But Griffith Park, the foremost green space in a city notorious for meager parkland and abundant smog, endures bravely, maybe even heroically. Venture into the park, or nearby Elysian Park, or one of the creative neighborhoods in between, and you’ll find not only beloved landmarks such as Griffith Observatory and Dodger Stadium, but also happy surprises, such as the time-travel supply shop, or the cafe where cops dine daily to the sound of echoing gunfire, or the Korean greetings that echo at dawn every day atop Mt.
The more time you spend in these occasionally gritty, mostly gentrified neighborhoods around the park — Silver Lake, Los Feliz and Echo Park — the more you realize that they’re incubators of American pop culture. Thousands who live here work onstage and off in movies and TV, make music, art and theater, keep up with the interwebs and savor all things ironic (including the nonword “interwebs,” a.k.a. the Internet to the rest of us). Yes, Hollywood is glitzier and Beverly Hills is richer. But who’s cooler? These 10 micro-itineraries, the third in a series that concentrate on Los Angeles and Orange counties, might help you decide. (Los Angeles Times)
Pictured: Griffith Observatory. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Pictured: Richard Neutra’s VDL Research House II in Silver Lake. ()
Pictured: LAMILL Coffee Boutique. (Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times)
Pictured: Fred 62 (1850 Vermont Ave.). (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Pictured: Figaro. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Pictured: Alcove Café. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Pictured: Campo Gorilla Reserve at the Los Angeles Zoo. (Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
Pictured: Tiki Ti. (Perry C. Riddle)
Pictured: Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea (3922 Sunset Blvd.). (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Pictured: Cheese Store of Silverlake. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Pictured: Forage. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Pictured: Secret Headquarters comic book store. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Pictured: Echo Park Lake. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Pictured: Echo Park Film Center. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
WHERE TO STAY
Lodging options are slim around Griffith Park, perhaps because there are so many rooms in nearby Hollywood. But there are a few spots, including these.
Hotel250, also known as the Hollywood Silver Lake Hotel & Suites, 250 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles 90004; (213) 639-1920, https://www.hotel250.com. This former Holiday Inn, set on a hillside south of the 101 Freeway, has 65 rooms, free Wi-Fi, parking and continental breakfast and an unheated outdoor pool. The rooms in back are quieter; the ones in front have the best views. Website says $129-$259, but discounts as low as $110 (plus tax) are common on weekdays.
Los Feliz Lodge, 1501, 1503 and 1507 N. Hoover St., Los Angeles 90027, and 4357 Sunset Drive (same city and ZIP); (323) 660-4150, https://www.losfelizlodge.com. This four-unit residential-rental operation, opened in August 2007, is a series of Spanish-style courtyard bungalows that date to the 1920s. All have kitchens, and two have washer-dryers. Walking distance to Los Feliz Village, Sunset Junction and the Sunset-Vermont Metro station. Rates $150-$180 a night, with discounts for longer stays.
El Tres Inn, 4439 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90027; (323) 666-6351, https://www.eltresinn.com. Three boldly colored suites and a salon above El Chavo, a Mexican restaurant. Popular with musicians. The salon and rooms are often rented together for parties. Rates $189-$385, with occasional discounts.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Forage, 3823 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90026; (323) 663-6885, https://www.forageLa.com. Lunch and dinner in a long, skinny, chic space. Dinner main dishes usually $9-$11; side dishes $4 and up.
Trails Café, 2333 Fern Dell Drive, Los Angeles 90068; (323) 871-2102, https://www.thetrailslosfeliz.com or https://www.facebook.com/trailscafe. Breakfast and lunch, dishes up to $6.75. No reservations, cash only.
Vermont Kitchen & Bar, 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles 90027; (323) 661-6163, https://www.vermontkitchenandbar.com. Since changing owners in 2009, this fine-dining restaurant (dinner main dishes $18-$36) has added two siblings: the lounge next to it (Barre, Vt), where elaborate cabaret shows draw big crowds (admission usually $10-$23.45 with two-drink minimum); and the more casual, largely hidden Rockwell, Vt, restaurant and bar (dinner main dishes $13-$25), a startlingly large space that offers upstairs and downstairs tables around a patio.
Alcove Café & Bakery, 1929 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles 90027; (323) 644-0100, https://www.alcovecafe.com. Set in an old cottage with a big shady patio in front. Alcove is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dinner entrees $9.95-$17.95.
Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, 3922 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90029; (323) 663-6173, https://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com. Open daily in the heart of trendy Sunset Junction. Coffee drinks $2.50-$7.
L.A. Police Academy Revolver & Athletic Club Café, 1880 Academy Road, Los Angeles 90012; (323) 221-5222, Ext. 3, https://www.lapraac.com. At the LAPD Academy site in Elysian Park, police memorabilia, burgers and coffee shop fare, with a top price of $7.99. Open 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays-Fridays.
Short Stop, 1455 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90026; (213) 482-4942, https://www.myspace.com/shortstopechopark. This Echo Bar bar goes back to the 1940s. Once a cop haven, it’s now a dive-style hipster hang with dance floor, pool table, smoking patio and Pabst on sale for $2 during happy hour. Open 5 p.m.-2 a.m daily.
Tiki Ti, 4427 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90027; (323) 669-9381, https://www.tiki-ti.com. Since 1961, this family operation has served up tropical drinks in a tiny space near the Vista Theatre. Usually 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Cash only, no beer or wine. Often crowded.
Umami Burger, 4655 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles 90027; (323) 669-3922, https://www.umamiburger.com/umami-los-feliz/. A playground for carnivores; Portobello burgers for vegetarians. Lunch and dinner. Burgers $9-$13. Combinations $15-$16. Beer and wine. Often crowded.
WHAT TO SEE
Dodger Stadium, 1000 Elysian Park Ave., Los Angeles 90012; (323) 224-1471, losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com. Dodgers tickets typically run $12-$130, more for the luxurious club rooms. General parking is $15. The team offers daily 90-minute behind-the-scenes stadium tours for $10-$15. More info on their website.
Griffith Observatory, 2800 E. Observatory Road, Los Angeles 90027; (213) 473-0800, https://www.griffithobservatory.org. Open Wednesday through Sundays, noon-10 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekends. Observatory and parking are free, but planetarium presentations cost $3-$7 a person.
Los Angeles Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles 90027; (323) 644-4200, https://www.lazoo.org. Admission $14 for adults, $11 for seniors (62 and older), $9 for children 2-12. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.
The Autry National Center’s Museum of the American West, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles 90027; (323) 667-2000; https://www.theautry.org. Open Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on weekdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekends, with extended hours in summer. Admission $10 per adult, $6 students with current ID and seniors (60 and older), $4 for children 3-12.
Architecture Tours L.A., (323) 464-7868, https://www.architecturetoursla.com. Architectural historian and tour guide Laura Massino Smith leads driving tours of Silver Lake and other L.A. County communities. Tours last two to three hours and typically cost $68 a person; reservations required.
Barnsdall Art Park and Hollyhock House, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles 90027, https://www.barnsdallartpark.com. Hollyhock Tours, (323) 644-6269, https://www.hollyhockhouse.net. Hourlong Hollyhock House tours Wednesday-Sunday afternoons (click “visit” on website for times), adults $7.
WHERE TO SHOP
Soap Plant/Wacko/Luz de Jesus Gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles 90027; (323) 663-0122, https://www.soapplant.com. Open daily.
Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles 90027; (323) 660-1175, https://www.skylightbooks.com. Independent bookshop with lively reading lineup. Open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily with an art-book annex next door.
Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Los Angeles 90026; (213) 484-8846, https://www.echoparkfilmcenter.org. Open 2-7 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, noon-5 p.m. Saturdays, event nights 8-10 p.m.
Time Travel Mart, 1714 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90026; (213) 413-3388, https://www.826la.org/store. The store is a front for the nonprofit organization 826LA, which is part of a national network that offers tutoring and teaches creative and expository writing.