Pie Hole's breakfast hand pie. All photos by Emily Malan.
Photographer and habitual traveler Emily Malan took us on a tour of her old stomping grounds, Downtown Los Angeles, now one of the city's most popular up-and-coming neighborhoods.
LOS ANGELES – I lived in Los Angeles from 2007 to 2010 when I attended a private art university in Pasadena. Once I graduated, I decided to live in Downtown LA (DTLA) for an extra six months before moving to New York City. I loved the energy of the area then. My friends lived on Spring and 6th and 7th, and the best bars, parties, and restaurants were all happening there. It was the early stages of gentrification. Everybody knew each other and we all hung out. I even had a favorite local character, a homeless man named Rickey the Pirate. I like going back to reminisce, but also to see what's new and how the neighborhood is progressing.
The Arts District is one of the newer micro-neighborhoods in the area, with cute spaces like The Springs. It functions as a store, yoga studio, bike shop, and cafe.
They have a great back patio where you can order food from their organic juice bar and raw vegan restaurant.
The same people who manage and own Five Leaves in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, run the restaurant at the Ace. It's a great spot to eat brunch, people watch, and hang out.
The Art's District cafe is one of my favorites. They make a variety of pies and have great coffee. I like to order the breakfast hand pie with egg, sausage, and cheese, or the Mexican chocolate pie paired with an ice coffee.
This cute little boutique collaborates with brands and hosts pop-ups — most recently they worked with shoe brand Soludos.
An iconic site in DTLA.
It was built and designed by architect Frank Gehry.
The public artworks are different depending on where you are in DTLA. In the arts district you're more likely to see mural-based work, while the financial area has sculptural pieces like this one.
You can tell how "bougie" or "DIY" a neighborhood is by the public art on display.
The shortest railway in the world is located in the Bunker Hill neighborhood of DTLA.
When the old funicular railway was in operation it was only 50¢ to ride!
The market opened in 1917. It's filled with eclectic food stalls that include everything from Chinese to artisan cheese. Egg Slut, The Gorbals, and Sticky Rice are three of my favorites for a casual bite.
Another good spot for lunch and one of the most iconic stalls in Grand Central Market. They serve classic California Chinese American dishes. My go-to is the chop suey.