Located near Union Station, next to Downtown LA, Chinatown is the cultural and commercial centre for the Chinese-American population of Los Angeles. The area became designated as such in the early 20th century but was originally located where Union Station stands. When plans were made to build the railway station, the original Chinatown was dismantled and it wasn't until 1938 that the current neighbourhood was established. Although there is plenty of Chinese food all over Los Angeles, Chinatown is probably still the best place for it.
You will have no idea you are in California when you go to Chinatown. The food, people, markets and other shops are unlike anything you will find at a typical shopping mall. If you pop into a bakery, try the mooncake. It's pretty good. It's thick, moist and slightly sweet. Great with a cup of latte (if you can find some latte). I guess some oolong or green tea is a good substitute. Becareful when you enter some of the shops on Broadway. They are selling things that most people would find shocking. Shark fins, sea horses and sea cucumbers. There is an unfavorable odor in these stores. Some of the things I saw, I don't know what they were but made me a little sick to my stomach thinking what it could be. Anyway, for the most part an interesting place to visit. Very inexpensive clothing and accessories but that doesn't mean a good value. Basically, you get what you pay for. To see more pics, visit my travelogue!
Each year people flood the alleys of Los Angeles' Chinatown for the annual Chinese New Year celebration. It's a great opportunity to hit the streets with and hip cross-section of Angelinos and enjoy the parade, delicious food and the firecrackers. Chinese New Year marks the end of winter and it is quite a celebration. Local artists and vendors peddle their goods and there are plenty of hip art galleries and old-fashioned souvenir shops to hit. In the evening the fireworks come out and the streets glow with neon! It can always be hectic getting in and out of the Downtown area; be sure to allow plenty of time.
Interesting place with a true chinese feel to it. You can find delicious food, and stay for cheap at the Royal Pagoda motell. I got some pretty nice pictures during the evening when it got dark.
Check out the photos here:
Los Angeles's Chinatown, in my opinion, is like any other Chinatown in the U.S. I enjoyed the food there. It was very delicious. We went into a typical Chinese restaurant where I had Yangzhou fried rice and it was great. The food is very authentic mainland Chinese in some of the restaurants. Also there's nice shopping opportunities of Chinese gifts, etc. at very cheap prices. But the best thing for me was the food!
For a truly unique experience, head into LA's Chinatown, but don't expect to find the San Francisco-type experience. Chinatown here is a bit creepy, a bit rundown, a bit abandoned feeling. There are a few kids playing in the quiet pedestrian-only streets with Hundreds of red lanterns perpetually strung ahead, lots of empty storefronts and a few souvenir stores. But the real gem of this place is the art galleries sprinkled throughout the streets. Take a walk down Chung King Road and look around for the galleries. Sometimes they are obvious, sometimes they are completely unlabeled. Go between noon and six Tuesday-Saturday to catch the art. It's a great environment, and a great chance to see some young contemporary LA art talent. Then there's the food, which abounds. After your stroll, take your pick of authentic Chinese restaurants and step inside for some great food.
And don't miss the Chinese grocery stores or illegally sold baby red eared snapper turtles. Even though Chinatown may not be what you expect, its a great place to spend the day. Great photo opportunities abound, too, with the lanterns, bright colors, and kitschy Chinese decor and architecture, so bring your camera too!
We drove to Chinatown and parked at the Bamboo Plaza. Parking is $6 for all day but if you eat at one of the restaurants in Chinatown you can get your parking validated. We only paid $1 and we were in Chinatown most of the day and evening.
At the Bamboo Plaza you will see the Empress Pavilion which is a famous restaurant in Chinatown. It is famous for big weddings and receptions. It is always busy here and if you come here to eat there might be a long wait.
The Bamboo Plaza is also home to many little shops and even a market.
More spacious and spread out than San Francisco Chinatown. Still worthy of visit for dim sum, Chinese restaurants and buying ginseng. For ginseng, there are many different qualities and price range, whether wild or cultivated ginseng and origin - Canadian, American, Korean, etc.
Chinatown will be a great place to book a trip to Las Vegas as some local American Chinese love to gamble over weekends. Don't ask me if there are underworld Chinatown gangs like in the movies, just be a good tourist and stay out of trouble.
When we walked around looking for something we could reach on foot from Union Station, we found Chinatown. It's pretty much like all Chinatowns. The food was great (and cheap), and there were a lot of cute stores with very cheap (and very low-quality) stuff.
Something interesting that i found out was that LA 's the first Chinatown in the United States where Chinese people own the land. The first Chinese immigrants in California were gold miners, laborers, canal diggers and farm workers. Most of the first Chinese here were Cantonese. Later then Madarin came and other refugees from other parts of Indochina. China town isnt exactly what it used to be , in fact business has fallen between 30 to 40% from previous years. We are all hoping that with all the redevelopement going on in Downtown that they wont forget to put some money into this important district.
Chinatown is several districts in one, tourist destination, commercial and market center, workplace, and residential neighborhood. Some interesting points of interest while in Chinatown would be: Bambo Plaza, where you can also park if you drove yourself, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolant Association, the East Gate (Central Plaza) this is often referred to as Old China town, South Plaza, St Peters Curch and Casa Italiana, The West gate to New China town and the Far East Plaza. Seriously theres so much to see here, especially if you know what you are looking for. You can easily spent the entire day in China Town. If you like Chinese food then this is the place to be. There are tons of tea houses and restaurants.
Though a bit gritty and smelly of bad seafood at times, Chinatown is well worth a visit. (Wow, this is some selling point, but I'm just giving you the reality, which one does appreciate here on VT :-)
This is a place of retail bargains, good and bad cuisine and oh yeah, cultural intrigue (of Chinese, Vietnamese and othe Asian traditions and ways)
The area stretches on about 4 major streets (mainly Broadway but also including Yale, Main and Spring St.) and features several plazas like Bamboo and Saigon.
I love Chinatown. I do. Best of both worlds. There is the old, Pagoda-laden, failed-tourist district; and the newer, bargain basement shopping warehouses. What's not to love?!
People talk about Japantown/Little Tokyo. LAME. Skip that kee-rap and come to Chinatown! Where else can you get a Hollywood ashtray for fifty cents?