As a child growing up in LA, a visit to the Old Chinatown Plaza was a treat. We would enjoy a family dinner nearby, visit the original Phoenix bakery (which is still around), and the throw pennies into the huge wishing well or play a video game while my mother browsed the nearby the shops. These days, for me...all of that is a distant memory. When visiting Chinatown these days I head straight for the shops I'm looking for and I'm out. Like many of the near-downtown-neighborhoods, Old Chinatown is dirty, a little smelly, and just plain cramped for space. The nighttime allure of neon lights and a mysterious wishing well promising happiness, wealth or love has been replaced by overflowing garbage cans, and the loitering homeless. Do I think you should stay away? No, but don't expect to see the shadowy, slightly romantic Old Chinatown you remember from television shows and the movies.