For the last two years, Echo Park Lake has been hidden behind chain link and plastic tarp. Now, after a makeover, the fountains are flowing, the water is clear, the lotuses are back and people are using the park. The space is the urban gem its designers imagined more than a century ago, when nearby Angelino Heights was one of the city's premier addresses.
The statue known as the Lady of the Lake is actually titled "Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles." She stands watch as visitors return to the newly renovated park. (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)
1. Start walking from the corner of Glendale Boulevard and Park Avenue, and find your way to the wide paved pathway that circles the lake. Head left, going clockwise around the water, and appreciate the lake's signature lotus blossoms, restored "Lady of the Lake" statue and fine downtown views.
The boathouse, which dates from the 1890s, is poised to begin renting paddle boats again for cruising the lake and will soon include a cafe, park representatives say. (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)
2. The boat house, which dates from the 1890s, is poised to begin renting paddle boats again for cruising the lake and will soon host a cafe, park representatives say. Meanwhile, enjoy a picnic on one of the benches or the sloping hillside nearby.
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3. For a tour of the city's best collection of Victorian-era residences, leave the lake and turn left at the corner of Bellevue Avenue. Then turn left again a few blocks ahead, on West Edgeware Road.
Restored pre-1900 Eastlake, Queen Anne and Victorian homes are nestled near Echo Park Lake along Carroll Avenue. A walk along the streets east of the park is an architectural history tour. (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)
4. Turn right onto Carroll Avenue and begin enjoying the amazing Victorian, Eastlake and Queen Anne homes along two blocks of restored pre-1900 homes. Note the period hitching posts and marble blocks that served as steps into parked carriages and cabriolets.
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5. Turn left onto East Edgeware Road and left again a block later on Kellam Avenue for another two blocks of great houses.
6. Turn left a final time back onto West Edgeware, and return to Bellevue and Echo Park avenues.
Visitors can spy various species that live or come to rest at Echo Park Lake. (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)
7. Back at the lake, continue heading clockwise around the water.
Charles Fleming is the author of "Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles" and "Secret Stairs East Bay: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Berkeley and Oakland."
Distance: 1 mile, or 3 miles
Duration: 30 minutes, or 1.5 hours
Difficulty: 2 on a scale of 1 to 5
Details: Dogs on leash OK. Metro bus line 92 stop. Wheelchair accessible.