A Los Angeles Guide: The Valley Girl Goes Downtown (and beyond)

The time that I spent in Los Angeles last spring was the longest chunk I had had there since moving to Europe in 2014. However, I felt like I spent my time in an entirely new city, as my job at BOLD Los Angeles had me commuting to Downtown on the daily, and the wonderful colleagues I had there (aka my main social interactions) were also all based in other parts of the city. The result? This Valley girl finally left her little cave, and was delighted by what she discovered in the process.

And today I want to present you guys with my findings, in the form of a neat little guide! Whether you are from the Valley, or anywhere else in the world, these little Los Angeles treasures are well worth stopping by if you ever find yourself in town. P.S.: you can find my guide to a perfect afternoon in Downtown LA here!


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» Food «

Hatchet Hall (Washington Blvd.)→ I truly had one of the best meals of my life at Hatchet. While their menu changes daily, I can recommend the honey yeast rolls: this bread will melt on your tongue. As for the rest, order lots of plates from the menu and split it between your party. My mouth is watering now, just thinking of the incredible meal I had there. Plus,  an incredible hidden spirits bar inside. Visit their website here.

Ace Hotel (coffee + rooftop) (Downtown LA)→ While I already mentioned the Ace in this post here, I wanted to throw it in here again. Superb coffee, great food and drinks, and an unbeatable view to boot. Visit their website here.

By Chloe (Silverlake)→ I would have never thought I’d say this, but a vegan lunch I had delivered to work one day from by Chloe is something I am already looking forward to eating when I go back. As stated above, Eat by Chloe is a vegan restaurant/cafe: clean and healthy food, very fair prices. My rec: the Quinoa Taco Salad. See their website here, they have locations across the country. 

Dune Downtown (Downtown LA)→ My colleagues took me here on my first day in the office, and I went back several times over the course of my internship (didn’t hurt that they were located next door). Dune’s makes to-die-for falafel, wraps, and hummus. My absolute favorite though? The Pasture Raised Lamb Sandwich. I think I need to stop writing posts like these at night, I’m starving. Check out their website here

Bottega Louie (Downtown LA)→ Bottega Louie was a pizza dream. Truffle and sausage galore! Absolutely packed around dinner time, the wait for a table is well worth it. Order lots, and split it with the table. For dessert you can check out the bakery out front; finish your meal with something sweet at your table, or, even better, at home on the couch. :) Check out their website here

McConnells (Downtown LA)→ I don’t know about you guys, but I really do scream for ice cream. Yes, McConnells is expensive, but also so so good. They have several locations around Los Angeles that offer unique flavors, everything from churros to chocolate covered strawberry. I can’t wait to get my hands on the seasonal flavors when I am home. Explore their flavors and find a location near you here

Olio Wood Fired Pizzeria (Downtown LA)→ I could spend the rest of my life eating pizza for every meal, especially if it’s from Olio. The three-cheese pizza was incredible, and even better when eaten for lunch the next day as a leftover. If you’re like me and can’t get enough of all things spicy, drizzle some chili oil on top. Devine! Check them out in the Grand Central Market. 

Alfred Tea Room (Melrose)→ Does it get any more basic than this? I truly think it doesn’t. However, the beloved Alfred’s Tea Room did not disappoint when I finally got around to trying it out. It’s millennial pink interior is an Instagrammer’s dream, and their green tea matcha latte is so big, it’ll keep you full (and very caffeinated) for hours. Check out their aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed here


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»Vintage Shopping «

Rosebowl Flea Market (Pasadena)→ Taking place on the 2nd Sunday of every month, the Rosebowl Flea Market is by far the best flea market I have ever visited. Somehow the high prices of Los Angeles haven’t found their way here yet, and you can come away with truly amazing finds. I only wish my apartment was in Los Angeles, so that I could have bought some vintage Californian furniture for it. More information here

Jet Rag (La Brea)→ Jet Rag is special enough to make it on this list because of one thing in particular: their $1 Sunday sales. Every Sunday you can find piles and piles of clothes out front, each for only, you guessed it, $1! I walked away with an over-sized cardigan and a Lacoste polo shirt. From the inside of the store (normal prices), I also found my favorite pair of denim cutoffs for a 20. 

Crossroads (Melrose)→ Crossroads is located all over LA, but since I had particular luck at this store, I thought I’d throw it in here. It’s an entirely different world than the Jetrag sale–more of a boutique vintage shopping experience. However, for the most part prices are fair, and the stuff they carry is truly stylish and of top-notch quality. 

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» See «

Echo Park Lake (Echo Park)→ Beloved by the Echo Park community, the Echo Park Lake is the perfect place to visit when you just need a little break. Grab your coffee, lie out on the grass, and watch the people go by. For those feeling more adventurous, rent a paddle boat and take it out onto the lake!

The Broad Museum (Downtown LA)→ A free modern art museum, right in the heart of Downtown LA? Count me in! I’ve already written more about the museum here

The 14th Factory (Lincoln Heights)→ While the exhibition has since closed, I still wanted to talk about The 14th Factory. While I worked at BOLD, I had the privilege of helping out with this event. I did lots of photography in the space (along with covered the opening), and helped maintain their social media. It was a truly amazing team to work with, and I am still thankful of the special experience I could have because of this amazing exhibition. You can stay updated on future projects from artist Simon Birch here

Thank you so much for reading! Have any recommendations for an LA spot I need to hit up the next time I’m home? Just leave it in the comments below. :)

xx Julia

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