Always open; Walking Tours 1st Sat of every month, 10:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
The first recorded Chinese settlers arrived in Los Angeles around 1852. Within 20 years, a one-block area, about a mile from today’s Chinatown, could be identified as the original Chinatown. Within 50 years, that area grew to encompass more than 15 streets, a Chinese opera, and 3 temples. However, the Chinese immigrants were not allowed to own or inherit property, and slowly the thriving sub-town fell into despair due to economic instability. In 1937, Peter Soo Hoo, an American born of Chinese immigrants, became instrumental in bringing together Chinese and American business people to organize a new location and community for today’s Chinatown. Over $100,000 was raised to fund this endeavor. Officially recognized in 1938, Chinatown is vital to the identity and culture of Los Angeles. Wandering the shops and walkways, Asian language, music, and the smell of food waft through open doors, momentarily transporting the visitor to exotic lands. Chinatown is colorful and inexpensive, and an intriguing destination for locals and visitors. Purchase Chinese teas, silk kimonos, or colorful souvenirs at Wing Hop Fung Ginseng and China Products Center, at 727 North Broadway. If hungry, one of the best places to enjoy a classic dim sum feast is The Empress Pavilion—expect to wait for a table!