Georgia Hopkins of the gorgeous travel blog It’s Beautiful Here shares the inside scoop on all the coolest happenings in east Los Angeles.
The neighborhoods of Silver Lake, Echo Park, Highland Park, and Los Feliz have long been home to L.A.’s creative class. Brimming with artistic and community vibes, they possess a laid-back energy that makes them the perfect playground in which to eat, drink, shop, and cavort, all day long. And for design aficionados, there is plenty to keep you busy from case-study houses to vintage shops to galleries. Here we walk you through a few of our favorite things.
Look no further than the newly opened, Hotel Covell, a charming boutique hotel in a 1930s building on top of Los Feliz hangout Bar Covell. The design of this whimsical space revolves around the fictional story of writer, George Covell, with each suite named for and depicting a different chapter of his life. Chapter 3 is our favorite for its white-washed floors, French-style windows, mosaic-tiled kitchen, and beautiful mid-century furniture. Every little detail, down to the “mint to be” chocolates beside the bed, has been considered. And room service comes in the form of tacos from HomeState, the Tex-Mex eatery next door, and the cute rooftop bar is the perfect spot to chill.
Start your day with a Four Barrel coffee from the light, bright, architecturally inspiring space that is Dinosaur Coffee. Or grab a coffee-to-go from new sidewalk eatery, Dinette. Intelligentsia is also a mainstay (for the tiles if nothing else). And keep an eye out for a new outpost of Larchmont Boulevard favorite, Go Get Em Tiger, set to open next to Hotel Covell this summer. (Side note: If you feel like venturing downtown, we dearly love the folks at Verve Coffee Roasters, for not just their coffee, but their friendly vibes, the living wall, and those Café Gratitude snacks).
You could spend a week on the east side eating your way from dawn to dusk and still not even scratch the surface. To get you started, we recommend Sqirl for brunch (this is essential) for absolutely everything on the menu; O Banh Mi for a low-key and authentic Vietnamese baguette lunch; Pine + Crane for authentic Taiwanese in a bright and friendly space; and Ostrich Farm (our new favorite) for excellent food, lovely wines and friendly neighborhood vibes in a pretty dining room. For vegan food, travel out a little further to our other favorite east-side neighborhood, Highland Park. Try both Amara Kitchen (such friendly people and delicious food), and Kitchen Mouse (order the Moros Cakes).
Grab a seat upstairs at neighborhood favorite, L&E Oyster Bar. With a cute Parisian feel, excellent wines, and fresh, cold oysters, this is an ideal place to start your night. To carry on the French vibe, try the enclosed patio at Bar Stella for a perfectly mixed cocktail (the smoky Sophia is our favorite, made with Del Maguey Vida mezcal, Campari, agave, and fresh lime juice). An LA institution since 1961, Tiki Ti is a must-do when in the east. Original mixologist Ray Buhen handed down his secret drink recipes to his son and grandson, who continue to mix up these tropical tiki drinks (there’s no beer or wine here!). It’s tiny—on par with a real tiki hut—with just 12 stools and a few tables. Lastly, and most conveniently if you are staying at Hotel Covell, pop downstairs to their namesake bar, which has been keeping locals refreshed for the past five years. A dimly lit bar with friendly vibes.
L.A. girl Rhianna and her Melbourne husband Frank, opened beautiful, gallery-like Mixed Business in August 2014. In the back of their store, you are transported into a magical little fairy flower den—The Bosky Dell—where Maggie Carson Roman creates delightful custom flower arrangements.
Other favorite spots to shop include the Mohawk General Store for all the names we love and trust (think ACME, EDIT, Etre Cécile, Rachel Comey, Dries Van Noten). We also love Reform School for its small-batch, artisan-made wares. New High Mart, despite its strict rules “no photo, no talking on your phone policy,” is a beautiful space and showcases Japanese-inspired homewares and clothes. And lastly, for design, check out Shop Class, the Highland Park store owned by Sally Breer (the designer behind Hotel Covell). Breer, who grew up in Paris, has a well-known avant-garde artist father, and is “addicted to oddities.” Her passion for “junking” is evident here at her vintage furnishings store and workshop space.
Don’t leave the east without a hike through Griffith Park. Here you’ll find a vintage merry-go-round, golf course, dog park, abandoned zoo, and plenty of grassy picnic grounds. Hike to the top of the park for spectacular views over canyons, mountains, and the rest of LA. from the Griffith Observatory. Stay for sunset. Another fun spot for a stroll is the 2.25-mile walking trail around the impressive watering hole that is the Silver Lake Reservoir. An easy walk, you will pass under canopies of eucalyptus and pine trees. For music lovers, catch a live show at the Greek Theatre, or The Echo. For art and architecture lovers, mosey around the Barndsall Art Park. Pack a picnic and stay awhile, and check out Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House while there. There are also endless architecturally famous Case Study Houses to visit. We suggest venturing a little further out—into the Hollywood Hills—to check out our favorite of all, the Stahl House (Case Study House No. 22). Book a tour, and spend an hour pretending this mid-century marvel is your home.