Koreatown is a diverse cultural hub in the heart of Los Angeles that is rooted in tradition without skimping on stylish and trendy joints. From the architectural character of Wilshire Boulevard running through the heart of the neighborhood, to a legendary music venue and authentic barbecuey goodness on every corner, there’s a lot to sink your teeth into in L.A.’s densest neighborhood.
The Line Hotel in Downtown Koreatown has some of the most versatile lounge areas in Koreatown. All open to the public, the Line Hotel features a café, club, and restaurant. All three have a minimalistic vibe, but you’ll be floored by the cool venue and the decadent eats, masterminded by K-town culinary royalty Roy Choi.
The Wiltern is another of LA’s most famous theatres. Most recently, the Wiltern’s façade was featured in the promotions for the premiere of Lana Del Rey’s new video, ‘Freak,’ and it was also the location of Adele’s pre-Grammy concert in February 2016. Originally designed to be a multi-tiered movie theater, the space operates now as a concert venue with seated balcony space and a floor space that’s typically standing and general admission. It feels larger than it is, which ensures that the intimate experience isn’t going to feel too crowded or claustrophobic while still giving everyone in the room a good view of the stage.
The Korean American National Museum is one of the finest museums in Los Angeles. Their exhibits include the stories of the many people who live in this neighborhood, and tell the tale of generations before them. A visit to this museum will allow you to gain more empathy and understanding of the Korean culture. The museum is also deeply involved in community activities, and serves as a good resource for upcoming events in the area.
This Asian-styled shopping mall is the place to hang out. It’s a hotspot for teenagers who live in the neighborhood, but for good reason. The Koreatown Plaza has a wide range of shops, including ones you find in standard American and Korean malls. It also has an impressive food court on the bottom floor, making it convenient for grabbing a nice lunch or afternoon snack. This plaza is a great reflection on the shopping culture of Koreatown.
The Chapman Market is another gem on Wilshire Boulevard. The 1929 Spanish Revival style fortress is home to dozens of shops all snuggled around a cozy courtyard. It is famously known as the first ‘drive-through’ grocery store when it first opened. Here you can find various floral shops, salons, cafés, and restaurants all in one spot.
The restaurant with the best Korean BBQ is hotly debated in this neighborhood, but many will agree that Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong is a top competitor. This delicious and unconventional Korean BBQ joint is high on the radar for good places to dine in. Located in the Chapman Market, it has been home to some of the best Korean BBQ for almost 5 years. While there is usually quite a wait, the food is delicious and you will finish every single bite.
This family-owned and operated donut shop has been a prideful stop at the border of Koreatown for over 30 years. California Donuts is home to almost any donut you can imagine: this shop serves some of the tastiest and most decorative donuts in the entire city. They are open 24 hours a day, everyday of the year, so your sweet tooth will never have to suffer.
Visit Gaam for loads of entertainment and great atmosphere. It’s the best spot in town for a good time with a group of friends. Not only is this karaoke bar one of the most social, late night lounges in Koreatown, but the restaurant adjacent to it with the same name also offers food; making this a go-to if you are new in town.
If you are looking to get active, visit Los Angeles’ largest semi-indoor golf range at the Aroma Resort. The Aroma Resort features a 150-yard golf range that is open to the public. Boasting four levels, a fully automated tee-up system, and an optional instructor, this golf range is great for first timers and seasoned professionals.
This art gallery features works from students who learn from the native Los Angeles artist Ann Bridges. Her collection, which is also featured in the gallery, features the many landscapes that grace the state of California. This is a fun gallery to visit if you want to learn about California through the eyes of this inspiring artist. *Bonus tip! Walk down Wilshire Boulevard to the corner of Ardmore Avenue for an awesome view of the Hollywood sign and Griffith Park.