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The Perfect Day in DTLA

September 20, 2017
Los Angeles Day Out
Formerly known as Santa Monica Museum of Art, the revamped and newly relocated ICA LA alone is worth the schlep downtown – but why not make the most of your time in the grit-hip Arts District with this natty day itinerary?

Fire off with a cuppa at hipster go-to Stumptown Coffee. This lofty industri-chic roasting facility comes complete with a huge viewing window, so you can watch that 60kg Probat Roaster at work while you tuck into a chai iced latte and sticky banana cupcake. 

Just an 8min skedaddle around the corner is the freshly unveiled Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (or ICA LA), having relocated from art-gallery gaggle Bergamot Station, in Santa Monica. The 12,700-square-foot space, dreamed up by cutting-edge archi firm wHY, feels right at home in the upcoming Arts District of DTLA. Its debut exhibit, Martín Ramírez: His Life in Pictures, Another Interpretation showcases 50 drawings and collages produced by the acclaimed, self-taught Mexican-born artist during his time in a state psychiatric hospital. See also new works by NYC artist Abigail DeVille, as well as Angeleno painter Sarah Cain’s site-specific ode to 1970s feminist craft, and graffiti.

All that chin-stroking has surely worked up an appetite. Retire to nearby The Springs for a well-earned cleansing lunch. Gwynnie wannabes flock to this quintessentially health-obsessed-LA warehouse for its on-point plant-based menu and juice bar. Kale juice n' cashew carbonara, anyone? Linger longer for yoga, meditation, and holistic therapies like infrared sauna and acupuncture.

Shopportunity knocks! Zip a few blocks north to browse Alchemy Works, an airy trove of men and women's togs, local lifestyle labels, mod jewellery, and house collaborations, plus an onsite Warby Parker showroom, and small-batch roaster Blacktop next door. Then onto Apolis, a dapper LA label specialising in spot-on guy gear – think basic fits plus global flair – with a focus on one-off ethical collabs and fairtrade materials. Peepers peeled for special events like rooftop film screenings, exhibitions and product launches.

Next up, nest-featherers make a beeline for Poketo. This minty-fresh breath of a shop, by hubby n' wife team Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung, is packed full of aesthetically pleasing bobs: think textiles, jewels, books and fashion accessories. It’s also host to art shows, music performances, and a range of workshops, spanning wellness reboot and calligraphy.

Finally, finish with a meal-to-remember at your pre-booked table at nose-to-tail sensation Bestia. Pioneering pan-man Ori Menashe still pulls in the hordes of hip punters with his meaty deliciousness, including beef heart tartare, roasted bone marrow, and housemade coppa di testa. Buon appetito!

Stumptown Coffee / 806 S Santa Fe Ave / +1 855 711 3385 / 6.30am-7pm daily /
ICA LA / 1717 E 7th St / +1 310 284 8100 /
The Springs / 608 Mateo St / +1 213 223 6226 / 9am-4pm daily /
Alchemy Works / 826 E 3rd St / +1 323 487 1497 / 11am-7pm daily /
Apolis Common Gallery / 806 E 3rd St / +1 855 894 1559 / noon-6pm Mon-Wed, noon-7pm Thu, 11am-7pm Fri-Sat, 11am-6pm Sun /
Poketo / 374 E 2nd St / +1 213 573 0751 / noon-7pm Mon, 11am-7pm Tue-Sun /
Bestia / 2121 E 7th Pl / +1 213 514 5724 / dinner daily /