This last weekend I had the honor of taking part in one of the L.A. Conservancy’s special biannual neighborhood tours. This time around the main attraction was the Arts District in Downtown L.A. The turnout was incredible! I believe the Conservancy sold over 800 tickets to Los Angeles residents, neighborhood, history and architecture enthusiasts, presumably eager to learn more about, and visit, the much buzzed about district of L.A. It was amusing to see people’s reactions. A few of the tour visitors still recalled its seedier history in the 70’s and 80’s, and older couple mused about the possibility of moving back into the city from the suburbs.
So, what has made the Arts District so popular over the last few years? I think it’s safe to say that what makes this neighborhood interesting is its ever-evolving history. The area is no stranger to change and has undergone constant transitions through several phases from its agricultural beginnings in the early 1800’s into its heavily industrial times through the 1900’s, to an artistic period in the 1970’s. Its current state of trendiness offers prime loft-living in Los Angeles, and a small taste of the urban amenities one might expect in similar parts of NYC and throughout other (more gentrified) parts of L.A.
Is it perfect? No. The Arts District still feels gritty like much of the rest of Downtown, and has a long way to go before I would go as far as to call it a balanced neighborhood for residents and visitors, alike. But, the Arts Districts lofts offer remarkable views of the cities, and its residents are gradually being rewarded with walkable neighborhood amenities sprouting up like Church & State, Little Bear, Bestia, The Angel Brewery, and most recently, the Urban Radish. All the while, gorgeous 1920’s architecture like that of the Toy Factory Lofts or of the National Biscuit Company, has been thankfully preserved and re-purposed.
Lofts can go anywhere from upwards of $600K in the area, so it’s certainly not “affordable”. Finally, as many of you may know (or at least now you know), I lived in Barcelona for several years, and spent a bit of time in upstate New York. Being in the Arts District reminds me a lot of the time I spent in El Borne, one of Barcelona’s trendiest neighborhoods that also saw much change over time– like 2000 years of time! The Arts District is also reminiscent of NYC’s famed meatpacking district, and it certainly has that same kind of potential.
If you are interested in learning more about this neighborhood or looking to buy or relocate, please get in touch.
- Favorite Yelp Reviews for L.A. (launveiled.com)
- Lit Crawl LA comes to NoHo Arts District (blogs.kcrw.com)
- Weekend Planner: 16 Things to Do in L.A. (laist.com)
- #ArtShareLA Showcases The Best Of L.A. Street Art (ejohnsonjournalist.wordpress.com)
- Love on San Pedro: Meet the Skid Row Community Members (kcet.org)