Let’s get one thing out of the way. Silver Lake isn’t really a lake, it’s a reservoir. And considering how cute the neighborhood is, the reservoir itself is, well, not cute. Given southern California’s constant state of being on the verge of another drought, it’s usually half empty, and let’s not even get started on the wired fencing that goes all around it. Most people only come to the reservoir if they live in the neighborhood and want to go on a run. Or for the dog park (ok, that part is pretty cute). But we’re not here for the reservoir. For most other intents and purposes, when someone says let’s go to Silver Lake, they are referring to the strip of Sunset Blvd between Fountain and Coronado, as well as Hyperion Ave and Silver Lake Blvd if they know what they’re talking about, and if they are true east siders, maybe also Rowena.
Tucked snug between the grown up Los Feliz, hipster Echo Park, not-quite-yet-gentrified East Hollywood, and the always bumper to bumper 5 freeway, Silver Lake is peak Los Angeles in the best and worst ways. Colorful houses perched up in the rolling hills overlooking an expansive scenery dotted with palm trees, like an uglier Mediterranean landscape. Windy, narrow, steep streets with impossible street parking and blind corners galore. The Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory when you look to one side, and the growing DTLA skyline when you look to the other. Way too many coffee shops to count, and restaurants that rebrand so often you can hardly keep track. Teeming with hipsters that are just snobbish enough to keep you on your toes.
Silver Lake is the kind of place filled with memories. Remember when you got stuck in the Forage parking lot? Remember trekking all the way out for brunch during finals week? Remember trying to finish a breakfast burrito from Tacos Delta? Remember that weird Bumble date at Intelligentsia? Remember the first time you experienced the Trader Joe’s parking lot? Remember your bar hopping on your birthday and then ending up at that McDonald’s for the first time? Remember when Sweetgreen used to be El Pollo Loco? Remember when La Colombe was Casbah? Remember when Dayglow was Neon? And when Neon was Bardonna? And Bardonna was Picnic? And Picnic was Foodlab? Ok maybe that location has a curse.
At the end of the day, Silver Lake little places to discover, local gems, unexpected landmarks (I mean, the Bates Motel) and occasionally, if you know where to look, a view that takes your breath away. It’ll always hold a special place in my heart, a place I once called home (and yes, that means I know exactly where to park). It may be to hipster for the glitzy and too hip for the hipsters, but Silver Lake has established a reputation for itself — it’s everchanging, sure to have something new to offer every time, and will never disappoint. So come, grab a coffee, and sit, people watch, and be seen.