Our Favorite Kitschmeister Charles Phoenix Leads Chinatown Tour at CicLAvia (Photos)

So now that we learned that CicLAvia isn’t just for bikers anymore, we parked our two-wheeler for about an hour yesterday during the car-free event to join SoCal’s unofficial pop culture historian Charles Phoenix on a “tour-ette” of Los Angeles’ Chinatown. The tour began in the Central Plaza, along Gin Ling Way, which was dedicated in 1938. (Los Angeles' original Chinatown was located where Union Station is today, and the residents and businesses were forced to relocate to make way for the trains.)

Kitschmeister Phoenix led groups through his favorite places in the neighborhood, and included a stop for shopping at Sincere Gifts, Fong's, KG Louie, a snack at Hop Louie and the preserved-in-time office California’s first Chinese-American lawyer. He also made sure to point out all the great neon art incorporated into many of the building designs in the area.

We learned a lot of interesting tidbits and trivia from Phoenix during the tour—for example, the artsy gift store Realm in the Central Plaza, began as a restaurant then turned briefly into Madame Wong’s punk club in the 1970s.

Check out our photos from the day—which turned out to be a fun day for both walkers and riders.