Let’s travel the world! Wait? What? In Los Angeles you say? WTH, do you mean by that!?! Los Angeles is a melting pot of cultures. The city is separated by “districts” or “towns”. Put on your walking shoes and let’s go!
Be warned: this is the most food eccentric itinerary in my whole blog and probably the most walking!
Places mentioned below are the following:
2. Olvera St
3. Little Tokyo
4. Downtown LA
Chinatown: Start your day off in Chinatown. Have some Dim Sum. My favorite place is the Empress Pavilion. It’s a little pricey, but it’s doable if you don’t want to go to the San Gabriel Valley. They just renovated and have the little carts! Chinatown isn’t what it used to be. It’s a little quieter than the other Chinatown’s of the world. Most of the Asians move to the San Gabriel Valley. That’s where all the legit Chinese food is located. (EDIT: As of January 2016, It just became an event only space. The owner who owns this also owns Ocean Seafood).
After eating, walk a little down the street (947 N. Broadway). If you started at the Dim Sum place on Hill, there’s an entrance to 947 N. Broadway from the back. I point this out because if you look to the building/restaurant on the right, that’s where they filmed Rush Hour. The building clearly states it.
947 N Broadway has little shops and jewelry stores, but this is where most famous movies have been filming and where people usually take their pictures of Chinatown, other than the gate on Sunset Blvd.
My mom loves going to Chinatown for souvenirs of Los Angeles. Well, mostly for t-shirts. 5 shirts for $10 (100% Cotton). OK, I’m not sure what the rate is nowadays but it’s cheap. She goes every time we go back home to old country. If you walk down Broadway there’s a little alley with shops next to the Bank of America. You may see the shirts in Hollywood, but it’s cheaper here.
Keep walking or Drive to the next location.
Olvera Street: So if it’s lunch time, I recommend Philippe the Original (just because it’s been there for years). If you don’t want sandwiches and want Mexican food instead, Olvera Street has awesome Taquitos! Just prop yourself down in the little shops. If you’re not hungry yet, cross the street to Union Station and check it out then come back for food or you can wait till later.
Little Tokyo: Check out the Little Tokyo Village. There’s a lot of Japanese restaurants in this Village and pretty much the whole Little Tokyo is just some place where you can sit down and eat.
1. Shabu Shabu House – This place has da bomb Shabu Shabu in Los Angeles (I think). However, they used to open for lunch and dinner, but NOW just open for dinner.
2. Komasa or Sushi Gen – These two places only open at night (with the exception of Sushi Gen that opens during lunch on weekdays only). These two places have pretty fresh sushi for decent prices.
3. Daikokuya – craving for ramen? This place always has a long line, but good ramen. Opens the whole day.
Craving for dessert:
1. Mikawaya – This is where the original mochi ice cream was made.
2. Mitsuru Cafe – Red Bean Cakes. Enough said.
Downtown LA: Walk on First St. Sorry there’s a hill. Around Spring St., this is where the new Grand Central Park is and City Hall. Check out City Hall as you can go all the way to the top and check out the view of downtown from there (see if they are open first though). Go through Grand Park. At the end around Grand, you’ll find: the Music Center. Basically every performing art known in LA; the Opera, Center Theatre Group, LA Phil, etc.(See something familiar? Yes, this is where they filmed Inception). If you walk west, this is where the Walt Disney Center is. After you see this, keep walking to the Broad, the new museum.
This is where it gets tricky: After walking to the Broad, keep on walking to MOCA. After MOCA, you’ll find this water court. This is where you’ll find the top of Angel’s Flight. Find the stairs to go down. (Glad I didn’t tell you to go up these stairs and walk on that hill instead? … yeah you’re welcome). At the bottom, you’ll find the bottom of Angel’s flight and the Grand Central Market. Across from the Grand Central Market is the Bradbury Building. Keep walking west on Broadway and you’ll find old Los Angeles; basically, all the theaters like the Los Angeles Theatre, Palace Theatre, and Orpheum Theatre. Unfortunately, the Orpheum Theatre is on 9th Street and too far to walk. Maybe you can back track later? If you turn right on 5th St, and keep walking you’ll find Pershing Square and the historic Biltmore hotel. If you keep going straight, you’ll find our Public Library.
Edit: For further details on Grand Ave. Check out my post on Grand Ave (here).
OK, I realize that’s there’s too much walking involved but you can so do all this in your car if you wanted to. However, if you did all that walking and you end up at the public library, you can take the Dash (A) from Grand back to Chinatown (if that’s where you parked your car that is) It’s 50 cents per person. If, you’re already in your car, then turn right onto Flower. Figueroa is a one way street. Keep going till you hit 11th St. Turn right and you’ll find our LA Convention Center and Staples Center where the LA Lakers, Clippers, Kings, and Spurs play.
For dinner I do recommend three things. If you’re already at Staples, you can check out the Original Pantry. You can’t get more American than this. This place has been located in this area for eons. It’s owned by a former Los Angeles mayor, Richard Riordan. I heard of this place because they were going to close it down for health code reasons back when LA was rolling out the grades. It’s open 24 hours but their steak and eggs… You got to try it! Try going on OFF times. Line is out the door and there are two lines (dining and bar stool area).
The other two are actual towns: Koreatown and Little Osaka. See the below posts for further info.