Melting Pot Enclaves

Los Angeles Is A Culturally Diverse City, And As Such, It Has Several Cultural Enclaves Where Different Ethnic And National Communities Have Settled And Established Their Own Communities.

Food is an integral part of culture, so much so, that one of the first things people do when immigrating into a new home is establish communities and restaurants to feed them. The US has long been called the Great American Melting Pot, and no other city on Earth can match the cultural diversity that Los Angeles has to offer. Some Examples Of Cultural Enclaves In Los Angeles Include:

Little Tokyo

A historic neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles that is home to the largest Japanese-American population in the continental United States. It is home to many Japanese-American businesses, temples, and museums, such as the Japanese American National Museum. The district gained recognition in 1995 although Japanese immigrants worked and resided in the area since the late 1800’s. Many Japanese citizens settled in Los Angeles considering the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 which barred many Chinese immigrants and laborers from working in the United States. Japanese migration slowed in 1907 with the Gentleman’s Exclusion Act which only allowed Japanese business owners to gain entrance into the United States.


A neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles that is home to a large Chinese-American population and features many Chinese-American businesses, such as markets, restaurants, and shops. Chinatown is almost as old as Los Angeles itself with the city incorporating in 1781. The first Chinese settlers were recorded to be in Los Angeles since 1852. Thousands of Chinese nationals immigrated to the United States in attempt to escape impoverishment in China during an economic collapse and many migrated to California with the excitement of the Gold Rush. In the mid 1800’s it was common for an ethnic people to congregate together in distinct cultural communities. Chinatown became one of these communities and it flourished. Today the area of Chinatown includes the Central Plaza, opened in 1938 and recognized as an official district in the same year. The area is a favorite for locals and is visited by thousands of tourists each year. There is an official Metro Rail stop in Chinatown and the area is known for Chinese food, authentic dim sum, and a variety store featuring items from China or items depicting Chinese culture. Many Los Angeles residents call Chinatown home as Chinatown is a community as much as it is a cultural destination.


A neighborhood located in the Mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles that is home to a large Korean-American population. Koreatown, also known as, K-town is a cultural enclave located near Wilshire in Los Angeles California. Although the United States-Korea Treaty of 1882 was enacted, Koreans did not arrive to Los Angeles in large numbers until the 1960’s. Before then, Korean nationals preferred to immigrate to Hawaii. When Koreans finally arrived in Los Angeles they migrated to, what is now Koreatown because of segregation laws called “Covenant Laws.” This law prohibited mixed races from living in white neighborhoods. While Koreatown is a well-known district with an 2008 establishment, it continues to be poverty stricken and overcrowded.

The district was officially deemed an ethnic enclave in 1980. Since then, Koreatown has ethnically diversified and now has a high Latino and Korean population. It continues to be home to dozens of Korean businesses like Korean BBQ, Korean goods stores, and beauty products. K-town is known for having 24-hour dining, night clubs, and bars. The late-night scene has the largest concentration of nightclubs in the country and draws thousands of people to the area daily.

Little Armenia

A neighborhood located in East Hollywood that is home to a large Armenian-American population and features many Armenian-American businesses.

Armenians have been living in the Golden State for a very long time. So long, in fact, that Los Angeles boasts one of the biggest populations of Armenians living outside of Armenia in the entire world.  Yes, that’s right. 

Little Armenia was established in 2000 as an official cultural district and is located in East Hollywood. While the district is a diverse, Little Armenia offers a unique experience by offering authentic Armenian businesses, restaurants, and churches. 

Historic Filipinotown

Historic Filipinotown, also known as HiFi, is a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles and deemed a district in 2002. The first Filipino immigrants arrived in the early 1920’s and were mostly males seeking education and employment opportunities. The first Filipino inhabitants established restaurants, barbershops, a portrait studio, and the immigrant newspaper called The Philippines Review.

In the early 1950’s, Filipinos were granted access to purchase land and thus a family community was established with churches, organizations, and continues to flourish today.

Little Bangladesh

Little Bangladesh is one of the newest cultural districts in Los Angeles and was officially established in 2010. The region is also one of the smallest cultural districts and encompasses only four-square blocks. The lower-middle class neighborhood is not without turmoil as it is located in the middle of Historic Koreatown. Little Bangladesh residents lobbied Los Angeles County establishing that Bangladeshi natives immigrated to the area in the 1970, created a distinct cultural influence on the area, and brought cultural significance to the four-block area. Los Angeles officials agreed with the Bangladeshi community and thus the area was publicly noted as Little Bangladesh.

Olivera Street

Olvera Street has been in existence since the 1700 hundreds when the Los Angeles area was still part of Mexico. The main square that is still part of Olvera Street, Los Angeles Plaza, also dates to Mexican heritage of 1820. The oldest Los Angeles buildings are located on Olvera Street with the oldest erected in 1818 called Avila Adobe, Pelanconi House constructed in 1857, and Sepulveda House built in 1887. The street was deemed an historical district in 1877 with an aim to preserve the oldest historical buildings and to maintain Mexican culture. Olvera Street, also known as Placita Olvera, offers a rich history of early Los Angeles with traditional Mexican shops offering handcrafted food, belts, potter, purses, leather goods, and folk art.

The area was instrumental in fostering the electric streetcar system operated by Los Angeles Railway’s Yellow Cars with the Plaza Substation that was an electric station on Olvera Street in 1904. The operation was closed in the 1940’s and converted into other businesses.

The present-day hold Olvera Street District in high esteem and is easily accessible by Metro Rail, as Union Station is adjacent. Also, one of the largest and longest running Day of the Dead, or Dia De Los Muetos, Celebrations has been held on the Street with exhibitions displayed for over 30 years. The vibrate celebrations presents pre-Columbian, Aztec, Mayan, and Catholic ceremonies.

Why Visit Cultural Enclaves?

These are some examples of cultural enclaves In Los Angeles. Whether you're a newly minted Angeleno, a long time resident, or just someone looking to maximize their experience when visiting this wonderful city, you don't want to miss all the greatness LA has to offer.
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