Los Angeles reveals its cosmopolitan nature thanks to the multi-ethnic neighborhoods that characterize it: in addition to Little Italy, El Pueblo and Little Tokyo, Chinatown is another picturesque area of the city to consider if you have more days available. It is not difficult to reach as it is located in Downtown Los Angeles and, with a walk of about 2 or 3 hours, you can admire the main attractions of the neighborhood, breathe the atmosphere that characterizes it, and maybe taste some excellent Asian cuisine in one of the many typical restaurants that have become popular with Californians and the many visitors who explore this area every day. Below I propose a walking itinerary to discover the Chinatown of Los Angeles.
- How to reach us
- Walking itinerary to discover the Chinatown of Los Angeles
- Da Union Station al Chinese American Museum
- Dal Chinese American Museum al Dragon Gate
- Da Dragon Gate a Thien Hau Temple
- Dal Thien Hau Temple a West Plaza e Chung King Road
- Da West Plaza alla Metro Gold Line Station
How to reach us
The Chinatown neighborhood is located in Downtown Los Angeles, therefore in the center of the city. You can reach the neighborhood by car or by public transport. If you are driving, you can enter Union Station as your destination on the navigator. The real center of the neighborhood is actually Central Plaza, but our walking itinerary starts from Union Station where you may find parking even more easily.
Se usi i By public transport, Union Station is the station with the largest number of lines, both for trains and buses, closest to Chinatown. In the district there is also the folkloric Chinatown Metro Station, reached by the Metro Gold Line inaugurated in 2003. This splendid station was born from the project of the artist Chusien Chang. The architect, following the I Ching system, Feng Shui, the contrast between Yin and Yang and the elements of Ba Gua, has designed a station in the heart of today's Chinatown that leaves you speechless.
Walking itinerary to discover the Chinatown of Los Angeles
The first Chinese community settled in the Union Station area in the mid-nineteenth century. Today, in fact, the Chinatown area proper is further north: less than two square kilometers between Main Street to the east, Yale Street to the west, Cesar Chavez Ave to the south and Bernard Street to the north.
Da Union Station al Chinese American Museum
However, our itinerary starts from Union Station both for the historical value of this place, and because it is an easily accessible station from various parts of Los Angeles and nearby areas. Also, in just 4 minutes walk from the station you will reach the Chinese American Museum.
Il Chinese American Museum is housed in a distinctive red brick building, the Garnier Building, located at 425 North Los Angeles Street. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 15:00. Admission costs $ 3.00 for adults and $ 2.00 for students and over 60s. Opened in 2003, the museum is housed in the oldest building built by the Chinese community in Los Angeles. Inside it houses collections and exhibitions that describe the history of the first Chinese immigrants in the city, the development of the community and the link with the territory and other communities over the centuries.
Dal Chinese American Museum al Dragon Gate
Il Dragon gate, also known as the Chinatown Gateway Monument, is a real gateway to modern Chinatown. Two dragons facing each other characterize this entrance on Brodway Street designed by artist Ruppert Mok and inaugurated in 2001. Since 2004 the lights that illuminate this installation have made the place an unmissable attraction for anyone who wants to take a selfie in the evening in the Chinatown of LA.
Da Dragon Gate a Thien Hau Temple
Continue along N Broadway to the junction with Alpine Street. Along the way you may stop at Far East Plaza, at 727 N Broadway, one of the first ethnic malls in America. You will also pass by Cathay Bank at 777 Broadway Street, the first American Chinese bank in Chinatown. Take Alpine Street and go to Yale Street, turn left and join the Thien Hau Temple. This Taoist temple is located at 756 Yale Street and is a marvel for the eyes and the mind. The temple is dedicated to the sea goddess Mazu and was built by some Vietnamese immigrants in the XNUMXs.
Dal Thien Hau Temple a West Plaza e Chung King Road
From the temple, go north along Yale Street. At the intersection of Yale Street and College Street you'll find Castelar Elementary School, famous not only for being the second oldest school in Los Angeles but also for its large mural on College Street. The mural by artist Shi Yan Zhang is titled "The Party at Lan-Ting" and depicts one of China's most important calligraphers, Wang Xi Zhi of the Jin Dynasty who lived between AD 321 and 376.
After admiring the details of the mural, take Hill Street and make your way to West Plaza. Here you will find the West Gate, the west gate to Chinatown, and a fountain of wishes. This area, especially Chung King Road, is renowned for its traditional restaurants and for art galleries. If you love antique shops, don't miss a visit to Fong's at 943 Chung King Road and F. See On Company at 507 Chung King Road.
Da West Plaza alla Metro Gold Line Station
From Chung King Road, head to Bernard Street, the northernmost street in the Chinatown neighborhood. From there take N Broadway and go down to the East Gate. This door allows access to Central Plaza and is possibly there most famous gateway of Chinatown. Built thanks to You Chung Hong, it is also known by its name Gate of Maternal Virtues in honor of all mothers and filial love.
Passing the East Gate, you will enter Central Plaza, the beating heart of Chinatown. Here you will find the statue of a key figure in Chinese history, that of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, father of modern China and first president of the Republic of China. Plus, you'll see a dragon mural painted by Chinese American artist Tyrus Wong and the handprints of a Chinese movie star, Chow Yun-fat.
Central Plaza is also the place where i major events of the Chinese community of Los Angeles: in January or February the celebrations for the Chinese New Year take place here in all their folklore, in the autumn the Moon Festival is celebrated and in the summer the square is the centerpiece of an important film festival at the open.
From the center of modern Chinatown, head to admire the Metro Gold Line Station. Don't miss seeing the replica of the Yong Bell bell in South Plaza, a 2000-year-old bronze bell that represents perpetual peace. The station with its pagoda roof and the harmony of architectural choices is the last stop on our journey through the main streets and squares of Los Angeles's Chinatown.
If you want to sleep in the area you can read our advice on Downtown hotels, while if you want to know the pros and cons of the various districts of the city you can read our dedicated in-depth analysis by clicking the link below.
Where to sleep in Los Angeles