24 Hours: DTLA

Downtown Los Angeles, better known as DTLA, the heart of Los Angeles where dreamers go to make it big. Like most major metropolitan cities, it is gritty and grimy but has a unique energy that rivals any other major city. There are new stores, bars and shops popping up all the time trying to make it big. Below is a fun little starter kit to help you out on a day/night in DTLA.

1230pm: Check into the Freehand Hotel

The Freehand is the hostel/hotel extraordinaire. Nestled in the center of DLTA, this boutique hotel is a converted office building from 1924. Amazing renovations by the Sydell Group. Have the bell desk hold your luggage and head straight to the rooftop pool and bar. The Broken Shaker is a tiki-themed bar on the roof with some of the best views in the city. (I got a good deal going through Hotels.com)

Tip: The lounge will likely get full due to the popularity of this spot, so a couple days before you arrive call ahead and try and reserve two chairs.

Note: Valet parking for this hotel is pretty expensive at $48 a night. If you’re driving in, look to park just around the corner on Olive, where overnight parking was $20.

530pm: Head back to the room

After an afternoon of fun in the sun, time to head back to the room, drink some water and get ready for dinner.

700pm: Head out for dinner

Here is where it gets a little tricky… There are SO many options to choose from.  It’s DTLA, you can get anything you want! As a vegan, there is a great spot walking distance from the Freehand Hotel called Beelman’s. Touted for having ‘Plant Based Pub Food’ it has both delicious food and energetic atmosphere. Along with a full bar, you’ll be able to keep the party going!

Here are some other suggestions in the area I got from the Bellman @ The Freeland Hotel and a friend that lives in LA:

You can try Sugarfish, a very popular sushi/seafood joint in LA with locations in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica as well. There is a “California meets Israeli” restaurant which is connected to the lobby of the hotel called The Exchange. Also, about two blocks away is a 4.5-star Italian restaurant called Bottega Louie.

9pm: Hit the town for some drinks!

One thing that LA loves to do is hide their gems. Top rated celebrity hot spots will be a building with either a small sign or no sign at all. They tend to be on the ‘you just need to know about them’ sort of place. And within walking distance of your hotel, you have just that.

Seven Grand – A whiskey bar that has the appeal of stepping back into the 1920’s. Literally located off the corner of 7th and Grand, I passed this a couple times my first time here (while looking for it might I add). You will see a Mexican restaurant called Mas Malo. As you enter in off the street there are some stairs to the right. Head up the stairs and you’re there. (Insider tip: There is actually a very small speakeasy hidden in the back here. A Japanese whiskey bar that seats only 12. The place is called Bar Jackalope, be on the lookout for a door in the back and push the little button.)

The Varnish – A hidden speakeasy serving craft cocktails. This is located in the back of a restaurant called Cole’s. As you enter, head straight to the back wall (on the left side of the restaurant). Chances are you’ll see someone entering or leaving, if not knock. In 2012, it won the award for ‘Best American Cocktail Bar.’ I ordered the Gin Daisy off their cocktail menu and it did not disappoint!

Golden Gopher – A bar that has the easiness of a dive bar without the smell or crowded feeling. From the outside, it looks like a strip club from the 90’s but the inside is sort of like a high-end Dive bar if there is such a thing. With 1 pool table, Pac-man arcade game and old school record jukebox you would never think this place was very nice just driving by. They had a PBR and shot special going on for $8 when we were there, so ask the bartender if there is anything on the menu.

12am: Finish the night off on the roof

Head back to the hotel and if you have any energy left, finish the night off on the roof partying at the Broken Shaker. It’s LA, so chances are the weather is nice out and they turn the rooftop into a full-on lounge bar. With a line typically to get up the elevator, your room key just put you on the VIP list to skip all that.

8am: Hit the snooze

It was a late night… hit the snooze and give yourself an extra hour.

TIP: If you call the night before, and of course depending on how busy it is the next day, the hotel can give you a complimentary late check out to 1 pm, or for $40 a check out at 3 pm. Pretty cool to have that option.

9am: Get some coffee and croissant

You don’t have to go far, there is a great coffee shop in your lobby. Don’t forget the water, let’s be honest, we never drink enough water when out at night!

10am: Head to The Last Bookstore

Located about a 10 min walk from the Freeland Hotel, the Last Bookstore is very cool spot browse around. Besides having a selection of newer books out, they have a massive collection of rare books. Also, give yourself time to check their upstairs that features an art gallery, art studios where painters come to work and some very cool designs “book sculptures” that is popular to take a photo in front of and post to your Instagram.

1130am: Grab some lunch

As you walk back to your hotel (you called for the 1 pm late check out right??!!) Grab some lunch at this new little strip off Broadway and 6th called The Spring Arcade Building. Everything from juice spot, downtown donuts and cool burrito place and what seems to be the most popular, the Blue Jam Café. It was the only place that had a waitlist, so it must be good, right?

1pm: Check out

Hope you enjoy your stay in DTLA. Chances are something strange happened in your path, but that’s Los Angeles for ya!

Note: Your key probably was de-activated around 11 am so to save yourself a trip back down to the front desk, on your way in check to see.

No Comments

Leave a Comment