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The Best Shops in Chinatown

February 15, 2019

couple strolling in chinatown

Just moments away from some of the most stunning of Los Angeles’ luxury apartments, you’ll find LA’s Chinatown, a lively and festive commercial district, filled with all manner of dining and shopping options to keep you occupied for hours on end:

“Exploring Los Angeles Chinatown is a rewarding adventure. This colorful urban setting, only a stone’s throw from the city’s civic and cultural center, explodes in a fantasy of sights, sounds and colors…”

Today, our explorations will take us through some of the best shops located in Chinatown, via a helpful list put together by TimeOut LA. No matter what you’re in the market for, chances are you can find a lovely boutique or neighborhood store in Chinatown to fit your fancy.

About Those Shops…

The TimeOut LA list we mentioned contains nine of the most intriguing shops you’ll find in Chinatown. We’ll cover them in as much detail as we can, but if you want to dive into even more depth, and see what other wonders neighborhoods like Chinatown hold (like restaurants, bars, theatres, and the like), be sure to check TimeOut to see more.

Now Serving

Now Serving, the “Cookbook & Culinary Shop” on North Broadway is described by Elyse Inamine of Bon Appetit as “the new joint that every out-of-town chef hits up when they’re in Los Angeles.” Created by Ken Concepcion (former chef for Wolfgang Puck) and his wife, make-up artist Michelle Mungcal, this little den sells both cookbooks and ceramics, along with a few other wares that make the trip well worth it for aspiring cooks and foodies.

The atmosphere inside is like an old-school record store, mixed with the high grade hospitality of a fine eatery, and stocked with all kinds of rare tomes that will spark your creativity within the kitchen. Be sure to take a look at the Now Serving Instagram page for a peek at what’s in store when you head down there, and be on the lookout for special events they hold at the venue — they’re sure to catch your interest.

K.G. Louie Company

Part gift store, part artist supply emporium, and part everything else, K.G. Louie Company on Gin Ling Way is a neighborhood fixture that’s been around since the 1930s, and contains a large quantity of old treasures hidden among its expansive stock. You could spend hours just browsing around for antiques from another era, but you’ll also find plenty of stuff for your modern needs, especially if you’re artistic (brushes, ink, paint, paper, books, origami, chops, etc.)

And while you’re here, you should get that good feeling that comes with supporting a family-owned business. Even after all these years, the store is still under control of the Louie family, and you’ll find three generations still working at the store and making sure you can track down exactly what it is that you’re looking for.

Ooga Booga

From the mind of Wendy Yao comes Ooga Booga, the boutique bookstore (and more) on North Broadway. What started as a tiny shop in 2004 has blossomed into a stockade specializing in “independent art, books, music, and clothing.” If you’re looking for those rare titles or unique and cult brands, this is the place to find them, and while it’s indeed a notable location, you’ll be happy to learn that it’s just “in the cut” enough not to be frequented by everyone, making this treasure trove you can enjoy in peace (or at least with like-minded company).

And did we mention all the cool special events? Ooga Booga puts together all sorts of performances, film screenings, and readings at their space. They also publish their own books and media, along with hosting an online database of art book printers, making this space much more than a mere shop — for those who are interested.

Phoenix Imports

Ready to experience China, smack dab in the middle of LA? Head to Phoenix Imports on Gin Ling Way. This old store has just about everything, from one-of-a-kind gifts to funky clothing that’ll round out your wardrobe. Being so packed, though, you have to remember to be patient while you’re at this establishment. You’ll also want to search carefully until that perfect item jumps out at you — we know it will, you just have to possess a keen eye and a plan when you arrive!

Rainbow

You want plants? You’ll have them, at Rainbow on North Spring Street. For 22 years, this establishment has been expressing that Asian heritage through the power of plan life, and providing Angelenos with some of the most notable flora around to display in their homes: succulents, flowers, trees, and more — you’ll find them all at Rainbow, and for a bargain of a price to boot. Be sure to grab some fancy-looking pots and planters to house your new home additions while you’re there.

Tanyan Music

Ever seen a Caraya Guitar before? You’ll find these lovely instruments (along with a lot more) at Tanyan Music on Gin Ling Way. No matter your stringed-instrument musical specialty, though, you’ll be able to find something to suit you here, including electric guitars, acoustic guitars, classical guitars, basses, mandolins, bangos, violins, and lutes. They’ve even got amplifiers and accessories to help boost your sound.

If you’re a beginner looking to learn, you’ll be delighted to discover that Tanyan Music also gives lessons that will set you down the right path. This is a musicians dream, so be sure to make your way down there, if for no reason other than to stare at all those pretty guitars!

Get There From the Los Angeles Luxury Apartments

Getting to Chinatown for a day of shopping is easy when you head from the downtown paradise of apartments like Eighth & Grand. You’re just a quick drive away from the wonders of this historic neighborhood, and in prime position to enjoy just about everything else the city has to offer as well. Set yourself up for an LA experience like no other, check out Eighth & Grand today and make one of these fabulous residences yours.