I've shared before that Downtown LA didn't have a particularly awesome reputation when Nate and I lived in Westwood 15 years ago. It absolutely delights me that the area has seen such a massive uptick in development of family-friendly spots, from the installation of LA Live to the resurgence of Grand Central Market. It's become one of our go-to spots for mini getaways and every time we go, I come back with a list of newly-discovered sights that I want to explore the next time we visit. The constantly-evolving nature of this historical area is fascinating, and the sentimental side of me thrills to see my kids exploring intricate pockets of the city where our family was founded.
Last week, we took a quick jaunt to visit our sponsor Hotel Indigo at their newly-opened boutique hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. We've stayed at their Del Mar location before, and found that both spots were completely individualized and tailored perfectly to their surroundings.
The entire building echoes the vibe of Downtown LA, with neon lights to mirror Los Angeles nightlife, floral accents reminiscent of La Fiesta de La Flores, and ritzy spa-style bathrooms that invoke the pre-Hollywood glamour of Golden Age cinema.
This is his ‘my mom is so embarrassing, she's making me pose in the conference bathroom because she thinks it's pretty' face.
We booked a room on the executive floor and enjoyed a sweeping view of downtown from our floor-to-ceiling windows. If you book through our link you're guaranteed to get the best rate available.
People often hear “boutique” and think “not for kids.” I've definitely been to spots where the customized approach to rooms translates to dark, overly-trendy and cluttered spaces but that's not the case with Hotel Indigo at all. The rooms here are refreshingly grown-up, but in a manner that's approachable and welcoming for the entire family. Our room took a minimalist approach to accents, and I found no need to run around rescuing various vases or fancy lamps (which is too-often the case, since we're traveling with four kids ages 6 and under!). The design approach in this hotel was very similar to my own creative-but-practical eye, and it was a breath of fresh air to be able to just unwind without worrying.
We hit up the amazing happy hour at the on-site restaurant before heading out to explore. You should definitely try the wasabi deviled eggs and sliders!
Walking Map for Downtown LA with Kids
We actually wound up breaking this up into two separate walks due to timing (Bradbury Building is open only during office hours and Walt Disney Concert Hall tours are at designated times, whereas everything else along the walk is open fairly late). If you start early and take breaks, however, this 3-hour loop is totally doable with a preschooler and even a toddler. We took the stroller and while we did encounter a couple challenging stairway/sidewalk roadblocks, we found our way around without too many issues.
Where to Eat in Downtown LA with Kids
The Original Pantry Cafe, just adjacent to the hotel, is a Downtown LA icon. It's been open since 1924 – literally. 24 hours per day, every day, this is the place to go for healthy portions of fluffy pancakes and meaty burgers. Also nearby is Clifton's Cafeteria, which has limited hours but is super-funky and fun for kids if you're looking for something different (where else can you casually dine next to a stuffed grizzly?).
Finding History in Downtown LA with Kids
Meander on up the street, taking a minute to ogle the mosaic clock tower of Grand Hope Park and world-famous FIDM before a little play break at Pershing Square. I've found that Pershing tends to attract some scruffy visitors from time-to-time, but the park features two fun play structures and really cool community events, so it's worth checking out what's up on their Facebook page in advance and at least passing by. Up the street is The Last Bookstore with its fun tunnel of books, and then the jaw-droppingly beautiful lobby of the historic Bradbury Building. Adjacent to Bradbury is the destination you've really walked all this way for: Grand Central Market. Rest here for a bit. Peruse the food stands and if you're hungry, grab a sandwich at Eggslut and a coffee at G&B.
Take in some Culture in Downtown LA with Kids
Kid-Friendly Downtown LA Thrills
Back towards the hotel, you absolutely can't miss the chance to visit OUE Skyspace and slide down a glass slide 1,000 feet in the air on the exterior of the US Bank Tower. Anyone ages 5 and up can ride.
The sunset view from the observation deck is also pretty dang phenomenal.
Indulging in Downtown LA Education
Just a block away, the Central LA Public Library is one of the best libraries I've ever been in. Yes, I'm a library nerd. I actually used to want to be a librarian. The rotunda and children's lit space is on the 2nd floor.
Don't miss the cool fountain features outside.
Where to Stay in Downtown LA with Kids
Back at Hotel Indigo Downtown LA, you should definitely take advantage of their gorgeous pool and the many, many Instagram-worthy spaces throughout.
I don't often find meeting areas to be very interesting, but we flung our brood out into the empty hall adjacent to the conference area and had a blast chatting and lounging in the plush open space. There's also a gym with a phenomenal view, if you're the hotel-workout sort of person.
Obviously, I'm not one of those people. But I can still admire a well-appointed fitness center.
We also wiled away a fair amount of time on the games in the open deck space.
It was perfect, and while I'm still a little surprised to find myself saying this…I can't wait to take my kids back to Downtown LA.
If you're headed to Los Angeles anytime soon, book your room at Hotel Indigo through our link and you're guaranteed to get the best rate available!
Do you live near any historic areas that have undergone a revival? Has your family taken time to explore those spaces?