I’ve been inspired by all the mouthwatering photos of food I’ve been seeing online lately, but with literally thousands of delicious choices right here in my home town of LA, and limited time to eat out, my list of must try places was growing long. A plan was in order and I decided a food tour* was the perfect answer! Combining a visit to one of my favorite LA neighborhoods with delicious food and iconic sights sounded fun to me, but how would I keep my 9 year old son (and husband) engaged? A dessert tour of course! After all, life is short… dessert first!
There are many fabulous neighborhoods in Los Angeles, each one with it’s own charm, but it was my desire to ride the newly reopened Angels Flight Railway, that helped me choose Downtown LA for this particular adventure. A big fan of public art, I was excited to see a number of fun street art pieces along our route.
Sweet Tooth’s Walking Tour of DTLA
The Sweet Tooth’s Walking Tour is 1.7 miles, and can be enjoyed in both directions. We chose to walk back to our car after the tour, but there are plenty of public transportation options if you’re too full to walk. Public parking lots and metered parking are available. We found $5 parking just behind Birdies.
Location: 314 West Olympic Boulevard Los Angeles (Stop A)
Our first stop, Birdies, is well known in LA for both their donuts and fried chicken, so of course we had to try both! The donuts are baked fresh every two hours.
To ensure we had room for all our delicious stops, we decided we’d share two donuts, and some Birdies Bites (fried chicken tenders) between the three of us. There are multiple dipping sauces available for the bites. We tried sweet Asian chili and house ranch, but left the ghost pepper mayo to braver souls.
Elliot chose a panda donut, because… panda! The strawberry donut was so delicious we forgot to take a proper photo. pictured above is the cream cheese champagne glazed gold leaf donut, a specialty donut, which will set you back $100! Other donuts range in price between $.50 for donut holes and $3.50 for fancier flavors.
Location: 700 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles (Stop B)
Bottega Louie, is known for it’s colorful and photogenic macarons, but it isn’t just about the sweets and treats, it’s also a full service restaurant with a full bar and a gourmet market.
We weren’t planning on a sit down meal, so we took our treats to go, however the lunch options looked and smelled wonderful, so I see a return visit in the near future!
LA Weekly listed Bottega Louie as one of the 10 best macarons in LA! The flavors we enjoyed were, chocolate mint, raspberry, salted caramel, birthday cake and coconut. My favorite was the coconut! Macarons can be purchased individually, or in boxes.
Elliot chose to enjoy a chocolate eclair rather than a macaron… from the looks of it he had no regrets!
Location: 700 S Spring St, Los Angeles (Stop C)
Little Damage is a family owned soft serve ice cream shop in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. With trendy black cones and unique flavor choices, Little Damage, is not your average ice cream… its ice cream with a Goth twist!
We sampled Unicorn Tears, a lovely blue color, which actually tasted like vanilla birthday cake. A scoop is $6 and comes with one free topping. The trendy black waffle cone (made from activated charcoal) is $1 extra.
Planning on sharing your food finds on social media? With it’s many fun signs, both inside and out, Little Damage provides plenty of opportunities for that perfect pic! But you better hurry, because it’s hot out there and the SoCal sun and soft serve ice cream don’t mix.
The Bradbury Building
Location: 304 S. Broadway, Los Angeles (Stop E)
If there are any movie or architecture lovers in your group, they’ll love this next stop!
Built in 1893, the Bradbury Building is the oldest commercial building in the area. While the outside might not seem like anything particularly special, its the inside’s Victorian Era atrium with it’s grandiose iron work, 50 foot ceilings, and open cage elevators that really shine.
Fans of the movie Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford, might recognize the atrium space as Sebastian’s home.
Visitors are welcome, and entrance to the Bradbury Building is free, but keep in mind the building is still in use, so access is limited. If you’re interested in exploring further there are various tours available.
Grand Central Market
Location: 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles (Stop F)
The Grand Central Market opened in 1917 and has been operating continuously ever since. A popular destination for locals and tourists alike, you’ll find something for everyone in your group, no matter their food tastes. From Thai sticky rice to cheesecake, whisky and cheese, a Jewish deli, vegan choices, coffee, Chinese food, green grocers and so much more. There’s even a PB&J shop!
The hustle and bustle, neon and vibrant atmosphere make Grand Central Market a place worth visiting all on it’s own! My plan to finish our foodie tour with a taste of cheese at the DTLA Cheese shop was foiled when we realized we were just too full. Next time!
Angels Flight Railway
Location: 351 South Hill Street, Los Angeles (Stop G)
The newly reopened Angels Flight Railway has been in operation on and off since 1901, and at 298 feet is the world’s shortest railway. When it opened, one hundred years ago, its location was the main hub of commerce and entertainment in Downtown Los Angeles. The Angels Flight Railway is a treasured piece of LA history, and it has given more than 100 million rides!
Located just across the street from the Grand Central Market, Angels Flight was the perfect way for locals to get up and down the steep hill with their groceries!
A one way ride on Angels Flight is $1 payable at the upper station. Metro pass holders may ride for $.50. If you’re only interested in riding one way there are stairs located to the side of the railway. We rode up and walked back down.
The Last Bookstore
Location: 453 S. Spring St, Los Angeles ( Bonus Stop D)
If you have book lovers in your group you’ll want to make time for The Last Bookstore. Full of character and visually stunning this place is a book lovers dream!
A labyrinth of books, the comic section, the first edition vault, (literally, it was inside an actual vault), the artist studios, and a rare book room are just a few of the places you can explore during a visit to The Last Bookstore.
*This is a self-guided walking tour created by yours truly! Even with the promise of unlimited desserts I couldn’t persuade my teen to join us.