Central Plaza West Gate, Los Angeles

Central Plaza West Gate, Los Angeles

Marking one of the four entrances to New Chinatown, the West Gate on Gin Ling Way at North Hill Street was the first gate built around the Central Plaza. In 1938, L.A.’s Chinese community gathered at this site to celebrate the opening of New Chinatown after the original Chinatown, about a mile away, was uprooted to make room for Union Station. Gin Ling Way, one of Chinatown’s main pedestrian strips, is named after the “Street of Golden Treasures” in Beijing.

The four Chinese characters displayed across the top of the gate, composed by T.K. Chang, translate as “Cooperate to Achieve.” The red, blue, and yellow neon lights adorning the gate’s perimeter were added later. Color-coordinated with all the red lanterns at night, they create a most spectacular sight.

Initially, the gate was partially made of 150-year-old camphor wood imported from China. This durable lumber has been described as the “smelly cousin of cinnamon”—its odor repels insects. The original pillars later had to be replaced with concrete, though, because of weathering and dry rot. The red color of the gate symbolizes happiness and good fortune in Chinese tradition.

Among the memorial plaques displayed at the gate there is one dedicated to 19th-century Chinese builders, presented by then-California governor Frank Finley Merriam, and two others commending architects Adrian Wilson and Erle Webster. The city of Los Angeles declared the West Gate a Historic-Cultural Monument in 2005.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Los Angeles. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Central Plaza West Gate on Map

Sight Name: Central Plaza West Gate
Sight Location: Los Angeles, USA (See walking tours in Los Angeles)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Los Angeles, California

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El Pueblo and Little Tokyo Walk

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El Pueblo and Little Tokyo are two culturally rich and historically significant neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

The former is the oldest district in the city. Also known as the birthplace of Los Angeles, El Pueblo is centered around the Los Angeles Plaza. Throughout most of the 19th century, it was the city's administrative and commercial center: first under the Spanish (from 1781 to 1821),...  view more

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Beverly Hills Walking Tour

Beverly Hills Walking Tour

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Beverly Hills started to gain prominence in the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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Los Angeles Downtown Walking Tour

Los Angeles Downtown Walking Tour

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The land became part of Mexico in 1821,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Arts District Walking Tour

Arts District Walking Tour

The Arts District is one of the hottest neighborhoods in downtown LA, located between Little Tokyo at Alameda to the west and the railroad yards and Los Angeles River to the east. Formerly an industrial area of warehouses and factories, it has been home to art studios and galleries since the 1970s. Having undergone another downturn in the 1990s, the area was officially renamed the “Arts...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Movie Studios Tour

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Raleigh Studios is one of the oldest continuously...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
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One prominent landmark is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, a contemporary construction masterpiece with its...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles

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