Los Angeles is touted as having the largest population of Koreans outside of Korea itself and many of them live in Koreatown. Shaped by three generations of Korean and Latino immigrants, this 3-square-mile (7-square-kilometer) community has a lively collection of bars, restaurants, shops and spas. Admire art deco buildings, sample Korean specialties and sing your favorite tunes at lively karaoke bars.
Look inside Koreatown Plaza, a quirky 1980s-style shopping mall that offers an interesting mix of upscale brands and ethnic shops. You’ll find international brands like United Colors of Benetton and Jacadi, as well as a busy lower-level food court filled with Korean noodle shops and bakeries.
Walk past the distinctive blue-green tower of the Pellissier Building, which is considered to be one of the country’s finest examples of art deco architecture. The Pellissier Building and the adjoining Wiltern Theater belong to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Find out if any events are taking place at the Wiltern during your stay. Performances range from comedy acts to indie-rock bands here, in one of the largest theaters in LA.
Try traditional Korean dishes like bibimbap, a bowl of rice with seasoned vegetables, chili pepperpaste and soy sauce, and galbi, which is beef short ribs. Take advantage of the neighborhood’s numerous affordable spas, many of which offer saunas, mud spas, hot tubs and cold pools, as well as a variety of treatment options.
No trip to Koreatown is complete without experiencing its famous nightlife. Koreatown is said to have the highest concentration of restaurants and nightclubs in all of Southern California, many of which are open 24 hours. An iconic Korean pastime, karaoke clubs are particularly popular. Look for noraebang (private karaoke rooms) where you can sing with a group of friends as well as American-style karaoke clubs with larger audiences.
Koreatown is located west of downtown Los Angeles, loosely defined by borders at Western and Vermont and Beverly and Olympic streets. The neighborhood is quite large. Access the area via a number of different metro stops, including Wilshire/Vermont and Wilshire/Western stations.