My mission to take advantage of everything Los Angeles has to offer is almost two years in and I still feel I’ve barely scratched the surface. You might think I would have grown tired of all this trekking around by now, especially when contending with LA’s notorious traffic, but rather than wane my interest has only intensified. There is still so much to discover!
I knew I couldn’t be alone in my desire to seek out and experience new and interesting activities in my own city, so I set out to recruit some local friends to join me on my adventures. I’m excited to say I’ve found some willing recruits, and we had our first Culture Club meeting last week. It was a big success!
We’ve decided to make this a regular thing and explore a different part of the city at least once a month. Our first destination:
Encompassing three square miles west of Downtown Los Angeles, Koretatown is the most densely populated area in Los Angeles County. It’s a vibrant and diverse community, which is fast becoming one of LA’s most popular neighborhoods. It’s no wonder as there are countless restaurants, shops, bars and entertainment venues just waiting to be explored.
The official boundaries of K-Town are Vermont Avenue, Western Avenue, Third Street and Olympic Boulevard.
Alchemist Coffee Project
Location: 698 S. Vermont Ave
We started our day at Alchemist Coffee Project where we spent a little time going over the days’s activities. I loved the mix of modern and industrial looking decor, especially the pipe shelves and lighting, but it was the delicious Royal Milk Tea Latte that I know I’ll be back for. If you’re a fan of matcha then you’ll love the Lavender Matcha Tea Latte. In addition to these fun tea drinks there are coffee drinks, pastries and savory items on the menu.
Parking is free in the lot.
Location: Olympic Boulevard and Normandie Avenue
Next we stopped at the Seoul International Park to see the Korean pavilion and gardens. They’re located just across from where Koreatown begin in the late 1960s. The brightly colored pavilion is called Dawooljong, meaning harmonious gathering place, and was built by South Korean craftsman using only traditional building methods. Unfortunately its closed on Mondays so our only view was from outside the gate.
The Pavilion is closed on Mondays. Parking is free on the street.
Location: 3014 W. Olympic Blvd
Just a short walk from the Korean Pavilion is Guelaguetza one of LA’s best Mexican restaurants and winner of the prestigious James Beard Award. While we didn’t have time or room in our stomachs to eat at every place on our list, we did stop to admire the building’s large Lapiztola murals and pose with one of three sets of Colette Miller’s Angel Wings. I was interested to learn that the majority of Koreatown’s residents are of Hispanic decent.
Valet parking is available.
Location: 3250 W Olympic Blvd
There are many unique shopping opportunities in K-Town, but we were most excited about visiting Kitchen Plus, located in the basement of the Koreatown Galleria. A restaurant supply store catering to Asian stye restaurants, you’ll find everything from Korean BBQ tables, to sake carafes, and everything in between. We loved wandering up and down the aisles dreaming up all the amazing meals we could make if only we had that tiny frying pan, or bibimbap pot!
Kitchen Plus is located on the basement level of the Galleria, but if you have the time I highly recommend exploring the rest of the mall. We stopped at the makeup counter, the grocery, and the electric mop store! Who knew mopping could be so fun?!
Parking is free in the Galleria’s lot.
Heart of K-Town Mural
Location: Ssooniestyle 3324 W 6th S.
This fun Heart of K-Town Mural is located on the side of Ssooniestyle a makeup and hairstyle boutique. A great place to get some fun insta pics and just down the street from our next destination… Maybe next time I’ll get my hair done first?
Parking is free in the lot.
The Line Hotel – Commissary Restaurant
Location: 3515 Wilshire Boulevard
Two blondes (vegetarians) and a brunette (omnivore) go to lunch in Koreatown…
Okay, that’s not the start of a joke, but rather exactly what happened. K-Town is the place to go for authentic Korean BBQ, but knowing my companions don’t eat meat meant changing things up, and I’m so glad we did! Otherwise I may never have dined at the Commissary located in The Line LA, a hipster hotel located in the heart of K-Town.
The Commissary is located on the 2nd floor adjacent to the hotel pool and has a funky greenhouse meets mismatched kitsch kind of vibe. The food and service are both excellent, and bonus the ping pong tables on the patio outside overlook the city.
Don’t forget to look up or you’ll miss the massive Shepard Fairey mural which covers one entire side of the hotel. You’ll also find a peekaboo Dface around the side of the hotel on the street level.
Valet parking starting at $12 is available at The Line with validation from the Commissary.
Location: 621 S. Western Ave (upstairs)
Taiyaki is a fish shaped pastry with a texture somewhere between a waffle cone and a pancake. The cone is traditionally filled with red bean paste, but custard and Nutella are other popular options. Soft serve in traditional asian flavors like ube and black sesame is next and the whole thing is then covered in a variety of toppings. We discovered this fun desert a few years ago and since then do our best to enjoy it whenever possible.
Somi Somi is walking distance from The Line.
Location: 528 S Western Ave.
The Milk Tavern is my kind of bar with unicorn crepe cakes, cotton candy burritos, rainbow grilled cheese sandwiches, and ping pong! Video games too, if you fancy them. Not only is it an instagrammers dream, but the food is delicious too.
The Milk Tavern is walking distance from Somi Somi.
The Milk Tavern does serve alcoholic beverages, but children are welcome too. Ping pong and video games are free with the purchase of food or beverages.
K-Town Street Art
I’m always on the lookout for fun new street art, and Koreatown, loaded with murals, is a gold mine I’ve only begun to explore. Here are just a few from our day’s adventure.
Location: Normandie & San Marino (St. Mary’s parking lot)
Artist: P. Witte
Location: W. 6th & Oxford Street
Artist: Gino Flo
Location: Melrose & Western
Artist: David Gilmore
Location: W. 6th & Serrano Ave
Artist: Colette Miller
Location: Guelaguetza 3014 W. Olympic Blvd
Location: Guelaguetza 3014 W. Olympic Blvd
While we didn’t make it to a Korean BBQ restaurant on this outing, it is one of my favorite K-Town activities. Brothers Korean BBQ has been our family’s go to for special occasions. The service is excellent as is the food. My favorite part the banchan (sides) that come with your meal.
The Wiltern Theater
Location: The Corner of Western and Wilshire
Located at the corner of Wilshire and Western, The Wiltern, was built in 1931 as a vaudeville theater. It was restored to its original glory in 1981 and today it’s a live music venue. If you’re interested in visiting the Wiltern during the day tours can be arranged by calling the venue at (213) 531-0557.
Interested in your own K-Town adventure? Follow in our footsteps with this handy map:
Pin for later:
Take Me With You!
Would you like directions to these fabulous places? Why not take me with you! You can download this and other fun hilarystyle articles using the GPSmyCity app!
Are We Adults Yet
We love to explore Koreatown and your pictures are gorgeous! Just visited Wi Spa and wrote all about it: https://areweadultsyet.com/2018/04/03/what-to-expect-at-a-korean-spa/ – you should go if you haven’t been!
Thank you! Will check out your link!!
I’d love to join your Culture Club, next time I’m in Los Angeles 🙂 I’ve been to Koreatown once. I guess you can call it a date 😀 He was showing me around town, and took me different neighbourhoods. Ended up at some nightspot, where we sat down for a drink and a sweet corn/cheese dish. Didn’t see anything else of the area, but it sounds like a great place. #citytripping
Would love you to join! Let me know if you find your way back to LA one day… sounds like your date tried hard to show you around!
I definitely will! It looks like the US might be on come fall. But the east, going south. He turned out not to be my cup of tea :), but thanks to him I got to see a lot I wouldn’t have otherwise, and that I am very grateful for.
OMgosh, K-town looks stupid awesome!! These crazy foods, amazing street art and beautiful architecture! I definitely gotta see this! #CityTripping
It’s a pretty great neighborhood! Hopefully you’ll find your way here and you can check it out!
Bryna | Dotted Line Travels
I loved K-Town in LA for its cafes and Korean BBQ – but if I’m ever in the area again, I’d love to try out Commissary. The interior with all the plants hanging from the ceiling looks very cool! I also love the idea of the Culture Club!
Commissary was excellent if not for my veggie friends I might never have ventured away from BBQ, so glad I did!
I love the vibe of the Alchemist Coffee Project and then the food at the Commissary looks incredible!!
The drinks were so delicious we were unable to savor them and instead slurped them down in a matter of minutes!
K-Town looks like a pretty awesome place. I’ll have to check it out the next time we find ourselves in LA. #farawayfiles
Such a fun neighborhood!
Wow, there’s a lot going on in Korea-town. I find it interesting that Koreans are not in the majority of the residents of this area. I have yet to try Korean BBQ but that table of food at Brothers Korean BBQ is enticing.
Yes, Hispanics are the majority, but it’s a very harmonious area with a lot of amazing things to discover!
Goodness, I thought I knew LA pretty well, but had no idea about this exciting and vibrant looking neighbourhood! #FarawayFiles
You’ll have to check it out!
I love how your LA adventures always take you to lots of fantastic foodie places, Hilary. Every good adventure needs to start with a full tummy although I’m not sure I could stomach GREEN coffee! Such a great idea to explore more of your local area regularly with friends. #FarawayFiles
I know what you mean.
I’m not a huge fan of matcha, but a lot of people like it. I loved my royal milk tea.
Alex - My LIfe Long Holiday
You have found some great spots here Hilary and your little Culture Club is a great idea – I’m very jealous I can’t join in! I loved seeing your photo’s over on instagram so it was great to read about the details too! #farawayflies
Thank you! There are so many fun spots it was hard to choose… you’re always welcome if you come to LA!!
It was enough that I didn’t know that there was a Japantown in LA, but now there’s a Koreatown as well? It looks like an awesome place to visit, I’ll have to check it out the next time we drive down to LA. The Dawooljong Pavillion is so colourful! #FarawayFiles
There are as many as 80 neighborhoods in LA! Did you know that in addition to Japan Town we also have a Little Tokyo?
I love your LA posts Hilary. I feel like i’m getting to know the city so much better from them, all in preparation for next time I visit. Love the idea of your culture club too.
Thank you! I’m in love with my city and am so glad to hear that people are enjoying these posts!
I just realised I forgot to include the #Farawayfiles on my comment above !!
Lydia C. Lee
We have that Fish ice cream here – it’s so weird but the kids love it! #Farawayfiles
We love it too! It’s delicious!
K-town looks amazing, and the pictures are just gorgeous. All that colourful food and street art totally gets my vote! I’m pinning this for later 🙂 #FarawayFiles
Thanks! It’s such a fun neighborhood!
Ladies What Travel (@LadiesWTravel)
Ah man, I wish I’d visited K-Town when I’d gone to LA, so much art and design goodness! Looks a really ace area to explore. If I ever make it back this will be top of my list! #FarawayFiles
I hope you will come back one day! LA had many gems! Repeat visits are a must!
Our LA holidays were too long ago but pinning this for next ones! Loving the look of the Commissarywith the greenhouse mismatched vibe and ping pong tables outside overlook the city! #Farawayfiles
Oh! I hope you’ll come back! K-town is great with tons to explore!
I wish we lived in the same city! LA is never a place that I have wished to visit but through your eyes I now can’t wait!
Awe! Thank you! I was just thinking that I wish we would have connected when I visited London in December… what was I thinking?! Next time for sure, and of course you’re welcome here anytime! I’ll be your personal guide! Xx
We will definitely meet up somewhere!
Caity Pfohl | The Pamplemousse Papers
This looks like such a fun neighborhood to explore! Of course I love all of the street art. I’ve never heard of Taiyaki and it looks amazing!! So colorful and adorable. Sounds delicious, too. 🙂 #farawayfiles
It was so much fun! I truly felt like I was on vacation that day! Taiyaki is delicious!
Corey | Fifi + Hop
How interesting that the majority of the population is Hispanic..that James Beard restaurant looks amazing. But of course if I visited K-town I’d have to get the Korean BBQ – my fave!!! #farawayfiles
I know, it’s hard to choose, that’s why repeat visits are a must do! Xx
Looks like a fantastic region to explore, I love visiting these towns within towns. You almost feel like you have been temporarily transported to another country. #farawayfiles
It’s so true! We really felt as though we were on vacation!
What a vibrant neighborhood! The color and textures and tastes look amazing. Thanks for sharing so many aspects of this part of LA, I don’t think I was even aware of it. Love your plan for Culture Club, too!! #FarawayFiles
Such a vibrant and fun area of town! I can’t wait to get back and sample some more fun treats!!
Niche Travel Design - Shelley Jarvis
Used to go there to eat in college!
Delicious right! I’m going there tonight in fact!
Elizabeth (Wander Mum)
Thanks for transporting me to K-Town. This I definitely an area of LA I’d like to explore. The pavilion is amazing and I love the street art. Can’t resist a nose around Asian supermarkets either. My daughter says she wants to eat all the yummy colourful sweet treats! Thanks for linking #citytripping
We love the markets! We were in one last night… even considered purchasing a Korean bbq table. Ha ha! That would be an interesting addition to the back yard!
Street art and tasty food? Yes please! You make learning about LA so fun! Great post Hilary. #FarawayFiles
Thank you! So glad you’re enjoying my exploration of LA! I may as well make the most of my home town right!
Kathleen (Kat) (@katpegimana)
Have heard about Koreatown for the longest time and have always wondered what is it like. I never knew that majority of Koreatown residents are Hispanic – interesting! Omg did you eat that unicorn cake, was it very sweet? I’m not sure if I could eat that, haha! Great post, Hilary 🙂 #FarawayFiles
We shared one piece of cake between the three of us. Strangely it wasn’t too sweet. Maybe because crepes are savory which helped to keep it manageable? It’s a really fun neighborhood and well worth a visit!
Some amazing-looking spots here, Hilary. With free ping pong and video games, I know my two would be beggin us to stay at Milk Tavern all day! #FarawayFiles
Lots of fun to be had in K-town! We love ping pong at our house!!
Four Acorns / Quatre graines de chêne
What a fabulous idea to set out and explore your hometown! I absolutely LOVE your photos – those murals are to die for, and your food shots are good enough to eat. Thanks for the tour, Hilary!
Thank you so so much!! I just love traveling, but since it’s unrealistic to do so all the time I am more than content with being a tourist at home!!
barbecue looks absolutely amazing! we lived in LA for 5 years and still have a lot of korean american friends there. k-town is really cool.