If you’re heading to Los Angeles, put Koreatown on your list of places to explore. This diverse L.A. neighborhood with 24-7 energy is home to some of the best restaurants and nightlife in the City of Angels.
Just south of Hollywood and west of Downtown Los Angeles, K-town, as it’s fondly known, was once the epicenter of Golden Age Hollywood. Today, Koreatown buzzes with hip speakeasies, casual restaurants, and stylish nightclubs.
One of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods, Koreatown has plenty of interesting things to see & do. From catching a concert at the Wiltern Theatre to shopping at the Koreatown Plaza, you’ll have busy days of exploring. Hit K-town’s buzzing nightclub scene after dining on globally inspired cuisine at one of the many restaurants that draw foodies from all over the city.
You’ll need more than a few days to even scratch the surface of this dynamic district. Read on to discover what to see & do, places to eat & drink, and spots to stay in Koreatown, Los Angeles!
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What to see & do in L.A.’s Koreatown
Shop until you drop at Koreatown Plaza. This Asian-styled shopping mall is the go-to spot for retail therapy in K-town. Home to an array of shops selling Korean and American products, Koreatown Plaza has everything from designer brands to local fare.
Wander around the three-story indoor mall and browse the 70 shops selling apparel, jewelry, skincare products, and home décor. If you’re a K-pop fan, head to Music Plaza to get the latest pop tunes. Find some unique Korean gifts and toys for the kids at Fancy House. Treat yourself to that designer bag you’ve always wanted from Luggage Town.
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Has all that shopping worked up an appetite? The International Food Court has 12 stalls serving delicious Korean street food. Tuck into kimbap, tteokbokki, and Korean tacos at Awoolim. Follow up with a slice of mouthwatering castella from Cheesetella.
Watch a show at one of L.A.’s most famous theaters, the Wiltern. This glorious Art Deco theater is one of the most sought-after venues for concerts in Los Angeles. With its magnificent architecture, elegant seating, and state-of-the-art sound and lighting, watching a live performance here is a must.
The Wiltern Theatre is an exquisite example of Art Deco architecture. Clad in blue-green glazed terracotta tiles and colorful murals by Anthony Heinsbergen, the multi-tiered theater is a sight to behold.
Once inside, marvel at the magnificent sunburst design on the ceiling of the auditorium. Each ray is an Art Deco skyscraper, reflecting the designer Lansburgh’s vision of the future of Wilshire Boulevard.
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The Wiltern Theatre rubs shoulders with the 12-story Pellissier Building, built in the French Zig-Zag Moderne style. The Pellissier Building and Wiltern Theatre form the complex known as the Wiltern Center.
If you didn’t get enough retail therapy at Koreatown Plaza, pop into Chapman Plaza. Tucked between West Sixth Street and Alexandria Avenue, Chapman Plaza is home to chic Korean shops and restaurants. Aside from excellent shopping, the plaza’s claim to fame is that it was one of the first markets designed for easy access to vehicles.
Take a moment to admire the plaza’s beautiful Spanish Revival-style architecture. Designed and built in 1929, it has a fortress-like façade, thick sandstone walls, and tall Churrigueresque towers. Fountains, garden patios, and statues adorn the plaza, and a Spanish Revival archway welcomes patrons into the plaza.
Head to Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong after shopping to tuck into the best Korean barbecue in the neighborhood.
Koreatown Pavilion Garden
Take some time out to meditate at the tranquil Koreatown Pavilion Garden. Based on the corner of Normandie Avenue and Olympic Boulevard, the pavilion and garden offer a peaceful place to reflect.
At the center of the Koreatown Pavilion Garden is a richly painted pine pavilion with an upswept tiled roof. Known as Dawooljong, meaning a harmonious gathering place, the pavilion offers a cool respite for visitors.
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The Koreatown Pavilion is located opposite the site where Koreatown was born with a single grocery store in the 1960s. The pavilion and garden may not be the most exciting attraction in Koreatown, but it’s a lovely spot to relax with a book and a sandwich.
Wilshire Boulevard Temple
If you’re a lover of architecture and design, make your way to the beautiful Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Home to the oldest Jewish congregation in Los Angeles, Wilshire Boulevard Temple is an exquisite cultural landmark well worth visiting. Built in 1929 and designed by architect Abram M. Edelman, the magnificent domed synagogue reflects a hybrid of Byzantine and Romanesque styles.
Echoing the exotic glamour of the great movie palaces of the 1920s, the breathtaking temple boasts a massive, coffered dome that brings the Pantheon in Rome to mind. Marvel at the amazing figurative murals reflecting key moments in Jewish history inside.
Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong
Want to try the best barbecue in Koreatown? Bring your appetite to Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong. Although the best Korean BBQ is hotly debated in the neighborhood, Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong comes out tops. Boasting a frenzied and lively atmosphere, this quintessential college student-filled eatery has a fantastic vibe. Large tables with worn wooden chairs surround sizzling grills.
Start with a selection of banchan (Korean-style tapas) followed by meat, meat, and more meat. Pair the grilled meat with kimchi, a classic steamed egg dish, and a corn and mozzarella cheese mixture.
Enjoy the fun tableside presentation of the dosirak. The vibe is great, and the food is sublime. The only downside is that you can’t reserve a table at Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong—be prepared for a long wait at this popular restaurant.
Where to eat & drink
Koreatown may be small, but it packs a punch when it comes to fantastic places to eat. There are plenty of Korean eateries, but you’ll also find Oaxacan restaurants serving mole and mezcal, as well as classic Peruvian rotisseries.
Don’t want to wait for a table at Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong? Another restaurant that claims to have the best Korean barbecue in town, Hae Jang Chon Korean BBQ Restaurant lives up to its name. The all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner place stays open until late and is the perfect spot for a post-nightclub meal.
Ahgassi Gopchang is another one-stop spot for classic Korean barbecue. The smoky, rowdy atmosphere is half the fun in this joint, and tables are hard to come by. Enjoy a free steamed egg dish with your food. Order the roasted beef intestines if you’re brave enough.
For comfort Korean fare, head to Hangari Kalguksu, where you’ll down steaming bowls of spicy kalguksu (seafood soup with knife-cut noodles), bibimbap, and dumplings.
Prefer your soup cold? Order the cold soup (milmyeon) with pork and leave space for their famous bossam. If you’re a gluten-free gourmand, you may want to skip this one as they proudly proclaim there’s gluten in everything they make!
When you have a hankering for classic American fare, pop into the dark, prohibition-style R Bar for a burger and beer. You’ll need a password to pass the door – check the bar’s social media or call ahead. Hit the joint on Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday nights for karaoke.
Atari video games, karaoke rooms, and boozy push-pops are on the menu at Break Room 86. This 1980s-themed, funky speakeasy is a time warp of a bar that has patrons sipping nostalgia-inducing cocktails and listening to classic 80s tunes.
If you’d rather keep it classy in Koreatown, the Normandie Room will do the job. Based in the landmark Hotel Normandie, the elegant, moody cocktail lounge is ideal for a quiet drink before dinner. You’ll find riffs on the classics and intriguing takes on the Martini.
Where to stay
Although it’s a popular spot for sightseeing, there’s only a handful of accommodation options in Koreatown. If you can’t find suitable hotels or vacation rentals around here, other popular places to stay in Los Angeles within short driving distance include Downtown L.A. and Hollywood.
Conveniently located next to a shopping center, the New Seoul Hotel offers comfortable, contemporary guest rooms with air-conditioning and private bathrooms. Relax on the sun terrace overlooking the neighborhood and connect with free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. A short walk will get you to the Staples Center and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
A quick stroll from bustling activity on Olympic Boulevard, Hotel Aventura is a great base for exploring K-town. Air-conditioned rooms are spacious and bright, and Nespresso machines in the rooms promise freshly brewed coffee every morning. Suites have kitchens and balconies with views over the city. Stay fit in the on-site fitness center.
Emulating the Golden Age of elegance, the Hotel Normandie – Los Angeles is a luxurious treat. The beautiful 1926 boutique hotel has glorious guest rooms with deluxe amenities. Savor award-winning cuisine at the hotel’s Michelin-star restaurant or tuck into gourmet burgers at Cassell’s. Enjoy complimentary wine tastings at the stylish hotel bar in the evenings.