This lovely LA area was the first American Chinatown, and it was planned and is largely owned by Chinese immigrants. Events like the Chinese New Year festival in February, the summer film festival, and the weekly farmers market contribute to the vibrancy of the area’s retail markets and eateries. Start your trip off right by stopping by the Historical Society and Visitors Center to pick up some free maps and information about the surrounding area. Get off at the Chinatown stop on the Gold Line of the Metro Rail at College and Spring Streets.

Dining and shopping in Chinatown, which is located in Los Angeles, CA area, is always a joyous experience. Traditional Chinese restaurants, dim sum houses, bakeries, and specialty grocery stores and gift shops are all housed in pagoda-style buildings with red lanterns. The Taoist Thien Hau Temple can be found here, as can a handful of galleries specializing in local artists and some seedy dives. Visitors flock to Philippe the Original, a legendary French dip sandwich shop, and innovative Asian fusion restaurants.

You can satisfy any craving at one of Chinatown’s many restaurants, both new and old. In the former Plum Tree Inn location, you’ll find Broadway Cuisine, which opened in August 2021 and features a massive 242-item menu in addition to the usual dim sum at Golden Dragon and traditional favorites at Hop Woo and Chiu Chow style noodles at Kim Chuy. Golden Lake Eatery Cambodian Restaurant serves up tasty banh mi, and the cash-only Pho 87 serves up soothing soup bowls.

However, as the area undergoes gentrification, many of the small, specialty grocery stores that serve the area’s aging population have closed down. Numerous markets are owned by Chinese Vietnamese. These shops offer a wide variety of inexpensive goods, including toilet paper, toys, clothing, and music CDs. Many Chinatown eateries focus on Cantonese fare, but you’ll also find Teochew Chinese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Thai options, reflecting the area’s multicultural makeup. There aren’t many boba cafes in Chinatown, but the San Gabriel Valley’s Chinese communities have a plethora of them.

There are more than twenty galleries to explore, the most majority of which are devoted to modern art by artists from outside of China. Acuna-Hansen Gallery, Black Dragon Society, China Art Objects, Jancar Gallery, and The Gallery at General Lee’s are just a few of the many well-known art galleries in the area. Readings, performances, and talks are common at venues like Telic Art Exchange, Betalevel, and The Mountain Bar.

The neighborhood of Chinatown is undergoing a radical transformation. When Chinatown was at its peak, it was full of busy Chinese eateries including Cantonese seafood restaurants serving dim sum and BBQ delicatessens with glass displays of roast duck and suckling pig. Vietnamese pho noodle soup and banh mi submarine sandwiches filled the void left when the Chinese food boom moved to the San Gabriel Valley. Cheap rents, the gallery boom of the 2000s, and a long-standing feeling of community have all contributed to Chinatown’s resurgence as downtown has been revitalized. There are still Chinese bakeries and other businesses serving the neighborhood.

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