I have, until today, hated going downtown. Downtown is hilly. It's urban. It's never temperate. Roads are one way. Transitioning from the 101 to the 10 is a nightmare. Parking is a bitch. Downtown sucks.
I was wrong. Downtown does not suck. Now that I've been a few times, for jury duty and such, I am no longer afraid of downtown. I took the red line (the LA subway!) to Pershing Square, walked up to the Central Library to grab some soundtracks they only had at that branch, then down to Main Street to Nickel Diner for lunch. Nickel Diner is famous for its maple-bacon doughnut. Since bacon is not my thing, I had a burger-meh-and a slice of s'mores cake. 'Cause if this goes by your table, you can't not order it. I justify it because I didn't have any fries.
It was very rich and the graham cracker is kind of tough to eat, so I suggest only getting it if you're quite hungry and have someone to share it with. And have a jackhammer.
Main Street is fantastic. I had time to kill before I had to be at the Downtown Independent, which was showing a film of the National Theatre run of Danny Boyle's Frankenstein. Between Nickel and the Independent there are two independent bookstores, Metropolis Books and the Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, as well as an art supply shop.
The Independent accidentally showed us the first 20 minutes or so of the wrong version of Frankenstein (we had come for Benedict Cumberbatch as the creature and Jonny Lee Miller as Victor Frankenstein, they showed us Cumberbatch as Victor and Miller as the creature--Cumberbatch is a better creature, I think). To apologize for the mishap, they gave us free popcorn and soda, which was great. I will definitely go back to the Independent.
So don't be scared of DTLA. Especially during the day. It may not be Beverly Hills or West Hollywood or even the Valley, but it's pretty damn cool all the same.