TRAVEL GUIDE: Downtown Los Angeles

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that I just got back from a fun-filled adventure in Los Angeles. This trip my Husband and I stuck to the downtown arts district. Downtown Los Angeles is going through a resurgence and there are some really amazing shops, restaurants and things to do in the area!

We managed to avoid a lot of the popular tourist destinations on this trip and had a great time exploring. We did spend a Saturday at Universal Studios, which was a fantastic experience. The main attraction of the trip was to go see Glen Hansard (he wrote the musical Once) at the Disney concert hall and to go watch the Vancouver Canucks play the LA Kings.

Follow along as I take you to some of my favourite things to do and see in Los Angeles as well as some tips for taking advantage of Universal Studios as an adult!

Where to Stay

We usually like to stay at Airbnb's when we travel to new cities, but we decided to go with a hotel for this trip. We chose the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. We have both visited the Ace Hotel in Portland to grab a coffee from Stumptown and have always wanted to experience a stay in one of their hotels. had a great deal and were so excited for our stay!

The Ace Hotel Los Angeles has only been open since 2014 and was previously the Maverick film studios building. Each room has random quotes from the film industry throughout the years and our room even had an acoustic guitar and sheet paper!

The rooftop pool and bar "Upstairs" is the main attraction of the hotel. It has fabulous views of downtown and they also have a happy hour!

Where to Eat

Eating is my favourite thing to do on vacation, so I have quite a few great restaurant recommendations!

Breakfast / Brunch

Grand Central Market
Grand Central Market is perfect for breakfast or lunch. It is fun to walk around and check out all the vendors. Filled with everything from sushi to tacos and candy to cheese, there's plenty of variety. We tried Horse Theif for lunch for some delicious southern food and Eggslut for breakfast. I was super excited to try Eggslut as I only heard awesome reviews. Their bacon, egg and cheese sandwich is so simple, but the best breakfast sandwich I've ever tasted!

Blu Jam
Blu Jam is located in the Spring Arcade Building, which is also a cool building. The building has some great cafes, restaurants and gelato shops! Blu Jam is a fantastic spot that sources only organic and local ingredients. There was plenty of options on the menu and the coffee was flowing!


Best Girl
Best Girl is at the base of the Ace Hotel. We decided to grab dinner after arriving at the hotel and we were not disappointed! The had a great selection of local beers and the spicy pork ragu was phenomenal. The decor is also really cute with boho interiors and random illustrations of celebrities on the walls. I even purchased a Tshirt before we left!

We went to Patina before the concert. It is french fine dining located in the Disney Concert hall. We shared a delicious bottle of Pinot Noir from Stevenson Barrie. It was so good I took a picture of the label and have started searching for it back in Vancouver. Patina offers a three or five-course menu with plenty of options to choose from. They even have a selection of freshly baked bread that they brought over to us between courses. We told them we were celebrating our anniversary and they brought out a tray of extra sweets with a handwritten note from the chef as well. Patina was a great experience!

We also ate at Shake Shack for burgers and shakes! Shake Shack is a must-do since we don't have it up in Vancouver!


There are plenty of great spots for cocktails in downtown LA. We spent our evenings at the concert and hockey game, but we did hit up a few great spots for cocktails!

Freehand is a chill lobby bar with lots of greenery! They also have free wifi and great small bites. We didn't have time to check out the rooftop since it was raining, but it's supposed to be lots of fun!

Upstairs located on the roof of the Ace Hotel. It has great views with firepits and amazing handcrafted cocktails.

What to Do

The Last Bookstore
We stumbled upon this bookstore and we were shocked at how cool it was! Cam has a soft spot for reading so he was in heaven. They have a massive selection of rare books and sell artwork & records as well. The upstairs section is like a maze with a tunnel of books and sections organized by colour. I highly recommend spending a few hours in here!

We found this spot on our last day. It's an outdoor mall of unique shops and food trucks. It was still pretty new with quite a few empty storefronts, but after speaking to one of the shop owners they mentioned that there are new tenants moving in all the time. It's an artsy warehouse district with pedestrian-only traffic. There are quite a few Instagram worthy spots in the area as well.

Universal Studios

We landed in LA on a Friday and decided last minute to purchase tickets to Universal Studios. It was supposed to be cold and rainy on a Saturday and we figured we would avoid the crowds, which we definitely did! Here are a few tips for visiting Universal Studios.

1. Buy your tickets online beforehand to save a few bucks!
2. You can bring your own snacks and water into the park. We picked up coffee and breakfast before grabbing an Uber and heading over. They let us bring in our coffees and said we were welcome to bring in snacks. I highly recommend this as food is highly overpriced in the park.
3. Head to Hogsmead for the Harry Potter rides between 8 and 9am. These open before the rest of the park and the lines are shortest in the morning.
4. Grab beverages before waiting in line for the rides. Almost all the restaurants serve beer so you can have a little fun while waiting in line.
5. Try butterbeer! It was SO delicious!

If you've ever been to LA share your favourite spots in the comments for our next visit!

*This post was not sponsored and all opinions are my own

Amber Wilson said...

So glad you enjoyed my city, Los Angeles! Looks like you hit a lot of great places and I agree, DTLA is such a fun area to explore.

Shelly said...

I haven't visited Los Angeles since I was younger, but this post makes me want to plan a trip there soon!

Elizabeth Allcock said...

Looks like you had the best time! I'm hoping to visit more of America next year.

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I love your dress in the first picture of this post! Sounds like a great adventure!

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