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See Downtown LA Street Art: A Cheap Local Adventure

Y'all, I love street art.  To me, it's one of the most fascinating art mediums. I've talked before about the intimacy and intensity of emotions it evokes for me. I've gone so far as to say it's one of the primary reasons to visit San Francisco. All this talk about street art got me thinking...I don't know much about the Downtown LA street art scene.

So, camera in hand with my buddy, Paula, I set off to explore the ever-changing Downtown LA street art scene around the DTLA Arts District.

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Guide to Downtown Los Angeles Street Art | Things to Do in LA | DTLA | Southern California Travel Tips | Los Angeles Travel Guide

Where to Find LA Street Art?

After doing a bit of online research, I decided to focus on a 3-block area bordered by E 3rd ST, E 4 Pl, Traction Ave and Merrick St. The area is easy to access from the 110 Freeway (take the 4th St exit, stay on 4th until to reach 4th Pl) and seemed the most accessible in terms of viewing the street art.

Pie for Breakfast?

We decided to go pretty early on a Sunday morning. Early mornings require breakfast. And breakfast requires delicious, homemade pastries.

My research told me that Pie Hole on Traction was the place to go for breakfast in this area. Lucky for us it was right in the center of it all. We arrived around 10:30am, right before the rush.

We easily found seating and soon were face to face with some of the best pastries I've ever had. And, yes, we did have pie for breakfast...and it was delicious.

In Search of Street Art

Full of tasty, buttery goodness (and coffee), we set out on foot to begin exploring the area. We were instantly struck by the vivid colors of the art works.

The techniques used to create some of these masterpieces are second to none. Many had powerful social messages that struck an emotional cord with us, both of us being social workers.

Some of my favorites of the day were the ones that caught us by surprise. We'd hoped to find some of the more popular pieces, like the one by Shepherd Fiery on E 3rd St.

Pleasantly Surprised

I have to admit, I wasn't expecting such a rich experience to tell you the truth. Although it wasn't as organized as San Francisco's Mission, the Downtown LA street art scene seems to be thriving.

Pieces seem to be everywhere we turned, and we only covered a small portion of the Arts District. We could easily have walked for hours and found more and more great examples of the Downtown LA street art scene.

I can see why people are drawn to the area. There are new condos and apartments going up everywhere. Like San Francisco, seeing the growth and development left me feeling a bit on edge because I know what it means for the other residents of Downtown LA.

Downtown LA's Changing

For decades Downtown LA has been home to Los Angeles' homeless residents. Marginally housed, marginally fed and marginally managed, the homeless of Los Angeles occupied Skid Row, an area adjacent to the DTLA Arts District, and the surrounding blocks with little intrusion.

But recent development in the Skid Row and Arts District area has begun to drastically change their habitation and their access to services. As the Arts District (to the east), Little Tokyo (to the north), the Theater District (to the west) and the Fashion District (to the south) continue to grow and develop, Skid Row begins to shrink.

After seeing the work of the street artists, I couldn't help but feel that the plight of the homeless influence the artists on the regular.

Thirsty Anyone?

After observing the amazing works of art we found ourselves thirsty. Lucky for us we stumbled on the Arts District Brewing Co. We knew immediately after we walked that we were in for a good time! Great beer, fun games, and chill atmosphere made it the best place to spend a Sunday Funday with my gal pal.

We enjoyed trying the beer flight, your choice of four of the house brews. I'm an IPA-kinda girl, so I quickly chose the hoppiest of the hoppy beers. A few games of skee-ball later we were totally relaxed and chatty. I couldn't think of a better way to end our day of exploring the Downtown LA street art scene.

Want more of Downtown LA?

Looking for more of a guided experience? Check out the DTLA Arts District walking tour to get your very own up-close-and-personal experience with this amazing street art

For those of you looking for more information about Downtown LA, don't miss my culture lovers tour of Downtown LA. It's full of great spots to find hidden treasures of LA's past glory.



If you need more Downtown LA Street Art in your life, then head over to the nearby Fashion District to peep these beauties! Find "Upon Reflection" by Fin DAC and Angelina Christina on the corner of Winston and Los Angeles Streets. And just up the street you'll find a lovely Audrey Hepburn tribute sure to please the selfie taker in your crew.

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Happy wandering!



  • Reply
    September 29, 2016 at 12:41 am

    Love street art. They have so much creativity and innovation behind them. They also bring out the culture and thoughts of the people in myriad ways, all more beautiful than the other. Loved these works of art which stand as an ode to their ingenuous creators.

    • Reply
      October 3, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      I couldn’t agree more Vyjay! Street art is so much more personal and intimate than any other form of art, at least in my opinion.

  • Reply
    Rob Taylor
    September 29, 2016 at 4:43 am

    I love that you include food and beer. This sounds like a perfect way to experience the revival of LA. Thank you for showing the city so much love. You’re doing great work to beat the bad rap LA’s had for too long.

    • Reply
      October 3, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      Of course I include the food and beer! ahahahahah But seriously, you are right on the money about the revival of LA. It has gotten a bad rap over the years, but there is so much growth and change happening in the city now. It’s amazing to witness.

  • Reply
    Jill Wiley
    September 29, 2016 at 8:35 am

    What a great idea for the day! We live in Encinitas, so not far from LA… this might be a great thing to do with our budding artist. 😉

    • Reply
      October 3, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      Jill, I would highly recommend a DTLA Arts District tour for any budding artist!

  • Reply
    September 29, 2016 at 10:50 am

    I love street art. What a great event!

    • Reply
      October 3, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      Thanks, Mags, for the comment. It was not an event, however; this great art is on public display every day in DTLA!

  • Reply
    Kevin Wagar
    September 29, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Some great examples of some amazing street art! It’s incredible how this art can speak so much about the soul of a city.

    • Reply
      October 3, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      Thanks, Kevin, for your thoughtful observation. The soul of this city is ever-present. It pulses and vibrates more than any place I’ve ever experienced. The street art is, indeed, a good example of that.

  • Reply
    Lee @ BaldThoughts
    October 2, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Being from the suburbs in OC, at first glance, LA is a dirty, ugly place. But as you peel back the initial looks, there is some real beauty to be found in the quirkiness of LA. OC is cookie cutter, while LA is eclectic and a haven for artists. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      October 3, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      You are most welcome, Lee. You are right about LA being eclectic. It’s the most diverse place I’ve ever been!

  • Reply
    October 10, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    The street art looks so surreal. Some of the artworks are really works of genius. So vibrant and a reflection of the times.

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