Things to do After Brunch in Los Angeles
It’s official: DTLA has arrived. Downtown Los Angeles is a wellspring of culture, food, and hidden history—and we’re beyond proud to call this ‘hood our home. Now that Redbird is open for Saturday and Sunday Brunch in Los Angeles and bike sharing has finally made its way downtown, we thought it only right that we offer you a guide of our favorite DTLA spots and haunts to bookend your brunch. Whether you explore the city before or after, we’ll be there to refuel you with Chef Neal Fraser’s modern American take on what lies between breakfast and lunch, as well as bar director Tobin Shea’s tipples to take the edge of that summer sun. So, make a reservation, have some BLD Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes while here, make a list, hop on the Metro or on a bike, and get to know your city.
Hauser Wirth and Schimmer
The Arts District is truly cementing its moniker with the recent stream of gallery openings and shared studio spaces staking their claim. One of the most exciting additions is Switzerland-based Hauser Wirth & Schimmer. Their new DTLA location is the 6th to open within its family of galleries. Not only does this compound boast exhibitions that skirt the Venn diagram of accessible modern and out-there, it also hosts its own bookstore—the aptly titled ARTBOOK—and an outdoor “public garden”. The current exhibition is “Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947 – 2016”, featuring female artists who have made an impact in the world of sculpture in the post-WWII era.
The Broad Museum
The Broad is a welcome addition to the contemporary art scene of Downtown. Opened late last year, it was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler. The Broad boasts a truly unique “veil-and-vault” concept that is a wonder from both the outside as well as in the museum. Stroll and explore the 120,000 square foot building for free, thanks to philanthropists Eli and Edith Broad. The museum is, in fact, their own personal collection of contemporary modern art, ranging in many different movements and mediums from both the 20th and 21st centuries. Complimentary ticket reservations are often booked far out, so either set a date and stick with it or check The Broad website (thebroad.org) for twitter updates giving you a constant rundown of how the standby line is moving.
Beneath the shade of the under -repairs 6th Street Bridge—the gateway from the Arts District to Boyle Heights—is the MaRS Gallery, an arts space which epitomizes the link between these two lots of LA life and landscape. The acronym stands for Museum as Retail Space, and it is just that: a great museum where you take in artists who merge cultural high with low, and shop all sorts of aesthetically pleasing ephemera (think gorgeous goods, useable ceramics, and any Art book you won’t be able to find at Taschen in their retail portion called Shop!). The building itself serves as a sort of permanent exhibition. The current exhibits lie in the center of the space, which acts as the nucleus for the gallery. There are offshoots and antechambers in the 5 other rooms that surround the main hub. You can check out the current installation of works from artist Marwa Abdul-Rahman, whose pieces use mixed media and real life legal entanglements of artists like Tupak Shakur and Lil’ Wayne as its thesis. Or, meander through the 700 square foot outdoor succulent garden, which is home to drought resistant plants potted in a living cinder block wall.
If your only memories of velvet art are foggy mental collages shrouded in certain vapors and the wincing glow of a black lightbulb, do yourself a favor and make some new ones by visiting Chinatown’s—and most likely the country’s—only velvet art gallery, Velveteria. Owned by Velvet enthusiasts, Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin, this small space on New High St. features 300 works of that shaggy medium, with pieces ranging from kitsch to creepy, and whatever lies between.
The best attended shows for Downtown theatre tend to be under the marquee of the Ahmanson and the Dorothy Chandler. But if Opera, touring Broadway musicals, and classical ballet aren’t for your viewing pleasure, check out the CalArts-supported Redcat Theatre. This is the outpost for recent CalArts grads and is influenced by contemporary players, like American director, Robert Wilson (Einstein on the Beach), and French theatre icon, Ariane Mnouchkine (Théâtre du Soleil). The past few months saw an installment from New York’s seminal Wooster Group, with Elizabeth LeCompte characteristically tweaking Harold Pinter’s “The Room”.
The Colburn Orchestra Series
The Los Angeles Music Conservatory often invites guests to experience what happens in their hallowed halls, and the Colburn Orchestra series is just such an invitation. Be sure to check out which of these weekend concert series are free. Our reigning favorite is the homecoming Jazz series on Sunday afternoons where the students of Colburn grace the stage alongside alumni for a riveting afternoon of Jazz.
In case your day turns into night, tucked away on the 3rd floor of the Weller Court lies an unassuming façade that opens up to the best nightly live jazz bar in town. The quarters are intimate and filled with sophisticated clientele grooving to the music. This rare hole-in-the-wall venue is a sure fire way to impress a date or out of town guests.
The Arts District abides by many disciplines—not just the visual. If you find your day of Downtown excursions has turned into night, head to Hewitt St. and check out the newest music venue, Resident. It features an outdoor courtyard flanked by Airstream trailers tricked out into bars, with indie-leaning acts taking the stage indoors. Looking for a not-to-be-missed Instagram moment? Make sure to snap a photo of their neon “Kicking & Screaming” sign, with flamingo-pink lighted arrows leading you to one action or the other, depending on which turn your mood takes you.
If you’re the kind of diner who wants to mimic a chef’s mastery of a serious julienne, add some tools to your culinary shed by making a stop at Ross Cutlery. This shop has been supplying industry pros with top-tier knives and sharpening services since 1930. But if you don’t have home chef aspirations, there’s something for everyone. Antique Barber supplies? Check. They’ve got reproductions of weapons of yore, vintage Swiss Army knives and even hip flasks. All the accoutrement you need, right?
Did that Modern Mimosa and Good Morning, Vietnam awaken your inner-Bukowski? If so, Kinokuniya is a must-see stop on your post-brunch tour. This bookstore hidden in the 2nd floor of Weller Court can evoke any literary genre that is sleeping within—Anime, Art History, and even the Classics (Japanese translations, of course). But it’s not all books you read right-to-left. This store is an East-meets-West mash-up of art, office supplies, fashion magazines, and films from both sides of the globe. So buy a Moleskine, pick up a Haruki Murakami novel for some inspiration, and get that opus out.
Founded by husband-and-wife team Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung, Poketo is a store like no other. Each item has been cleverly selected for its design and function. Need a gift or a memento? This is the place for a creative and interesting item. If this lifestyle brand grabs you, ask about their workshops offered at the Line Hotel. Perhaps you have always dreamed of making your own leather sandals or creating a perfume? Who knows until you begin to explore the bright and amazing world of Poketo!
Though you may not see Harrison Ford policing a dystopian future, if you stroll up Broadway & 3rd you will see the iconic and cinematic architecture of the Bradbury Building. Featured in 1982’s “Blade Runner”, this mainstay of downtown commerce was built in 1893. It is the oldest commercial building in Los Angeles, helmed by architect George H. Wyman and commissioned by real estate tycoon of the day, Lewis Bradbury. Take in its Roman façade and dizzying staircases—and don’t forget to tip your hat and cane to the immortal tramp, Charlie Chaplin, whose bronze statue is on loan from the Roosevelt Hotel in the building’s lobby.
Nestled in between the galleries of Grand Ave and the civic diligence of City Hall is the new Grand Park. As the name suggests, it is indeed grand in scope as it invites visitors to interact with the space, and get as hands on as you’d like. There are the usual stunning gardens one would imagine (drought resistant, of course), but the signature modular, pink furniture, ensures you can customize your experience. The fountain is wade-able and provides some of the best people watching in the city. Be sure to check out the Grand Park Performances website before your visit to see what free events may be on offer (grandperformances.org).
Arts District Brewery
One of our favorite things about the Arts District (other than having two delicious restaurants to enjoy Chef Neal Fraser’s food) is the bounty of beer. Check out the newest addition to the beer game at Arts District Brewery. Nestled in the brewery is Fritzi Coop, Chef Neal’s rotisserie chicken hot spot with Tobin Shea cocktail’s on draft. Enjoy a libation and challenge a friend to a rousing game of skeeball, all while sipping on a signature Redbird IPA.
**All images courtesy of the sites listed above. Thank you!