13 Asian Destinations in Los Angeles: Asian Sites and Culture

Explore the best Asian destinations in Los Angeles, influenced by exquisite architecture, flavorful cuisines, innate connection to nature, and other aspects of Asian cultures.

Last updated: May 23, 2024

Asian Destinations in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
The best Asian places in Los Angeles: Asian culture and beyond

Asian Traditions and Cultures in Los Angeles

Yoga, meditation, Thai massage, Japanese sushi, Indian turmeric, and even kiwi that spread around the world from China… All of these things that you can easily find on the streets and in the markets of Los Angeles have Asian roots. You can practice yoga at home or visit a yoga studio a few times a week, grab sushi for lunch, and wander along narrow paths of a South Asian center on a weekend without separating different, often opposite cultures.

And there is no need for it. Western and Asian cultures and traditions are intermixed in Los Angeles, one of the culturally diverse cities in the world. Home to such exquisite architectural masterpieces as the Korean Bell of Friendship and the TCL Chinese Theater and a plethora of tiny Asian towns with their traditional shops and restaurants, the City of Angels gives you a strong introduction to Asian cultures and customs.

If you want to dive deeper into this part of the city, here are the best Asian destinations in Los Angeles you may want to visit today.


1. Chinatown

Location: Downtown Los Angeles

Chinatown is hands down the most popular Asian neighborhood of Los Angeles. Dotted with numerous dim sum houses, pagoda-style buildings, traditional Chinese restaurants and bakeries along with Asian grocery stores and markets, the area oozes pompous Asian festivity and is a great dining and shopping destination.

The entrance to the Chinese district of Los Angeles is guarded by two golden dragons that comprise the Chinatown Gateway Monument. Within an eight-minute walk from here, you stumble upon the Chinese American Museum dedicated to the cultural and historical heritage of Chinese-Americans.

Chinatown in Los Angeles differs from all other Chinatowns in the country. Developed as a tourist attraction in the 1930s, this Asian part of the city combines elements of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Shanghai. Created to give out an impression of Hong Kong, Central Plaza, located in the center of town, adopts street names of its mother city. Surrounding the historic square are the East and West Gates, the traditional gateways in Old and New Chinatowns.

Inside Central Plaza, you will find the Wishing Well. Built as a much smaller replica of the natural stone formation in South China, the Seven Star Cave, it’s the oldest attraction in New Chinatown.

Last but not least, Chinese believers and culture appreciators are welcome at Thien Hau Temple, one of the most beautiful Asian temples in Los Angeles.

Chinatown | Roads and Destinations
Chinatown. Photo by Tony Saiko (unsplash) | Asian destinations in Los Angeles

2. Korean Bell of Friendship

Location: 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro, CA 90731

Nestled on a small hill overlooking Los Angeles Harbor in the coastal neighborhood of San Pedro, the elaborately-decorated Korean Bell of Friendship symbolizes the friendly relationship between South Korea and the USA.

The structure weighs 17 tons and is 12 feet high and 7.5 feet in diameter. A replica of South Korea’s Bronze Bell of King Seongdeok, the Korean Bell of Friendship was cast in Korean and donated to the people of Los Angeles in 1976. Along came thirty craftsmen who erected a pagoda-like stone pavilion where the bell is set now.

The toll of the Asian bell interrupts the familiar sounds of Los Angeles Harbor a few times a year. You can hear its loud sound on Independence Day (July 4), Korean Liberation Day (August 15), New Year’s Eve, Constitution Day (September 17), and Korean American Day (January 13). Additionally, the bell is rung on the first Saturday of the month at 11:30 am.

The Korean Bell of Friendship | Roads and Destinations
The Korean Bell of Friendship | Asian landmarks in Los Angeles

3. The Japanese Garden

Location: 6100 Woodley Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91406

Hidden in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, the Japanese Garden prides itself as one of the most beautiful Asian sites in the city. The place was designed by Dr. Koichi Kawana who intended to incorporate traditional Asian gardening techniques with modern technology.

Thus, along with using recycled water, the garden is one of the prime destinations in Los Angeles to immerse yourself into soothing Asian culture. Its beautiful gardens, ponds and a teahouse impress you with their authenticity and simplicity. Its tranquility and abundance of trees allow you to reap the benefits of forest bathing, the Japanese secret to healthy living.

Asian Destinations in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
The Japanese Garden | Asian sites in Los Angeles

4. Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine

Location: 17190 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA

Peace and serenity envelops Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine, an Indian sanctuary in the coastal neighborhood of Pacific Palisades. One of the most concealed Asian destinations in Los Angeles, the shrine transfers you into a world of natural beauty, tranquility, and meditation.

While the temple is open only on specific days, its meditation garden with a large lake in the middle is open free of charge, Wednesday through Sunday. Yet due to the higher number of people wishing to explore this Asian gem and not enough parking spots on the site, advance reservations are required now.

Asian temples in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Lake Shrine | Asian sites in Los Angeles

5. Kinokuniya Los Angeles

Location: Little Tokyo – 123 Astronaut E.S. Onizuka St. #205, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Located in the Little Tokyo Village, Kinokuniya Los Angeles is a Japanese bookstore with a deep affection for Asian traditions. The store has been around since 1977, but moved to the current location in 1980. Its main inventory includes Japanese books and magazines.

Non-Japanese speakers are also encouraged to visit the store. To meet their shopping needs, Kinokuniya Los Angeles offers nonfiction novels and books about Japan in English and graphic stories and manga in Japanese and English. Apart from it, you can buy traditional Japanese stationery, art supplies, organizers, and small gifts from Japan.

6. Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden

Location: Earl Warren Dr, Long Beach, CA 90840

When it comes to introducing young people of the Los Angeles area to Asian culture, the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden is on top of the game.

Located on the campus of California State University, Long Beach, this urban park in the Greater LA Region presents Japanese gardening customs and traditions in the most practical way. So fresh, charming, and relaxing. Needless to say, the place is often used for wedding or other special event photo shoots.

Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden | Roads and Destinations
Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden. Photo by Vincent Chu (unsplash) | Asian sites in Los Angeles

7. Malibu Hindu Temple

Location: 1600 Las Virgenes Canyon Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302

Tucked off Las Virgenes Canyon Road, Malibu Hindu Temple greets you with its white intricately-carved towers from afar. Now you absolutely can’t drive by without swinging by and admiring this stunning representative of Asian culture in Los Angeles in person.

Several buildings of different sizes comprise the temple. Inside each of them are statues depicting different Hindu deities. The exterior of each wall of the structures, from top to bottom, is covered with elaborate carvings.

TIP: For the full immersion into Asian culture, visit Malibu Hindu Temple on weekends when Indian residents of Los Angeles come to worship dressed in their traditional clothes.

Hindu Temple, Asian Destinations in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Malibu Hindu Temple | Asian destinations in Los Angeles

8. Tara’s Himalayan Cuisine

Location: 10855 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

You don’t need to go far to look for places in Los Angeles that offer traditional Asian cuisines. Every street, every corner of the city has one or two eateries where you can savor Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Korean delicacies.

Yet, when it comes to the best Nepali momos, go no further than Tara’s Himalayan Cuisine. Mixing a hearty dose of passion for cooking with locally-grown ingredients, the restaurant serves authentic Himalayan dishes from Nepalese and Tibetan cuisines.

9. 99 Ranch Market

How many travelers go to Asia and come back with twice the amount of suitcases they took there? Asia attracts with its handmade home décor, unique ceramics and pottery, chopsticks, jewelries, teas, and exotic spices and fruits. While you can’t find all of them in the US, Los Angeles is getting better at offering Asian stores with a wide variety of authentic products.

When you’re looking for specific ingredients for that sushi recipe or udon soup, stop at 99 Ranch Market. With its stores located primarily in California, it’s one of the best food supermarket chains that offers everything from exotic fruits to fish, grains, and Asian snacks and sweets.

Making traditional Nepali momos at home | Roads and Destinations
Nepali momos

10. Hsi Lai Temple

Location: 3456 Glenmark Dr, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

Hsi Lai Temple is one of the best Asian destinations in the Greater Los Angeles Area to learn about Buddhism. A branch of Fo Guang Shan, the mountain monastery is built in the finest Taiwanese architectural traditions. It includes a few gardens, shrines, a meditation room and library, and even its own dining hall where you can get a taste of the homemade authentic Asian food.

Hsi Lai Temple is open for the public every day from 9 am to 5 pm. No admission or reservation are required. But donations are welcome.

Finding Zen inside Hsi Lai Temple, Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Hsi Lai Temple | Asian temples in Los Angeles

11. Tomoko Japanese Spa

Location: 141 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

As the name suggests, Tomoko Japanese Spa is a Japanese-inspired health and beauty salon known for its exclusive massages. Yet this is not the only thing that puts it on our list of the best Asian destinations in Los Angeles. Signature treatments and customs, such as traditional footbath (Ashiyu), mochi, and tea, make it stand out among similar establishments in the city. Regular customers claim that Tomoko’s services inspire them to try analogous treatments while traveling in Japan.

Asian sites in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Spa in Los Angeles

12. Koreatown

Location: South of Hollywood and west of Downtown Los Angeles

Koreatown is one of the most diverse Asian neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Famous for its nightlife and the highest concentration of 24-hour businesses, the area allures young and old. Even driving down the streets of Koreatown makes you feel like you’ve just landed in one of the cities in Korea. Authentic design of the buildings, small markets and gift shops with traditional products, and bubble tea cafes bring Asia a bit closer.

The main landmarks of Koreatown are the Korean American National Museum, the Koreatown Pavilion Garden, and Koreatown Plaza. The latter was the first Asian shopping center to open in this part of Los Angeles. Today it’s home to more than 70 shops and a number of diners.

13. TCL Chinese Theater

Location: 6925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028

One of the most glamorous buildings on Hollywood Boulevard, the busiest section of Los Angeles, the TCL Chinese Theater was built in the finest Asian architectural traditions. Two giant Ming Dynasty Heaven Dogs, imported from China, guard the colossal structure on both sides of the main entrance. Chinese murals and temple bells adorn the exterior and interior of the 90-foot-high theater. Above the entrance, between two red columns, a 30-foot-high dragon is carved from stone.

The TCL Chinese Theatre hosted the 1944, 1945, and 1946 Academy Awards ceremonies. Today it gathers the biggest movie stars for premieres of their films.

Hollywood and Highland | Roads and Destinations
TCL Chinese Theater | Asian sites in Los Angeles

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