Destination: Downtown Los Angeles

For the first time in nearly 100 years, the skyline of downtown Los Angeles is in the midst of a dramatic transformation. Leading this charge is the new Wilshire Grand Center. Scheduled to open March 8, 2017, this 73-story skyscraper is the West Coast’s tallest building at 1,100 feet tall. Featuring a glass sail and spire rooftop, its design is a welcome change to the flat-topped rooftops that dominate the downtown area, and also gives a nod to the city’s oceanside location.

Wilshire Grand in Downtown Los Angeles is Tallest Building in California

image courtesy: Wilshire Grand Center

The Wilshire Grand will be home to the new InterContinental Hotel which features faucets from the ROHL Wave Bath Series. The design of the Wave faucets mimics the architecture of the glass sail atop the building.

ROHL Wave Faucet in the Wilshire Grand Center

Once downtown, there is plenty to see and do whether your interests include modern art, rare books or architecture. Here are some of our recommendations to enjoy the new Downtown LA.

The Broad

Opened in 2015, the Broad Museum features an ever-expanding contemporary art collection of philanthropist, Eli Broad. Located in Downtown LA next to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Diller Scofidio + Renfro building was designed in collaboration with Gensler. Dubbed “the veil and the vault,” its design features column-free interiors and a veil-like exoskeleton. The museum is home to more than 2,000 works of art from the Broad collection and is considered among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art in the world. Admission is free.

The Broad Contemporary Art Museum in Los Angeles

The Last Bookstore

A hidden Downtown LA gem and one of the last remaining independent bookstores in the world, The Last Bookstore is home to over 250,000 new and used books. It currently holds the record as the largest new and used book and record store in California. Spread out over two floors, visitors can literally lose themselves in a labyrinth of paperbacks. The Labyrinth is a new upstairs section in The Last Bookstore. It features a maze-like space that houses 100,000 used books, all priced at $1. Also new is the Arts & Rare Books Annex. In a digital age, The Last Bookstore is doing its part to keep the art of pen and paper alive.

Stack of books from the Last Bookstore in Downtown Los Angeles

BESTIA

Located in the Arts District of Downtown LA, Bestia is a dining destination for food lovers.  Five years after its opening, the award-winning rustic Italian cuisine is a labor of love for husband and wife owners, Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis. Focusing its food on a “made from scratch” approach, critics say it’s not just dinner, it’s an experience. Zagat recently raved about the restaurant’s “transcendent pastas” and innovative nose-to-tail Italiana. Reservations are a must.

Bestia Bar in Downtown Los Angeles

Ken Arbuckle, left, Thomas Murphy, center, and Kristina Howald, work behind the bar at Bestia, the Italian restaurant from restaurateur Bill Chait and husband-and-wife team Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis. (Photo by Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Our other “must-do”picks while visiting downtown LA include a self-guided architectural tour, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic or for a sweet treat try the newly opened MAST Brothers Chocolate, LA’s first bean-to-bar chocolate company.