If it feels like Los Angeles Chinatown’s plaza (943 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012) is a very Hollywoodized version of China there is a good reason – it was designed by Hollywood film set designers!
The Chinatown LA plaza opened in June 1939 as a response to the demolition of the original Chinatown where Union Station now stands. Today, the Chinese community lives in other parts of the city but Chinatown is still used as social and shopping area. The area has been undergoing considerable gentrification since 2000 with many artists’ galleries being created in the once abandoned shops.
It’s probably no surprise that Chinatown is also a popular location for filming; Chinatown starring Jack Nicholson was filmed on Spring Street and Rush Hour with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker was filmed in Foo Chow Restaurant near the West Gate. Other movies include 15 Minutes, Balls of Fury, Lethal Weapon 4, Pretty In Pink, Rush Hour 3, Anchorman, 48 Hours and I Love You Man.
Walk through the plaza, which is full of little Chinese curiosity shops, and make a wish at the wishing well. At the East gate and Broadway entrance to the Plaza is a statue of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, founder of the Republic of China. The West gate is partially made of 150-year-old camphor wood from China. The inscription reads ‘Cooperate to Achieve’ in Chinese characters. After making a wish, make your stomach’s dreams come true by stopping at the Phoenix Bakery famous for its strawberry whipped cream cakes!