Downtown and Koreatown

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Downtown and Koreatown - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Angels Flight Railway

    Downtown

    The turn-of-the-20th-century funicular, dubbed "the shortest railway in the world," operated between 1901 and 1969, when it was dismantled to make room for an urban renewal project. Almost 30 years later, Angels Flight returned with its original orange-and-black wooden cable cars hauling travelers up a 298-foot incline from Hill Street to the fountain-filled Watercourt at California Plaza. Your reward is a stellar view of the neighborhood. Tickets are $1 each way, but you can buy a souvenir round-trip ticket for $2 if you want something to take home with you.

    351 S. Hill St., Los Angeles, California, 90013, USA
    213-626–1901
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  • 2. El Pueblo de Los Angeles

    Downtown

    The oldest section of the city, known as El Pueblo de Los Angeles, represents the rich Mexican heritage of L.A. It had a close shave with disintegration in the early 20th century, but key buildings were preserved, and eventually Olvera Street, the district's heart, was transformed into a Mexican American marketplace. Today vendors still sell puppets, leather goods, sandals, and woolen shawls from stalls lining the narrow street. You can find everything from salt and pepper shakers shaped like donkeys to gorgeous glassware and pottery. At the beginning of Olvera Street is the Plaza, a Mexican-style park with plenty of benches and walkways shaded by a huge Moreton Bay fig tree. On weekends, mariachi bands and folkloric dance groups perform. Nearby places worth investigating include the historic Avila Adobe, the Chinese American Museum, the Plaza Firehouse Museum, and the America Tropical Interpretive Center. Exhibits at the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles chronicle the area's formerly heavy Italian presence.

    125 Paseo De La Plaza, Los Angeles, California, 90012, USA
    213-485–6855

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free for Olvera St. and self-guided tours; fees at some museums
  • 3. Grand Central Market

    Downtown

    With options that include handmade white-corn tamales, warm olive bread, dried figs, Mexican fruit drinks, and much more, this mouthwatering gathering place is the city's largest and most active food market. The spot bustles nonstop with locals and visitors surveying the butcher shop's display of everything from lambs' heads to pigs' tails. Produce stalls are piled high with locally grown avocados and heirloom tomatoes. Stop by Chiles Secos at stall No. 30 for a remarkable selection of rare chilies and spices; Ramen Hood at No. 23, for sumptuous vegan noodles and broth; or Sticky Rice at stall No. 24, for fantastic Thai-style chicken. Even if you don't plan on buying anything, it's a great place to browse and people-watch.

    317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, California, 90013, USA
    213-624–2378

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 4. Little Tokyo

    Downtown

    One of three official Japantowns in the country—all of which are in California—Little Tokyo is blossoming again thanks to the next generation of Japanese Americans setting up small businesses. Besides dozens of sushi bars, tempura restaurants, and karaoke bars, there's a lovely garden at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center and a renovated 1925 Buddhist temple with an ornate entrance at the Japanese American National Museum. On 1st Street you'll find a strip of buildings from the early 1900s. Look down when you get near San Pedro Street to see the art installation called Omoide no Shotokyo ("Remembering Old Little Tokyo"). Embedded in the sidewalk are brass inscriptions naming the original businesses, quoted reminiscences from residents, and steel time lines of Japanese American history up to World War II. Nisei Week (a nisei is a second-generation Japanese American) is celebrated every August with traditional drums, dancing, a carnival, and a huge parade. Docent-led walking tours are available by appointment on occasional Saturdays starting at 10:15 am. The cost is $15 and should be reserved in advance at littletokyohs.org.

    Bounded by 1st and 3rd Sts., the 101 and 110 freeways, and L.A. River, Los Angeles, California, 90012, USA
    213-880–6875
  • 5. The Broad Museum

    Downtown

    The talk of Los Angeles's art world when it opened in 2015, this museum in an intriguing, honeycomb-looking building was created by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad (rhymes with "road") to showcase their stunning private collection of contemporary art, amassed over five decades and still growing. With upward of 2,000 pieces by more than 200 artists, the collection has in-depth representations of the work of such prominent names as Jean Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, Cy Twombly, Kara Walker, and Christopher Wool. The "veil and vault" design of the main building integrates gallery space and storage space (visitors can glimpse the latter through a window in the stairwell): the veil refers to the fiberglass, concrete, and steel exterior; the vault is the concrete base. Temporary exhibits and works from the permanent collection are arranged in the small first-floor rooms and in the more expansive third floor of the museum, so you can explore everything in a few hours. Next door to the Broad is a small plaza with olive trees and seating, as well as the museum restaurant, Otium. Admission to the museum is free, but book timed tickets in advance to guarantee entry.

    221 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, California, 90012, USA
    213-232–6200

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Mon., Tickets required in advance
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  • 6. The Last Bookstore

    Downtown

    California's largest used and new book and record shop is a favorite for both book lovers and fans of a good photo op, thanks to elements like an archway created from curving towers of books, a peephole carved into the stacks, and an in-store vault devoted to horror texts. Aside from the awesome aesthetics, shoppers will love to get lost in the store's collection of affordable books, art, and music.

    453 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, California, 90013, USA
    213-488–0599
  • 7. Avila Adobe

    Downtown

    Built as a private home for cattle rancher and pueblo of L.A. mayor Francisco Ávila in 1818, this museum preserves seven of what were originally 18 rooms in the city's oldest standing residence. The graceful structure features 3-foot-thick walls made of adobe brick over cottonwood timbers, a traditional interior courtyard, and 1840s-era furnishings that bring to life an era when the city was still part of Mexico. The museum is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm and the complex is a California Historical Landmark.

    10 Olvera St., Los Angeles, California, 90012, USA
    213-485–6855
  • 8. Bradbury Building

    Downtown

    Stunning wrought-iron railings, ornate plaster moldings, pink marble staircases, a birdcage elevator, and a skylighted atrium that rises almost 50 feet—it's easy to see why the Bradbury Building leaves visitors awestruck. Designed in 1893 by a novice architect who drew his inspiration from a science-fiction story and a conversation with his dead brother via an Ouija board, the office building was originally the site of turn-of-the-20th-century sweatshops, but now it houses a variety of businesses. Scenes from Blade Runner, Chinatown, and 500 Days of Summer were filmed here, which means there's often a barrage of tourists snapping photos. Visits are limited to the lobby and the first-floor landing. Historic Downtown walking tours hosted by the L.A. Conservancy cost $15 and include the Bradbury Building.

    304 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, California, 90013, USA
    213-626–1893
  • 9. California African American Museum

    Exposition Park

    With more than 4,500 historical artifacts, this museum showcases contemporary art of the African diaspora. Artists represented here include Betye Saar, Charles Haywood, and June Edmonds. The museum has a research library with more than 6,000 books available for public use. If possible, visit on a Sunday or Thursday, when there's almost always a diverse lineup of speakers and performances.

    600 State Dr., Los Angeles, California, 90037, USA
    213-744–7432

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free; parking $15, Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 10. California Science Center

    Exposition Park

    You're bound to see excited kids running up to the dozens of interactive exhibits here that illustrate the prevalence of science in everyday life. Clustered in different "worlds," the center keeps young guests busy for hours. They can design their own buildings and learn how to make them earthquake-proof; watch GLOBAL ZONE, where you can see Earth's global cycles of air, water, land, and life exhibited on a giant interactive globe. One of the exhibits in the Air and Space section shows how astronauts Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon made it to outer space in the Gemini 11 capsule in 1966. The IMAX theater screens science-related large-format films that change throughout the year.

    700 Exposition Park Dr., Los Angeles, California, 90037, USA
    323-724–3623

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Permanent exhibits free; fees for some attractions, special exhibits, and IMAX screenings vary; parking $15
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  • 11. Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

    Downtown

    A half block from Frank Gehry's curvaceous Walt Disney Concert Hall sits the austere Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels—a spiritual draw as well as an architectural attraction. Controversy surrounded Spanish architect José Rafael Moneo's unconventional design for the seat of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. But judging from the swarms of visitors and the standing-room-only holiday masses, the church has carved out a niche for itself in Downtown L.A. The plaza in front is glaringly bright on sunny days, though a children's play garden with bronze animals mitigates the starkness somewhat. Head underground to wander the mausoleum's mazelike white-marble corridors. Free self-guided tours start at the entrance fountain at 1 pm on weekdays. There's plenty of underground visitors' parking; the vehicle entrance is on Hill Street.

    555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, California, 90012, USA
    213-680–5200

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
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  • 12. Chinatown

    Downtown

    Smaller than San Francisco's Chinatown, this neighborhood near Union Station still represents a slice of East Asian life. Sidewalks are usually jammed with tourists, locals, and residents hustling from shop to shop picking up goods, spices, and trinkets from small shops and mini-plazas that line the street. Although some longtime establishments have closed in recent years, the area still pulses with its founding culture. During Chinese New Year, giant dragons snake down the street. And, of course, there are the many restaurants and quick-bite cafés specializing in Chinese feasts. In recent years, a slew of hip eateries like Howlin' Ray's and Majordomo have injected the area with vibrancy. An influx of local artists has added a spark to the neighborhood by taking up empty spaces and opening galleries along Chung King Road, a faded pedestrian passage behind the West Plaza shopping center between Hill and Yale. Also look for galleries along a little side street called Gin Ling Way on the east side of Broadway. Chinatown has its main action on North Broadway. There are several garages available for parking here that range from $15 to $25 per day.

    Bordered by the 110, 101, and 5 freeways, Los Angeles, California, 90012, USA
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  • 13. Chinese American Museum

    Downtown

    Because it's in El Pueblo Plaza, you might assume that this museum features Mexican American art, but it's actually the last surviving structure of L.A.'s original Chinatown. Three floors of exhibits reveal the different cultures that have called this area home, as well as how the original residents paved the way for what is now a vibrant and varied Chinatown. Rotating exhibits feature the work of Chinese American artists.

    425 N. Los Angeles St., Los Angeles, California, 90012, USA
    213-485–8567

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $3, Closed Mon.--Thurs.
  • 14. City Hall of Los Angeles

    Downtown

    This gorgeous 1928 landmark building is a TV star—it was in the opening scenes of Dragnet and served as the Daily Planet building in the original Adventures of Superman. During extensive renovations, the original Lindburg Beacon was put back in action atop the hall's 13-story tower. The revolving spotlight, inaugurated by President Calvin Coolidge from the White House via a telegraph key, was used from 1928 to 1941 to guide pilots into the Los Angeles airport. The observation deck, located on the 27th floor, is free to the public and has a stellar view of the greater Los Angeles area.

    200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, California, 90012, USA
    213-473–3231

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed weekends
  • 15. Crypto.com Arena

    Downtown

    Home to the Lakers, the Sparks, and the ice hockey team Los Angeles Kings, the Crypto.com Arena is Downtown's top sports destination. It's also the preferred venue for superstars like Bruce Springsteen, Ariana Grande, and Justin Bieber. Though not open for visits except during events, the saucer-shape building is eye-catching.

    1111 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, California, 90015, USA
    213-742–7100
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  • 16. Exposition Park

    Exposition Park

    Originally developed in 1872 as an agricultural park, this 160-acre park has a lovely sunken rose garden and three museums—the California African American Museum, the California Science Center, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County—as well as an IMAX theater. There's also Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum where Olympic festivities were held in 1932 and 1984 and where USC games are now played. The newest addition to the park is the Banc of California Stadium, a 22,000-seat arena that's home to the LAFC soccer club. Good news for commuters: the Metro Expo Line, which connects the Westside to Downtown Los Angeles, has a stop at Exposition Park. Note that the park and neighborhood are sketchy at night.

    700 Exposition Park Dr., Los Angeles, California, 90037, USA
    213-744--2294

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Parking $15
  • 17. Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

    Downtown

    The Geffen Contemporary is one of architect Frank Gehry's boldest creations. One of three MOCA branches, the 40,000 square feet of exhibition space was once used as a police car warehouse. The museum's permanent collection includes works from artists like Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Cindy Sherman. Present your TAP metro card to get two-for-one admission.

    152 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, California, 90012, USA
    213-626–6222

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free; special exhibitions $18 or free every Thurs. 5–8; parking $9, Closed Mon.
  • 18. GRAMMY Museum

    Downtown

    The GRAMMY Museum brings the music industry to life. Throughout four floors and 30,000 square feet of space, the museum showcases rare footage of GRAMMY performances, plus rotating and interactive exhibits on award-winning musicians and the history of music. A 200-seat theater is great for live events that include screenings, lectures, interviews, and intimate music performances.

    800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, California, 90015, USA
    213-765–6800

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $18, Closed Tues.
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  • 19. Italian American Museum of Los Angeles

    Downtown

    This landmark, constructed in 1908, is noteworthy because its south wall bears an infamous mural. Famed Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros shocked his patrons in the 1930s by depicting an oppressed worker of Latin America being crucified on a cross topped by a menacing American eagle. The anti-imperialist mural was promptly whitewashed but was later restored by the Getty Museum. It can be seen on the Italian Hall building today. Today the site functions as a museum and has seven color-coded exhibits on the history of Italian Americans. The site is also home to Taste of Italy, an annual event that celebrates the Italian culinary history of Los Angeles.

    644 N. Main St., Los Angeles, California, 90012, USA
    213-485–8432

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Museum closed Mon.
  • 20. Japanese American Cultural and Community Center

    Downtown

    Plenty of traditional and contemporary cultural events make this center well worth the trip. Founded in 1980, JACCC is home to a number of civic and arts organizations. Through the center's basement you reach the James Irvine Garden, a serene sunken space where local plants mix with bamboo, Japanese wisteria, and Japanese maples. The main floor of the museum houses the George J. Doizaki Gallery, which has 2,000 square feet of exhibition space and has housed everything from national treasures of Japan to the Bugaku costumes from the Kasuga Grand Shrine in Nara. An 880-seat theater is known for any number of performing arts shows including Bunraku Puppet Theater and the Grand Kabuki of Japan.

    244 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles, California, 90012, USA
    213-628–2725

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Doizaki Gallery closed Mon. and Tues.; Japanese garden closed Mon.

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