california donuts

quintessential LA donuts in, you guessed it, a strip mall

Like any other donut shop worth its salt in this city, California Donuts is tucked away in a random strip mall on an always congested block of 3rd Street where Koreatown, Little Bangladesh and Rampart Village all muddle together. As much of a headache it is to drive over, find parking, and physically get out of the car to pick up donuts during normal waking hours, California Donuts is worth it. Granted, it’s open 24/7, so you could also bypass the headache and go at the wee hours of the night.

There’s a reason why this place is a local favorite. They’ve been in business since 1982, family run and continuously growing in popularity over the decades. The window-service set up is efficient, letting you ogle at the breadth of their donut spread while you wait in line to order. Their specialty donuts are as pretty as they are tasty, with fun flavors (like PB&J or blueberry toast crunch), nostalgic toppings (like circus animal cookies or fruity pebbles) and impeccable decorations (like a made-for-instagram unicorn donut). With the sheer daily variety and seasonal specialties, its no wonder they’ve reached cult-like status.

the details

Address3540 W 3rd St, Los Angeles
Hours24/7; COVID hours: 3am-1pm & 4pm-11pm
Price$- $1.50 for classic donuts, $2-5 for specialty; cheaper by the dozen (and half dozen)
Aestheticsweet and poppy and a little retro, just like their donuts

good to know

Go here for: fulfilling your sweet tooth in a photogenic way

Order this: a cute specialty donut for the gram (like their unicorn donut, or panda donut – sure it’s low hanging fruit, but we still love it)

Amount of time to spend: 10 minutes to find parking, 10 minutes to decide what you want to order

When to come: any time, all the time (but maybe avoid the 2am drunk crowd)

Parking: can be a pain, your best bet is probably to try and snag a meter or pull over on Berendo or New Hampshire.

Other things to note: 

  • There are a couple other donut shops that are also called California Donuts (one in Westlake, another in East Hollywood), but they are not affiliated.
  • They also have drinks, including coffee, tea (incl. milk tea + boba) and smoothies
  • You can pre-order online, and order custom donuts.

Last visited: March 2019

Last updated: March 2021

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