On the second Thursday of each month, already hip DTLA (downtown Los Angeles) swells in size as 20,000 plus art lovers, hipsters and other scenesters converge on this new haven of art, cool bars and great restaurants. The DTLA Art Walk has become quite a happening and is a fun destination for locals or visitors to Los Angeles. With packed streets, packed restaurants and crowded bars, it can also be an overwhelming experience. Here's a guide to surviving the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk:
Spend the night Perhaps the easiest and safest way to enjoy the DTLA Art Walk is to spend the night at the one of the cool new hotels in the area. The Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles on Broadway, complete with in-house theater, just opened. The Standard remains the standard for hip coolness and their pool scene on the weekends remains the best party in downtown.
Take the train Avoid the crazy parking, traffic and potential DUIs by taking the subway. The Red Line stations at Seventh Street, Pershing Square / Fourth Street and Civic Center will all put Art Walkers right in the center of the action. The area is about a 30 minute walk from Union Station.
Eat early Even with the constantly expanding inventory of DTLA restaurants, they all get crowded on Art Walk night. Reservations are a must, but consider dining early to beat the crowds. Another good alternative is to start the evening in Little Tokyo or the Arts District and eat there, then walk over to Art Walk area, only a few blocks away.
Know the area The Art Walk is focused in what are known as the Old Bank District and the Historic Core. Most of the galleries and shops are on Spring Street, between Fourth and Seventh Streets. Broadway is also becoming a hot area, from Second Street to Seventh Street.
Support the artists While it's fun to walk around, bar hop and sample new restaurants, it's the artists who live and work in DTLA and they need support. Galleries feature pieces for sale, but Art Walk features several craft fairs and art marts where artists offer their work for sale directly to consumers. Street artists and musicians set up on the sidewalk and a tip of a dollar or two can help them pursue their own dreams.