Carr Workplaces Guru Guides: DTLA

Guru Guides provides a local take by our staff on their favorite places to eat, relax and explore in the neighborhoods where our centers are located. Maybe it’s a favorite happy hour spot, a little-known park to sit and reflect or a hole in the wall heaven for foodies, these guides are curated by us, your eyes and ears to the street in order to shine light on the gems next to where you work.  

With this Guru Guide we bask in the sun and buzz of Downtown Los Angeles, known locally as DTLA, which is home to our 27th Carr Workplaces center. Los Angeles was once thought of as collection of neighborhoods rather than a city with a center, but that’s changed dramatically in recent years with a tremendous boom in the cultural and culinary offerings to be had downtown 

We’d be remiss if we didn’t start hyper local and turn you on to all that’s happening in our home, The Bloc. Once a shopping mall in the early 70’s, The Bloc is now an open-air plaza and mixed-use commercial development holding not just offices but hip retail, a hotel, an arthouse cinema, a gym, niche gourmet restaurants and all via easy metro access. Indeed, we chose to be in The Bloc not just because it felt like the geographic heart of L.A. but because it’s pulsating with activity. The outdoor space has an event-heavy schedule. Recently there was a bourbon and burger tasting (uh, yes please) sponsored by LA Magazine. There are regular yoga and group exercise classes, concerts under the stars, and plenty of room to lounge about and…stare at your phone. A couple of foodie favorites which are both rock stars of very different corners of Japanese gastronomy: Hatch, a yakitori (grilled meat and veggie skewers) restaurant, and Marugame Udon, a made-to-order udon noodle and tempura shop.

We’re not sharing.

Culturally, what most says DTLA is art. Among the first to spark the revitalization of L.A.’s historic core were artists who took over empty warehouses and abandoned buildings. One of the best ways to get a quick yet indepth immersion in L.A.’s art scene is on the second Thursday of every month with the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk which provides tours of galleries and studios featuring talks with artists and curators.  

Art makes people happy.

While we’re on art, if there’s one place you should get your fix in L.A. it’s The Broad, (pronounced ‘brode’). An architectural marvel, The Broad brings world-class modern art exhibits to Downtown L.A. and has become a tourist destination unto itself.  

Steps from The Broad is another architectural and artistic masterpiece, Walt Disney Concert Hall, home to the L.A. Philharmonic, consistently recognized as one of the world’s best orchestras. The concert hall is striking inside and out, and music-lovers praise how its design enhances sound 

Art can only do so much, though, to satiate you but fortunately DTLA is a foodie’s mecca. A must is L.A.’s iconic Grand Central Market, in operation since 1917 it brings together L.A. classics like tacos (there are nine different Mexican stalls) and Jewish deli food but also the equally praiseworthy L.A. staples like  Salvadoran pupusas, Japanese bento boxes, as well as the L.A. hipster penchant for all that is niche and decadent like a currywurst shop, a cheesemonger, and a gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwich-maker, and, trust us, much much more.  

Speaking of niche eats, Carr Workplaces DTLA sits just a tenminute car ride from Koreatown, which is deserving of its own Guru Guide entirely. If you are new to Korean gastronomy or looking to go beyond bulgogi and barbecue, do yourself a favor and check out Beverly Soon TofuOpened in a strip mall in 1986, it was the first restaurant in Koreatown to specialize in a Korean favorite, soondubu, or tofu stew. Mind you, this isn’t a vegan or vegetarian affair. Tofu is a Korean staple and at Beverly Soon it’s made in-house and served in a spicy broth with your choice of meat, fish or vegetables. This Koreatown landmark was praised by Anthony Bourdain when he visited with his CNN show Parts Unknown.  

Like much of L.A., Koreatown has greater depths than its label would indicate. Lo and behold, within Koreatown sits Guelaguetza, which specializes in Oaxacan cuisine, considered by the knowledgeable to be Mexico’s finest, which is obviously saying a lot. Guelaguetza (pronounced whey-la-get-sa) boasts one of the largest mezcal selections in L.A. which we insist you pair withtheir black mole. And if you’re there on a Friday or Saturday night there’s a Mexican brass band to further transport you south.   

Frankly it’s hard to stop binging on Mexican food when we’re in DTLA. Cielito Lindo is a Los Angeles institution, an open-air taco stand that’s been serving its revered taquitos with avocado sauce since 1934, and, which, gracias a Dios, is only a ten-minute car ride from our offices or three quick metro stops 

As you mill about DTLA’s streets, your head processing its art and your belly its food, stroll into the Los Angeles Central Library, considered to have one of the most impressive collections of any library in the world. It’s noted for not just its large number of books, but also for its beautiful interiors, deeply knowledgeable staff, and ongoing exhibits. It makes an excellent place to rest and soak in some wisdom.  

Perhaps more than erudition or gastronomy you’re craving to let loose in true L.A. fashion. Well you don’t need to go to Beverly Hills, West Hollywood or even Santa Monica or Venice to do so. In the heart of DTLA is The Standard, that eternally sexy hotel that’s always ready to party. There’s a rooftop pool and bar with stunning 360degree views, a 24-hour restaurant, and if you’re staying there, gargantuan rooms.

Really, DTLA has quite a lot to offer all by herself.  

By Carr Workplaces

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