Exploring Downtown Los Angeles

Aww, the city of Angels! People either love it or hate it and it might as well be called the city of traffic! Los Angeles is like a perfectly flawed friend. You know it's not perfect but it's magnetic and you can't stop being drawn to it. I like Los Angeles. I know, shocking! That's blasphemy coming from a San Diegan.

However, Los Angeles is great. If you don't need to go anywhere at any particular time then traffic is no problem. You don't have to deal with it! Yes, the city is a sprawling mess and you have to drive everywhere but each neighborhood has its charms and you can often stay in one place for a few days. For example, every time we visit the city Malibu is base camp and although everything is 40 to 50 minutes away we have the basics covered nearby. There's a grocery store, post office, plenty of hiking and lots of windy roads to enjoy. Unfortunately, if you are visiting the city for the first time to check off all the touristy things to do in town you'll need a car or a car service.

But what about the people? Tell us about the people I hear you asking. Angelinos are snarky, cosmopolitan, loud, funky, free-spirited and flashy.  In short, they are big city people. A combination that often yields an interesting crowd. And, they love great food.

Yesterday, we headed over to downtown Los Angeles to have lunch with a friend that calls downtown LA home and explore a bit of downtown.

We started our afternoon off at Kura Revolving Sushi Bar in Little Tokyo. It was everyone's first time at a conveyor belt sushi place and we quite enjoyed it.

Our friend told us that the restaurant usually boasts a two-hour long wait list, but we were lucky to be seated within 10 to 20 minutes of posting our name. Of course, having a late-ish lunch on a Monday afternoon also probably helped shorten our wait time. After the waitress showed us how to pull out plates from the conveyor belt (raising up the plate and pulling) and pointed out the iPad above the table to order additional dishes we were left on our own for the rest of the meal. We ended up accumulating 21 dishes and at $2.75 per plate the bill came to roughly about $63 dollars for 3 people. Not bad. The sushi fish was great although the rice was dry and I wasn't sure why I didn't get any ginger. LOL. Overall, I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

After a long lunch, we decided to wander about the two blocks that make up little Tokyo. It was our first time in Little Tokyo and we were a little disappointed.  There were a few bakeries, restaurants, and markets with ordinary looking stuff but nothing amazingly special.

After a short walk around the perimeter of Little Tokyo, we decided to head to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. I knew it was nearby and suggested we go take a look at it as none of us had seen it up close before. The architecture enthusiast in me was thrilled. No one protested it and so armed with iPhone directions we set out towards the Frank Gehry building. And it was well worth it, the building is stunning! See photos for yourself.

After the Frank Gehry building, we headed back to our friend's apartment building to enjoy more spectacular views of downtown. His building's rooftop boasts amazing views of the cityscape in which I was able to capture a great pic of downtown posted on my instagram.

Interestingly, downtown LA is still divided between old downtown filled with dinky and dirty looking shops and the newly renovated downtown with luxury condos and fancy boutiques. The transition between the new and the old happens almost instantaneously and makes an interesting juxtaposition.

Another downtown must-see in my opinion is The Grand Central Market next to Angel's Flight Railway. In another instance, we enjoyed a late lunch at the Horse Thief BBQ courtyard which was amazing. The view, the setting, and the food were all on point. If you are ever in Downtown LA the Grand Central Market is not to be missed.

Overall, I like downtown LA it is becoming more tourist-friendly and a safe place to explore hidden gems. Have you ever been there? What do you think of it?



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