This must be Los Feliz
One of the greatest debates about Los Feliz is how to pronounce it: Some Angelenos say “Los FEE-lus,” while others prefer the Spanish pronunciation of “Los Fey-LEASE.” It’s an ongoing quarrel that can distract from the area itself — a shame because what it offers is so rare.
Get to know Los Angeles through the places that bring it to life. From restaurants to shops to outdoor spaces, here’s what to discover now.
There aren’t many neighborhoods in Los Angeles where you can watch a film, listen to your favorite author talk about their latest book, go on a hike, catch a live concert, shop for vintage trends and fetch your weekly groceries, all without having to step foot out of your community. Let alone without having to hop into your car. This is perhaps the biggest flex about Los Feliz: There’s no need to leave unless you want to. And you’d risk losing your coveted parking spot anyway.
“So much of my joy of being in L.A. is being able to step out of my apartment and hike up to Griffith Park,” said David Montgomery, selling his artwork on a Saturday afternoon at the Los Feliz Flea. Shoppers were sifting through his hyperlocal prints — as the self-appointed “Mayor of Los Feliz,” Montgomery has painted everything from the historic Good Luck Bar to the view of the 5 Freeway from Los Feliz Boulevard to the late P-22 mountain lion, who lived in Griffith Park.
Montgomery stumbled upon his current Los Feliz home after fleeing from a nightmare roommate — and he never looked back. “I just got lucky,” he said. “A guy on Griffith Park and Los Feliz [boulevards] had a room for rent, and I was like ‘OK, let me test this out.’ And I was like, what is all this? Then I found [the Los Feliz 3] theater and I saw ‘La La Land’ on that tiny-a— screen and I was like, this place is f—ing magic.”
Sandwiched between the celebrity-filled Hollywood Hills and trendy Silver Lake, Los Feliz has an appreciation for both the old and the new: On the busy strip of Hillhurst Avenue, you can grab a matcha latte at the TikTok-approved Maru Coffee, which always has a line outside, or at the House of Pies on Vermont, which has been around since 1969 — both of which are equally cherished.
The neighborhood is rich with history: Young Walt Disney started his cartoon studio in his uncle’s Los Feliz garage and opened the original Walt Disney Studios there. (The site is now an Extra Copy photocopy store and Kingswell skate shop, which both display nods to their connections with the Mouse.) And if you look close enough, you can spot homes designed by famous architects like Frank Lloyd Wright (the Ennis and Hollyhock houses) and Raphael Soriano (Gogol House).
Head over to Franklin Hills, an even smaller neighborhood in Los Feliz, and you’ll see the gothic-style Shakespeare Bridge (which has virtually nothing to do with the famous writer) that was built in 1926 and is just a few blocks from John Marshall High School, which mimics the same gargoyle-like design and has been the backdrop for several movies and TV shows, including “Grease” and “The Wonder Years.”
On Vermont Avenue, you can see the Dresden Room, where famous jazz duo Marty and Elayne Roberts serenaded audiences six nights a week for almost 40 years until Marty died in January 2022. (The Dresden still hosts jazzy lounge acts a couple of nights a week.) A short walk from there is Palermo Italian Restaurant, helmed by a magnetic owner, Tony Fanara, who ran for governor in 2022 and received nearly 6,500 votes.
Caroline Trujillo’s appreciation for Los Feliz all comes down to her daily routines, which often involves walking around the entire district, hiking at Griffith Park if she’s feeling ambitious and grabbing an iced coffee at All Time, where she likes to people watch.
“I love the walkability to Barnsdall Park,” says the 32-year-old music marketer. She’s lived in the area for nearly three years. “Being able to incorporate that into an everyday part of my life — just sitting at a park and reading, or playing my Nintendo Switch and being able to watch the sunset — is super convenient.”
Those type of comforts make it tough to leave Los Feliz — and luckily, you don’t have to. Whether you’re embarking on a solo adventure, linking up with friends or hanging out with family, there’s a plethora of things to keep you entertained on this side of town. Perhaps you’ll even get as settled in as Montgomery, who writes that he “will not cross the 405 even if you paid me.”
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What's included in this guide
Anyone who’s lived in a major metropolis can tell you that neighborhoods are a tricky thing. They’re eternally malleable and evoke sociological questions around how we place our homes, our neighbors and our communities within a wider tapestry. In the name of neighborly generosity, we included gems that may linger outside of technical parameters. Instead of leaning into stark definitions, we hope to celebrate all of the places that make us love where we live.
Start your day off right at Home
The outside patio, which is dog friendly, looks like it could be someone’s backyard, with large trees and lush greenery spread about and a fountain with swimming fish. The restaurant’s interior feels more like the moody dining room of a Craftsman-style house with tall tables and stools, plush leather couches, draped burgundy curtains and black decor. There are also several photos of old Hollywood stars, like that iconic image of Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandrige, and “Casablanca’s” Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
For breakfast and brunch, some favorites are the fried chicken sandwich and buttermilk pancakes, and for dinner, try the juicy jerk pork chop or short rib pot pie. Happy Hour is from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the bar. Valet parking is $10, but if you’re lucky, you can find street parking in the nearby neighborhood.
Hunt for vintage gems at Los Feliz Flea
Shelly Famighetti-Dane and her husband Phillip Dane, who was the mastermind behind what is now the beloved Melrose Trading Post, had been producing flea markets around L.A. since the early ’90s before deciding to bring one to their Los Feliz neighborhood during the fall of 2020. With roughly 235 vendors, shoppers can find an array of new and vintage garments, along with original print advertisements from the 1900s to the 1980s from American magazines like Playboy and Jet at the Vintage Printage booth, Italian Renaissance-era planters and paintings of go-to neighborhood spots like the under-construction Vista Theatre by artist David Montgomery, who calls himself the “Mayor of Los Feliz.” There aren’t many antique dealers at this flea, but the founders are planning to launch a holiday market at the Autry Museum in November, which will also feature live entertainment and a full bar.
Sip a Thai Town Latte at Obet and Del's
The ’70s-style red, yellow and blue stripes on the walls (earth tones that represent clay, the sun and the sky), along with the massive gallery wall filled with plants, products by Black and brown-owned businesses, and artwork by local artists adds to the inviting atmosphere. Heather Knox and Joshua Oliveros, the owners and longtime couple, don’t want visitors working on their laptops the entire time they are there, though. They designed the space to feel like somewhere people could mingle with strangers, chop it up with a friend and “feel comfortable being there all day.”
Meet your favorite authors IRL at Skylight Books
At the center of the indie bookstore is a large ficus tree, as old as the building itself, with branches that touch the ceiling. The shop’s elusive cat, Franny, used to hang out on the bench surrounding the tree before she died in January. Skylight’s highly curated selection includes literacy fiction, graphic novels, children’s books, nonfiction and several books on California history and culture, among others. They also sell stationery items and gifts. Two doors down from Skylight is their arts annex store, which sells limited-run comics, zines and more.
Take in the magical wonder of Wacko/Soap Plant
Billy Shire, a self-taught leatherworker, opened the first iteration of the store with his mom, Barbara, who made handmade soaps, in 1971 in Los Feliz. In the 1980s, he took over the shop and moved it to a larger location in Melrose, before bringing it back to Los Feliz — inside an old post office — in 1995.
Growing up in nearby Thai Town, Émine Avanessian, owner of Pygmy Hippo Shoppe, has been going to Wacko/Soap Plant on a monthly basis since she was a child. “I’m in my 40s and it’s just how we grew up,” she said on a recent visit, adding that the gallery has also been significant in the L.A. art scene for decades. “It’s just a rad spot to visit.”
Stepping inside of the Wacko/Soap Plant store, which is adorned by a vibrant mural with googly eyes atop the doorway, always feels like an exciting adventure no matter how many times you’ve visited. There’s always something new to see and admire in the 6,500-square-foot complex. Toward the middle of the store are two life-size mannequins dressed like empresses, an array of mugs and candles of icons including Frida Kahlo and Toni Morrison, preserved insects, Godzilla figurines, Dachshund rugs and the TikTok-approved Sonny Angel toys.
At the back of the store is where you can find the La Luz de Jesus Gallery, which features striking art that matches the quirky sensibilities of the shop. On a recent visit, San Francisco-based Joel Hernandez and Yucca Valley-based Dianne Bennett were showcasing solo exhibitions at the gallery. La Luz also hosts a group gallery every July featuring hundreds of artists locally and from around the world.
Find 'L.A. cool girl' staples at Carol Young Undesigned
Inside the quaint store, you’ll find everything that an L.A. cool girl would rock while on the go: colorful halter dresses, asymmetrical pants, crinkly-textured jumpsuits and sets, which come in drawstring bags for easy travel. All of the garments, some of which can be considered gender neutral, are designed in house by Young and her longtime seamstress, Sonia, and made with sustainable organic and recycled blends. If they have time, they’ll even make minor tailoring adjustments to ensure a perfect fit. Undesigned also sells eye-catching footwear from around the world including Berlin-based Trippen’s unconventional leather boots and Paris-based Calla Paris’ tabi slide-ons, which are made from vintage Berber rugs, along with playful accessories and jewelry.
Step into the mysterious Philosophical Research Society (which is not a cult)
The organization has gone through a few iterations over the decades, but it’s currently being run as a nonprofit arts and culture venue. On any given day, visitors to the Mayan Revival campus might stumble across a tarot workshop, film screening, poetry reading, sound bath or a lecture on the women of punk — and often several events at once. The bookstore has an extensive collection of books and pamphlets by the society’s revered founder, Manly P. Hall, including a new oversized and luxurious reprint of his magnum opus, “The Secret Teachings of All Ages.” The dark atmospheric library is open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.
Picnic on the grassy lawn and tour the marvelous Hollyhock House
It costs $7 for adults, $3 for seniors and students and is free for children under 12 to embark on a self-guided tour of the spectacular clay block, Mayan-inspired home. The spacious park is also home to the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, which is free to visit and has a wide range of contemporary art. And with a clear view of the Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory, it’s the perfect place to take a solo afternoon stroll or have a picnic with friends.
Hunt for gasp-worthy goods at Sumi’s gift shop (and bring your pup)
You’ll also find endearing ceramic plates with words like “bitch” and “damn” inscribed on the front, an art print of 20 L.A. buildings that no longer exist, petite notebooks that have been adorned with the remnants of damaged vinyl records and translucent coasters of musicians like Prince, David Bowie and Rihanna. There’s a small kids section at the back of the store that offers delightful goods like Cate and Levi stuffed animals and puppets. On the walls, there’s a display of Polaroid photos of dogs that have stopped by the store, many of which live in the neighborhood. (They also pass out dog treats.)
Sip espresso and people watch at Figaro Bistrot
There’s no bad time to visit Figaro Bistrot, though, it’s typically busiest during lunchtime throughout the week and dinner on the weekends when mainstays like French onion soup, steak frites, Boeuf Bourguignon and escargot are often served. If there’s no open tables outside, the restaurant’s dining room and zinc bar, which is adorned with Parisian antiques and artwork, has a welcoming vibe. It’d be a crime to leave without stopping by the boulangerie — the French word for bakery — to grab one of their delectable pastries like a macaroon or multifruit tart.
Dig into authentic Yucatán-style tacos at Yuca's
There’s no salsa bar here and you won’t miss it because the food is consistent and straightforward. Yuca’s also sells burgers, hot dogs and tortas.
Try a cloud-like sweet treat at Ululani’s Hawaiian Shaved Ice
What makes Ululani’s so special is their use of “ultra-purified” water to make the ice and 100% cane sugar and natural fruit purees to make 50-plus signature syrups, including flavors like passion fruit, coconut, cotton candy, pineapple and pickled mango. (If you’ve ever had a New Orleans snowball like the ones at the Sno Ball shop in Windsor Hills, then you’ll love Ululani’s.) Ululani’s has an array of toppings to amp up the dessert, including “snow cap” (sweetened condensed milk), toasted coconut, fresh mochi or li hing mui reduction drizzle or powder (a Hawaii dried plum treat.) You can also add adzuki beans (Japanese red beans that make a sweet paste) or ice cream (flavors include coconut, macadamia and vanilla) to your shaved ice. The kids, or “keiki,” size costs $6.25 and the regular size is $7.50. The tiny space fills up quickly, especially on the weekends, so it’s common for people to sit on the bench in front of the shop while enjoying their delicious treat, or hang out on the back patio where there’s a bright mural by Brooklyn-based artist Gosha Levochin, who used to work at Blue Rooster.
Since the recent wildfires in Maui, which destroyed two Ululani’s locations, the shop has been fundraising via GoFundMe (75% of the donations will go to their employees in Maui and the remaining 25% will go to Lahaina organizations).
Hike, picnic or explore the galaxy at Griffith Park
Spanning more than 4,210 acres, the park is one of the largest municipal parks in the country, nearly five times larger than New York’s Central Park. Griffith Park is a beast of a destination, which is why so many people haven’t experienced all that it has to offer. Among all that green space are popular destinations like the multitude of lawns where you can host a picnic, more than 50 miles of trails you can hike in order to get a better look at the Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory — the most visited public observatory in the world — where you can stargaze and view astronomy exhibitions. I’ve been to Griffith Observatory over the years, but I’d never explored the galleries there until recently. I stepped on scales to see how much I’d weigh on various planets and watched the observatory’s charismatic director, Ed Krupp, give a presentation about the autumnal equinox.
Griffith Park is also home to a zoo, museum, equestrian center, famous caves that you can visit, a golf course, cafe, the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum where you can visit Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn, and more. Because there’s so much on the land, do yourself a favor and start going to the areas at Griffith Park that you haven’t experienced yet — preferably during the week, because the area gets packed during the weekend. You’re in for a fun adventure. It’s easy to get lost here though, so it’s wise to use a map (on your phone or a paper one), guidebook or a friend who knows their way around the area.
Learn about the real West at Autry Museum of the American West
The Autry is much more than a cowboy museum. The interactive art space has more than 600,000 pieces of art and cultural objects, and is the steward of the second-most significant Native American collection in the country. There, you’ll learn about true representations of the West, including the influence of Indigenous people, queer cowboys and even modern groups like the Compton Cowboys. At the current “Imagined West” exhibit,” you can spin a wheel to write your own western, play a “Jeopardy” game to test your knowledge of western films or step in front of a green screen to set yourself in the middle of a fight scene. You can easily spend an hour or the entire day here, whether you’re solo or with your family — there are also several hangout and reflection areas inside the Autry. The museum also hosts events regularly on the property, including film screenings with Street Food Cinema. The Autry is closed Mondays and costs $16 for adults, $12 for seniors and kids ages 13-18, and $8 for 3-12-year-olds. It’s free to visit every second Tuesday of the month.
Escape to a Mediterranean villa at Cara Hotel
Though the Cara Hotel — “cara” is the Gaelic word for “friend” — has only been around for a few years, it’s quickly become a staple for TV, film and music creatives looking for respite from bustling Hollywood, but also for Los Feliz residents looking for a peaceful staycation. The true draw for Angelenos, though, is Cara’s restaurant, which sits in an airy courtyard and is filled with centuries-old olive trees and a tranquility pool. It’s open throughout much of the day, but the restaurant’s dreamy lighting shines best at night, making it perfect for a romantic date night or a special occasion. Some recent favorites on the menu include the crisp Yucatecan ceviche, mouthwatering lemon pasta and the olive oil cake for dessert. And the night doesn’t have to stop there as Cara’s bar, located on a patio, offers an array of entertainment including a salsa band on Wednesday nights where the dancers don’t play, jazz on Sundays and live DJs throughout the weekend.
Share unlimited tostadas, family style, at Mírate
To get inside of laid-back, 7,500-square-feet space, you’ll have to walk up a flight of dimly lit stairs — one of the main sources of light is a neon sign glowing “mezcal.” The adventure continues as you walk through what looks like a trendy hotel lobby revealing a stunning dining room with indoor and courtyard seating on two floors. In the middle of the dreamy Tulum-reminiscent eatery is a tree house with luscious greenery spread throughout.
Though the restaurant, which was recently added to the Michelin Guide’s list of top spots in California, has an extensive food menu with some of the same items as Mírame — like the fried chicken tacos, whole fried snapper and ceviche — Mírate works best as a brunch or pre-game spot before a night on the town with friends. Enjoy the vibe with tunes playing like “Nubes” by hip-hop artist Niña Dioz from Monterrey, Mexico. (It felt like a place that would be featured on Issa Rae’s “Insecure” if it were still filming.)
It’s the perfect place to grab an inventive cocktail — the bar exclusively sources its beer, wine and mezcal from Mexico — like a margarita made with aguachile, nopales granita, coconut and avocado-washed tequila blanco. Then split small plates like crab esquites, which comes with an unlimited supply of tostadas (along with all other dips), jicama aguachile with gooseberry and morita jamaica, and any of their tacos (beef brisket and fried chicken) are standouts. It’s open until 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Dig into delicious strawberry cream pie at House of Pies
Open until 1 a.m. during the week and 2 a.m. on weekends, House of Pies is the perfect spot after a late showing at the historic Los Feliz 3 Cinemas or when you’re craving something sweet after a night out. The charming eatery has indoor and outdoor seating. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find a parking spot in front of the diner, but there’s also a small overflow parking in the back or limited street parking.
Time travel to the Golden Age of Hollywood at Los Feliz 3 Cinemas
The cushioned seats fill up quickly — the rooms have 55, 60 and 150 available seats — so get there early in order to find a cozy spot. (One time I arrived too late and had to sit on a folding chair.) You won’t break the bank visiting this spot; tickets are $12.50 and $10.50 for matinees, seniors and kids under 11. Online ticketing isn’t available yet, according to their website. The theater also hosts events and early screenings with American Cinematheque.
Fill up on meatballs and wine at Little Dom's
While it’s the type of place where you can imagine 1950s-era mobsters dining with James Brown’s “The Big Payback” ringing in the background (this was playing on a recent visit), there’s a warmth and coziness at Little Dom’s that is undeniable. You can eat on the sidewalk, or in one of the dimly lit dining areas inside, but the coolest and most chill of them all is the back area, which looks like an old-school deli. The restaurant’s walls are filled with horse memorabilia and black-and-white images of celebrities like Muhammad Ali cutting a birthday cake, chrome-polished bar stools, a vintage wooden bar near the entrance, and leaded glass windows that were salvaged from an old building. Order the wood oven roasted hanger steak along with their meatballs and the rice balls, which are filled with fresh mozzarella, Parmesan and provolone.
Come for the chicken wings, stay for karaoke and trivia at Ye Rustic Inn
Arrive early, especially on karaoke Tuesdays or trivia Sundays at 9 p.m. to land a booth inside. Near the jukebox is a digital sign that says, “Bartenders: If it wasn’t for them, you’d still be sober. Tip accordingly.” There’s also a handwritten sign at the entrance that instructs patrons to ask for a parking pass if you parked in the lot, but I’ve never done that. The pub is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on most nights, but opens at noon on Fridays and Saturdays, and 9 a.m. on Sundays.
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