Updated: Dec 27, 2021
Though not as popular as Hollywood, Santa Monica, Venice or Malibu, LA’s Chinatown is one of the city’s most visited attractions and here’s 5 reasons why you should check it out the next time you’re visiting the city of angels:
LA’s Chinatown is conveniently located in DTLA, just a short walk from Union Station (West Coast’s main ground transportation hub) and about a block away from the Metro’s gold line.
An afternoon should be time enough to explore most of the area, and if you’d rather cycle around, metro bike shares stations are all over the place in Chinatown (click here to find a station).
Los Angeles Chinatown – Central Plaza 943-951 N. Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90012
Chinatown is a festive destination, whether you are looking for block party events or for buzzing clubs.
It offers an unparalleled culinary scene, whether you just need a quick fix or are up for an impressive dining experience.
It’s got art galleries and souvenir shops.
Get a real taste of LA’s cultural diversity here and find some of the coolest, under-the-radar spots in town.
Start at Central Plaza and go explore around!
I gotta say I fell in love with the pagoda-style buildings, the red lanterns, wall murals, sculptures and all the colorful sights that I found in Chinatown.
The “new Chinatown” that opened for business in 1938, after the old one was demolished to make way for LA’s Union Station, was designed by Hollywood film set designers and inspired in the 1930’s Shanghai.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Statue: sculpture in homage to the Chinese revolutionary leader who is considered the founder of modern China
Chinese Celestial Dragon: mural painted by Tyrus Wong, the late lead artist on Disney’s Bambi
Bruce Lee Statue: a 7-foot bronze sculpture that was literally made in China
West Gate: one of the four Chinatown entrances, located on Gin Ling Way at North Hill St.
Chinese American Museum
Here you can score those hard-to-find ingredients that give a special touch to homemade meals, asian-fusion eateries, and traditional restaurants.
Two local spots claim to have created the French dip sandwich, and the neighborhood is also known to have the best dim sum around.
I went to Wonder Bakery to try the chinese egg tart, which was introduced to China by Portuguese settlers back in the day. Turns out that nowadays, China produces more egg tarts than Portugal. The Portuguese also colonized Brazil, and that’s how I know about egg tarts AKA pastel de nata AKA pastel de Belem.
Chinatown is a great place for dining and shopping, but it also hosts a lot of fun events throughout the year that are worth checking!
Some of the festivities to be in the lookout for are:
Chinatown Summer Nights: street event with music and food trucks
Annual Moon Festival
Lunar New Year: including the Golden Dragon Parade and Chinese New Year festival
Chinatown bike ride and run
I got my mom some cute little souvenirs (needless to say - made in China), like a Lucky Cat for $5 and a Buddha for only $1, and with a smile, the sweet lady that owned one of the gift shops in Central Plaza allowed me to borrow a hat to take the photo I used for this post’s cover shot. She explained to me that 2019 is the year of the Pig and also showed some fortune pig keychains for sale at $2.
My parents, who are visiting from Brazil, really loved the experience, and my surfer hubby who can’t be away from the beach for more than 24 hours did enjoy it as well, so, yes, I am super happy to recommend the trip, especially because you don’t need much time to wander around, and still get the feeling of being on the other side of the world.
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