A Los Angeles neighborhood rich in history, diversity, and culture, this area is convenient to the Metro Gold Line! Enjoy elements of Chinese and other Asian cultures, including wonderful food and music.
Yearly, Chinatown hosts a lively celebration for the Lunar New Year and a "Taste of Chinatown" event where visitors can sample the area's wonderful cuisine. You can also find plenty of shopping here – Chinatown boasts large plazas and street shops!
To get to the start of the tour:
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Important Note: Please make sure to always check times and schedules for transportation, destinations and events.
Chinatown Station (Metro Gold Line)
From the Chinatown Gold Line Metro station, proceed to street level and walk west on College Street to Broadway. Walk north on Broadway to Bernard Street, and turn left.
By the 1860s a Chinese settlement emerged in the area of the old Plaza, expanding eastward across Alameda by the turn of the century. A combination of political, economic, and social pressures caused the relocation of Chinatown to make way for the construction of the new Union Station rail terminal. One of the remaining structures of Old Chinatown, the 1890 Garnier Building in El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, houses the Chinese American Museum.
Find the headquarters of the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California (415 Bernard Street). Next door, the Chinatown Heritage and Visitors Center (411 Bernard) provides exhibits, which include historic photos and archeological artifacts, as well as a library and bookshop, focused on the history of Chinese Americans in Southern California. Call 323/222-1918 for information and Visitor Center hours.
Across the street, Bamboo Plaza (988 N. Hill Street) is home to the famous Empress Pavilion Restaurant (213/617-9898) featuring Cantonese cuisine and dim sum. Bamboo Plaza also has a variety of shops.
Proceed east on Bernard Street, returning back to North Broadway and turn right.
Have a craving for something sweet? Phoenix Bakery (969 N. Broadway; 213/628-4642) is the oldest and largest bakery in Chinatown with a citywide reputation for its strawberry whipped cream cakes.
Continue south on North Broadway.
Be enchanted by the quaint walkways and tiny shops at Central Plaza (947 N. Broadway). Hear the sounds of clicking mahjong tiles from upstairs windows and open doors, where many of Chinatown's family associations hold their social meetings. A popular place for filming, Central Plaza is known for its distinctive "Gate of Maternal Virtues," a statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Republic of China, and a wishing well dating to 1939. Within Central Plaza, Hop Louie Restaurant (950 Mei Ling Way; 213/628-4244), formerly the Golden Pagoda Restaurant, boasts a five-tier pagoda originally constructed in 1941.
Return back to Broadway, and walk south.
Continuing south, on the left side of the street are Saigon Plaza, Chinatown Plaza and Dynasty Center (800 block of North Broadway). Chinatown’s newest ethnic Chinese immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos own most of the shops and stalls. These bazaars offer real bargains on clothing, toys, and knickknacks of all kinds. As you walk on the east side of the street your attention will be caught by a number of jewelry stores sparkling with 24K gold and exquisite jade creations.
On the corner of Alpine and Broadway is Cathay Bank (777 N. Broadway), the first Chinese American-owned bank in Southern California. Established in 1962, Cathay Bank has grown to be one of the strongest banks in the Region with offices throughout California and other states. This distinctive building was designed by noted Chinese American architect Eugene Kinn Choy.
Also on this block is Far East Plaza, considered the first modern ethnic shopping mall in America. Originally a retail plaza exclusively for food, Far East Plaza still houses several restaurants
serving varying styles of Regional cuisine that can be found nowhere else in Chinatown. It is home to Wing Hop Fung Ginseng and China Products Center (727 N. Broadway; 213/626-7200), the largest store of its kind in Los Angeles, its fragrant with herbs and tea, and overflowing with chinaware, garments, arts and crafts. A pharmacy and acupuncturist are also located inside.
As you walk south on North Broadway, notice the Chinatown Gateway (600 N. Broadway). This monument stands 25 feet high, featuring twin dragons appearing to descend from the clouds while resting on four steel pillars. Erected in 2001, the design symbolizes luck, prosperity and longevity, a popular theme in Chinese Art.
At the corner of North Broadway and Ord Street, turn right and walk west on Ord Street and continue two blocks to Yale Street and turn right again.
A little detour will take you into another world: the incense-filled Ten Ho Temple (750 Yale Street). This ornately decorated temple serves as a focal point of the immigrant community and is one of the most beautiful of its kind. As with any religious institution, please be respectful of worshippers and staff on the premises.
Walk north on Yale to College Street, and make a right on College Street.
As you walk down Yale Street, you’ll pass Castelar Elementary School, the only elementary school in Chinatown, and the second oldest continuing elementary school in the entire city. The school used to be home of the Chinatown Branch Library, one of the busiest branches in the city, until February 2003 when a brand new building was built to house the library on the corner of Hill and Ord streets. At the corner of Yale and College streets, you will pass the Pacific Alliance Medical Center (531 W. College St.). Formerly the French Hospital, it was one of the first hospitals in Los Angeles to serve the city's French population and boasts a statue of Joan of Arc on the front lawn. Today, the hospital is run by enterprising doctors and serves the local Chinatown community.
Along College Street, walk one block east to Hill Street. Turn right on Hill Street and walk south.
Along Hill Street, the Chinese United Methodist Church (825 Hill St.) exemplifies a unique blending of Chinese and American architecture dating to the 1940s designed by Gilbert Leong. The Chinese United Methodist Church was established in 1877 as a mission for the growing Chinese community, and is the oldest Chinese Christian Church in Los Angeles. The Church offers Sunday services as well as providing social services to the community.
Turn around and walk north on Hill Street to the 900 block.
Further north on Hill Street is West Plaza (940 N. Hill St.). Built in the late 1940s, West Plaza houses businesses on the ground floor and residences upstairs. In addition to an eclectic collection of specialty Chinese shops with souvenirs, furniture, and clothing, the plaza is also home to a burgeoning new art community of avant-garde galleries, with several located on Chung King Road.