Mapping LA Neighborhoods
MAPPING L.A. > Central L.A.


Tell us what Downtown means to you

  • What makes this a good place to live? What are the downsides?


After telling one of the greatest lies in world history through whitewash, and genocide; many believe that the addicts that flood the streets of skidrow and other cities, are the cause for the fall of our economy? When it was generations of individuals with the same attitude that started the problem in the first place. you all set them up for failure with your policies that cut good teachers, close schools, eliminate cultural appreciation, and families. Because you know that with all those things they are a threat, so you send the professors to teach your youth in your ivy league/charter/ preparatory schools. Your greed and karma has crippled the economy. and your only solution is to do the right thing, undo what was done when the first ship wreaked havoc on the non Europeans. Those homeless addicts are your abborted children. You do something about it because it is their natural right to camp out and defile your neighborhoods, now you see how they feel trying to make it and have some deviant knock you ten steps back time and time again, I hope they crap all over the city maybe you guys will stop your nonsense. How is it that in one of california's richest cities a huge amount of people did not even graduate high school, with a fairly small population over 50? There are too many uneducated trust fund yuppies running the country that's where the problem lies. Bunch of wackos running the system.

— A.F
June 25, 2012 at 9:54 p.m.

I would like to know about the asbestos pollution in the zone, specially around 325 W 8th street

— Mary Troconis
June 2, 2012 at 12:23 p.m.

40-something Caucasian female living here over 4 years and planning to stay!

Downtowngirl, I just read your report and had to respond. I'm sorry to hear you've had such a rough time; I don't know what area you live in but I have never had any of the experiences in your "Ugly" category. At most it's been a few catcalls... just like when I lived anywhere else. Nobody has ever laid a hand on me and I've never felt unsafe, even walking back from the Orpheum near midnight.

Also the filming and college kids come with the neighborhood, I guess: mine is on the way to/from LA Live/Staples and the 7th/Metro subway, so sometimes after a big game or a concert there are a few late celebrants being loud on the way back, but that's it. Yes, it's loud at rush hour: I live on a major street and the buses and cars mean I close my window for a couple of hours a day. But I think it's more than compensated for by the convenience of everything I can reach by walking, and it's not worse than any other major city.

I agree with all you have under "The Good" and a lot of "The Bad" -- we do need more grocery options! Why, why won't Trader Joe's come here when they have a captive market that keeps asking for them! Fresh & Easy would be nice. In the meantime, I buy produce in Chinatown and Grand Central Market because Ralph's is so expensive, and plan on doing food runs when I'm driving to other places anyway. My major gripe? No guest parking via my building: I hesitate to invite friends over if they don't already live downtown because I don't want to say, "and bring $7 for parking."

But overall, the balance is on the positive side by far. I'm never bored, whether I'm exploring on foot, taking pictures (almost any random photo automatically looks picturesque!), using DASH and subways to get to further sites, going to free events at the library and around town, classic movies at the old Million Dollar, and the fabric district for more fabric and LA dogs (with bacon and pico de gallo and avocado, yum!). I walk to the post office, my doctor, my dentist, to do groceries, to the movies, to eat, to listen to outdoor concerts. Target is opening in a few months, LA Cafe delivers all night, and Koreatown and Hollywood are only a subway ride away!

I'm happier living downtown than I ever was in the Valley or the Westside. And it's only getting better :)

— Jasmijn
April 9, 2012 at 8:32 p.m.

Downtown L.A. from the perspective of a 30-something caucasian female living here for 5 years & ready to move out:

The Good: Great restaurants; Little Tokyo; Shopping in the Garment District; Amazing views; Mostly quiet at night/weekends (depending on location); As gentrification brings new businesses it only improves; The Metro & DASH busses make it easy to get around; Rents are still affordable; Arts district is fun; There is a local security force on bicycles that cruise around & keep an eye on things; People are mostly friendly, if standoffish.

The Bad: Traffic is insane at rush hour, causing jams, smog & noise; Excluding bars, really nothing is open after 9 PM & many restaurants won't deliver food here; Food choices are improving but there are virtually no choices for vegetarians or vegans; Ralph's Fresh Fare is great, but it's the only supermarket unless you drive out of Downtown; At night, drunk college kids scream & yell on the streets & then drive drunk and erratically; Parades & protests block up Broadway & can be very loud; Emergency vehicles are constantly blaring sirens & car alarms go off for hours at a time; Movies & TV shows are frequently filmed here, it's mostly harmless but occasionally they will block your street, film gunfights, explosions or screaming crowd scenes all night & some parking might be unavailable due to the trailers; People do not generally pick up after their dogs; There is a lot of littering; People spy into other buildings with binoculars (yes, I've seen them.)

The Ugly: From the point of view of a woman, I am constantly being harassed, stalked & followed, yelled at, grabbed & groped, I feel extremely unsafe here & I am armed to the teeth when I leave the house at any hour. It is not at all safe to be out alone after dark in Downtown, but for a woman it's especially unsafe; Crime is very high. Theft is especially high, I never leave the house with any cash, valuables or wearing jewelry. There is so much shoplifting that after 5 years, I have yet to go into a drugstore & not see someone stealing something; There are a lot of drug dealers; The California Sex Offender site results for Downtown are terrifying; Criminals leave the Twin Towers Jail & come right into Downtown, they are often heavily gang-tattooed & anti-social, picking fights with locals & harassing women; The homeless are everywhere & can be very aggressive. Whether they drink & do drugs or are mentally unstable, they are unpredictable & often loud at all hours (singing, screaming, picking fights, etc.) They urinate & defecate literally everywhere- there are public pay toilets but they use them for drugs and sex, so Downtown smells really bad- except after a rain; There are great cultural differences in a small area & this leads to a lot of misunderstandings; The gentrification is progressing, but I would wait at least 10 years before considering living in Downtown L.A. again.

— Downtown Girl
May 30, 2011 at 7:23 p.m.

Ok so Im hopping that this helps me out a little bit i really enjoyed reading the comments concerning downtown and im moving there from Michigan in a month i spent 10 years in Jacksonville Florida and im told that im going to be culture shocked any comments or advice you can give me im used to seeing homeless people and crime but is this place really that bad??? im moving to the main and washington area thoughts?? Thanks

— Cory
December 21, 2010 at 12:31 a.m.

I'm so glad the liberals don't let me carry a gun. There's so many crimes I can't even see the cross streets of where I work , but God forbid I defend my life and the property I worked so hard for. THANKS!!

— Ryan
October 7, 2010 at 10:01 p.m.

Downtown was always a special place to me when I lived in LA. I remember how beautiful the Library Tower looked as it stood out against the fading light. The sound of the traffic fighting down Fifth to secure their space on the 110 fwy. The colourful people found at Pershing Square and on the Red Line. During the Holidays, Grand Ave was always dressed up nice and festive.

Then there were the even more colourful folks on Winston Street between Los Angeles and San Pedro in front of the Misery House. My sister was among those who watched parked cars on Winston, making sure no one messed w/ them as their owners shopped the Toy District. Since she was an amputee, lost her left leg, she was always assured a handsome tip. I worked at Cal Worthington Ford during the day in Long Beach, I would wrestle down the 110 every evening to pick her up, she always made some nice cash. We would return to our flat in Koreatown, then bright and early the next day I would drop her off on Winston if she missed her bus.

My sister is now dead, she passed away back in 2005. Since then, I cannot look at Winston Street anymore because it wouldn't seem right not seeing her in front of the Misery House. I cannot go back to Winston Street and visit w/ the shopkeepers I came to know and love, as their first question will always be "Where's Sharon?" I prefer to keep the lovely memories of Downtown w/ my sister in them, which is also why I moved home to AZ. God bless Downtown.

— Edge
May 21, 2010 at 6:31 p.m.

I have lived downtown for 10 years and some of my earliest memories are going to the Broadway store with my Grandmother in the late 50's. I still have the photos and thankfully, I still enjoy the poetry. The buildings, the light, the stores filled with people of the past, yes, the ghosts. I am not bored yet. Each day is still a wonder.

— Paul Warner
February 6, 2010 at 7:21 p.m.

I have lived in downtown (South Park) all of my life and can honestly say that it's been a great place to live. Yes, it is true that downtown has Skid Row with all its drug and homeless issues. Every major city has one so we are not unique. There have always been hidden jewels in the area and now in the last five years have been discovered and explored. The 2010 Census will flip the 2000 census around guaranteed. And on a final note some individuals are just plain ignorant, describing what they saw as they drove by on their car is not a solid foundation to describe an area and the people who live there. Indivudulas who live downtown are the only opinions that can be taken seriously.....

— Cesar
February 3, 2010 at 10:35 a.m.

A lil more than 5 yrs ago I came downtown after a messy divorce, poor business decisions in a slide that landed me on skid row. My first night there I was shell shocked by endless supplys of crack, a heroin addict passed out with a needle hanging from his arm & a woman being raped from the side of a car. It was Apocalypse. Flash forward today & the drugs and violence are still there albeit corralled to the core of Skid row. Fresh new businesses abound, art galleries, & restaurants open each week & the streets no longer reek of urine and feces. Whats more important is that im stable, can afford a loft & decided to stay Downtown with pride, & not shame 5 years hence

— Will B.
January 15, 2010 at 9:38 a.m.

They should really make more of an effort to show updated population and income figures, etc., for downtown. Most of the residential development downtown has taken place since 2000, I'd be willing to bet that the population of downtown has doubled or more since the last census, and most of it young professionals living in the lofts or condos that have been opening up in the old warehouses and other buildings. Downtown LA is still a mess compared to San Diego or most other major cities, but it's a whole lot better than it was in 2000...

— Matt
November 29, 2009 at 12:19 a.m.

I have been on skid row it's a joke !

The homeless is spoiled on skid row . all these different churches of all denomination come down and feed every week, the homeless knows what time and every corner to hit and keep the food or sale it. No one can go hungry on skid row. The homeless waits for a give away that is why they won't change due to the attitude ," if i sit here some one going to feel pity for me and give me money, food and clothes."

I talked w/ some of the homeless and they stated" why do i have to work i receive my GR and food stamp" Give me a monthly stipend of $121.00 of food stamps Damn people stop!!!!!

They have an income CALIFORNIA GENERAL RELIEF( $ 2,652) or SSI $10, 440.00 annual in which they use their income for drugs and we feed them. go to San Julian st. between 6th /7th st in front of the lamp program on the 1st between the 10th of the month you'll see the same ones begging for money on the street corner. They have housing better than mine for $63.00 a month or free depending on the story they can tell Housing Authority some singles bigger than the my mini lofts w/ all utilities paid. Where is CALIFORNIA BUDGET / USA BUDGETS going to the homeless. public welfare for 10 years or more, Illegal immigrants that has HIV treatment for free, housing free and social service all ( federally funded)

Damn start looking @ all the opportunity they have . If we keep giving they won't move. It is help and very few who are taking advantage and moving on but so many won't and are afraid of moving cause they believe they can make it or just won't live life on life terms due " Why do have to it is free. Sometimes you just get tired of almost hitting someone when you driving. think before you give or just give to a child so they won't have to feel so hopeless and give up on life. Matter of fact take a ride say a pray.

November 26, 2009 at 10:13 a.m.

I didn't know what to expect when I moved to Downtown LA from NYC. I suppose I expected the LA that I saw in the news from many years ago, but when the word gets out about how fantastic Downtown LA has become, I think many more people will be moving here. Any large city has it's "Baby Jane Hudson's" and desperados, but overall the Downtown scene is very clean and clearly all the new art galleries, restaurants and beautiful condominiums that are springing up make Downtown the place to be.

All the gay men walking their dogs are certainly the tell tale sign of an emerging prosperity. Ask any of the former residents of the West Village, Chelsea or Hell's Kitchen about that.

— Craig
October 9, 2009 at 10:58 a.m.

I live in what is called the "Arts District", a few square blocks North and South of 4th St, East of Alameda. I've lived in this area for 7 years now, and have seen the transformation personally. When I first moved here, on the first night of staying in my new place, I witnessed a bum smoking a seemingly endless amount of crack rock next to my buildings dumpster. Every change since that first (eye opening) night has been good. Today you can walk just about anywhere in this neighborhood at night without hesitation. And there are some great bars and restaurants less than a block in both directions. I don't plan on moving away anytime soon (got a super deal on a medium loft space), and I'd highly recommend a walkabout to anyone.

— Jwood
September 22, 2009 at 10:26 a.m.

I have seen some crazy things. Things that shouldn't be done out in the public. If it wasn't for my job I wouldn't visit L.A

It's disgusting!!

— bell
September 15, 2009 at 7:44 p.m.

Due to a new job, we have had to move downtown and have been amazed at the change over the last few years... new restaurants packed with people on a week night, pedestrians after 6PM on most streets, new condos and apartments everywhere.

Our place is less than three blocks from Disney Hall, an upscale supermarket (Ralph's Fresh Fare), a pleasant park, the YMCA gym, MOCA, Macy's and a host of great restaurants... not to mention one block from a subway station.

This is not the downtown I remember from twenty years ago... seems more like Chelsea in Manhattan or the near north side of Chicago...

There is still much to be done, but living here is comfortable, exciting and safe.

— Blair
September 12, 2009 at 1:26 p.m.

Yes it's true, Downtown leaves a lot to be desired. But don't let one trip through skid row ruin your perception of the neighborhood. West of Main Street, Downtown actually has a lot to offer.

I would recommend getting out of your car and walking down the historic Spring, Broadway, Hill and Olive street corridors. Look around. You don't have to be an architecture critic to appreciate the intricacy of the neighborhood's historic buildings.

Downtown proves that, tucked far behind its grime, crime and congestion, L.A. actually does have a past worth remembering.

— Andy
September 2, 2009 at 12:34 a.m.

i come down to so. cal every winter from portland to surf

one time, i drove through the 'fashion' district just to see what LA is like

it was pretty cool to see all those scary bums all over the place

im glad my car did not break down

and im also glad those guys are not in portland

where i live they are preaching about this new urbanism and high density and light rail blah blah blah

but i hope it never happens because the end product will be just like your fashion district

so i say to all you californians, come up to oregon for a visit and spend some $, our economy needs it

go skiing, rafting, mtn biking, wind surfing, hiking, etc

and then go back home and please dont move here, thank you

— oregon111
August 30, 2009 at 4:17 p.m.

I want to know the history on, university hills, in los angeles, california 90032

— mary
August 23, 2009 at 4:37 p.m.

Information above is so outdated for downtown! See this:

April 15 (Bloomberg) -- The population of downtown Los Angeles is growing, aging and better educated after a decade of residential and entertainment construction.

The area’s population climbed to 39,537 last year from 28,878 in 2006, according to a study released today by the Downtown Center Business Improvement District and Los Angeles- based Lauren Schlau Consulting. The median age of survey respondents jumped to 37 from 31 two years earlier, and the percentage of participants who had finished four years of college rose to 78 from 76.5.

“These are affluent, educated professionals, in many instances, who are working downtown,”

— Philip
August 20, 2009 at 8:26 a.m.

The "dirty little secret" of Skid Row is that NOBODY in such places like the Union Rescue Mission, the L.A. Mission, and Emmanuel Baptist Mission, have any interest in helping anybody out of Skid Row! In fact, they will thwart you. Thank GOD for places like St. Vincent's and their Director Joan Sotiros. Doing TRUE CHRISTIAN work. Not just screaming about Jeeeeeeeeesus!

— Ken
August 19, 2009 at 1:21 a.m.

Downtown LA is changing. Gentrification seems to be taking care of the obvious, but I cant help but wonder where this huge homeless population will relocate.

All in all, Los Angeles is Wild, and i LOVE it. Perhaps I'm simply too young, and therefore, naive and romantic, but I'm going to miss LA. MA has a big gap to fill.

— antonio
August 18, 2009 at 9:23 a.m.

They're all monopolizing cult tards.. they were all appointed by an illegal monopoly private society .. they all put on a big facade of being smart or having some status .. one day those wealth neighborhoods will look like downtown Baghdad. because the people of US are all uniformly sick of the playhouse facades of gluttony and monopoly and those places will end up poor as hell . no more money for your monopolies on movies, music, so-called fashion, etc ... get real jobs wealth cult bums

— WealthCultDestroyer
August 15, 2009 at 9:31 a.m.

Little Tokyo is the epicenter of Japanese American Culture: cuisine, history, schools of discipline in the fine and martial arts, business and commerce.

However, Little Tokyo serves Downtown as an oasis of quiet and green. At the Japanese American Community & Cultural Center, there is an elegant "sunken" Japanese Garden, and there is an "elevated" Japanese Garden with a rushing waterfall on the 3rd floor of the Kyoto Grand Hotel (nee Hotel New Otani).

Also, where can one find such a high concentration of excellent Japanese restaurants as well as high quality Japanese markets and shops? In a city without many traditions, if one snoops around, there is a Japanese pastry shop on 1st Street that has been family owned and in business for over 100 years.

I am always exploring our city, and finding really interesting cultural nooks and crannies. I feel that Little Tokyo is one of the finest jewels in the crown that is downtown.

— Gary Idama
June 16, 2009 at 11:42 p.m.

we the people of LA need to stand up and fight on what we beleave in i beleave that the government can help more then what they say,they need to get off there ass and grow up and start to make a change for the people would they want to be down there in hell thats the name for skidrow for me HELL cause thats what it is and it needs to change stop running you mouth and help the homeless less talking and more action and you will see the diffrence.Familys in skidrow are lost and don't know what to do there is alot of shelters for woman with kids and both of the parents with kids but there is only very few for men with children.if someone or everyone were to give out things like shelter to the familys i mean one family for each person or church then there would be no homeless familys on skidrow but what are you going to do about it.....anyone

— chris vesper
June 15, 2009 at 2:20 p.m.

i know about the one in Az with paster tommy barnnet anyways it not that bad but in skid row it is and i would like to see people stand up and help out the people that are in there cause if they did i mean the homeless famliys like me then everything would get better but i guess people don't have hearts that are that big to put out a hard for me cause my dad can't work that well like he use to and if he could then it would be good but he cant so im trying to help the best way i can but im in a program at the dream center and i have to worry about school i just don't know what to do....

— chris
June 15, 2009 at 1:57 p.m.

we have a dream center here in phoenix,

AZ it is not in the best place either.

I hate Families to be homeless,

Chin - up Chris

— bearson bear
June 15, 2009 at 1:14 p.m.

Look my name is chris and I'm 17 i lived in skid row with my famliy for 2 and half years cause we got robbed and we still are looking for a place but skid row needs love and needs people that really want to make a change if people get together to help out the homeless i promise skidrow will change into a great and clean place but you have to start helping more first i stay at the Dream Center right now

— chris vesper
June 9, 2009 at 10:11 a.m.

These downtown rankings don't make any sense. The lowest income in the city, but apartments start at $1750 for a 1-bedroom? Are you counting homeless people?

— Corey
June 3, 2009 at 3:06 p.m.


is a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles in the Central L.A. region of Los Angeles County. It contains Bunker Hill, Civic Center, fashion district, industrial district, jewelry district, Little Tokyo, Old Bank District and skid row.
Find Your Neighborhood

Search by address

Select a neighborhood

Select a region

Select a ranking

About This Project
Downtown is one of the 272 neighborhoods in Mapping L.A., The Times’ resource for crime, neighborhoods, demographics and schools.
About The Data Desk

This page was created by the Data Desk, a team of reporters and Web developers in downtown L.A.