Located west of Downtown L.A. and south of Hollywood, Koreatown is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Encompassing roughly 3 square miles, the area was once the epicenter of Golden Age Hollywood, home to the Ambassador Hotel, the Cocoanut Grove and the Brown Derby. Today, Korean and Latino populations contribute to Koreatown’s rich cultural diversity. K-town is also known for having one of the largest concentration of nightclubs and 24-hour businesses and restaurants in the country. Even frequent visitors have only scratched the surface of this vibrant district. Discover things to do in Koreatown with our guides to one of L.A.’s most exciting neighborhoods.
K-Town, as it’s commonly known, has an equally vibrant history as well. Once a hotbed of old-school Hollywood glam, the district was home to celebrity enclaves, including the original Brown Derby restaurant, the Cocoanut Grove nightclub, and the Ambassador Hotel, which hosted a half dozen Academy Awards ceremonies between 1930 and 1943.
While these legendary spots are no more, today’s K-Town is home to dozens of prized L.A. establishments. For a trendy overnight stay, consider the Hotel Normandie, a boutique property built in the 1920s, or The Line Hotel, an industrial-chic hotel which not only has its own design-driven shop, Poketo, but also an ’80s-themed bar, Break Room 86, with karaoke suites and boozy push-pops. There’s the art deco masterpiece The Wiltern, a designated historical landmark, which lives on as one of the largest, most legendary music venues in the city.
Koreatown is home to several multilevel shopping malls, such as KTP, Koreatown Plaza, which melds upscale boutiques with more standard apparel and cosmetics shops. Refuel in the food court, a K-Town staple in its own right, with many of its stalls slinging authentic, inexpensive Korean street food.
Even in a foodie city like Los Angeles, Koreatown is often heralded as one of the best and most diverse restaurant neighborhoods in the city. You’ll find an abundance of Korean barbeque, of course—try Parks BBQ or Kang Hodong Baekjeong to start. But don’t miss out on other Korean specialties, such as the rice-veggie-egg mix of bibimbap (go to Jeon Ju) or hand-made noodles (try the gook soo soup at Ma Dang Gook Soo). You can cool down with one of the many Ice Flakes—towering combos of Korean-style shaved ice with ingredients such as fresh fruit, milk pudding, cereal, red beans, and nuts—at Oakobing.
Koreatown has more large malls than any similar sized area in America with an emphasis on markets, skin care, home goods and the best k-pop stores in LA. Peppered among the shops, whether in a mall or side street, are entertainment venues, trendy dessert shops, coffeehouses, and restaurants. Read on for the best shopping destinations in Koreatown.
Coffee & Dessert
Coffee houses and dessert are synonymous in Koreatown as an any-time-of-day kind of thing—whether for a snack, after dinner, a night of karaoke, or while studying. Many are Wi-Fi connected haunts and can be found on virtually every corner serving specialty cakes, patbingsoo (shaved ice), ice cream, and other sweet confections. Here are 12 spots to check out.