We took a quick trip to Chinatown and saw and experienced what we wanted in about 1 hour. We went to the "Old Chinatown" plaza area between N. Hill St. and Broadway St. south of Bamboo Ln. It was a quiet courtyard on a weekday afternoon and we noticed all the great architecture, hanging lanterns, and a few statues. We even saw the statue of Bruce Lee.
The only real activity we found was shopping. There were quite a few souvenir shops with hopefully genuine Chinese trinkets. Clothes, silks, cheap shoes, jewelry, coins, chopsticks, incense, tea cups, and so much more. My kids loved looking at everything, but I had to tell them a million times not to touch everything. There were breakable things plus paper fans that the shopowners did not want us to open (understandable.) We purchased a few things and enjoyed the experience. There was a 100 year old cash register in one of the shops which I thought was cool!
There are lots of restaurants and other shops all up and down the nearby streets, but we didn't want to walk lots of blocks - the plaza had enough shopping for us. Next time we will have to find the markets and enjoy some dim sum. We did finish our visit by stopping at the Phoenix Bakery which sells yummy treats.
The shopping here was so much fun. The parking was only $3 and was just short walk away. We walked down Bamboo lane which was fun and there is also a great little shopping center next to the train station. The only thing I would say be aware of is there are tons of cute little turtles for sale everywhere but be certain you know how to take care of a turtles, as they have been known to give kids salmonella :( Overall, we had a great time, BTW bring some coins they have a fun fountain to throw coins in.
If you are looking for a truly authentic Chinese experience, this is most likely not your best bet.
If you are looking for a fun, outdoor, unique afternoon, this is still a great place to check out.
Most of the restaurants that are on the main streets serve very "Americanized" Chinese food, although this might make it easier on your kid's palate to handle than the real stuff.
There are usually some fun events and activities going on in the courtyards, so check before you go.
Chinatown is where you get authentic Chinese food - no "Panda Express" style food here! I love to get dim sum here at Empress Pavilion or Ocean Seafood - these are the little plates of delicacies that you pick when the ladies with steaming carts roll by you. There is fun shopping for cheap knick-knacks and souvenirs, and for dessert pick up some goodies from one of the bakeries - they make cakes that are lighter and less sweet (yummier!) than what they sell in American bakeries.
Every so often our family likes to take a trip down to China Town. China Town in very neat because it offers such a variety of cultures. The atmosphere is so lively and everyone is out experiencing the culture. Right before you enter China Town there is a Huge dragon which captures all visits.
Going here I expected more, and was a little dissapointed. There isn't much to do there at all, and most of the shops sell the exact same things. The shops are small, the town is small. It's a little area, when you stand in the middle and look all around you- that's all there is. I went without kids, just me (22 yr old) and my friend (23) and were bored after an hour of looking around.
What could be better than dim sum, Chinese-inspired architecture, and inexpensive painted umbrellas? We love to go pick up little Chinese outfits for the kids. The food is amazing. The architecture is colorful and the kids will love it. Take the metro gold line to avoid having to find parking.
Chinese shops and restaurants line the “Street of the Golden Treasures” or Gin LingWay. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce coordinates parades, festivals, and other events. Call 213-680-0243 for information or visit www.chinatownla.com.
Dim sum! Yum! We love to head to Chinatown for the delicious food, the paper fans, the candies, and the interesting sights and smells. We also really enjoyed the Chinatown tour, we learned so much, and took away a lot more from the experience than just wandering around. Check their website for many free performance and other cultural activities: http://www.chinatownla.com/
My 4 year-old and I spent some time walking around and loved looking at all the things to look at and buy. She has learned about Asia in preschool and loved seeing everything. We found fancy chopsticks to use in a bun in your hair, a great little dress, and tons of little purses to choose from. It was fascinating to look at everything (including the little candies) in the markets as it was so unfamiliar. We also loved the area with little stalls selling trinkets - it was very urban and new for my suburban kid. I think we spent $20 in all and mydaughter was over the moon. We weren't there udring a meal time but we want to go back for dim sum soon for that fun experience. were inspired to cut and painted our own paper lanterns at home. She can't wait to go back!