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New York’s Koreatown: The Complete Guide for Visiting and Locals

New York's Koreatown
Written by Evanium

Koreatown is arguably one of the most authentic neighborhoods in New York City. With a population of over 109,000, it’s also the largest Korean enclave outside of South Korea. Its origins date all the way back to 1881 when, in response to the arrival of a few dozen Korean merchants and farmers, an organization called Chung-Ha-Yag (The Settlement Association for Koreans) came together to create a self-governing community. Today’s Koreatown takes up nearly 20 square miles across four boroughs—Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Richmond Hill—and is one of the biggest ethnic enclaves in the country.

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Koreatown has been home to many notable people throughout its history as well. In fact, it was home to pioneering African American journalist and poet James Weldon Johnson. It was also where jazz musician Thelonious Monk performed with his band from 1958 until 1968; Paul Robeson sang there before heading south; and President Jimmy Carter grew up there prior to attending Yale University. As you can see, this high concentration of culture and history is what makes visiting so special! Here’s everything you need to know about visiting this hidden gem—locals’ tips included! Below are some of the things You need to know about New York’s Koreatown.

Things to do in Koreatown

 

Visit a Korean ancestral hall – Ancestral halls are open to the public and serve as cultural centers that host events, lectures, and classes.

Visit a Buddhist temple – There are a number of Buddhist temples in Koreatown that are open to the public and are a great destination for some relaxation.

Visit a Korean folk art museum – These museums showcase traditional Korean arts, including woodblock printing.

Visit a Korean-American museum– here are a number of museums in Koreatown that feature Korean-American and Korean culture.

Visit a Korean-style market – Korean markets feature a wide variety of items from food, drinks, and decorative items. –

Visit a Korean-American church – Churches in Koreatown are great places to experience the Korean-American community and are often family-run.

Visit a Korean barbecue restaurant – You’ll find numerous Korean barbecue restaurants in Koreatown.

Where is Koreatown?

Koreatown is mostly located in the subways of the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Richmond Hill. The Manhattan neighborhoods of Inwood and Washington Heights are also considered part of Koreatown. The neighborhood is bordered on the north by the Harlem River, on the west by the New Haven Line, on the south by the Hudson River, and on the east by the Fort Washington and West Side railroads.

How to get to Koreatown

If you’re visiting from out of state, you can fly into John F. Kennedy International Airport or LaGuardia Airport and take a taxi to your hotel. If you’re coming from New York City, you can either take the Staten Island Ferry and the New York City Subway or take the New Jersey Turnpike to Route 495 and take a taxi to your hotel. If you’re visiting from outside of New York, you can fly into New York City’s LaGuardia Airport and take a taxi to your hotel.

Things to see in Koreatown

 

  • Korean Village Historic District – This historic district, located near the border of Inwood and Manhattan, is a living memorial to the vibrant life of the Korean community. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

 

  • Korean Cultural Center – The Koream Center is a non-profit organization that provides resources for education, cultural events, and immigration services. The center is located near the border of Inwood and Manhattan.

 

  • Korean Gate – The Korean Gate is a historic archway on the border between Inwood and Manhattan that was erected in 1881 as an entrance to the Korean settlement. It is a New York City landmark.

 

  •  Manhattan Buddhist Temple – This temple is a popular destination for Buddhist pilgrims and visitors to New York City. It is located near the border of Inwood and Manhattan. – Manhattan Korean Ancestral Hall – This hall is the oldest and largest Korean ancestral hall in the US. It is located near the border of Inwood and Manhattan.

 

  • Inwood Korean Church – This historic church is one of many in the Koreatown area and was built in 1903. It is located near the border of Inwood and Manhattan. – Brooklyn Korean Church – This church is one of many in the Brooklyn Korean community and was built in 1910. It is located near the border of Inwood and Brooklyn. – Queens Korean Church – This church is one of many in the Queens Korean community and was built in 1913. It is located near the border of Inwood and Queens.

Where to stay in Koreatown

The Hotel on 57th – This boutique hotel is located near the Korean Village Historic District and is a great choice for visitors to New York City. The hotel features a rooftop bar and a restaurant, as well as free WiFi. The Hotel SLS – This boutique hotel is located near the Korean cultural center and is another great option for visitors to New York City.

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Day trips from Koreatown

New York City – You can’t visit Koreatown without exploring New York City. From the Statue of Liberty to Central Park and beyond, there’s so much to see.

Brooklyn Bridge – This iconic landmark is a must-see no matter where you’re from, and it’s even better in New York City.

Brooklyn Museum – This art museum is one of the largest in the country and features a wide variety of exhibits.

Guggenheim Museum – The Guggenheim Museum is a modern art landmark and one of the city’s most impressive buildings. Metropolitan Museum of Art – This art museum is the largest in the city and features a wide variety of exhibits.

Statue of Liberty – This famous statue is a national landmark and one of the city’s most iconic sights.

In some ways, Koreatown is like any other neighborhood. It has its pros and its cons, and it’s easy to get lost in all the culture, food, and history. However, it’s also unique for being the only place in the country where the majority of its residents are of Korean descent. Visiting New York City is an incredible experience in and of itself, and Koreatown is one of the best spots to experience this city in its entirety.

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