Things to do in LA’s Koreatown

May 8, 2018 Hilary

Things to do in LA’s Koreatown

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!

Culture Club

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!

Koreatown Los Angeles California #streetartlosangeles

Heart of Koreatown Mural

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:

Koreatown

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.

Koreatown Los Angeles California

Ornamental crosswalks in Koreatown

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.

Alchemist Coffee Project Koreatown Los Angeles

Alchemist Coffee Project

 

Koreatown Pavilion
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.

Things to do in Koreatown Los Angeles California

Dawooljong Pavillion

Guelaguatza
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.

#lapiztola #ktown

Lapiztola

Colette Miller Angel Wings Project Los Angeles K-Town

Colette Miller Wings

Koreatown Galleria
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!

Shopping in Koreatown Los Angeles

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.

Shopping in Koreatown Los Angeles

How cute is this makeup display?!

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.

Street art in Koreatown #K-townmural Los Angeles California

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.

Koreatown Line Hotel Commissary Los Angeles California

The Commissary at the Line Hotel

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.

Somi Somi
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.

Koreatown Somi Somi Los Angeles California

Tayaki

Milk Tavern
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.

Koreatown Milk Tavern Los Angeles California

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.

Artist: Unknown
Location: Normandie & San Marino (St. Mary’s parking lot)

Koreatown St. Mary's Church Los Angeles California

Artist: P. Witte
Location: W. 6th & Oxford Street

Koreatown street Art PWitte Los Angeles California

Artist: Gino Flo
Location: Melrose & Western

Koreatown street Art gina flow Los Angeles California

Artist: David Gilmore
Location: W. 6th & Serrano Ave

Koreatown street Art David Gilmore Los Angeles California

Artist: Colette Miller 
Location: Guelaguetza 3014 W. Olympic Blvd

Colette Miller Angel Wings Guelaguetza

Colette Miller Angel Wings Guelaguetza

Artist: Lapiztola
Location: Guelaguetza 3014 W. Olympic Blvd

Where to eat Mexican food in Los Angeles #Guelaguetza

Guelaguetza LaPiztola

Korean BBQ
Location:

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:


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Things to do in LA's Koreatown #koreatown

 

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Hilary

I love to travel & explore the world both near and far! I do my best to make the most out of life each and everyday! I have two boys and wherever I go, they go! This means they are, at the ages of 9 and 15, world travelers and all around go along guys! There isn’t anywhere I can’t take them! It is my hope this blog will be a way to share the fun things I’ve learned while on our many adventures together!

Comments (61)

  1. 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

    • Hilary

      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.

    • Hilary

      It’s a pretty great neighborhood! Hopefully you’ll find your way here and you can check it out!

  2. 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!

    • Hilary

      Commissary was excellent if not for my veggie friends I might never have ventured away from BBQ, so glad I did!

    • Hilary

      The drinks were so delicious we were unable to savor them and instead slurped them down in a matter of minutes!

  3. K-Town looks like a pretty awesome place. I’ll have to check it out the next time we find ourselves in LA. #farawayfiles

  4. 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.

    • Hilary

      Yes, Hispanics are the majority, but it’s a very harmonious area with a lot of amazing things to discover!

  5. Clare Thomson

    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

    • Hilary

      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.

  6. 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

    • Hilary

      Thank you! There are so many fun spots it was hard to choose… you’re always welcome if you come to LA!!

  7. katherinefenech2017

    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

    • Hilary

      There are as many as 80 neighborhoods in LA! Did you know that in addition to Japan Town we also have a Little Tokyo?

  8. 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.

    • Hilary

      Thank you! I’m in love with my city and am so glad to hear that people are enjoying these posts!

  9. 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

    • Hilary

      I hope you will come back one day! LA had many gems! Repeat visits are a must!

  10. 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

    • Hilary

      Oh! I hope you’ll come back! K-town is great with tons to explore!

    • Hilary

      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

  11. 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

    • Hilary

      It was so much fun! I truly felt like I was on vacation that day! Taiyaki is delicious!

  12. 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

    • Hilary

      I know, it’s hard to choose, that’s why repeat visits are a must do! Xx

  13. 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

    • Hilary

      It’s so true! We really felt as though we were on vacation!

  14. Beth

    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

    • Hilary

      Such a vibrant and fun area of town! I can’t wait to get back and sample some more fun treats!!

  15. 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

    • Hilary

      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!

    • Hilary

      Thank you! So glad you’re enjoying my exploration of LA! I may as well make the most of my home town right!

  16. 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

    • Hilary

      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!

  17. pigeonpairandme

    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

    • Hilary

      Lots of fun to be had in K-town! We love ping pong at our house!!

    • 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!!

  18. 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.

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