It isn’t difficult to diagnose when I began to fall in love with downtown Los Angeles. It began over 3 years ago. I was living in Orange County, bored and ready for a change. I sought to discover LA’s somewhat undiscovered core. General consensus from colleagues was that there was nothing for me to see. However, consistently the truth was that they had never been. It was what they were told. I begin making frequent trips up to what is now my home, and I could not believe the amount of life and energy that was here. Not only that, but I quickly realized the potential. There was this “city” that many Angelenos yearn for but had yet to discover its existence. In my mind, DTLA (yes, downtown LA has it’s own acronym) had the potential to be known as the true center of Los Angeles again.
After moving here, I immediately described myself as an adopted Angeleno and felt the desire to share the magic of downtown with outside friends and colleagues. I quickly realized I obviously was not alone. Some “downtowners” as we like to call ourselves, have lived here since before I was born. That is loyalty, but whether they are new or old, it is easy to feel the amount of love that lives here in the heart of our great city. There is an overwhelming amount of pride and passion to continue to make this community great for the entire region to enjoy. Beautiful parks and parklets are sprouting up, girl scout cookies have arrived, numerous farmers markets are giving us our apple a day, and fun-filled events pack our neighborhoods weekly. All these great things have been established to connect our city and the downtown community. I can barely walk a block down the street before stopping and catching up with a nearby neighbor.
Not only do I know the people I walk by, I have discovered so many great things in our central city along my walks. Since moving here 3 years ago, hundreds of businesses have opened up. Vibrant bars, restaurants and shops are transforming the aesthetic and energy of our streets. Month after month, the visual landscape of each street evolves.
Every day, I walk around downtown and think the same thoughts to myself. There is something excitingly strange happening down here. That “something” is completely recreating the fabric of all of our notoriously sprawling city. What was old is now new again. Living downtown is enjoyable, and coming downtown is a treat again. There is a lifestyle erupting where walking to work, biking or taking public transportation are outnumbering the traffic-infused commute. This lifestyle brings LA’s beautifully diverse cultures together seamlessly. Where Friday night includes a train ride into downtown for dinner at one of DTLA’s many culinary establishments, followed by a performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall or a screening at the Los Angeles Theatre. Where the locals must turn their cars on every few weeks just to make sure their battery hasn’t died, if they even have a car!
Combining this newfound lifestyle with the energy that is here and what is on the way is incredibly exhilarating. I walk down Grand Avenue and keep my eyes on the Broad Museum’s construction progress while constantly photographing the Walt Disney Concert Hall. I walk down Broadway in excitement of new shops and the return of a streetcar, while looking up at the gorgeous architecture that that has remained in tact. I watch the Wilshire Grand come down in anticipation of the world’s tallest building east of Chicago and west of Taipei.
Everything is happening here, and in my posts to come I look forward to giving you the full scoop on my favorite DTLA places to experience along with sneak peek at what is on the horizon. Come visit!
–Joshua Levi, special to Grand Park, Downtown With Me