Sure, East LA is known to be infested with obnoxious hipsters, but of the east side neighborhoods, the biggest offender is probably Echo Park. And that’s precisely why I love it here. It’s the kind of neighborhood where a trendy cafe can coexist seamlessly with a fruit cart vendor. Where you can have a nondescript building house 2019’s best new restaurant, so casual you might miss it even if you stop at the gas station right next to it.
The thing about Echo Park is that it doesn’t try to be perfect. It doesn’t try to look polished. It still maintains some of that history, some of the mismatched aesthetic that defines LA, that Silver Lake has lost. There’s well-loved establishments that tell of a different time, with the California cool weirdos of a different generation. An arcade bar. The original location of one of the best taco spots in the city. And everything I’ve mentioned so far has been on the same windy street. Where does Silver Lake end and Echo Park begin? When you’re driving on Sunset, it’s hard to tell (I’d say somewhere between Benton and Alvarado).
Anyways, Echo Park is a lot more than the always changing strip of businesses along Sunset, though that is a core part of it. This neighborhood is actually remarkably residential. Cute bungalows north of Sunset, large austere Victorian mansions on the other. And then there’s Echo Park the park. The random body of water (rly pretty weird to call it a lake, LA. then again, we named a reservoir “Silver Lake” so I suppose it’s not the worst offense) with the fountain shooting straight up and idyllic paddle boats you wonder who actually uses. And then there’s Elysian Park, a sprawling green space that feels so far from LA if you go deep enough, and overlooks Dodger Stadium, which, by the way, is also here. You have to be careful which streets you use to detour bc the last thing you want to do is get stuck in game traffic on Stadium Way.
So welcome to Echo Park! We love it here.