Many moons ago, Koreatown was the heart of the Hollywood Golden Age. Today, it’s a diverse, 3-square-mile enclave that’s packed with nightclubs, mini-malls, markets, bars, billiard parlors and other attractions that seem to keep their lights on until the sun comes up. To help you navigate the neon-soaked streets, we’ve chosen some of the best places to eat, shop, and play between Western Avenue, Vermont Avenue, 3rd Street and Olympic Boulevard.
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Where To Eat And Drink In Koreatown
With the largest Korean-American community in the States, rest assured that you have some of the country’s best KBBQ, samgyetang, kimchi and fried chicken available right on your doorstep. Here, Seoul food trends are picked up and served up on plates faster than they land, so brace your palates for the hottest array of delicious fermentations and spicy creations.
You can’t stop by these parts without heading up to Openaire’s iconic greenhouse adorned with endless foliage and draped with fairy lights. Whether you’re just looking for brunch or an evening dinner with cocktails, it’ll undoubtedly taste better with that L.A. light pouring in and two Michelin-starred chef, Josiah Citrin, masterminding the seasonal offerings.
What this family-run establishment spares in fancy decor is poured into high-quality charbroiled and grilled meats that literally melt in your mouth. More than two decades later, this unpretentious hotspot continues to delight hungry residents with prime marbled cuts, delicious banchan (traditional side dishes) and legendary marinated galbi. If you’re looking to try one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite Koreatown spots, you can head to the iconic Park’s BBQ.
Things To Do In Koreatown
There is no shortage of entertainment in K-Town. You’ll have a host of fun activities to choose from, ranging from clandestine cultural havens to unique spas and indoor golf. This is a little snippet of what you can busy yourself with in the area.
This sensorial sanctuary is a luxurious escape from the neighborhood buzz. You’ll instantly find your inner peace when you step into the stunning stone room and indulge in some pampering. It also happens to be open for 24 hours on Saturdays, so you could skip the cocktails and treat yourself to unique therapies instead.
If you’re looking for more spa action (with an emphasis on the action), do seek out this hidden gem. It offers a range of luxe spa facilities and it’s also home to L.A.’s largest semi-indoor golf range. You can tee-up (actually, an automated system will take care of that) and swing away on the 150-yard range with panoramic views. There’s also an option to have an instructor, so all levels are welcome
The 3-story mall will transport you to Korea. It has dozens of shops, markets and restaurants carrying Asian products, including the latest K-Pop dolls, cosmetics and cooking essentials. The interiors haven’t been updated since opening, which gives you a sense of nostalgia
Tucked away amongst this concrete metropolis is the serene Koreatown Pavilion Garden, a 5000-square-foot gazebo with a small but charming garden. You can marvel at the work of South Korean craftsmen by letting your eyes wander the ornate Dawooljung, meaning “a harmonious gathering place” in Korean. It’s a perfect place to take a break before diving into the hustle and bustle again—plus, it’s free.
Location: 1000 Normandie Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90006
Essential Bar And Nightlife Experiences In Koreatown
Koreatown offers it all when it comes to nightlife. You can do anything from bar-hopping at the local dives, sing your heart out to your favorite K-Pop tracks at a kitsch karaoke lounge or sip on cocktails at a sophisticated speakeasy.
Wander into a laserbeam labyrinth and book yourself a booth where you can shamelessly belt out your favorite tracks. There’s a whole spectrum of fun to be had at this Karaoke lounge and once you experience it, you’ll see why it’s become an essential K-Town stop.
Enter through the loading dock at Line Hotel and pass through a passageway filled with machines to find this retro 80s-themed speakeasy. There’ll be a wall of old TVs playing shows from your (or your mom’s) childhood with a selection of playful concoctions to sip on and karaoke rooms to keep you entertained.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang came onto the scene in 2020, well, with a bang. It’s the Art Deco gem with a disco twist and remains a place of debaucherous decadence. Enjoy the lavishly kitsch interiors where you’ll be served up elevated cocktails and a wide array of musical entertainment.
Where To Get Your Coffee Fix In K-Town
From vivid floral lattes to perfect pour-overs, here’s where you can get caffeinated in Koreatown.
When you take one look at the dizzying floral works of art, which you can both drink and eat, it won’t come as a surprise that the owner Silbia Lee was a florist. When Lee left Korea and started working at coffee shops around the States, the two experiences eventually merged as one. The result? Delectable concoctions like the pastel purple Bia Butterfly Pea Jasmine Milk
Flower syrup, adorning an edible flower.
Alchemy certainly comes to mind when you taste the menu of drinks available at this Koreatown hotspot. If you can’t decide between dessert and coffee, delight yourself with a Tiramisu Latte. The minimalist, industrial-style space with a large communal table is also perfect for catching up on a bit of work.
While no one will ever fully know L.A.’s K-Town, we hope this guide inspired you to start exploring the endless wonders of this neighborhood. Keep checking back for updates.