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Los Angeles: Is it really 'America's capital of the 21st century'?

Martha Ross, The Mercury News on

Published in Travel News

The Broad's opening in 2015 helped crystallize downtown L.A.'s transformation from a weekend wasteland of office towers and crumbling art deco facades into a thriving region of lofts, new apartment towers, stylish restaurants and bars, and the historic Grand Central Market food hall.

Southeast of downtown is the 50-block Arts District, named for the murals that cover its former factories and warehouses. Those up on their history of urban renewal say the district reminds them of gritty 1970s New York City. Still, it wouldn't be out of place for someone famous to pull up in a chauffeur-driven SUV to shop at one of the home-design boutiques or to dine at Bestia, a wildly popular rustic Italian eatery.

About 10 miles up the 101 Freeway is another evolving district -- North Hollywood, nicked-named NoHo. Things feel a little more relaxed in this pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, where young women carry yoga mats to Vinyasa classes and friendly actors invite passers-by to see their show at one of the storefront theaters.

Here you'll find the Republic of Pie -- a funky cafe with sofas, Wi-Fi and really good coffee and pie. And, true to a Los Angeles cliche, everyone hunkered over a laptop looks like they're tweaking their screenplay.

But there's also something more going on. And as a vocalist and her guitar-playing partner cover mellow alt-rock hits, another side of today's Los Angeles emerges, one in which aspiring writers pause and sit back to enjoy the company of their table mates and take in the music.



The Garland is one of Los Angeles' many boutique hotels that feature unique designs and approaches to service. The Garland offers a retro-chic Hollywood feel, borne of the fact that it was co-founded in 1970 by veteran TV actress Beverly Garland ("My Three Sons") and her family. The recently updated hotel boasts a lively happy hour scene around its pool and a convenient North Hollywood location, near Universal Studios and the NoHo (North Hollywood) Arts District and a few miles north of the sites of Hollywood;

Los Angeles County Museum of Art: Admission is $15, free for kids under 17. Open daily at 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles;

The Broad: Admission is free. Open Tuesday-Sunday at 221 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles;

Otium: 222 S. Hope St., Los Angeles;


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