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:
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