For one of the most densely-populated ethnic neighborhoods with diverse food, nightlife and other offerings, Koreatown near Downtown Los Angeles is one of the best spots in Southern California. There also is more to do in Koreatown in a single day trip, but here are a few suggestions of things to do. Before enjoying Koreatown, check out Anthony Bourdan’s Parts Unknown episode on Koreatown for some additional color about Koreatown and its interesting role in the 1992 LA Riots.
Things To Do:
Allocate about 5 to 8 hours depending on whether there is a concert you are interested in at The Wiltern. Here is a sample from a Devo Concert from this past Summer: Devo at the Wiltern. If there is, that is probably where your night will end, unless you also check out one of the best dive bars in LA at Frank ‘n Hank, 518 S. Western Ave a few blocks north of The Wiltern. The bar attracts many characters from Charles Bukowski-esque alcoholics, Southwestern Law Students, Hipsters and other randoms.
Go bowling at Shatto 39 Lanes at 3255 W. 4th Street and make sure to check out its small, but decent arcade that has some old gems from the 80s.
Watch a Korean film at the high-tech Korean movie theater, CGV Cinemas at Wilshire and Western. There are American films playing as well in these very comfortable theaters, but you can watch those anywhere (including in the comfort of your home these days). Watch a Korean film, but make sure it has subtitles as some of them are not subtitled. Korean films are very well made and epic. Search a few on Netflix to get a flavor.
Have an 80s fetish (like me)? Grab a cocktail, play classic video games, watch throwback MTV videos, rent karaoke suites and enjoy live performances at Break Room 86 at 3515 Wilshire Blvd. and Ardmore, Break Room 86 can either be accessed through The Line Hotel or via a “secret” entrance off of Ardmore. Bring your dancing shows because your body can’t help but enjoy this trip down memory lane.
A BBQ Suggestion:
Eat Korean BBQ at Chosun Galbee at 3330 Olympic Blvd. There is valet parking and friendly, English-speaking servers. Order short ribs, Soju and Hite and enjoy the food but know that you will leave smelling smokey and garlicky.
Most of Koreatown (and the above suggestions except Shatto 39 Lanes and Chosun Galbee) is accessible from the LA Metro as the Purple Line has 3 stops in Koreatown, Wilshire/Vermont, Wilshire/Normandie and Wilshire/Western. The Wiltern, Frank n’ Hank and CGV Cinemas are basically at/near the Wilshire and Western station, and many of the restaurants and bars are within a few square miles of Wilshire and Western or Wilshire and Vermont. If using a car than accessing Koreatown depends on where you are coming from. You can access Koreatown either off of the 10 or the 101 and Western Ave.
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