There are so many places in LA beyond the Santa Monica Pier or Hollywood Boulevard that are worth a weekend trip. East LA—made up of neighborhoods that include Los Feliz, Silverlake, Echo Park and Atwater Village—is one such hub you can’t trek back to LAX before visiting.
But, before I dive into a slew of favorite eats and sights, I should address the Ray-Ban wearing elephant in the room. It’s true: East LA’s reputation has (more or less) been eclipsed by its rising population of hipsters. What exactly constitutes a hipster? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure (and after being an east-side resident for eight years, maybe I am one?), but I do know this “slightly-grungy-slash-creative-digital-influencer-Prius-driving-almond-milk-making” part of Los Angeles can seem a bit…intimidating.
Don’t let it be. I’m here to arm you with the best of the east (and this list will only attempt to scratch the surface) so that you can visit these must-sees like a local.
Source: Grasie Mercedes
In true east side fashion, you should stay Airbnb. The plethora of places to rent means you stand a pretty good chance of booking something around $100-150/night. If you want a walk-able location, stick to places along Vermont Ave. and Hillhurst Ave. in Los Feliz, or anywhere along Sunset Blvd. between Hyperion Ave. and Alvarado St. in Silverlake. If you want something quieter, search either Los Feliz Blvd. or Glendale Blvd. in Atwater, or north of Sunset Blvd. along Echo Park Blvd. in (you guessed it) Echo Park.
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If a hotel is more your style, try to snag one of five suites at Hotel Covell (with a downstairs wine bar by the same name) in Los Feliz, a room above the 101 Coffee Shop at the Best Western Plus Hollywood Hills, or a reservation at The Line in Koreatown. (Pay extra for a view of the hills there, too. The panoramic shot of the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory is completely worth it.)
TO EAT & DRINK
Source: Egg Canvas
Breakfast: There are so many places to wake up to something yummy! If you’re in need of caffeine, skip the long lines at Intelligentsia in favor of a scone and breezy patio at Broome Street General or at Bru. If you’re really hungry, check out the mile-long menu at Alcove or the breakfast tacos at HomeState. For an amazing honey-almond latte and savory brioche, be sure to try Proof (their croissants are great too, but for a really great croissant, head over to Hillhurst’s Café Los Feliz).
If you need something vegan or gluten-free, Atwater’s Village Bakery and Café has you covered. And if you prefer tea, you’re still in luck. Dinosaur, next to the McDonald’s on Sunset, always has a fragrant and well-balanced selection.
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Need something a bit greener? This is LA, after all. The Punchbowl has all things organic, cold-pressed, and alkalizing, as does Silverlake’s Naturewell. If you need to grocery shop while you sip your greens, Lassens in Los Feliz has a great little juice bar and deli in the back.
Source: Joshua Lurie
Lunch: Cultures collide in Los Angeles, and especially on the east side. Here you have your pick of fresh, flavorful lunches including:
Dune – Some of the best falafel and homemade hummus you’ll have this side of the Atlantic. Try the beet sandwich with 8-minute egg and Bulgarian sheep feta.
Mohawk Bend – Where local craft beers, burgers (vegan ones, too!) and delicious buffalo cauliflower abound.
Source: Mohawk Bend
Spitz – Go for the kebabs, stay for the sangria and street cart fries.
Berlin Currywurst – Simply sausages and sides (plus a tofu dog, too).
The Trails – After hiking Griffith Park, this is your stop. Try the avocado sandwich, a quiche, or even the PB&J, if nothing but for the nostalgia.
Night + Market – Award-winning Thai food that’s now open for takeout during lunch. Go during the day; you’ll have better luck actually getting in.
Source: Navid Baraty
From there, make your way to Little Dom’s (especially for their Monday night supper*) or for the margaritas and green salsa across the street at Mexico City. Silverlake’s El Condor is another great margarita spot, as is Casitas del Campo in the epic pink building.
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Craving Italian? Tomato Pie for your pizza, or Palermo’s to get truly stuffed and have wine while you wait. For a more date-worthy spot, try Speranza, Il Cappriccio or the French-inspired Canelé. Cliff’s Edge is another dreamy date place, as is Ostrich Farm. It’s seriously good. Gingergrass and Silverlake Ramen are too.
*Speaking of Mondays, don’t miss the food truck round-up that happens every Monday night in the parking lot of Our Mother of Good Counsel church at 2060 N. Vermont Ave.
Source: Sarah Sherman Samuel
To counter all the eating and drinking you’re surely doing, take advantage of how much nature you can enjoy on this side of town. A big one? Griffith Park, which practically defines the east side. Hike up to Griffith Observatory as early as you can and if you’re lucky, then you might be able to see all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Though currently drained, you can still walk or run around the Silverlake reservoir, too, after which you can stop for a spritzer at LAMILL.
Other stores worth noting? Individual Medley and Mohawk General are good for browsing (or splurging) while Common is great for your everyday, yet stylish pieces. Clover and Yolk are also nearby with great children selections. Squaresville is your vintage spot, and you may want to check the Crossroads on Griffith Park Blvd. for deals, too.
To tap into your cultural side, the Los Feliz 3 and the Vista Theater are two well-loved local gems. You can also browse for books at Skylight or catch a show at the Rockwell. Barnsdall Art Park also hosts a variety of events, least of which are the Friday Night Wine Tastings during the summer. Check their calendar for updates.
The ins-and-outs of the east side could be listed in detail continually, but for now, this should be enough to at least make you hungry and get you out the door. (With or without a $200 flannel.)