While more recent Chinese immigrants head to the San Gabriel Valley, LA's Chinatown is the historic home of the city's Chinese population. These days you're just as likely to run into hipsters seeking out more affordable (but increasing) rent. This is a vibrant area full of galleries and the neighborhood hosts cultural events and festivals throughout the year.
There are some fantastic dim sum places around, as you'd expect, but the most famous joint here is The Original Philippe. This restaurant, located in an unimpressive building, brings in hordes of people for its famous French Dip sandwiches. They have a healthy rivalry with another restaurant in LA over who invented the French Dip. The Little Jewel of New Orleands is another much loved restaurant known for their Cajun food.
There is a massive apartment complex along the southern edge of Chinatown, but you'll mostly find modest homes and smaller apartment buildings here.
When the Dodgers have a home game at Elysian Park traffic here can be awful. Street parking can be a challenge as well.
Burbank: 10.4 miles / 15-30 minutes by car / 40 minutes by transit
Century City: 12.6 miles / 35-70 minutes by car / 75-90 minutes by transit
Downtown LA: 1.8 miles / 5-20 minutes by car / 20-25 minutes by transit / 15 minutes by bike
Santa Monica: 16.3 miles / 40-75 minutes by car / 75 minutes by transit
Philippe is locked in battle with another LA restaurant over who invented the French Dip sandwich. That doesn't really matter though because this place has been serving tasty food since 1908 and that's a win for everybody.
Historic site that was the center of old Chinatown, this plaza is the gateway to the neighborhood and is the scene of events throughout the year.