Although its name might confuse you, Koreatown is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Los Angeles.
Most of its residents are descendants of Korean immigrants, but it is also home to large numbers of Latinos and other Asian nationals.
Located west of the city center, it is known for its abundance of nightclubs, karaoke bars and a large market selling exotic products from around the world.
Its convenient location near several major highways gives visitors easy access to many of the city’s major attractions, and for those who don’t want to struggle with traffic, there’s plenty to do nearby.
1. Koreatown Plaza
Koreatown Plaza consists of dozens of shops and is the first American-style shopping mall in Koreatown.
Located near the intersection of 9th and Western, it is a must-see for those looking to immerse themselves in Korean culture.
Shops at the plaza sell everything from Korean health and body products and homewares to international brand handbags and shoes. It features a popular food court with a variety of vendors selling street food style food with an international influence.
For those interested in fast food, Koreatown Plaza is a great place for lunch and dinner. There is also a large grocery store.
2. Korea Pavilion Garden
Southern California is home to numerous residents whose roots can be traced back to Asian countries like Korea, Japan, and China.
The Korean Pavilion Garden is one of many Asian-themed gardens in the Los Angeles area. Since its development in 2006, it has been a much-loved place for quiet reflection for residents interested in a temporary escape from the chaos of the city.
Located on Normandy Avenue in Koreatown, the garden features a traditional gazebo, several unique cultivated fields and comfortable sun seating.
The Korean Garden is known for its peace and harmony, so it may not be suitable for travelers with rowdy children.
3. Park BBQ
Since opening in 2003, Park’s BBQ has continued to attract high-profile clients, including Hollywood A-listers, K-Pop stars and sports stars from Southern California professional teams.
While Korean cuisine is known for staples like kimchi and dumplings, it’s BBQ that takes center stage at Park’s.
The Korean BBQ restaurant features coal-fired tabletop grills, and guests can order raw food from the menu and grill it themselves.
It’s a fun and hands-on way to dine, and every table has a variety of dips, pickled vegetables and all the utensils you need to grill safely.
Park’s is located on South Vermont Avenue in Koreatown.
4. Korean Cultural Center
Although it’s just a few blocks outside the bounds of Koreatown on Los Angeles’ Wilshire Boulevard, the Korea Cultural Center is a worthwhile attraction for travelers looking for a crash course in Korean culture without hanging out at karaoke bars and grills.
In addition to its cultural role, the center is a museum, library, and art exhibition space, offering guests many insights into Korean culture that are so unique.
The staff at the centre are knowledgeable locals who are happy to share their heritage. They are great resources for those looking for other things to see and do in the area, so don’t be shy to ask for advice.
5. Soop Sok Karaoke
For many tourists interested in immersing themselves in Korean culture, singing karaoke is really not their way.
It’s definitely not for everyone, but for those who are willing to try, usually just a few adult drinks will suffice.
Soop Sok Karaoke is one of the most popular karaoke places in Koreatown. It has nearly two dozen private rooms suitable for groups of up to 30 people.
Guests will have access to a vast library of digital songs in multiple languages, a full food and bar menu, sparkling disco balls and high-tech microphones and speakers.
6. The Alchemist Coffee Project
Located on South Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles, just a few blocks west of Koreatown, Alchemist Coffee Project is one of the hippest coffee shops in the area
Unlike its competitors, it offers valet parking and a large selection of hot and cold coffee made from exotic beans from around the world.
While it’s usually their coffee that draws crowds, they also offer a full menu of fresh salads, panini sandwiches, and baked goods like cheesecake and croissants.
Previous guests have appreciated Alchemist’s modern industrial design, efficient staff, comfortable chairs and fast Wi-Fi.
7. Wilton Theatre
Los Angeles has some of the best preserved 1920s and 1930s Art Deco era buildings in the country, and many of the most iconic buildings are just a few blocks from Koreatown.
The Wilton Theater is one of the city’s premier historic landmarks. Throughout its long life, it has been a movie theater and a live entertainment venue, offering everything from plays and vaudeville to burlesque and classic musicals.
During the 1980s, the theatre underwent major renovations and upgrades. It now retains much of its original charm while offering modern seating, lighting and acoustics.
It is located on Wilshire Boulevard about five kilometers northwest of Koreatown.
Sugar-sweetened shaved ice is a popular Korean delicacy that’s all the rage during the summer months, when the heat in Southern California can be depressing.
Although a bit like Italian ice, Korean shaved ice features a variety of unique ingredients such as pumpkin, sweet red beans, and black sesame seeds.
Anko is located on Southwest Avenue in Koreatown. It’s one of the most traditional stores of its kind in the neighborhood.
In addition to shaved ice, their menu includes traditional hot and cold coffee, custard and baked goods.
Anko also offers some natural detox drinks that are said to clear the system of toxins.
9. Kassel Burgers
Burgers aren’t exactly a traditional Korean food, but they’ve taken a fabulous proportion in the city’s trendy culinary scene over the years.
Cassell’s Hamburgers started as a lunch counter in Los Angeles more than six years ago. It still serves up the hearty, unpretentious burgers it did back then.
They grind their own beef on-site every day, still using some of the founder’s original signs and equipment, giving it an old-fashioned feel that, for many visitors, is like walking down memory lane.
Cassell’s is three blocks south of central Koreatown at the intersection of West 6th Street and Normandy Avenue.
10. Aroma Golf Course
With hundreds of days of sunshine each year, golf is one of Southern California’s most popular outdoor activities. Every year, hordes of golfers flock to the desert to escape the harsh winter weather in their hometown.
For golfers coming to Koreatown who don’t have enough time to squeeze in a round, spending a few hours at the Aroma Golf Course is a great option.
Aroma is known as the most expansive semi-indoor driving range in Los Angeles. Despite its location in an urban setting, it has a 150-yard range that allows golfers to enjoy stunning views of the city.
The center is located on Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown.
11. Hui Xing Noodle House
Korean knife-cut noodle soup – or kalguksoo – is a popular comfort food served at restaurants across the city.
Hyesung Noodle House is located on Northwest Avenue in Koreatown. This is a must-visit dining destination for tourists who have never tried kaguksoo as well as Koreans craving for authentic traditional food from childhood.
The soup can be paired with a broth made from anchovies or chicken. It is usually served with sliced pork and pancakes made with chopped vegetables and green onions.
While first-timers might not be able to tell the difference, they handcraft their noodles on site every morning.
12. Ernest E. Debs Regional Park
Although it covers nearly 300 acres, Ernest E. Debs Regional Park is one of those underrated gems that are often overlooked by tourists in a hurry.
Attractions at the park include lakes, many wooded areas, the Audubon Center, and miles of trails perfect for a relaxing morning or afternoon hike.
For those looking for an interactive activity, the park’s staff offers nature-related programs for visitors of all ages. With shaded tables and lots of grass, it’s a great spot for a picnic.
The main entrance to the park is on Monterey Road approximately 20 kilometers northeast of Koreatown.
13. Getty Center
Located in the Brentwood district of Los Angeles, about 15 kilometers west of Koreatown, the Getty Center is one of the region’s premier arts and cultural attractions.
Completed in late 1997, the center is largely funded by the charities of the extremely wealthy Getty family.
It is known for its majestic architecture, stunning gardens, and world-class collection of American and European art, including paintings, sculptures, and drawings from around the world.
Guests can take the little train to the highest point in the center, from where they can see nearby Topanga State Park and downtown Los Angeles when the weather is nice.
14. Griffith Observatory
Whether you’re a seasoned stargazer or a casual visitor who just wants to spend a few hours in Los Angeles’ unique attractions, you’ll probably be glad you decided to visit the Griffith Observatory.
The facility is owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles. It is located approximately 8 kilometers north of Koreatown between downtown and Burbank.
The observatory features a planetarium, museum, café and gift shop. Its venues are open to those who have already signed up for the event and those who just want to present themselves at their own pace.
Because of its location and elevation, the observatory is a popular spot for capturing the iconic California sunset. It is close to other attractions such as the famous Hollywood Sign and TCL Chinese Theater.
15. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Since opening more than 5 years ago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has become one of Los Angeles’ most famous attractions.
It’s conveniently located 5 miles west of Koreatown, between downtown Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. In addition to a permanent art collection displayed in multiple galleries, its grounds include nearly 20 acres of land, including gardens, walking trails, natural surroundings and shaded seating areas.
While many of the museum’s works are contemporary, there are also many historical works from countries around the world.
Other facilities include interactive exhibits and year-round staff-led art programming for visitors of all ages.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Koreatown, CA (CA)
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