a day off in LA, east side edition

spoiler alert, it’s one sunrise and a whole lot of sunset

Sometimes the best way to romanticize a place you call home is by taking it a day off, and spending every stolen hour like a spoiled child. In this series, I fantasize on how I’d spend a perfect day off, doing all of the everyday things I love without having to deal with the everyday responsibilities.

I love the east side of LA. Something about the windy, hilly, narrow roads. From the picturesque early 20th century Spanish style houses in Los Feliz to the endearing mid century bungalows in Echo Park, from the pretty Shakespeare bridge to the hidden public stairs, from the dog park by the often sad looking reservoir to the questionable paddle boats in Echo Park, from the iconic Griffith Observatory to the eyesore landmark that is the giant blue scientology building, it manages to be less chaotic than central LA but still have so much to do.

So here’s how I’d spend a day within the confines of the 101, the 5 and the hills.


wake up early and drive to Griffith Park. Park on the street at the bottom of the trails and do the short hike up to the observatory in dusk, making it to the top right as the sun rises over the city.


kick off with coffee at Maru, read a book, people watch as the city wakes up


shoot down Sunset all the way to Konbi even though geographically it isn’t the most practical itinerary, but you got to get there early enough so they don’t run out of croissants. Breakfast is an egg sando and pastry. Because calories don’t count on your day off.

(alt: if you ARE looking for a scene, beeline straight to Sqirl, because a day off is my favorite time to immerse in peak LA vibes and have zero regrets)


wander around the Echo Park shops you’ve been meaning to stop by, pick up a book from Stories and think about simpler college days, pick up a plant from the Cactus Store, a candle from PF Candle Co, some cute market fare at Cookbook (I mean, screw Erewhon this is the excessive LA grocery shopping I want to participate in on my day off).


make a game time decision for lunch. Either go full on spice with Thai food at Night + Market or Jitlada or Sapp, or keep it breezy and pick up a picnicky lunch from Friends & Family or Punchbowl and All Time and lay out at Barnsdall, marveling at how quiet it can be perched up above the craziness. Honestly, too many choices, and all of them are correct.

so many lunch options, so few days off.


park somewhere and do the unthinkable: walk around Silver Lake. Ok fine just the fun part, the strip of Sunset between Fountain and Silver Lake Blvd. Pop into all those boutiques and DTC shops and random antique stores and record shops. People watch. Dog watch. Maybe walk off lunch by taking a detour through the not really secret network of stairs around Silver Lake.


afternoon pick me up at Day Glow (I mean sipping coffee disguised as a cocktail in the cafe that opens onto the sidewalk is the correct vibe any day of the week) or Bodega Park (because we’ll take a Sugarbloom pastry with that afternoon caffeine in a starkly minimalist space for a place inspired by a New York City bodega, thank you very much).


get dinner at Bowery Bungalow with the locals — it’s your day off and you don’t need a scene at dinner! Other places = scene. Bowery Bungalow = home. Comfort comes in the form of tahini dressed cauliflower and turmeric fried rice.


go over to The Black Cat for a drink, or head straight to Los Feliz and grab your post-dinner cocktail at Atrium.


pop over to Skylight Books for some evening bookstore browsing and bumping elbows with the cultured elite of the east side (though you might literally physically bump into people on the sidewalk of Figarot Bistro on your way there.


finish off with a movie at the darling Los Feliz Theater and pretend you’re in La La Land. Because we actually are.


i mean Fred62 is open 24 hours for a reason

see also

LA streets: sunset blvd

a perfect day in sgv