Koreatown Is the Little L.A. Nabe That Will Steal Your Heart (and Your Free Time)

In the past decade, Korean business owners and residents have made room for a millennial influx seeking cheap rents and entertainment. The result? Unusual mash-ups, like a traditional Asian steam room next to a hipster nightclub. Loosely centered around Wilshire Boulevard from Vermont to Western, Koreatown is packed with surprises aplenty.

Aura Readings, Edgy Fashion and Food Trucks Await You at L.A.’s Coolest Retail Complex

Join The Swing Set At Aroma Spa & Sports

With four floors of practice tees built on top of a parking garage, complete with green nets to look like sprawling links, this is the best out-of-your-comfort-zone fitness experience in L.A. Bonus: New balls pop up automatically, so no bending over.

3690 Wilshire Blvd.; or 213-387-2111

Shop K-beauty At Palace Beauty

Beauty junkies, you’re not in Sephora anymore: Make your way to Palace Beauty on the second floor in jam-packed Koreatown Galleria on the corner of Olympic and Western, and prepare to have your mind blown with new products. Must-tries include a pore-cleaning charcoal mask, a bath scrub glove and the TonyMoly banana hand cream. And not just because it comes in a plastic yellow banana.

3250 W. Olympic Blvd. #214; 323-734-5844 or

Nosh Korean Street Food At Mari Kimbap

Kimbap are the popular Korean street food in which rice, veggies and proteins are wrapped in seaweed. Yes, it sounds like sushi, but it’s a bit looser and more pickled due to its addition of fermented Korean flavors. Stop by this yellow storefront restaurant to sample your new favorite healthy lunch.

3417 W. Sixth St.

Get Steamy At Wi Spa

Korean spa-going is a rite of passage for any L.A. beauty devotee; drop into Wi Spa to drop both your Western ideas of modesty (the women’s-only floor is full of naked women of all shapes and sizes) as well as stress (relaxation, thy name is alternating hot whirlpools and freezing plunge pools). Insider tip: Don’t miss the sauna that has you plunge your tired legs into heated, pea-size clay balls imported from Korea.

2700 Wilshire Blvd.; 213-487-2700 or

Indulge In Mid-afternoon Sweets At Sul & Beans

Sweet tooth, meet patbingsoo, the dessert of shaved ice with sweetened red beans and fruit. At this Seoul-based chain, you’ll have it served over superfine, snowy ice with optional add-ins like green tea.

621 S Western Ave #208-A (213) 385-5510 or

Treat Yourself To Korean Barbecue

It’s as signature an L.A. experience as hiking Griffith Park: Eating really great Korean barbecue. Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong is one of the best, and quality cuts of beef and pork with eggs and veggies cooking on the side and little vinegars and kimchi to dunk your barbecue in. This is a great place for newbies, as you don’t have to even watch your own browning bits; the servers will take care of it for you. Note—parking is a hassle, so opt for the nominal valet charge.

3465 W. Sixth St.; 213-384-9678 or

break room 86
Houston Hospitality LA

Drink To The ’80s At Break Room ’86

Speakeasy-style, this bar’s entrance is found on a loading dock at the Line Hotel, hidden behind a vending machine. Inside, there’s a DJ, dance floor and all manner of ’80s era nods, including the Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure phone booth. It’s silly fun with sugary drinks (like the absinthe-and-Pernod Purple Rain)—and private karaoke rooms. It’s Koreatown, Jake.

630 S. Ardmore Ave.; 213-368-3056 or

dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...