Guide To The Perfect Weekend in Downtown LA / by Shane Henderson

Anna and I recently celebrated our anniversary by spending a weekend in Los Angeles. Although we have both have been there a few times before, neither of us had spent much time exploring Downtown and we were eager to check it out. We spent a busy 48 hours wandering the area, searching for the best food, drink, and art exhibitions it had to to offer. Here are some of our picks!

Best Spot For A Cocktail With A View

After hearing a lot of hype about the bar at Perch, we had to check it out for ourselves, and it didn't disappoint. Located on top of a historic building downtown, Perch has a beautiful rooftop bar complete with comfortable seating, fire pits, and stunning views of the surrounding city. The cocktails were strong and the people watching was great. A word of warning though, one of their cocktails had jalepeno in it and it was easily the spiciest drink I have ever had. My lips were burning for the rest of the night. If you don't like spicy, steer clear!

Most Interesting Contemporary Art Exhibit

DTLA has a lot going for it in the Contemporary Art department. With two separate locations of the Museum Of Contemporary Art as well as the ever-popular Broad museum all within one square mile, there is a ton of incredible art to choose from. The exhibit that blew us away though was the Doug Aitken: Electric Earth exhibition at the MOCA Geffen. The huge retrospective featured everything from multi channel video installations, to photography, to large scale sculpture and it was all great. His videos are beautiful and hypnotizing - we sat on the floor watching his "Only Have Eyes For You" piece for a long time. I challenge you to go see it and not come away with that song stuck in your head. It looks like the exhibition only runs for another month so if you have the chance, we highly recommend it. 

Best Spot for Some Food With Your Art

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel is a large contemporary art gallery in the Downtown Arts District with some great exhibitions and an art bookstore. If you are feeling peckish after all that art, you are in luck, because the complex also contains a great restuarant called Manuelas. Featuring a southern influenced menu and a solid cocktail list, Manuelas is a great spot for lunch or dinner after exploring the gallery. I had the Half Chicken and would highly reccommend it.

Best Coffee Shop For Forgetting About Your Coffee While You Compose The Perfect Instagram

If you have been perusing Insta lately and have seen someone in LA enjoying a cold brew or smoothie in front of a lovely living plant wall, this is definitely where that photo was taken. Verve, an LA chain, is a very popular spot both for its beverages and for its beautiful, sunlit patio. We couldn't bring ourselves to shell out 10 bucks for a smoothie, although they looked good, but the coffee was pretty solid. 

Best Spot For Strange But Delicious Ice Cream

Salt & Straw is an Ice Cream parlour with locations in LA and Portland, OR. They have a great selection of classic favors as well as an ever-changing list of more unusual seasonal flavors. I had the Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey flavor which was described as caramel turkey fat ice cream speckled with fried turkey skin brittle. It was out there, but I thought it was delicious. Anna didn't agree however, she much preferred her choice of the Honey Lavender. 

Hotel Most Likely To Hook It Up For You

We had a tough time deciding on a hotel in DTLA. At first we were pretty determined to stay at one of the boutique hotels like The Standard or Ace Hotel, both of which had really cool looking rooftop pool decks. However in the end, we decided to save a little money by using some Marriott points we had and stay at the JW Marriot at LA Live. It ended up being the best decision we made all trip. Despite only booking a standard room for the night, after we told them it was our anniversary they upgraded us to a huge corner suite and comped us a $200 brunch the next morning!!! It was incredible. We usually prefer to stay in Airbnb's or smaller hotels when we travel, but man, Marriott definitely won some major brownie points with us this trip. 

Favorite Breakfast Spot That Isn't Technically Downtown But Is Worth The Uber

For one of the mornings we took a friends recommendation and headed outside of downtown to try République for breakfast. It was amazing. It was our favorite meal in our time in LA and the space is stunning. It is like dining in a gothic European courtyard. I had the quiche and it was easily one of the best I have ever had. Just look at this photo! I want to live here. Maybe if I just set up a bed in the back corner no one will notice...