FoundLA – Free Neighborhood Tours

I’m quite the modern explorer, if I may say so myself. I love discovering new neighborhoods and cultural experiences so when I read about FoundLA, I was completely sold. The idea is that local experts and community leaders put on free walking tours of various neighborhoods in LA. Since I live in the centrally-located Koreatown area, I had more tours to choose from than I had time to attend. In the end, we narrowed it down to 2.

I’ve seen a building called the “Buddhist Cultural Center” many times before but I never knew what it was. Well, it turns out to be the Kwanumsa Buddhist Temple/community center and one of the tours was right there! Upon entering, we were all asked to take off our shoes. First, we learned to bow and pray in the main temple area. I expected Henry to know how to do that already since his family is Buddhist but his excuse was that “Korean Buddhists do it differently than the Chinese.” Sure. Next, we were led into a large community room that could hold 100 people and were treated to a Korean puppet show. The actors made sure to speak English so that we could follow along with the story. The style of puppetry is not necessarily my cup of tea but I had a fun time nonetheless. The final part of this was a “vegetarian lunch” which basically consisted of banchan. I love japchae so the meal was perfect for me, not to mention completely free. I did find some octopus in the pancake though so I guess it wasn’t purely vegetarian.

After a quick nap at home, we headed out for the Little Ethiopia Tour and the turnout for this was much better. This food tour confirmed what I already knew: Ethiopian food is not my thing. But it was really wonderful to see how tight knit the community is. Oh, and we were given a free mini cupcake from Hansen’s Bakery, who did Khloe and Kim Kardashian’s wedding cakes.

Found LA
(one day per year in October)

Free tours including Koreatown, Silverlake, Little Tokyo, Little Ethiopia, Byzantine-Latimo Quarter, Historic Filipinotown, South LA, Central LA, Highland Park, North Hollywood, etc.


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