10 Reasons Why You Need to Visit This Historic, Design-Driven Los Angeles Neighborhood
West Adams is a vibrant enclave of L.A. fueled by creativity and excellent eats.
West Adams, a neighborhood situated in South Los Angeles, has been a hub for Black artists and creators since the 1940s. And though it undoubtedly has always held historical significance, the area formerly known as Sugar Hill has recently seen a surge of development and attention by creative types who’ve filled the storefronts and restaurants with fresh energy and great design. Artists like Mara Brock Akil have chosen West Adams to center their work, and rising star chefs like Keith Corbin of Alta Adams are pushing the West Coast culinary narrative forward while holding true to its soulful roots. Here are some of our favorite businesses in the neighborhood celebrating the area’s dynamic history and promising future.
1. Alsace LA Hotel
When this 48-room boutique hotel on West Adams Boulevard opened in 2021, all hopes of this refreshed design district staying under the radar were dashed. Decked in creamy upholstery and warm terracotta accessories, it’s an oasis of calm in a vibrant community. Plans for an onsite restaurant have been delayed, but there’s plenty of food and drink (like a new outpost of Tartine, just a few blocks west) within walking distance. alsacehotella.com
2. Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Meditation Garden
Three days a week between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., visitors are allowed to walk the gardens and labyrinth at the headquarters for the Movement of Spiritual and Inner Awareness. Amble through the grounds, or sit quietly by the fountain at this unexpected retreat in the center of L.A.’s urban sprawl. $6, reservations required; peacelabyrinth.org/tours
3. Ray Charles Foundation Memorial Library
On nearby Washington Boulevard, Ray Charles’ former recording studio and office are West Adams-adjacent, but still a part of the neighborhood’s heartbeat. Fans of the legendary recording artist can stroll past his gold records and iconic outfits. By appointment only; please note that as of March 2023 the museum is temporarily closed; theraycharlesfoundation.org/memorial-library
4. Free Bike Tour
On the first Sunday of the month at 11 a.m., adopt-a-bike founder and Realtor Jose Prats leads curious cyclists on a free tour of the neighborhood, which includes a brief history of the area. (And maybe a few new listings?) Check out @westadamsbiketour on Instagram.
5. Band of Vices Gallery
A self-described “art and culture company” committed to providing a platform to marginalized creative communities, these gallery spaces showcase a curated exhibition program. Check out the events calendar for an updated list of happenings. bandofvices.com/galleries
This Mediterranean grill, serving delicious, modern Moroccan/Israeli food, cranks out pillow-soft pita, spit-roasted chicken, kebabs, and Jerusalem salad in three locations across L.A.—but the West Adams outpost was the first. Order a side of crispy broccoli with za’atar and capers and then think about nothing else for days. mizlala.com/westadams
7. Delicious Pizza by Delicious Vinyl
The iconic independent record label founded in the late ’80s that introduced the world to Tone Loc, Young MC, and The Pharcyde has been in business for a whopping 30 years. Back in 2015, the founders opened Delicious Pizza as a hub for community activities and events—one that also happened to deliver on the promise of its name. If you visit West Adams and love it, give proper credit to the Delicious team for helping to put it back on the map. deliciouspizza.com
8. Kneeland Co.
Shop owner and textile expert Joanna Williams is a purveyor of exquisite handmade goods she’s gathered during her global travels. None of it’s cheap, but most of what she offers is one-of-a-kind and worth the splurge. By appointment; kneelandco.com
9. The Global Trunk
A decade ago, a visit to Guatemala inspired owner Josetta Sbeglia and her niece, Cathy Benavides, to open a cheery storefront for sustainable, fair trade, responsible home goods, and textiles showcasing the handiwork of the community. In 2022, their company became a Certified B Corporation, meeting the highest standards of environmental and social impact. theglobaltrunk.com
10. Alta Adams & Adams Wine Shop
Chefs Corbin and Daniel Patterson promise an inclusive setting, comforting food, great cocktails, and a lively atmosphere at their restaurant, Alta Adams, and they deliver on all fronts. Their interpretation of soul food, a collision of West African flavors and California cuisine, is as satisfying as it gets. Next door, the Adams Wine Shop focuses on bottles produced by women and BIPOC creators from around the world. altaadams.com