For when you need a break: Good eats and sights near ONA22

Laura Bertocci is the Community Support Manager at the American Journalism Project. She is always working to connect the dots between journalism, community-building and resources to elevate underrepresented voices.

I’ve lived in Los Angeles for about 13 years and love sharing recommendations for things to do all over the city. These are just a few for the area near the conference.

If you’re taking time to explore neighborhoods further afield, check out Time Out Los Angeles and Discover Los Angeles for ideas of things to do. InfatuationLA and EaterLA also both have a lot of helpful neighborhood guides for food.

Downtown Los Angeles

My top recommendation is The Last Bookstore — a warehouse-sized used bookstore. Be sure to explore the second level which includes an iconic book tunnel, art gallery and several artist-in-residence shops. 

  • Grand Central MarketA public food hall with an incredible array of delicious things to eat, from pupusas, to Filipino food (don’t miss the buko pie, which contains fresh slices of coconut), baked goods and Thai food.
  • Angel’s FlightThe world’s shortest railway! Located across the street from the north side of the Grand Central Market, rides are $1 each way.
  • LA Central Library — The subject of Susan Orlean’s The Library Book, which is a delightful dive into LA history and the role libraries play in communities. Be sure to head up to the top floor for a look at the Zodiac Chandelier
  • Three fancy rooftop bars: Perch, Broken Shaker and The Ace Hotel. The Ace is especially known for its art deco architecture, rooftop pool and the occasional celebrity sighting. 
  • Contemporary art museums — The Broad and MOCA. Entrance to both are free, but you must reserve your spot in advance.
  • Walt Disney Concert Hall — Even if you have no plans to see a show, it’s a fun experience to explore one of architect Frank Gehry’s stainless steel buildings. You can circle around the inner layer and find a garden with a giant mosaic, rose-shaped fountain, a small outdoor amphitheater and a great view of Grand Ave.
  • Tacos: I endorse Sonoratown, and pretty much any taco truck on the street. 
  • Badmaash — Indian-fusion comfort food, like chicken tikka poutine and chili cheese naan. You also won’t go wrong ordering this delivered to your hotel room if you’ve maxed out your energy for the day.
  • Cole’s French Dip — A historic “saloon” with a speakeasy vibe.

Little Tokyo

  • Fugetsu-do – A family-owned mochi-shop that’s been around since 1903. This will be some of the softest, most incredible mochi you’ve ever had. 
  • Sushi Gen — Real good sushi. 
  • Far Bar — Tasty cocktails, Japanese-fusion food and a hip alley-patio. 
  • Daikokuya – Seriously good ramen. This original location is a long narrow restaurant, and often has people waiting outside.
  • Japanese Village Plaza — Stroll through this area, duck into stores and grab a snack. I recommend the yuzu affogato from Honeymee.

Arts District

  • Angel City Brewery — Located in a former wire rope warehouse, Angel City Brewery is a giant indoor-outdoor space with its own art gallery, board games and on-site food trucks. They also welcome outside food if you’d rather pick something up on the way over. 
  • Wurstkuche — Very hip sausages.
  • Bavel — For a fancier (read: more expensive) experience, the Mediterranean food at Bavel is truly worth it. I recommend making a reservation in advance, and getting every single kind of flatbread. 
  • Guerrilla Tacos — Some of the most innovative tacos in downtown.
  • Two Bit Circus — An arcade/VR-experience. Open late!

Get outside (green space!)

  • Elysian Park — Home to Dodger Stadium, the hillsides around the stadium have hiking trails and picnic areas.
  • Vista Hermosa Natural Park — Sitting in this park can feel particularly cool with the LA skyline looming over you.