It wasn't so long ago that Downtown LA was a dirty, unwelcoming, uninteresting cluster of office buildings that emptied out in the evening, leaving the streets to be ruled by people best avoided at night. It's still a bit dirty and there are still pockets of homeless encampments, but in all other ways it's enjoyed a complete renaissance. This is now a cool, desirable neighborhood to live in for Angelenos looking for more of an urban lifestyle.
Many of its buildings have been turned into spacious loft apartments, some of which are located in beautiful Art Deco buildings. New development is adding to the mix of city living, cool boutique hotels have moved in, and the streets are full of great restaurants and bars. The Arts District is a cool, industrial section of Downtown that's become a haven for foodies.
Burbank: 12.8 miles / 20-40 minutes by car / 50-55 minutes by transit
Century City: 11.5 miles / 30-70 minutes by car / 65-70 minutes by transit
Santa Monica: 15.2 miles / 40-75 minutes by car / 60-65 minutes by transit
A famous architectural landmark that's partially open to the public, the Bradbury was built in 1893 and has been featured in many notable films.