It took me 4 months in LA to make it downtown during the day. At night, it was a dead city. My impressions and judgements of the place were over crowded by the amount of homeless people I'd seen. I had spent a few nights there, eating at Bottega Louie (which has an impressive sweets display and always order the mushroom fries), rooftop bars and the basketball games.
When my friend came home from a day spent downtown I realised I had to see it during the day. We wandered past the most beautiful, empty old theatres and marvelled at the Walt Disney Concert Hall (designed by Frank Gehry). And further on to a shopping district that reminded me of markets full of hasslers in Morocco and Turkey. My favourite area was the flower district, streets and markets with every type, colour, shape and size flower you can think of. The smell of fresh flowers was so unbelievable, I could have stayed there all day.
I ended up catching the bus downtown a few times more and finally discovered Little Tokyo. With one giant mall which had a huge Japanese grocery store, many cafes and restaurants. I can happily admit that I ate the best Japanese I have ever had in that mall! I've been to Japan and this food was out of this world amazing. The restaurant is Shojin, a Japanese vegan and macrobiotic restaurant. It is in my top 5 places to eat in LA and a must for any visitors! Check it out here. There was also some cool little bars, design stores and traditional food places in Little Tokyo.
If you ever get a chance to check out downtown LA I totally think it is worth the time. Wander around, eat some amazing food and remember there are some particular areas that you don't want to accidently find yourself in so do your research and keep a map on you.