This is the perfect spot to enjoy dinner — and if you’re lucky, a few rounds of karaoke — but you’ll want to reserve a spot at one of Little Tokyo’s premier Japanese restaurants before exploring the evening scene.
Getting There: In order to get from Union Station to Little Tokyo, head to Terminal 1/2, platform one towards Atlantic Station. The ride will only take a few minutes, because right now Little Tokyo/Arts District is currently the Gold Line’s last stop.
Dinner options in Little Tokyo are endless, but I recommend Daikokuya, which serves the best ramen I have ever eaten. This restaurant typically has at least an hour wait for dinner and only accepts cash, so make sure to plan accordingly.
During that hour wait, visitors can walk around the Little Tokyo marketplace, which includes on-the-go Japanese sweet bread stands, as well as cuddly stuffed animals at Sanrio and Tokyo Japanese Outlet. These stores are a bit on the pricey side, but they’re worth browsing for kicks and giggles with friends or young children.
On Fridays and weekends, the square hosts karaoke performances for a three-dollar donation, since there’s no better feeling than dragging a (drunken?) friend or a loved one onstage to share in your mutual embarrassment.
Back at Dikokuya after spending the hour wait strolling around the square, I recommend ordering their Daikoku Ramen with kotteri flavor, since it’s a richer, more filling version of their classic dish. Afterwards, visitors can grab boba milk tea from Twinkle Brown Sugar Milk Tea (which offers rainbow- slush boba drinks) or Milk+T, which allows customers to add their own toppings in whichever proportions they prefer.
One 12 oz. cup brimming with boba pearls? Coming right up.
Getting There: A simple 8-minute walk from Little Tokoyo
This location is perfect for three main reasons.
First, the Arts District Hosts the Angel City Brewing Co. and Wurstkuche, both great places to grab a craft brew. The latter also indulges customers with budget-friendly Snake and Jackrabbit Sausages, as well as truffle-oil Belgian fry cones with special collection sauces (including curry ketchup, Thai Peanut and tzatziki.) Need something with zero alcohol? Try Wurstkuche’s imported German Club-Mate (pronounced like “club-latte” with an “m”) caffeinated soda.
Try to explore this area at dusk with a group since the area, while not typically dangerous, may seem uncomfortable to outsiders after around 9:00 P.M.