Chinatown is nestled a stone’s throw away from historic Olvera Street, and is a small, rich, vibrant, and dense neighborhood full of food, culture, and other hidden gems. Check out these 10 Great Places to Visit in Chinatown.
Saigon Plaza offers housewares, purses, sunglasses, backpacks, hats, dresses, jackets, plants…you name it! Located in the heart of Chinatown and just a few steps away from the Chinatown light rail station, this outdoor-ish breezeway pulsates with vibrant Chinese culture. Should one enter the bazaar from the Spring Street side, which is closest to the light rail, and make your way through the mall, you’ll find yourself spilling out onto Broadway, eventually, where you’ll stumble upon some delectable food trucks rampant with fresh juice, egg rolls, a variety of kabobs, and fresh fruit. Also at the Broadway entrance/exit of Saigon Plaza, you’ll find Saigon Deli, where you simply must check out some of their delectable dim sum. 828 N. Broadway, 90012.
Sam Woo Bar-B-Que Restaurant
Sam Woo has been a popular cafeteria and family style Hong Kong restaurant in this neighborhood for years. The Wor Wonton soup is incredible, ripe with luscious ingredients. The family style portions of chicken and other delectables are generous, and the prices are right. Table service is friendly, and they are quick to serve you a warm pot of tea while you wait for your first entree. Sam Woo serves beer and wine, and besides dining in, there’s an impressive take out area where you can get your dim sum to go. Check out the Shrimp with Cashew Nut, and the variety of Hot Pots. 803 N. Broadway. 90012.
Chinatown Gateway Monument
Behold the majestic gateway that is the official entryway to Los Angeles’ historic Chinatown district. It is a massive and statuesque archway depicting two fiery dragons, a stunning piece of public art. Do stop by to get an eye full. Legend has it the dragons symbolize good luck, prosperity, harmony, and longevity. The monument was erected in 2001 and is an absolute must see for all fortune seekers. Intersection of Broadway and Cesar Chavez Avenue. 90012.
Thien Ha Temple
Retreat from the hustle and bustle of shopping on Broadway to a beautiful sanctuary of serenity and Chinese spirituality. The intricacy of the interior design and architecture in this temple is stunning. Experience relaxation and calm in incense perfumed-air. Everything is so tastefully ornate, and the altars are divine. 750-756 N. Yale Street. 90012.
Bruce Lee Bronze Statue
This towering statue is the topic of much local and tourist talk in the quest to make it a permanent fixture of Chinatown. This soaring and fully bronze 7 ½ foot tall replica of the martial artist, filmmaker, actor, and philosopher, the one and only Bruce Lee, weighs in at 1,595 pounds, and there’s vested interest in raising funds to implement a permanent installation of the tributary piece. The statue is staggering, and a popular photo-op spot. Chinatown is decorated with many monuments and statues, but none other garner its line of pedestrians around them. It truly is a work of art. The visage of Lee, who had a martial arts studio not too far from the location of the monument, is sculpted into fight position, left hand in an outreached position, fingers splayed. Don’t miss it. 943 Sun Mun Way. 90012.
Los Angeles State Historic Park
It’s been a long time coming, but it’s almost finally here. This vast and sprawling expanse of land is home to events, dog walkers, and joggers. The design process is being finalized, but there are several acres available for your enjoyment right now! It’s located right near the Chinatown Metro rail station, sandwiched between Spring Street. Witness this elegant work in progress that is sure to live up to it’s name in terms of being historic. 1245 N. Spring Street. 90012.
Chinese American Museum
Prepare to have your mind completely blown as you take in the sheer richness and cultural magic of this museum. Although it is not technically located in Chinatown — just a hop, skip and a jump away, near historic Olvera Street — it is Chinatown all the way, and an absolute must see. The imagery displayed is powerful and unforgettable. It’s a small sized museum that goes a long way in terms of describing the Chinese American experience in Los Angeles. And the price for admission is free! 425 N. Los Angeles Street. 90012.
The Grand Star Jazz Club
Few establishments can boast being a neighborhood fixture since 1946. This is not a fancy pants place. This place doesn’t keep their prices nice and low by serving drinks out of fancy glasses. You will be drinking beer out of a plastic cup, and you will love it. The ambiance is amazing. The staff is always friendly and kind. It’s dark, it’s moody, and the music is amazing. Treat yourself to this slice of Chinatown history. You won’t regret it. 943 N. Broadway. 90012.
Golden Dragon Parade and Chinese New Year New Year Festival 2017
You do not want to miss this awesomely dazzling and popular family favorite event. In 2017, Chinese New Year falls on January 28th, so bring the family and kids, because the sights — and authentic food — are sure to astound. Every year, the celebration involves paying homage to each totem animal ushered in per year, and 2017 is the year of the rooster. Expect to smell incense wafting through the air, and dancers. Lots and lots of lion dancers, and expression of a traditional form of Chinese dance. The parade starts at Hill and Ord Streets, before winding its way to conclusion on Broadway and Cesar Chavez.
Metro Gold Line – Chinatown Station
The historic community of Chinatown is extremely accessible via Los Angeles’ above ground Metro light rail. Established in the summer of 2003, the trains are clean, pleasant, and the views of Los Angeles are staggering, no matter which direction you approach Chinatown from. The station is located in the heart of Chinatown, one block away from a lot of the hustle and bustle. It’s also one stop away from Union Station, which is the original location of Chinatown years ago. The station itself is tastefully decorated with art rich with symbolism about Chinese history and culture. It all makes for terrific sightseeing. 901 N. Spring St. 90012.