  Ticket are pricey, but the proceeds benefit UNICEF’s emergency funds and empowering Syrian refugee women, well worth the spooky ticket price!

KCRW’s Masquerade Ball

LA’s favorite radio station returns to form once again this Halloween for another masquerade ball (hope you’ve stored up your masks this year).  At MacArthur park, you’ll be lost in a maze of new experiences from circus troops, to ghost stories, and DJs spinning for costume-clad masqueraders.  Plus, food trucks will be lining up to give you a taste of LA when you’ve worked up an appetite from all that dancing!

a Belle et la Bête + Beastly Ball

A fancy gothic theater and lobby make Downtown’s Ace Hotel is the perfect venue for a Halloween night to remember.  Early in the evening you can catch a screening of La Belle et la Bete with a live score.  Beauty and the Beast comes alive on stage with the help of the wildly talented LA Opera as a part of the Off-Grand Series.  A soundtrack by Phillip Glass plays elegantly alongside Jean Cocteau’s 1946 work of cinematic art.  You’ll surely be enchanted on Halloween night at the Beastly Ball!

Cabaret de L’Enfer

If there’s a right to spend beneath the earth, it’s Hallow’s eve.  The Edison will give you a taste of the underground as you take in Cabaret L’Enfer featuring DJs, live performers, stilt walkers, tarot card readers and “Attractions Diaboliques”  (direct quote) .  Expect to have an old-fashioned good time in the dimly lit subterranean party. Best of all, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg at $25.  

Cheers to getting your chills and thrills this Halloween!

The Best Pumpkin Patches in DTLA

Halloween is creeping up on us both literally and figuratively, so it’s high time to go out and find your perfect pumpkin for carving!  Sure you could snag a pumpkin on your next run to the grocery store, but there’s something truly magical about a trip to a pumpkin patch.  Whether it’s a trip out to a farm or a city lot with games, this list has all your pumpkin picking needs covered!

Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch

Besides having the cutest darn name out there, Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch has a killer pumpkin selection and a history too!  The Campbell family has been operating the patch since 1987 where they brought farm life to Los Angeles kids at an urban pumpkin patch.  It’s a little bit spooky, plenty of fun for families and kids, and even educational with some opportunities to learn about nature and the environment along with the Fall harvest! These days it’s become quite the celebrity haunt and a premiere Halloween destination for Southern Californians.  

Shawn’s Pumpkin Patch

If you love a good farm feel, Shawn’s Pumpkin Patch is the perfect place to peruse for pumpkins.  Wander through the corn stalks and straw bales as you move through a sea of orange along with rare gourds and squashes.  Shawn’s is also stock full of carving kits and accessories to help you do your best Jack-O-Lantern art. Kids will go bonkers for the activities — a ball house, bouncer, train, face painting, petting zoo,  pony and train rides.  It’s an all-out fall amusement park in the city!

Tapia Brothers Farm

Feel like getting lost this weekend?  Then Tapia Brothers Farm is your spot!  They have a truly incredible corn maze that comes with a map and trivia questions.  Trivia and maze winners are entered to win $100 cash.  Even if you don’t win cold hard cash, the pumpkin selection will bring you joy.  Pumpkins as far as the eye can see, plus a farmers market, kettle corn, corn stand, a tractor-pulled train, hayride, and much more. Needless to say, you’ll be entertained while you seek out your pumpkins!

Happy pumpkin hunting and carving everyone — hope you scare up some fun along the way!

Your Guide to Haunted Houses in DTLA

What’s Halloween without a few good shrieks of terror?  If you’re a thrill seeker, we’ve got a few places on our list that might send some chills up your spine.  In downtown Los Angeles and surrounding areas, here’s where the thrills at:

Creep LA

Magic Box LA; 1933 Broadway Blvd

You know how sometimes real stories are actually scarier than legend?  Creep LA embraces this idea full force while inviting you into an alternate universe where folklore is oh-so-real.  Secrets out at Creep LA, the frightening truth makes for a far better story.  In the space stories aren’t just camp tales, it’s an entire experience that will creep inside your mind and have you freaked for weeks!

Haunted Hayride

4730 Crystal Springs Dr

You might have hiked Griffith Park during the day or peered over the sweeping views from the Griffith Observatory, but have you ever explored the hills at night?  This ain’t no pumpkin patch, the hayride reveals all kinds of boogey monsters and demons as you ride through park in the dark.  You’ll be escorted to a number of frightening mazes, scare zones, and even a pitch black maze filled with who knows what.  This year’s theme happens to be clowns, you’ve been warned.  

ScareLA

Scare LA isn’t just a haunted house, it’s an entire expose dedicated to the spirit of Halloween.  Located in the Convention Center, ScareLA showcases the city’s top talent and hottest Haloween attractions in Southern California.  If you’re a Halloween devotee, you’ll definitely meet your people while partaking in classes, industry panels, screenings, games, and much more.  Attendees raved about the VR and AR horror experiences from previous years, it’s definitely an experience you won’t want to miss!

Dark Harbor

In Southern California’s largest port, the transformed Queen Mary awaits visitors looking to experience a good haunting.  The Queen Mary has long been rumored to be haunted whether or not it’s Halloween, but during the season it becomes the Dark Harbor where visitors come to have the bejeebers scared right out of them.  Several mazes actually explore the bowels of the Queen Mary, as if that weren’t scary enough, aided by fog, actors, and horrifying props.  It’s an experience not for the faint of heart, but it does make for a singular experience for those willing to risk it!

The Best Pumpkin Spiced Lattes in The Financial District

You can’t avoid pumpkin spice lattes in Fall, they’re everywhere you look as soon as Labor Day ends.  And when a beverage is so inundated in the culture, you can be sure there’s some duds out there as well as some magical-tasty-spiced-just-right pumpkin lattes.  Don’t waste your time sipping your run-of-the-mill PSL, seek out the best! Bring on the sweaters and the crispy leaves with a pumpkin spiced latte in hand: here’s our favorite PSLs in Downtown Los Angeles.

Don Francisco’s Coffee Cubana

Go for the pumpkin spiced latte, stay for the ambiance. Don Francisco’s will wrap you in warm Cuban culture and the history of downtown LA as soon as you pass through the doors of the Spring Arcade building.  The banana leaves and airy black-and-white elevated Caribbean decor will have you feeling like you’re on a serious  daycation.  The PSL here is truly something else, made with two shots of espresso, pumpkin pie sauce, whole milk (or alternative milk of your choice)! And if that combo isn’t impressive enough, they can also make you a mocha pumpkin spiced latte with real chocolate sauce.  Ay carumba!

Starbucks

Sure, kind of obvious, but we’ve gotta give credit where credit is due.  We’re not sure if Starbucks invented the PSL or just had great marketing, but credit to Starbucks has to be the most popular pumpkin spice latte purveyor around.  Starbucks creates an entire season around the PSL, and we can’t pretend it doesn’t give us the warm fuzzies when it pops back onto the menu.  Starbucks is probably the sweetest of the bunch, but it is the original and there’s something special about it no doubt.  If you have a sweet tooth, look no further.  And if you love the original Starbucks flavor but not the saccharine sweet vibe, ask for half the syrup!  You can’t go wrong with the OG PSL!  

Philz

Okay, so we must admit this one isn’t quite a pumpkin spiced latte, but it’s pretty dang good and oh-so-fall.  Philz Gingersnap coffee is flavored with cinnamon and spices that will surely warm you up on a crisp fall day.  

The Pie Hole

The Pie Hole is an awesome bakery that makes everything from scratch with the highest quality ingredients.  Pie Hole uses only seasonal ingredients, so you can bet that when Fall rolls around they use their best stuff to craft a tasty pumpkin spiced latte.  We recommend leaving with a slice of pie in hand to go with your PSL, what could be better?

G&B Coffee

Not necessarily ‘pumpkin’ spiced, but we would call this a shining example of Fall flavors: G&B Coffee’s Tumi Latte.  Tumeric, ginger, honey, and black pepper, and milk make this creamy delight an interesting departure from the classic pumpkin spiced latte.  The flavors come together to create something truly heavenly!  G&B is on the back side of Grand Central Market and makes for the perfect coffee stop while you peruse the copious food options within the famous Grand Central Market (aka foodie paradise).  

The Top 3 Pilates Studios in City West

Living in Downtown LA can feel like a workout in itself some days. But, in the big picture, it’s really important in our day and age to stay active, think of our posture (raise your hand if you sit at a desk on the computer more time than not!) and get out and move. If you are looking to build up your core, build a better posture and have people noticing how toned you are looking, consider Pilates. Pilates was discovered by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, and was designed to strengthen one’s self with proper alignment and breathing techniques.

While it can feel like a challenge as you enter these intense workouts, most begin to see results after 6 sessions. Whether you are brand new or a pro, we decided to round up some of the best Pilates studios here and around City West. Read on and get going on your hundred!

If you are looking to start a bit on the slower side, the classes at Club Pilates tend to be on the slower-paced side, except for their cardio sculpt class. While the cardio sculpt class BURNS and is basically a level 2 class, several other classes like their Foundation class will be ideal.

Club Pilates studios are some of the most well-equipped studios around, our Hope Street location included. Each class will utilize different equipment depending on the instructor and class level!

If you want a studio that is hip, fresh and classy, with killer views of Downtown LA to boot, check out The Main Barre on Main Street. They’ve got an incredible and very knowledgeable staff of skilled instructors who encourage and motivate while pushing everyone to do their best.  They are also said to be great with first time students so newbies should feel very welcome and comfortable.

Ever tried Aerial Yoga, or how about a post-massage after Pilates? Well, then, check out The Bridge Mind Body Movement here in City West. Another Pilates studio with a fantastic staff, The Movement is a beautiful studio with such good energy and has everything you could want in classes but also popular sessions like myofascial release therapy and reike. Everybody raves that they always leave their Pilates classes feeling strong and flexible.
And, this is just a few to get you started. Downtown LA and our City West is bursting with terrific Pilates studios and, what a great time to get in shape with the holidays practically here! Tell us about your progress on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!