I got into LAX at 10am and was left to my own devices while my friends were at work. I decided to go to Downtown LA in the hopes that it was somewhat walkable. It was very walkable and I got to see a lot of cool stuff and ate some really delicious food while I was there.
To get from LAX to downtown, there’s a superconvenient flyaway bus that costs $9 and drops off at Union Station; it stops at every terminal so just look for the bus sign when walking out. I was headed to the OC on Amtrak later in the evening so I conveniently left my luggage at the Amtrak luggage check for $4 per piece. It’s for ticketed passagers only but you can buy a ticket for $8 so it’s still a pretty good deal if you decide not to use the ticket.
Unencumbered of luggage, I made my way to Little Tokyo from Union Station by foot. Many drivers passed by me incredulously and some even offered to give me a lift. Who knew that using my legs to get around would be such a novelty!
Once I got to Little Tokyo, I put my name down for lunch at Sushi Gen. The wait was about 20 minutes so I walked over to Dulce to get myself a sweet treat (Life is short, eat dessert first!). They have lots of tasty buns here but they are known for their delicious donut holes. I got one topped with fruity pebbles which made me nostalgic for my childhood.
My next stop was Nijiya Market to get some green tea Kit-Kats (Japan gets way more and way cooler Kit-Kat flavors than we do; see the NYT article here) before going back to Sushi Gen for my delicious sushi lunch. Sushi Gen is a little factory-like in its execution but you get really good quality sushi for $17. The sushi deluxe featured fatty tuna, yellowtail, squid, shrimp and tamago.
I was super full after that lunch so I decided to walk around downtown a bit. Sadly I was too full to eat anything at Grand Central Market but it was a great place to people watch and check out all the taco stalls amidst the trendy stalls such as eggslut. The Last Bookstore is about a block away from the market and totally worth walking around if you love books or records. The space is very large and there are cool nooks and crannies like a book tunnel and a vault.
It was getting a little hot so I walked over to the Children’s Amphitheatre at the Walt Disney Concert Hall to take a short break (take the stairs to the left of the main before walking in to get here). If you walk a couple of steps further, you’ll get to the Blue Ribbon Garden, which has a peaceful assortment of trees and plants. If you’re here in the summer, be sure to go and check out the organ inside the Concert Hall, which is crazy beautiful.
My next stop was the entirely free Broad Museum. I didn’t plan ahead so I had to wait in line for about 20 minutes to enter but you can skip the line and reserve a spot here. The design of this building is pretty neat. The escalator ride to the top floor feels like you are going through a tunnel. The exhibits here are not too overwhelming and it’s a lovely space to walk around and enjoy for a couple of hours.
Just before boarding my train, I stopped at Daikokuya for a small ramen bowl. I know, I’m a pig. The half-size ramen came with perfectly buttery kurobuta pork and springy noodles. Service was quick and efficient, allowing me plenty of time to board my train to the OC, where I continued eating my weight in food…