5 DTLA Gems You Should Know About

1. Olvera Street

  • Olvera Street - Downtown Los Angeles

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that i’m obsessed with Olvera Street, which happens to be my favorite part of DTLA. Known as the “birthplace” of LA, there is something undeniably romantic and charming about this special, historic street teeming with rich Mexican folklore. It feels as if you’ve left the bustling city of Los Angeles and teleported to a colonial town in Mexico. As you stroll Olvera Street, you’ll hear beautiful Mexican music played by mariachi bands at the restaurants, smell taquitos being made at the quick-fix stalls, and shop a lovely collection of hand-made Mexican gifts and souvenirs.

Pro-tip: The best churros in LA are found on Olvera Street at little shop called Mr. Churro.

2. Grand Central Market 

  • Grand Central Market - Downtown Los Angeles

The Grand Central Market is a food hall that has been around LA for over 100 years! With almost 40 vendors to choose from, you’re basically guaranteed to find what you’re craving. The Grand Central Market has created a community around it and hosts several events a month from trivia to game nights. This is a great place to come with a group or even by yourself. I recommend it for watching a sports game as well as there are TVs at several of the vendor’s shops at the market.

3. Summer Nights in Chinatown 

Chinatown Summer Nights
Chinatown Summer Nights

Chinatown is known to host multiple events and festivals throughout the year. There are a few that are quite spectacular to experience from Summer Nights to the Moon Festival and the Golden Dragon Parade. Summer Nights in particular happens three times a year from 5pm to midnight. You can expect a block party style event with lots of neon lights, confetti-crackers, and a line up of food trucks. To stay up to date on these events, stay tuned with this site.

Pro Tip #1: If you’re looking for a spot to catch a party vibe and a cocktail, check out General Lee’s.

Pro Tip #2: If you’re interested in some late-night Dim Sum after the festivities – head to Hop Woo BBQ & Seafood Restaurant.

4. Santee Alley Market

The Santee Alley (credit to @santeealley via @oners.s)

Located within the Fashion District, you’ll find yourself walking the area on a nice calm day, turn over one corner onto this alley way and feel like you just escaped the reality of Downtown. This Alley way goes on for what seems like a mile. It’s packed with vendors selling fast fashion items, toys, make-up, accessories, knock-off make up, etc. etc. If you’re interested in finding a prom dress, a quinceañera dress, or a tux at an affordable price, there is a large selection in the Fashion District, right outside this alley.

This market is heavily owned and run by Mexicans in Los Angeles and you’ll find several vendors selling traditional Mexican food from street tacos to Mexican corn to chili fruits. Make sure to come with an appetite as eating on the streets is half the fun here!

5. Harry Potter Coffee Shop 

Nimbus Coffee Shop DTLA
Nimbus Coffee Shop DTLA

The newest edition to DTLA, this gem of a coffee shop takes a twist on Harry Potter and Hollywood. It’s not an ‘official’ Harry Potter coffee shop as you can imagine the work that would need to happen behind the scenes to get approvals for that. Instead, it’s heavily inspired by Harry Potter and takes a Hollywood twist on some of J.K. Rowling’s concepts. The magic surely lives on in this coffee shop!

Comment below on your favorite DTLA gems to share the wealth!

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