As horse drawn carriages draped with sprays of fragrant flowers, dewy in the early spring sunshine, made their way through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, a short-lived L.A. tradition was born. Fiesta de las Flores, as the flower-driven parade was called when it took place periodically between 1894 and 1916, didn’t have the longevity of Pasadena’s Rose Parade, but you can still catch glimpses of its legacy inside Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown, where floral accents harken to that forgotten facet of the city’s history.

In fact, much of the hotel’s interior design was inspired by the history of its surroundings, from the cityscapes and historical photos of local landmarks on the guestroom walls, to the spa-style bathrooms that nod to Golden Age Hollywood glamor. According to Richard Tennill, a partner at Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) who helped craft the hotel’s signature interior design, even the hotel’s elevators have themes that nod to the city’s past—Fiesta de las Flores, the city’s once thriving speakeasies, and the jewelry that gave a nearby district its name. Every good work of art and design needs a muse and the HBA team found theirs in Anna May Wong, the groundbreaking Asian-American Hollywood superstar of the Golden Age of film. Wong was an L.A. native and her backstory became their creative inspiration. “She would have grown up watching the parade having been born blocks from the [Fiesta de las Flores] parade route,” Richard says. “And she became a star that would have been featured in the theaters on those very streets.”

You may not be able to catch that bygone flower parade during your stay at Hotel Indigo, but there are lots of other spots where L.A. history comes to life across downtown L.A. We asked Richard to walk us through some of his favorite downtown destinations.

1. Angels Flight Railway

351 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Angels Flight has been a downtown landmark since 1901.
Angels Flight has been a downtown landmark since 1901. Jared Cowan

At the dawn of the 1900s, when downtown commuters needed a quick way to get from Hill Street up to Olive Street, the solution became a steep, 298-foot railway up the hill. That funicular, called Angels Flight, is still creeping up Bunker Hill today—and a ride will only set you back a buck. For a short railway, Angels Flight has a long history and a high profile. You’ve probably spotted it in films like La La Land and The Muppets or on TV shows like Perry Mason and Bosch. Richard recommends starting at the top and taking the railway down to the lower station, which is situated right across the street from Grand Central Market, the city’s most vibrant and historic food hall.

2. Los Angeles Theatre

615 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014

The lobby of Los Angeles Theatre is an awe-striking example of the majestic design that was popular during the heyday of L.A.'s grand movie palaces.
The lobby of Los Angeles Theatre is an awe-striking example of the majestic design that was popular during the heyday of L.A.’s grand movie palaces. Jared Cowan

If you exit Grand Central Market onto Broadway, you find yourself just a couple blocks away from Los Angeles Theatre, which sits on the north end of the Historic Broadway Theatre District. Over the course of just two decades—between 1911 and 1931—a dozen grand movie palaces were built along Broadway. Los Angeles Theatre was the last to be erected and it was also the most spectacular, with its carved plaster details, swooshing crimson curtains, and gargantuan, glistening chandeliers. “It was definitely part of our inspiration for the hotel,” Richard says. Today, the 2,000-seat theater is open mostly for special events (Cinespia, the city’s favorite itinerant film exhibition series hosts screenings there), but keep an eye out for tours offered through the Los Angeles Conservancy, too.

3. Bradbury Building

304 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

The Bradbury Building might look average from the outside, but its interior is one of L.A.'s most famous architectural marvels.
The Bradbury Building might look average from the outside, but its interior is one of L.A.’s most famous architectural marvels. Jared Cowan

There’s an iconic scene in the 1982 sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner in which Harrison Ford makes his way into an eerily lit building with a towering glass ceiling and staircases that look like they’re straight out of an M.C. Escher drawing. It’s a hauntingly beautiful space in that darkened state, but you should really catch a glimpse of the famed Bradbury Building during the day, when sunlight catches the marvelous ironwork and ornate tiling. The circa-1890s office building is one of L.A.’s most architecturally interesting structures—beloved by design buffs and movie makers alike—besides Blade Runner, it’s also appeared in 500 Days of Summer, Chinatown, and The Artist. Today, the Bradbury is still a functioning office building with a second floor coworking space. It’s worth peeking your head in if you’re an architecture buff.

4. Original Los Angeles Flower Market

754 Wall St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

The Original Los Angeles Flower Market is a colorful feast for the eyes.
The Original Los Angeles Flower Market is a colorful feast for the eyes. Jared Cowan

The spirit of Fiesta de las Flores is alive and well at the Original Los Angeles Flower Market, which has been in operation in L.A. since 1919. When the sun is still creeping upwards over the eastern horizon, the building becomes awash with color as vendors open their stalls and start selling the freshest flowers and plants you can buy. You don’t have to be a florist to enjoy the sensory experience of it all. Get there early for the freshest picks of the day (the market actually opens at 4 a.m.), and feel free to approach vendors with questions about various plants and flowers, and even to create custom arrangements. You might not need florals for your hotel room, but Richard suggests getting something small, like a corsage you can take home with you. Of course, you can also just snap a bunch of colorful photos for the ‘gram. And if you aren’t an early bird, be sure to swing by nearby Sonoratown for tacos after you shop.

5. Seven Grand

515 W 7th St 2nd floor, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Whiskey bar Seven Grand exudes classic cool.
Whiskey bar Seven Grand exudes classic cool. Jared Cowan

Speakeasies are as much a part of L.A.’s history as flowers and film stars. This dimly lit whiskey bar really channels the vibes of that era. “It’s just a great whiskey bar,” Richard says. “The walls are lined with a beautiful display of bottles and there’s a big, long bar.” There’s even a ladder that allows the bartenders to access the rows of bottles that are beyond arm’s reach. With its tufted leather banquettes and pool tables, it’s like a swanky men’s club, but imminently less retrograde. Big whiskey buffs will probably drink their selection neat, but Richard recommends getting the Penicillin, a Scotch-based drink with ginger and lemon. And if you want an even more intimate vibe, be sure to slip into Bar Jackalope, a sort of speakeasy within a speakeasy inside Seven Grand.