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Chinatown Gateway Monument (The Dragon Gate), Los Angeles

Chinatown Gateway Monument (The Dragon Gate), Los Angeles

Los Angeles' historic Chinatown has long served as a gateway for countless Chinese and Asian immigrants coming to the United States. Commemorating this historic fact is the Chinatown Gateway Monument, also known as the Dragon Gate, found at the intersection of North Broadway and Cesar E. Chavez Avenue. Funded by the local Teochew-speaking population, the monument symbolizes mutual cooperation and prosperity for the local Chinese community and the city of Los Angeles, and features two dragons poised on a metal framework, ushering in good luck and harmony.

Designed by Chinese-born architect Ruppert Mok, the Gateway was dedicated in June 2001. Mok’s design was said to have come to him in a dream in which he ran across North Broadway and saw a skeleton across the street with two dragons flying on top of it, facing one another, with a pearl right in the middle; the envisioned dragons descended from a cloud.

Painted in the traditional bright gold with red flames at the elbows, the gatekeeper dragons soar 43 feet above ground, set on an 80-foot-wide steel truss welded to eight steel pipes. Aluminum mesh on both sides create the cloud-like effect along with a misting system with nozzles tucked underneath the dragons. The fine spray of water creates the illusion of majestic beasts “flying in the clouds.”

The 3,000-pound fiberglass figures have fins on their backs, scales on the sides of their bodies, and snakeskin on their bellies; the five fingers on each paw represent the highest authority. Their whiskers are 10 to 15 feet long. Each curved dragon measures 35 to 40 feet in length (or up to 70 feet, if straightened out).

The dragons face each other, one looking down with its mouth wide open, and the other looking up with its mouth only slightly ajar. An opaque-fiberglass pearl – representing longevity and prosperity – appears to float between them, held up by a steel bracket. Mok made the taller of the dragons look more aggressive, while the other is more defensive, subtle and protective. Whether they are female or male, is subject to everyone's guess.

If you walk through the Gate, make sure to turn around and look south for a perfectly-framed shot of the City Hall. Brightly illuminated at night since 2004, it offers an ideal photo spot any time of the day.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Los Angeles, California within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. 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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Chinatown Gateway Monument (The Dragon Gate) on Map

Sight Name: Chinatown Gateway Monument (The Dragon Gate)
Sight Location: Los Angeles, USA
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Los Angeles, California

Create Your Own Walk in Los Angeles

Create Your Own Walk in Los Angeles

Creating your own self-guided walk in Los Angeles is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Hollywood Walk

Hollywood Walk

Hollywood is LA's by far the most famous district and popular destination for sightseeing and nightlife. It is also a historic center of film making. Paramount Studios, the only large film studio still operational in Hollywood, and the iconic Walk of Fame, are just some of the district's major attractions. To see what else the famous neighborhood has to offer, follow this self-guided...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Los Angeles Downtown Walk

Los Angeles Downtown Walk

If you’re looking for a healthy dose of unique architecture, fantastic food finds, museums, and countless hours of entertainment, you’ll find it in Downtown LA. Take a tour of the mind-blowing Walt Disney Concert Hall or cutting-edge Museum of Contemporary Art, stop in for a quick snack at the bustling Grand Central Market, go up and down Angels Flight Railway or go 70 floors up at the iconic...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Chinatown Walking Tour

Chinatown Walking Tour

The only planned Chinatown in the U.S., as compared to other cities where neighborhoods were organically formed by Chinese immigrants, the Los Angeles Chinatown is a blend of Chinese and American architecture. Developed as a tourist attraction in the 1930s, it has its own "Central Plaza," a Hollywoodized version of Shanghai, and features names like Bamboo Lane, Gin Ling Way and Chung...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
El Pueblo and Little Tokyo Walk

El Pueblo and Little Tokyo Walk

El Pueblo is the oldest district in Los Angeles, centered on the old plaza, once the city's administrative and commercial center under the Spanish (1781–1821), Mexican (1821–1847), and United States (after 1847) rule through most of the 19th century. On this self guided walk, you will have a chance to explore the birthplace of Los Angeles and, with a short detour to the nearby Little...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Art District Walking Tour

Art District Walking Tour

The Arts District is one of the hottest neighborhoods in downtown L.A., 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, it was officially renamed the “Arts District.”...  view more

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

Movie Studios Tour

Los Angeles movie studios are truly star factories, where many great movies are filmed. There are many movie studios in Los Angeles. Some of them, such as Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks, are very famous, while others, like Raleigh and Ren-Mar are lesser known, but they all had their moments in the film history. Check out these wonderful movie studios in Los Angeles in this self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles

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