Japanese Village PlazaJapanese Village Plaza. All photos by Carmen Chan.

Within the confines of cars, barriers are created between the driver and the outside world, an environment rich with culture, people, and beauty. In Los Angeles, a city of over 3 million people and with a county 4 times as large, there is much to see, hear, feel, and be a part of, all of which may be easily overlooked in our point-to-point commute within these private capsules of transportation. This mini-bike tour outlines parts of downtown Los Angeles, highlighting a snippet of what this city has to offer on two wheels.

Start off at the Little Tokyo Japanese Village Plaza at the entrance on 2nd St (this is a good starting location being that it’s close to the Gold Line trains which bicycles can ride for free). Head Northwest on 2nd St towards Main St.

At the intersection of Main and 2nd lies Pitfire Pizza Company, a favorite amongst office workers around the area and locals alike. Along this commute, don’t forget to look up and admire the view of the Disney Concert Hall nestled amongst downtown skyscrapers.

The Pitfire Pizza Company

Next, continue onto 2nd and Spring St. where you’ll notice two things: the L.A. Times Building and Los Angeles’ first painted bike lane, adorning Spring street in neon green.

Angels Flight

Make a left at Hill and 2nd St. Admire the tree lined streets of Hill, arriving at Angels Flight, a tiny piece of Los Angeles History amidst the plethora of modern development in the surrounding areas. Cross the street and take a tour of the Grand Central Market, full of food, produce, and even Chinese massages. Let the sights and smells of the market draw you in.

Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market

Leaving Grand Central Market, hop back on your bike and continue on Hill until you reach 5th street. Consider taking a break in Pershing Square with your fresh produce, and bask in the California sun, nestling yourself against a backdrop of the downtown skyscrapers.

Pershing Square

Pershing Square

6th and Hill street marks the beginnings of the Jewelry District where you can satisfy some of your shopping needs, or simply do some window shopping.

Leaving the Jewelry District

Making a left at Hill and 7th St, you will come upon St. Vincent’s Court on your left, a quaint alleyway with cafés and shops, reminiscent of the romantic alleyways of Europe.

Continuing down 7th St., we once again hit Spring St, this time in the Gallery Row district where the Downtown Art Walk takes place the 2nd Thursday of every month.

At the intersection of Los Angeles and 7th St, you’ll be at the cusp of the Fashion and Warehouse districts where you can find all kinds of goodies to further satisfy any shopping needs. Explore the sights and sounds of Los Angeles St., heading back in the direction we came from, arriving at 1st street.

Here at 1st & Los Angeles St, stop to admire the architecture that is the LA Department of Transportation building before making a right and riding back towards the Japanese Village Plaza, where you can choose to end the journey, or continue on, exploring much more of what Los Angeles has to offer.

Map of the bike tour route

 city spotlight, downtown

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