Business Casual: Discovering Los Angeles' Lovely Little Tokyo In An Instant
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Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo is vibrant, bustling, chaotic and divine.
Those of you who are downtown for business might have an hour or maybe a few hours to explore in between meetings.
Perhaps you are done for the day and might enjoy the kind of respite that comes with amazing food and unexpected experiences.
That is what we try to do for you here at Business Casual. You can read our first foray into the intersection of business travel and impromptu pleasure with our London entry.
Those in the area might start near Grand Park, which is a lovely way to start what will be a brief but worthwhile amble through a culturally rich portion of town.
The restored and rejuvenated open space has plenty of spots to sit with your thoughts or engage with the community via food trucks and a calendar of events.
You also have prime real estate to snap off images of the City Hall for your obligatory social media posts.
Truth be told, you should head east to Little Tokyo...
If you happen to have a grumbling stomach, there is hardly a better place in the city to find yourself.
It’s hard to decide what the best part of this bowl of warmth might be: The noodles are a particularly inviting texture and the broth leaves the lips smacking well after you finished the meal.
You have myriad choices when it comes to sushi in this part of town. You can’t go wrong with the well-regarded spot that is quaint but packs a punch with each delicious bite.
Or perhaps you are in the mood for a great craft beer to go along with some sensational sustenance.
This tucked away gem is just what the weary road warrior needs.
Sights and Sounds:
With food in the belly, you are now prepared to walk the streets and explore. There are shops aplenty that will eat up an insane amount of time as you peruse the trinkets and pop culture goods.
One of my favorite things is to just get lost for a few moments in a shop that houses things you don’t really need but never knew you wanted.
However, there are some things that might be particularly worth your time.
For $9 you can tour this museum dedicated to promoting “understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience.”
Tucked away at this location is the tranquil James Irvine Japanese Garden, which is the perfect place to allow the stress of the day to wash away.
Closed Mondays, it is open Tuesday through Friday from 10-5 p.m. PT.
As things get closer to evening, one of my favorite watering holes features classic arcade games from my youth.
From "Street Fighter II" to iconic pinball machines, this place has just about everything you need to geek out starting at 6 p.m. from Tuesday through Thursday. It’s open earlier on Fridays (5 p.m.) and Saturdays (2 p.m.).
Or perhaps you have just a few hours at night to unwind and need some live music and a libation to cure what ails you.
The Blue Whale is an amazing time no matter what act is onstage.
From there, the business of the day seems like ages ago and that homesickness you normally feel is put on hold for an instant.
Hopefully, your business trip turned into a holiday, if only for a moment.
More by Gabe Zaldivar
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