Hi! It’s Annie!
There’s more drama in the K-Pop world right now. (‘Life Goes On’ is a common phrase guys; I love BTS, but they don’t own it.) So here’s more lighthearted fun content! I’ve talked a little bit about this in some other posts, but recently I took a couple of trips down to LA with a couple friends and my sister to find some of the best stops for K-Pop in Los Angeles. I mentioned a few things briefly, but I figured I would expand more on our trip and give a few tips of my own. Because most of the places we went we really enjoyed, but there were a few places that don’t really make so much sense for us when I think about the possibility of going back. I know I generally don’t write about travel beyond theme parks, but I thought K-Pop, which most of our posts have become about, would be a perfect exemption. So here’s my experience with K-Pop in LA!
Line Store- Hollywood Blvd:
I made an entire post talking about the Line Store if you want to check that out, so I won’t dive too much into this. But it’s always fun to go to! I definitely spent much more money at the store this time around than I generally do. This store does have some general Line Friends merchandise, but very little of it. Know going in that this store is mostly for BTS’s BT21 line. The store features BTS’s hand prints, which I see a lot of people putting their hands in even during covid. I would really not recommend doing that. The store in general has a policy that you shouldn’t touch anything if you aren’t going to buy it. This actually worked out well for my friend who would accidentally touch things and then decide to buy them! I mean, why not right? And literally everything in that store is adorable. We all made out with matching large pillows (specific to our biases) inside bags that have the signatures each of the boys gave their characters on it. It’s seriously one of my favorite things in my room now. The store is also right across the street from the Chinese Theater if you’re feeling like being a little touristy.
I’m literally just putting this on here because of the BTS Meal. On the Line Friends store day we ended up going to a McDonalds around the LA area. Because it’s a bigger and more popular area, most of these places actually have the BTS themed bags as well as just the sauces. They still don’t have the actual packaging, but the bags are generally there! Definitely not a big K-Pop stop but I figured I would mention it because my friends and I considered it a priority.
If you’re looking for K-Pop merchandise that isn’t BTS, or even other BTS merchandise, by far the best place to go is Koreatown. It’s where my friends and I spent most of our full day in Los Angeles. There are two major K-Pop stores that I know of in Koreatown and they’re only about a five minute drive away from each other. Each is in a different mall. The first is Music Plaza in Koreatown Galleria, which is the first stop we made. I would not personally recommend this stop or the shopping mall it’s in. The store itself is not bad at all. They have plenty of albums and merchandise. However, it is a smaller store and sometimes their stock can be limited. In general it’s a little cheaper than the other store, but they don’t seem to have as many options. The shopping mall that it’s in is pretty run down and there aren’t many other places to visit within that mall. We spent barely any time there and my friends and I felt that next time we went we could easily skip this mall and store and spend all our time at the other location.
K-Pop Music Town- Koreatown:
This is in a small outdoor mall, but this K-Pop store is far bigger. Their prices are also a little larger, but we personally had so much more fun at this store. Music Plaza had a handful of things to buy besides albums and posters. This store has everything. From albums, to lightsticks, fans, solo song themed stickers, backpacks, and keychains. This has far more to look at as well as far more stock and album selection in general. Both stores will give you freebies with your purchases, but if you buy enough this store will give you full-sized posters. On top of that, this small mall also features a plethora of other stores to experience. MaDang Courtyard also features a food stall with authentic Korean snacks that you’ve probably seen your favorites eating on Vlives, a sushi place, a Korean movie theater that plays South Korean films, Daiso Japan which is one of the largest Japanese variety store chains, a used book store, and H Mart for if you’re interested in buying international bagged snacks (such as various flavors of Hello Panda, Pocky, or chips that you wouldn’t usually be able to get in the US). Instead of there being only one interesting store, literally everything here is interesting to some degree. My friends and I didn’t eat much of anything (though the food stall was calling my name), mostly because we were planning on eating a big dinner. But we did buy some chips and pocky at the H Mart and sat across from a beautiful arrangement of flowers that is usually there the entire year. It was a really nice place to visit and just geek out at. I you’re looking for some place to stop for K-Pop, I would recommend this place far more than the Galleria. Seriously, just go here.
This is the Korean BBQ place in LA that BTS themselves recommended. And you can bet that they recommended it for a reason. I will admit, at first glance it seems like it’s in the middle of nowhere. Maybe this is one of the reasons why BTS likes it so much. The entrance to this place is also a little difficult to find. There is a door right at the front of the building, unfortunately it is an emergency exit. You’ll have to find the entrance to the parking lot in the building and enter the building through the parking lot. It took us a solid ten minutes to figure out where the entrance to the parking lot was and we accidentally ended up walking through the exit of the parking lot, which wasn’t the safest thing. We seriously almost gave up. Please don’t do what we did. But the restaurant itself was more than worth it. None of us had ever gone to an actual Korean BBQ before and our waiter noticed right away. He was really nice, immediately started talking to us about BTS, and kept a close eye on us the entire time to make sure we were doing ok. He said he had personally seen several members of BTS before, he had cooked for Taehyung before, and he even pointed out where they usually sit when they visit. He also gave us free stuff! Over-all, this was probably my favorite part of the day. The food was amazing and our waiter was the absolute best. I highly recommend it! If you can find the entrance, that is.
If you’re thinking about having a K-Pop day in LA with your friends or even just by yourself (though I wouldn’t recommend going to LA by yourself for safety reasons), I hope this helps! I also want to note that my friends and I were all fully vaccinated and had waited two weeks before we went on this trip and every store requires you to wear your mask at all times. Except for restaurants, of course. Just my reminder to make sure you’re being safe during this time! And have fun if you go on your own K-Pop adventures!
See you across the pond!