Whether you’re a Tourist or a Townie, there’s always something different and fun to do in the Los Angeles area. But the cost of fun in the City of Angels can add up fast. Below is number 3 in a series of 25 things to do in Los Angeles that will cost $25 or less.
New York City, San Francisco and Boston all have one. So do many other cities in the US. If someone plopped you down right in the middle of it, you might think you’re in Hong Kong or the old part of Shanghai.
Of course, I’m talking about Chinatown. The one in Los Angeles may not be as well known as some of the others, but it’s well worth the visit. The “official” Chinatown in Los Angeles opened to the public in 1938. It was one of the first malls in the United States and the first modern Chinatown in the country. It’s now one of LA’s hidden treasures.
This colorful neighborhood plays host to Chinese food festivals, art galleries, gift shops, markets, plaza stalls, fortune tellers and restaurants. When you walk through the East Gate into the Old Chinatown Plaza, the landscape may seem familiar to you, since many Hollywood movies and TV shows have been shot here. The Golden Pagoda, Seven Star Cavern Wishing Well and the traditional Chinese architecture, wow visitors and bring them back to a time before all the skyscrapers and smog in Beijing and Shanghai.
At night, Old Chinatown is lit up with neon, especially around the ornate East Gate. It provides a romantic backdrop for anyone who wants to take an evening stroll with their sweetie after dinner in a nearby restaurant.
Old Chinatown Plaza is located at 943 North Broadway, northeast of downtown Los Angeles. The neighborhood is bordered by North Broadway, Hill Street, College Street and Bernard Street. You can find information on gallery openings, special events, driving directions and parking at http://www.chinatownla.com/.
If you’re uncomfortable with exploring Chinatown on your own, or just want more information on what you see, take the 2-1/2 hour Undiscovered Chinatown Walking Tour, available every first Saturday of the month at 10:30 am – 1:00 pm. They schedule additional tours for Chinese New Year, Chinatown Summer Nights and Moon Festival. Reservations can be made by calling (213) 680-0243 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The tour costs $20.