Skip to main content

Travel

The Koreatown Guide

Photo Courtesy of Tanveer Badal

The Koreatown Guide

There are three square miles west of Downtown LA known as Koreatown, and this relatively small pocket of the city manages to pack in so many restaurants, karaoke lounges, cafés, and day spas that it feels like we could be there all day every day and still find new treasures. While the neighborhood is rightly famous for its food (you’ve probably heard of the BBQ—it lives up to the hype), there are also great new hotels, shops, and markets right next to the old-school spots we’ve loved for years. Spend a day, spend a weekend, or move in for good—you’ll understand why K-Town is LA’s best-kept-but-wide-open secret.

Wi Spa

Wi Spa

2700 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown | 213.487.2700

Fans of traditional Korean spas—kids included—tend to feel right at home here, with its clean, meditative "Jimjilbang" communal room, it's spacious, super hot saunas, and its no-nonsense massages and body scrubs. Head to the sauna, get a massage, and your nails done, too.

Beverly Hot Springs

Beverly Hot Springs

308 N. Oxford Ave., Koreatown, Los Angeles | 323.734.7000

This is a traditional Korean bath house, built over the city’s only natural hot springs and fueled by a 105-degree artesian well. We love to come and soak in the hot and cold therapeutic mineral-water pools, but the roster of treatments is compelling on its own. A powerful dose of AHAs and topical probiotics help clear congestion in the Pure Acne Oxygenating Facial, while the TCA Peel is enormously effective at helping to soften hyperpigmentation, support collagen, smooth lines, and brighten skin.

Crystal Spa

Crystal Spa

3500 W. 6th St., Koreatown | 213.487.5600

The thought of someone walking on your back as you lie facedown on the ground may not sound like fun, but once you’ve tried it here (and experienced the subsequent tension relief), it’s hard not to get addicted. Both the communal and private spaces are beautifully turned out, with staff giving full tours—and etiquette advice—for first-timers. After a rigorous body scrub where no patch of skin is left unbuffed, go for the intensely hydrating algae-and-green-tea body wrap. It’s rarely crowded here, which is a godsend for those looking to spend a full, uninterrupted afternoon or evening unwinding.

Amore

Amore

3250 W. Olympic Blvd., Koreatown | 323.734.2029

A shop well known for its customer service (ask for Irene—she's a K-town legend), Amore is freehanded with the samples, which is both fun and necessary, as the product choices are almost endless. Take full advantage of the staff’s extensive knowledge of the hundreds of serums, masks, creams, and cleansers lining the shelves. They will closely assess your skin before diving into the recommendations. Aside from getting the correct advice for your skin type, listening to the Amore staffers describe the products—and their intimate knowledge of those hyaluronic-acid-heavy snail secretions—is like receiving an intense K-beauty tutorial.

Aritaum

Aritaum

928 S. Western Ave., Koreatown | 213.385.9062

Aritaum is a K-Town beauty mecca. High-end Korean beauty brands that can be difficult to find elsewhere (like Sulwhasoo, Mamonde, and Hanyul) are plentiful at this cosmetics and skin-care store, with their fun, kitschy packaging and unusual ingredients, like snail secretions. It also stocks a big supply of sheet masks, including a popular rubber version from Dr. Jart+ that may look vaguely horror-movie-ish when you put it on but does a good job at reducing blemishes.