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What to Do in Koreatown, Los Angeles

The antidote to Hollywood’s seasonal Academy Awards fever is just a few blocks away, in Koreatown. It’s hard to imagine that two decades ago, K-Town, as it is known in local parlance, was a flash point for the Los Angeles riots: a low-rent district engulfed in flames. Today this sprawling, three-square-mile community just west of downtown has become one of the city’s hippest areas thanks to the continuing renovation of its rich architectural heritage, a new subway traversing its Wilshire Boulevard hub and recently opened boutique hotels like the Line and Normandie. Moreover, K-Town never sleeps, given its strong Asian and Latin work ethic and its clubs, bars and restaurants that have become urban night-life hubs. As the most densely packed part of Los Angeles, it’s also one of the city’s most strollable, with Art Deco buildings and palm-lined boulevards. With the influence of three generations of Korean and Latino immigrants, these once-mean streets have become a picturesque and prosperous “Blade Runner”-ish warren of ethnic culinary hot spots imbued with an East-meets-West sense of fun.

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And let’s be honest, that’s pretty darn gay.