Alternative things to do in Los Angeles
Los Angeles may be home to the rich and famous, but there’s an alternative side to the city that’s setting a new pace. Downtown LA is a vibrant hub for modern art, craft beer, international cuisine and quirky shopping. Follow this two-day itinerary to discover more to the City of Angels than red carpet glitz and glamour.
Start your day with a 30-minute drive from The Beverly Hills Hotel or a 35-minute drive from Hotel Bel-Air to the Arts District on the eastern side of Downtown LA.
Once an industrial hub, the Arts District is now the creative heart of Los Angeles. A meander through its colourful, graffiti-scrawled streets unveils a range of hip coffeehouses, trendy boutiques, art galleries and micro-breweries. In the north of the district lies Little Tokyo, a quaint neighbourhood filled with eclectic shops and Japanese eateries, dishing up some of the best ramen and mochi in the city.
Next, take a five-minute drive or a 25-minute walk to The Broad.
Contemporary art museum, The Broad offers a dynamic collection of works dating from the 1950s to the present day. Visit to explore over 2,000 pieces by some of the most exciting names in contemporary art – Jean-Michel Basquiat and Cindy Sherman, among others – and a regular rotation of temporary exhibitions.
Stop for lunch at Grand Central Market, located just three minutes by car or a seven-minute walk from The Broad.
Grand Central Market
Grand Central Market might have been a Downtown staple for over a century, but the myriad gourmet food and drinks trucks are a more recent addition. Seven days a week, hungry visitors can choose from a colourful display of international delicacies, ranging from Mexican tacos and Japanese sushi to Italian wood-fired pizzas and German currywurst.
After lunch, take a seven-minute stroll to The Last Bookstore.
The Last Bookstore
The Last Bookstore is one of the largest independent bookstores in California. Determined not to be outdone by online retailers, owner Josh Spencer keeps the traditional bookshop atmosphere alive with a multi-level space packed with vast displays of books, graphic novels and vinyl records. The store also hosts an exciting programme of regular literary and music events.
Take a 10-minute drive from The Last Bookstore to the final stop of the day, Mohawk Bend.
An alternative tour of Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without a pint of craft beer. Mohawk Bend in Echo Park is a bar and restaurant specialising in locally sourced food and drink. The venue has over 70 craft beer taps, the huge drinks menu paying homage to small-scale breweries across California and the United States.
Soak up the bright lights of LA at night on the 25-minute drive back to the hotel
Begin your last alternative LA tour with coffee and breakfast at Alfred on Melrose Place, located 15 minutes by car from the hotel.
Alfred Coffee Melrose Place
Get your day off to a great start the LA way with a caffeine hit and a bite to eat at Alfred Coffee. The outpost on fashionable Melrose Place is the original Alfred, and still one of its best-loved locations. Its iconic mantra ‘But first, coffee’, stencilled across the café wall, is one to live by – especially when it’s from the supreme Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
Take a 20-minute drive to the next stop of the day, Blind Barber.
Part barbershop, part speakeasy, Blind Barber brings shop and social space together. Gentlemen can enjoy a shave or a haircut at a traditional barber station, before slipping through a door to the backroom cocktail lounge – all leather booths and low lighting – for beer, cocktails and hot snacks.
Next, take a 25-minute drive to EightyTwo.
Enjoy a blast from the past at EightyTwo, a classic arcade and bar in Downtown LA. With a rotating collection of 50 nostalgia-inducing retro arcade games and pinball machines, there’s plenty to keep visitors entertained. The comprehensive menu of craft beers is just the icing on the cake.
Drop by Opening Ceremony, located 25 minutes by car from EightyTwo.
Concept boutique, Opening Ceremony offers two floors of fashion. Hard-to-find pieces from designers such as Acne, Alexander Wang and Kenzo sit alongside clothing and accessories from emerging local creatives and Opening Ceremony own-brand collections. The stylish store is a great place to pick up an outfit for an evening out in Los Angeles.
Drive for 12 minutes to reach Yamashiro Hollywood.
This palatial private-estate-turned-restaurant offers guests delicious Asian fusion cuisine in a unique location. Beyond the landscaped gardens, complete with a 600-year-old Japanese pagoda, the city sprawls into the distance. Beautifully-plated dishes range from sushi and sashimi to grilled meat and fish.
The hotels are just a 20-minute drive from Yamashiro Hollywood.
All journey times are approximate and subject to variation.