To visit St. Vincent Court is to feel oneself whisked from the hustle and bustle of downtown Los Angeles to the center of an old European city.
The small square is named for its original owner, St. Vincent’s College (now Loyola University), which enjoyed the unique privilege of being the first institution of higher learning in southern California back in 1868.
The little alley became useful when the massive Bullock’s department store opened beside it—it was where deliveries were received and sent out. Over the decades the alleyway became such a popular congregating spot that Bullock’s let it out to small businesses. Italian restaurants and espresso bars populated St. Vincent’s Court. In 1957 the plain alleyway was decorated like an ancient European lane, with plaster facades and a brick-paved street.
Now home to mostly Middle Eastern restaurants, this quaint little alleyway still looks like it belongs in Rome or Florence rather than downtown Los Angeles. During the day, with ample umbrella-covered al fresco dining, the scene is a lively and welcoming respite from the world around it. You may feel yourself transported to a place and time altogether unlike the Los Angeles we know today.
Know Before You Go
Between Broadway and Hill Street in Downtown Los Angeles. Accessible through a breezeway off the north side of 7th Street. Look for a street sign as well as a sign affixed to the building above the entrance.