Downtown LA

Downtown LA

 

Downtown Los Angeles is the central business district in the central area of Los Angeles County and is the geographic center of the metropolitan area. The area features many of the city's major arts institutions and sports facilities, sightseeing opportunities, a variety of skyscrapers and associated large multinational corporations and an array of public art and unique shopping opportunities. Downtown Los Angeles is the hub of the city's freeway network and Metro rapid transit system.  In recent years, the downtown area has undergone major renovations as major new condo/apartment/loft construction and gentrification of parks and streets has led to an influx of people moving back into the city.

The earliest known settlements in the area of what is now Downtown Los Angeles was by the Tongva, a Native American people. Later European settlement arrived after Father Juan Crespí, a Spanish missionary charged with exploring sites for Catholic missions in California, noted in 1769 that the region had "all the requisites for a large settlement".  On September 4, 1781, the city was founded on the site that currently holds La Placita Olvera.  During the early part of the 20th century, banking institutions clustered around South Spring Street, forming the Spring Street Financial District and many department stores also opened flagship stores downtown, including The Broadway, Hamburger & Sons, May Company, JW Robinson's and Bullock's, all serving a wealthy residential population in the Bunker Hill neighborhood.  Following World War II, suburbanization, the development of the Los Angeles freeway network and, subsequently, increased automobile ownership, led to decreased investment downtown. Many corporate headquarters slowly dispersed to new suburbs or fell to mergers and acquisitions.  The drastic reduction in the number of residents in the area reduced the viability of street front businesses that would be able to attract pedestrians. For most Angelenos, downtown became a drive-in-drive-out destination as they would come into the area for a particular objective and then leave immediately once their business was completed.

Today, Downtown L.A. is a destination both for business and residential neighborhoods.  With the completion of the Staples Center in the late 1990's and the L.A. Live Complex, which includes an ESPN Zone arcade, the 7,100-seat Nokia Theater, the 2,300-seat Club Nokia performance venue and nightclub, the Latin-themed Conga Room nightclub and the Grammy Museum, the once abandoned South Park area of L.A. is booming and residential lofts and condos are being bought faster than they can be built.  The new Grand Park, with its majestic views extending from the Music Center to City Hall, was developed not only for casual sitting and leisurely strolling, but also for civic gatherings. Grand Park has four distinct areas featuring amenities ranging from a restored historic Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain with a new wading pool, a small intimate performance lawn, a community terrace planted with drought tolerant specimen plants representing the diverse cultural make-up of Los Angeles itself, and a grand event lawn.

The Arts, Fashion and Jewelry districts are all world-renowned and Chinatown, Little Tokyo, and Olvera Street are globally recognized historic cultural areas. The wide array of dining, theater, live music and nightclub choices have contributed greatly to the downtown area's resurgence and the subway and light rail lines offer easy access to all areas of the city and surrounding communities. It has been a long time coming but Downtown L.A. is once again a world-class destination for both visitors AND residents!