BEST YOGA STUDIO
Yoga Circle: Living in Downtown can be stressful. Yoga Circle puts minds and bodies at ease with classes that meet seven days a week. Yoga Circle opened in 1999, and the San Fernando Building studio continues to promote wellness, strength and happiness with its experienced instructors. Drop in for a single class, buy a package or get a month of unlimited yoga. Namaste.At 400 S. Main St. or yogacircledowntown.com.
Peace Yoga Gallery, 903 S. Main St. or peaceyogagallery.com.
Evoke Yoga, 731 S. Spring St. Suite 600 or evokeyoga.com.
BEST NAME-BRAND HOTEL
Doubletree by Hilton Los Angeles: The venerable Little Tokyo landmark has a collection of rooms and suites, and serves business and leisure travelers with amenities including a gym and a business center. The lovely Kyoto Garden is a pacific escape in the center of the city. There’s even what the hotel dubs a “War Room” for board meetings, depositions and more. At 120 S. Los Angeles St. or doubletree3.hilton.com.
Omni Los Angeles Hotel, 251 S. Olive St. or omnihotels.com.
L.A. Grand Hotel Downtown, 333 S. Figueroa St. or thelahotel.com.
BEST BOUTIQUE HOTEL
Luxe City Center: The Luxe is across from Staples Center, and it’s an easy walk from the hotel to the heart of Downtown. There’s a playful approach here — the website describes the Platinum Suite as “the rock star of rooms. Sometimes with actual rock stars in it.” The Nixo lounge offers scenic views with your dinner, there’s a fitness center, and dogs are welcome. Woof! At 1020 S. Figueroa St. or luxecitycenter.com.
Standard Downtown L.A., 550 S. Flower St. or standardhotels.com.
Miyako Hotel, 328 E. First St. or miyakoinn.com.
Darling’s Holm & Olson Florist: Darling’s has been doing flowers since 1925, and can handle arrangements for birthdays, weddings, proms and more. There’s even an “I’m Sorry” bouquet (with lavender roses). It’s got a deep stock of colorful, sweet-smelling lilies, tulips, hydrangeas, peonies, orchids and more. At 1219 W. Temple St. or darlingsflowersla.com.
Downtown Flowers, 505 S. Flower St. or downtown-flowers.net.
Bloomies Flowers and Gifts, 515 S. Olive St. or bloomiesflowersandgift.com.
BEST DAY SPA
Desuar Spa & Boutique: This Financial District destination offers a litany of restful services, from Swedish and deep tissue massages to facials; there is also tanning and waxing. They provide robes and slippers, and memberships are available. Feeling romantic? You and that special someone can order a couple’s massage.At 220 W. Fifth St. or spadesuar.com.
Frais Spa in the O Hotel, 819 S. Flower St. or fraisspa.com.
Ritz-Carlton Spa, 900 W. Olympic Blvd. or ritzcarlton.com.
BEST HAIR SALON
Salon Pure: The cool spot in the Santa Fe Lofts has a team of experienced stylists who do cuts and colorings for men and women. There’s a number of styling options, from the Flat Iron to an Updo, and extensions and Brazilian Blowouts are among the services offered. You can book an appointment online. At 117 E. Sixth St. or salonpure.com.
The Loft 8W Salon, 560 S. Main St. Suite 8W.
Neihule, 607 S. Olive St. or neihule.com.
BEST NAIL SALON
Harmony Nail and Threading Salon: The Little Tokyo spot has a bevy of nail stations, and offers the expected lineup of manicures, pedicures and other treatments. Glimpse the online gallery to check out the dynamic array of colors and styles. It’s open seven days a week.At 239 S. San Pedro St.
Nail Place L.A., 712 W. First St. or nailplace-la.com.
Nail Envy, 513 S. Broadway, Unit 114 or nailenvylosangeles.com.
BEST BARBER SHOP
DTLA Cuts: This spot on the Figueroa Corridor has eight chairs and a sort of Art-Deco-meets-classic-barbershop look. Services range from the standard men’s haircut to a buzz cut to a beard trim. If you want your face to feel extra smooth, there’s a hot towel and shave with a straight razor. Prices are reduced for college students. At 2288 S. Figueroa St. or dtlacuts.com.
Goodbarbers, 215 W. Sixth St. Unit 11.
Bolt Barbers, 460 S. Spring St. or boltbarbers.com.
Dr. James C. Feng: Dr. Feng graduated from the UCLA School of Dentistry in 2000 and has been working on Bunker Hill since 2003 — yep, he’s been here longer than most DTLA residents. He specializes in “smile makeovers,” and in addition to general dentistry he offers implants, cosmetic dentistry and emergency services. At 350 S. Figueroa St. or downtownladds.com.
Calm Dental, 525 S. Olive St. or calmdental.com.
West Coast Dental, 1725 W. Sixth St. or westcoastdental.com.
Downtown Live Chiropractic: Back pain is, well, a pain, but when it arises, the experienced Dr. Levon is a go-to for local workers and residents. The South Park office is easy to reach and Levon takes the time to explain the science and purpose that go into each adjustment and treatment plan.At 714 W. Olympic Blvd. Suite 1001 or downtownlivechiropractic.com.
Downtown Chiropractic, 800 W. First St. Suite 301 or dtlachiropractic.com.
Chinatown Chiropractic Clinic, 838 N. Hill St. or lachinatownchiro.com.
BEST DANCE STUDIO
The Lindy Loft: Lindy Loft owners Dax Hock and Sarah Breck are champion dancers whose mission is to deliver their love for swing to Downtown. The Lindy Loft’s wood floor holds an assortment of classes in Lindy, Swing, Balboa, Shag and more. Never tried it? Don’t fret — the schedule includes multiple weekly group sessions for newbies. There’s even monthly “Dance in a Day” workshops.At 560 S. Main St. Unit 9N or lindyloft.com.
Downtown Dance & Movement, 1144 S. Hope St. or downtowndancela.com.
BEST DRY CLEANERS
Cleaners on 8th: When it comes to a dry cleaners, there’s really only one multi-part question: Can they launder your clothing and do it quickly? The Cleaners on 8th team answer both parts of that query with an emphatic yes, and in addition to laundry service, the Historic Core spot does alterations. At 225 W. Eighth St.
Art’s Cleaners, 209 W. Seventh St.
Executive Image Cleaners, 600 W. Ninth St.
Good Samaritan Hospital: The City West institution has been treating patients in its current location since 1911. It boasts 408 beds, 18 surgical suites and state-of-the-art equipment, including in the $100 million Frank R. Seaver Ambulatory Surgery Center that opened last year. In addition to keeping Downtown healthy, Good Sam offers community services such as infant CPR classes and the annual Blessing of the Bicycles event.At 1225 Wilshire Blvd. or goodsam.org.
Adventist Health White Memorial Medical Center, 1720 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. or adventisthealth.org/white-memorial.
California Hospital Medical Center—Dignity Health, 1401 S. Grand Ave. or dignityhealth.org/socal/locations/californiahospital.
BEST AUTO DEALER SERVICE DEPARTMENT
Audi of Downtown L.A.—L.A. Auto Group: Your German luxury car is making a strange noise or won’t start. What’s going on? The factory-trained Audi technicians on Figueroa Street have the tools and experience to diagnose the problem and get the vehicle running. Appointments are easy to make, whether it’s simple scheduled maintenance or a big fix. The service center also has loaner vehicles and shuttle service.At 1900 S. Figueroa St. or audidtla.com.
Porsche of Downtown L.A.—L.A. Auto Group, 1900 S. Figueroa St. or porschedowntownla.com.
Toyota of Downtown L.A.—L.A. Auto Group, 1901 S. Figueroa St. or toyotaofdowntownla.com.
BEST PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
DASH: The Los Angeles Department of Transportation continues to move Downtowners around the Central City on five local mini-bus routes. DASH expanded its Downtown offerings this year, and there is now service in the Arts District, as well as throughout South Park, the Historic Core, Bunker Hill and beyond. At 50 cents a ride, it’s among the best bargains in L.A. At ladottransit.com/dash.
Metro Subway/Light Rail, multiple lines or metro.net.
Metro Buses, multiple routes or metro.net.
MOST BEAUTIFUL HISTORIC THEATER
Palace Theatre: One of the gems owned and operated by the Delijani family, the Palace originally opened in 1911, and still boasts a lavish stage, ceilings and walls. It’s a go-to-spot for film crews, and every summer screens movies as part of the Last Remaining Seats series. The Palace is a lovely reminder of how Broadway was once the center of the L.A. nightlife scene.At 630 S. Broadway or palacedowntown.com.
Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway or laorpheum.com.
State Theatre, 703 S. Broadway or statetheatre.la.
DTLA Vets: The business founded by doctors Leia Castaneda and Eve Flores has become a vital safety net for Downtown parents of furry children. The Historic Core clinic offers everything from regular check-ups and vaccines to surgery and, when required, compassionate end-of-life care. They provide pet dental care and, should you think it right for Fido or Fifi, animal acupuncture treatment.At 333 S. Spring St. or dtlavets.com.
Grand Park Animal Hospital, 333 S. Alameda St. Suite 222 or grandparkvets.com.
Little Tokyo Pet Clinic, 236 S. Los Angeles St. or littletokyovet.com.
BEST BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
South Park BID: The BID staff provides all those services city government just can’t handle on its own, and “Green Team” members can be glimpsed on the streets every day. The BID hauls away 30,000 pounds of trash each week, and safety teams operate on foot and bike 24/7. Anyone in the 52-block area can make a service request by phone or online.At 1150 S. Hope St. or southpark.la.
Historic Core BID, historiccore.bid.
Chinatown BID, 727 N. Broadway or chinatownla.com.
BEST WEDDING SPOT
Millennium Biltmore Hotel: The grand dame of L.A. hotels remains a popular spot for brides and grooms. The Biltmore’s event planning staff is skilled at orchestrating weddings large and small, and imbues elegance and romance into everything from choosing the room to selecting flowers to customizing the meal. The team is also experienced at handling events involving numerous cultures and traditions.At 506 S. Grand Ave. or millenniumhotels.com.
Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave. or musiccenter.org.
Vibiana, 214 S. Main St. or vibiana.com.
BEST PRIVATE EVENT VENUE
Millennium Biltmore Hotel: The Biltmore has 70,000 square feet of space for corporate or celebratory events, everything from suites to the Crystal Ballroom that can hold 800 guests under a lovely hand-painted ceiling. When a meal is served, the experienced staff hums, ensuring that no one waits too long to get their dish or have a plate cleared. Cool fact: Eight Oscars banquets were held here in the 1930s and ’40s.At 506 S. Grand Ave. or millenniumhotels.com.
J.W. Marriott, 900 W. Olympic Blvd. or marriott.com/los-angeles.
Oviatt Penthouse, 617 S. Olive St. or oviatt.com.
BEST RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE AGENT
Alex LiMandri: LiMandri, a founding principal of the DTLA Life brokerage, has been repping Downtown real estate interests since 2007, and possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of the local rental and home sales market. He knows every neighborhood and can help a veteran resident find a new flat, or shepherd a newbie into his or her first Downtown home.At 1000 S. Grand Ave. or dtlalife.com.
Bill Cooper, larealestateexpert.com.
Roxanna Godinez, loftway.com/agents/roxanna-godinez.
Christiano Sampaio, loftway.com/agents/christiano-sampaio.
BEST MOVING/STORAGE COMPANY
Los Angeles Self Storage: The 11-story edifice just west of the 110 Freeway has 5-by-10-foot spaces starting at $139, with prices going up from there. Units are accessible seven days a week, and there is a 24-hour digital recording system. You can even ask for an air-conditioned storage space. At 1000 W. Sixth St. or smartselfstorage.com.
StorQuest Self Storage, 3707 S. Hill St. or storquest.com.
Uncle Bob’s Self Storage, 801 E. Commercial St. or lifestorage.com.
BEST ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN FIRM
Jerde: Last fall the long-running architecture firm Jerde ditched its Venice home for new digs in the CalEdison building in Downtown Los Angeles, putting it closer to a market where it hopes to increasingly work. Jerde has an international portfolio, but also a local base — decades ago it designed the complex now know as FIGat7th. At 601 W. Fifth St. or jerde.com.
NBBJ, 523 W. Sixth St. Suite 300 or nbbj.com/locations/los-angeles.
Steinberg Hart, 818 W. Seventh St. Suite 1100 or steinberghart.com.
BEST CREDIT UNION
NuVision Federal Credit Union: NuVision, which began as the credit union of Douglas Aircraft, offers an array of financial services, from auto and RV loans to mortgages to IRAs. It also serves businesses, and there are numerous e-banking options. Loads of services are available online.At 555 W. Fifth St. or nuvisionfederal.com.
L.A. Financial Credit Union, 716 W. First St. or lafinancial.org.
First City Credit Union, 717 W. Temple St. or firstcitycu.org.
BEST SPORTS TEAM OWNER
Steve Ballmer, Los Angeles Clippers: The irony of the modern local basketball scene is that as Jeannie Buss runs the Lakers with a level of ineptitude that recalls a certain former Clippers owner who shall not be named, current team owner Ballmer reminds hoops heads of the forward-thinking M.O. of the legendary Dr. Jerry Buss. Ballmer green-lit the deal that allowed the Clippers to acquire stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but his biggest move may have been building up the front office with Laurence Frank, Michael Winger and the icon Jerry West — the team that made those players acquisitions possible. Additionally, he has invested in bball technology and boosted the Clippers’ business team. Ballmer is volcanic in his baseline seat at games, but he’s turned the former NBA laughingstock into a consistent winner with a bright feature. —Jon Regardie
BEST BILLION DOLLAR BEGINNING
The Grand: Nearly 15 years of work came to fruition in February with the groundbreaking of The Grand. Located on Grand Avenue and First Street across from Walt Disney Concert Hall, the $1 billion mixed-use development is an exercise in persistence, overcoming hurdles including a constricting recession, design changes and shifts in political leadership since architect Frank Gehry and Related Cos. won a bidding competition to build on the County/City-owned parcel in 2004. Construction crews are now building the project’s two towers, a 39-story edifice with 436 rental units (20% to be set aside as affordable housing) and a 20-story building that will have a 309-room Equinox Hotel. There will also be a large retail component. The Grand is expected to open in 2021. At thegrandla.com. —Sean P. Thomas
BEST PLACE TO GET THE INSIDE SCOOP
Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum: Approximately once a month, scores of attorneys, business executives, labor leaders, publicv officials, journalists and others show up at The Palm in Downtown for a luncheon hosted by the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum. Run by public affairs consultant Emma Schafer, the invitation-only events provide a rare opportunity to get the inside scoop from leading elected officials, minus the spin and platitudes so prevalent in politics. There are always prepared remarks from the speaker followed by a thoughtful Q&A. At a May luncheon County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas revealed, on the record, his interest in running for mayor in 2022, and at an event this month City Attorney Mike Feuer told the crowd he is also considering the race. Mayor Eric Garcetti has made multiple appearances at the Forum, and other featured guests have included state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Council President Herb Wesson. In a city dominated by “messaging,” this is where you go to find the truth. —Jon Regardie
BEST POLITICAL GUESSING GAME
Huizar Watch 2019: It’s been eight months since FBI agents raided the home and offices of Downtown City Councilman José Huizar, but no political observer has forgotten that November morning — the sight of agents carrying boxes out of Huizar’s City Hall office, and a sniffer dog named Ginger bouncing around outside his Boyle Heights home, looked like scenes from a TV procedural. Some key facts hold — neither Huizar nor anyone else has been arrested or charged with a crime, and the Feds have been mum. Still, after Council President Herb Wesson stripped Huizar of his committee assignments, everyone is waiting to see what comes next. Speculation remains rampant and the biggest question is whether the 14th District rep and any other City Hall elected officials or employees will face charges. It’s a waiting game, but everyone is still watching. —Jon Regardie
BEST CAR ALTERNATIVE PROJECT
Main & Spring Forward: Downtown Los Angeles is not abandoning the automobile anytime soon. That said, the Central City is increasingly becoming friendlier to pedestrians and bicyclists. Not all of the infrastructure projects have clicked — think of those “bike lanes” that barely separate cyclists from cars — but one that seems to receive the most praise is Main and Spring Forward. Pushed by 14th District City Councilman José Huizar, the $2.3 million initiative reworked the two key Historic Core streets, creating protected bike lanes, new and expanded signals at intersections and crosswalks, and better signaling for drivers to avoid collisions. The Spring Street work wrapped last October while the improvements on Main were completed in the spring. —Nicholas Slayton
BEST SMALL-SCALE HISTORIC BUILDING REVITALIZATION
Firehouse Hotel: Aged Downtown buildings have long been getting the boutique hotel makeover — just witness the massive NoMad Los Angeles, which opened in the historic Giannini Place. On the opposite end of the size spectrum is the Firehouse Hotel. The old Engine Co. No. 17 building in the Arts District has been turned into an establishment with just nine guest rooms. The team behind Silverlake’s Hotel Covell undertook the project where each room has a unique theme and decoration. The building’s historic features have been preserved, but instead of fire trucks behind the large red doors, there’s a coffee shop, bar and a large, outdoor New American restaurant. The Firehouse hotel opened in April. At 710 S. Santa Fe Ave. or firehousela.com. —Nicholas Slayton
BEST UNRESOLVED TRANSPORTATION TREND
Dockless Scooters: The city’s one-year pilot program for dockless scooters went into effect last March, and since then thousands of the devices have flooded Downtown. Now residents and tourists zip around city streets (which is allowed) and sidewalks (not allowed). The scooters, provided by companies such as Lime and Bird, are an alternative to transportation options like buses, trains and cars, and provide a solution to the first-mile/last-mile conundrum posed by traditional public transportation options. Still, Downtowners and others are divided, as scooter clutter is everywhere, and there are safety concerns from riders who ignore the rules or don’t wear helmets (not required by law, but smart to do). Meanwhile, city officials continue to debate and try to modify an appropriate set of guidelines for the new mode of transportation. —Sean P. Thomas
Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial: Last November, the waterfall at the Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial monument on Hill Street was turned on for the first time in 42 years. It was a landmark step in the refurbishment of the deteriorating monument, which finally reached its endpoint during a July 3 rededication ceremony that included the burial of a community-sourced time capsule. Located at the site of the first Independence Day flag raising in Los Angeles, the monument between the Civic Center and Chinatown features an 80-foot long, 47-foot tall water feature, a massive terra cotta bas-relief wall, and a 275-foot long brick wall. The monument originally opened in 1958 but fell into disrepair in the late 1970s when the water was turned off due to a drought. Now it has a glistening pool, more than 285,000 new tiles, a redone plaza and an environmentally friendly water system. —Sean P. Thomas
© Los Angeles Downtown News 2019