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It’s no secret that gentrification has sparked an economic boom in downtown L.A.’s historic core. But staying overnight doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank
1. UNION STATION
Ditch the car in the underground parking garage. At $6 a day, it’s half the price of hotel parking. » 800 N. Alameda St.
2. METRO ART TOUR
The works of more than 300 artists adorn L.A.’s subway walls. Free tours leave union Station on the first Sunday of the month. Take the tour and you’ll get a TAP card that’s good all day for free rides.
3. LOS ANGELES ATHLETIC CLUB
Exit the Metro/7th Street Station and hie thee to this members-only health emporium. It’s at least $20 cheaper than the nearby Standard hotel and includes breakfast and Wi-Fi. » 431 W. 7th St.
Ricardo Zarate’s menu at his modern Peruvian restaurant is tasty and affordable. A chalkboard outside promises one entrée, two sides, and dessert for $15 at lunch. » 514 W. 7th St.
5. MUSIC CENTER/GRAND PARK
At the last minute you can still nab $20 seats at the Ahmanson and Mark Taper theaters. Before a show, ramble through the lovely new Grand Park. » 135 N. Grand Ave.
The architecture on the fabled boulevard includes movie palaces, the ghosts of majestic department stores, and the bustling Grand Central Market, which dates to 1917. » 317 S. Broadway
7. THE LAST BOOKSTORE
Once a two- story bank lobby, this store has more than 100,000 titles priced at $1. Leather-bound tomes are bent into sculptures, and one of the vaults houses the sci-fi works of L. Ron Hubbard. » 453 S. Spring St.
8. DOWNTOWN INDEPENDENT
Free comedy shows, subtitled movies, and the occasional Mars landing are on the bill at this futuristic nightspot. Tickets are half price with your TAP card. » 251 S. Main St.
9. BLUE WHALE
Sunday nights feature $5 jam sessions at this jazz club. Tucked away on the third floor of a shopping plaza (where Curry House is located), the joint is hard to find but worth the hunt. » 23 Astronaut E S Onizuka St., #301
10. LES NOCES DU FIGARO
The candelabra-lit offshoot of the Los Feliz bistro hosts a late-night happy hour. After 11 p.m., beers are $3 and a glass of wine is $4. » 618 S. Broadway
WHERE TO SLEEP
LOS ANGELES ATHLETIC CLUB, $185
WHAT TO BRING
SMALL BILLS, A SENSE OF HISTORY
AVERAGE MARCH TEMP
HIGH 70 ̊/LOW 51 ̊
This feature originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of Los Angeles magazine