Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) is a bustling, thriving part of the city where an international community of professionals and artists convene to live and work. It has long been the city’s cultural hub (even more so in recent years) with a wide range of engaging activities from museums to dive bars.
Downtown is well-suited for people who want an urban lifestyle and all the conveniences that come with it. Walk Score gives DTLA a score of 95; it’s the most walkable area in Los Angeles.
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Downtown Los Angeles Real Estate
Downtown Los Angeles continues to grow at a frenetic pace, with competing developers building luxury towers and vying for historic commercial buildings to renovate and repurpose. The core residential areas are in a continual state of construction with newly renovated lofts, condominiums and luxury towers opening their doors to eager homebuyers.
Nearly all of the housing stock in the area consists of condos and lofts. The number of single-family homes for sale are few but can be found from time to time. Those that remain were typically built decades ago, some as far back as the late 19th century.
Downtown represents more than a century of urban development and history. The architectural style of the lofts and condos for sale in Downtown Los Angeles range from Beaux-Art and Art Deco buildings in the Historic Core District to Contemporary units just blocks away.
When the “Jewel of Downtown” Eastern Columbia Building (1930) converted to lofts, home buyers had a chance live in one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. The clock tower of the Art Deco structure, with its terracotta turquoise tile and gold leaf torches, boldly rises into the skyline. The restored and upgraded building has luxury apartments and penthouses.
Landmark buildings like City Hall and The Continental celebrate architects like John Parkinson. Newer structures like the Walt Disney Music Hall (Frank Gehry) and the Broad Museum (Diller Scofidio + Renfro) bring fresh, unorthodox designs for today and generations to come.
Downtown Los Angeles Districts
- Arts District is east of Little Tokyo and west of the Los Angeles River and home to a vibrant community of artists and working professionals. Experiencing a huge boom, the Arts District’s new residential developments bring more home buyers to the area. Keep an eye out for converted industrial properties like Toy Factory Lofts.
- Bunker Hill is just west of Walt Disney Music Hall. The condominiums are appealing due to its convenient central location and more traditional feel.
- Civic Center-Little Tokyo is just west of the Arts District and houses City Hall and several other government facilities. Little Tokyo offers some of the best Japanese restaurants in town. Luxury apartments and townhomes are available here, as well as renovated downtown lofts like Higgins Lofts.
- Fashion District expects much change with its first high-rise in the works and likely several multi-use developments to follow, including proposed City Market. These properties will improve the area and add more low-income housing as well.
- Financial District is located between Figueroa Street and Grand Avenue and 2nd and 7th Streets. The US Bank Tower (California’s tallest building!) and the historic Central Library are situated here, too.
- Flower District is just south of Central City East and is famous for its – wait for it – flower market. This district now has a small number of residential towers.
- Historic Core borders the east side of Pershing Square and includes Old Bank District and the majority of Jewelry District. The Old Bank District consists of many early 20th century buildings in Art Deco, Spanish Baroque and Beaux Arts styles, including the Continental Building, now comprised of luxury lofts.
- Gallery Row makes up the eastern border of Historic Core. Gallery Row is pedestrian-friendly with more than 50 galleries, theaters, and art installations to enjoy, with many condominiums and lofts to from which to choose.
- South Park is a 50-block area, east of the 110, west of Main Street and bordering 8th street and the I-10 on the north and south side. It has an array of entertainment venues and restaurants as well as the 2.5-acre Grand Hope Park. South Park is brimming with luxury condominiums, including the multi-towered Metropolis, which opened its first residential tower in December 2016.
Downtown Los Angeles REALTORS®
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About Downtown Los Angeles
As mentioned above, DTLA is highly walkable. Most of the area can be conquered easily by bike too; only a few hills near the financial district represent much of a cycling challenge. Residents can also conveniently access one of several Metro stops to catch a bus or subway. Some folks give up car ownership altogether and rely on public transportation and the use of ride-sharing services.
In 1781, forty-four Mexican settlers, deemed “Los Pobladores,” arrived and put down roots in today’s Downtown Los Angeles. With an influx of land speculators at the end of the 1800s, the city’s population grew rapidly. Downtown soon became a regional banking center, and during the 1920s, it was nicknamed “Wall Street of the West.” Throughout the mid-20th century, DTLA experienced a period of economic hardship as more of its residents moved to the suburbs. Today’s resurgence is quite impressive. Millions of dollars are pouring into the area for broad development initiative, the lease of which are several swanky housing developments.
Downtown Los Angeles Amenities
Not long ago, Angelenos would say “There’s nothing to do Downtown.” That is no longer the case. The ongoing resurgence brings new life to the oldest part of town. Yet some of the gems have been here all along.
The Central Library (1926) has one of the widest selections of books and magazines of any public library in the country. There are many courses offered, even a guided meditation class. The building is a Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is headquarters to the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) System.
Los Angeles Athletic Club (LAAC) is the city’s oldest private club but has a new flair. Its motto: Health, Recreation, Grace, and Vigor is equally matched by its stellar athletic facility. The club provides additional amenities including a spa, barbershop, boutique hotel rooms, restaurants and a speakeasy.
Parks & Recreation
In the heart of DTLA, Pershing Square (originally called La Plaza Abaja) is the perfect meeting place for lunch, a concert or a public rally. Its grassy areas, amphitheater, chess tables and playgrounds entertain all ages. From November to January, you can enjoy ice skating and in the summer months, a free concert series.
Nearby Elysian Park (1886) offers ample green space (600 acres of it!) as a welcome haven away from the cityscape. Popular among the locals, this park has a sweeping view of the DTLA skyline and a multitude of natural areas to explore. You can enjoy jogging, hiking, and walking your dog around Elysian Park Trail or a more laid-back picnic under palm trees. Parking is free, and there’s plenty of it!
Shopping & Dining
DTLA is packed with killer eateries, cafes, and award-winning restaurants. Speakeasies are a thing here, along with fine dining restaurants, rooftop bars, and hotel lounges.
In the Arts District, swarming food trucks, breweries, and cafes satisfy residents and spots like Bestia draw Angelenos from all over. In South Bank, The Original Pantry Cafe (1924) is the quintessential 24/7 diner. Just remember to bring cash. Cole’s (1908) is another mainstay, equally famous for its French dip and speakeasy, The Varnish.
Two blocks from Pershing Square, Grand Central Market (1917) is an emporium with dozens of food vendors offering up fare including barbeque, French, Asian, California, Mexican, Italian, Southwestern, baked goods and ice cream. You can also enjoy screenings, live music and game nights on Thursdays. GCM is open daily (8:00 am to 10:00 pm) easily accessible by foot, metro, or bus. Parking in the area can be tough to find.
Living in DTLA means you’ll always have convenient access to fresh organic produce; there are three regularly-scheduled farmers markets each week. Open every Sunday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, this Historic Downtown Farmers Market provides locals with top-notch produce and an excellent selection of cheese. Prepared food and drinks are on the menu, too. Vendors also sell flowers, skin care supplies, and products for pets. The Pershing Square Farmers Market runs every Wednesday from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. The Bank of America Farmers Market is open on Fridays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Open Monday thru Saturday to trade and the public, The Original Los Angeles Flower Market is an institution that has been around for more than a century, selling fresh flowers from around the globe.
Living in DTLA, some of the city’s premier spots for music, dance, theater, art and professional sports are right outside your door.
Located on Bunker Hill, Music Center is the moniker for the area occupied by The Disney Concert Hall, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theater.
Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry, is a unique venue showcasing classical music and jazz. Its state-of-the-art acoustic design makes this 2,265-seat hall a spectacular experience for everyone; you can hear everything.
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (1964) stages productions of the L.A. Opera and dance companies. Enjoy a glass of bubbly at intermission and a view of the exquisite chandeliers.
Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theater both opened in 1967 and are part of the Center Theatre Group, bringing thought-provoking, exciting new productions to the stage.
Opened in 2015, the Broad Museum is one of the newer fixtures on Bunker Hill. It has an impressive collection of postwar and contemporary works of art and hosts highly-coveted exhibits. Programming includes screenings and outdoor summer concerts. General admission is free, but reservations are necessary unless you try the standby line (which is always long).
Located in South Park, Staples Center hosts the L.A. Lakers and Clippers, and L.A. Kings. Naturally, the 20,000-seat stadium is also where top international bands and recording artists hold their concerts. Staples Center also has several event spaces for business dinners or cocktail parties.
Adjacent to Staples Center, L.A. Live has bars, restaurants, Regal Cinemas L.A. Live 14, event spaces and the GRAMMY Museum.
More things to enjoy in DTLA
- Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
- Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
- bluewhale (Jazz)
- The Theater at Ace Hotel
- A+D Architecture and Design Museum
Downtown Los Angeles Schools
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) operates public and charter schools in DTLA.
- Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts, 450 North Grand Ave.
- City of Angels School, 1449 South San Pedro
- Tri-C Community Day School, 716 East 14th St.
- San Pedro Street Elementary, 1635 South San Pedro St.
- Para Los Ninos Middle, 1617 East Seventh St.
- Green Dot Public School, 350 S Figueroa St #213
- Downtown Magnets High School, 1081 W Temple St.
- Metropolitan Continuation School, 727 Wilson St.
Public Charter Schools
- PUC CALS Charter Middle & Early College High School, 7350 N Figueroa St.
- Alliance Dr. Olga Mohan High, 644 West 17th St.
- Metro Charter Elementary, 700 Wilshire, Suite 400
- St. Turibius Elementary, 1524 Essex St.
- American University Prep, 345 S Figueroa St., #100
Downtown Los Angeles Statistics
- Estimated Population: 60,000
- Land Area: 5.84 square miles
- Population Density: 10,273 people per square mile
- Zip Code(s): 90012, 90013, 90015, 90017, 90021, 90071
- Elevation: 285 feet
- The Continental was built in 1904 by architect John Parkinson and considered L.A.’s first skyscraper. Today it remains the tallest building in the Historic Core district.
- The Los Angeles Athletic Club was founded in 1880 as the city’s first private club for the “best young men.” With initiation fee of $5, the club hosted co-ed social events and exhibitions and offered members activities like gymnastics and boxing.
- Walt Disney’s widow donated $50 million dollars to help build a performance venue for Angelinos that would honor her husband. In 1991, Frank Gehry completed the design of the Disney Music Hall and it officially opened its doors in 2003.
- On January 22, 2017, approximately 750,000 L.A. residents gathered around Pershing Square for the Women’s March Los Angeles. This peaceful movement broke attendance records, garnering nationwide attention.
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