There are Korean saunas, and then there’s Wi. The 24-hour mega spa is the Disneyland of Koreatown saunas—families and children included, to the lament of those looking for a relaxing experience—complete with treatment rooms, five different heated rooms, hot tubs, dry and steam saunas, TV lounge area, restaurant, library and sleeping rooms. Couples and groups laze (and sweat) in the co-ed jimjilbang—the dress code is oversized T-shirts and khaki shorts—before heading into separate men and women’s areas where clothing is not allowed and a body scrub is a must do for baby soft skin.
Koreatown is the antithesis of L.A.’s lamest qualities: It’s a (relatively) vertical, transit-connected city center that buzzes at all hours. Old-school mom-and-pop spots sit next to new-school cocktail bars in an area whose mixed demographic of Korean and Latino communities co-mingle with young professionals and cool-hunters from all over the city.
Most of Koreatown’s destinations are contained within Western and Vermont Avenues and Beverly and Olympic Boulevards, with shops, bars and eateries that radiate out in all directions. You’ll find a dense cluster of activity near the three Metro Purple Line stops on Wilshire Boulevard, as well as a walkable row of restaurants just north on 6th Street. The rest of the area’s eateries are dotted along Western and Vermont—just keep in mind that parking is often pretty tight.
You can find some of the city’s best one-bowl meals and group dining destinations, not to mention late-night eats, bars and enough things to do to occupy night owls and the city’s hungry and hedonistic. Next time you’re craving Korean BBQ, don’t just eat and leave: Get to know vibrant Koreatown with our guide.