The TikTokers guide to Downtown LA
Planning a trip there? Here’s where to go for drinks, dining, and a dose of culture
Saturday 13 August 2022 By Sagal Mohammed
TikTok has become more than a source of entertainment for us lately. In between learning viral dance routines and reciting whatever Nicki Minaj lyrics the Barbs have dug up from her archives that week, the platform has become social media’s answer to Yelp and Tripadvisor. In fact, even the Google search engine feels redundant now that you can simply open TikTok and watch a 30-second clip telling you exactly where to eat, drink and party in the world’s most sought-after cities and neighborhoods, including Downtown Los Angeles.
Adverts and spon-con aside, TikTok is where you go for the real take, an unbiased and brutally honest review of what’s worth it and what isn’t; much of which is thanks to the no-nonsense attitude Gen-Z are renowned for. Like most big cities, DTLA isn’t short of restaurants, bars and cultural offerings, which can at times feel overwhelming. So, to set you on the right path when visiting the area, here are TikTok’s most recommended spots, from Soho Warehouse and The Broad museum to an old movie set-turned-dining district.
As one of the first Houses in the US, there’s something extra special about Soho Warehouse, where you'll find the Mandolin Taverna, DTLA's latest hotspot for Mediterranean cuisine. Not only can members enjoy overnight stays in one of the property’s 48 bedrooms but, as is often pointed out on the whatididtoday vlogs on TikTok, you can also spend an entire day there making the most of everything from the breakfast menu to the rooftop pool, where you’ll never tire of the views. In fact, Soho House member and TikToker @peevadiva showed us how it’s done in a recent post available on her profile.
The Broad museum
The Broad is one of the most popular spots in DTLA for those into art and culture. Locals enjoy it as much as tourists, especially thanks to the ever-changing exhibition programmes – not to mention the architecture. Like most museums, it’s also a popular date spot earning a place on multiple ‘date night’ round-ups on TikTok. Oh, and did we mention it’s free? All you have to do is reserve a time slot online and you’re good to go.
Matte Black Coffee
Every now and again, there’s a trendy coffee shop that goes viral on TikTok, and right now the only place to get your coffee is Matte Black Coffee. While the cartoon-inspired aesthetics will be your reason to go (just imagine the picture ops), the coffee itself is the reason you’ll be back according to TikToker @nonstopeats who dubbed it the best coffee in LA.
Carnitas El Momo
Food trucks can be dangerous territory, especially for those with a sensitive stomach, but ask any DTLA local and they’ll direct you to Carnitas El Momo if tacos are what you’re after. Known as one of the best street-food options in the entire city (and there are many), Carnitas appears over and over again in DTLA food guides on TikTok and beyond, with the pork tacos being a highlight. If food trucks aren’t your thing, you’ll be pleased to hear the business recently launched its first brick and mortar space in Monterey Park, so you won’t have to miss out.
Bodega at the Row
The Row is the go-to place for shopping in DTLA, loved by both locals and tourists. The highlight, however, is streetwear store Bodega LA, where you can shop anything from sneakers and apparel to coffee table books and vintage snapbacks – like the ones shown in this video by TikTok user @jperezvis.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Want to watch a movie? Alamo Drafthouse screens all the latest Hollywood offerings, as well as special screenings of classic films. The walls are covered in comics and references to old Hollywood, so if you’re a movie buff you’ll have a field day – TikTokers certainly have.
St Vincent Court
Teleport back in time with a visit to St Vincent Court, an old movie set transformed into a popular restaurant district, all while maintaining its charm. Known as DTLA’s ‘hidden gem’, you can pose next to cute colourful houses inspired by the 1950s, or simply enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend.
The Last Bookstore
Calling all bookworms: this is the place for you. The Last Bookstore is the kind of place that belongs on every LA bucket list, and it just so happens that it’s located Downtown, creating yet another reason to visit the neighbourhood. Spend the day getting lost in the endless literature on offer and don’t forget to take a picture in the book tunnel for your chance to go viral on TikTok.
Fancy a bougie lunch? Joey DTLA is the place to be. Locals on TikTok have praised the Japanese restaurant for striking a happy medium between fine dining and a relaxed atmosphere that makes it easy to dine solo, just like TikToker @girlssinla who recommends the steak and sushi in her visual review.