By Rachel Young
The effortlessly cool Silver Lake neighborhood, cushioned in between Los Feliz and Echo Park, has attracted artists, musicians and celebrities ever since the early 1900s. Built around two adjoining reservoirs—Silver Lake and Ivanhoe—the neighborhood has more to offer than the notable Sunset Boulevard, which continues from Echo Park and runs through the southern region of Silver Lake. All throughout the neighborhood to its northeast boundary marked by the Los Angeles River, Silver Lake exudes creativity.
“From coffee to quaint boutiques to restaurants catered seemingly just for foodies, everything in Silver Lake feels curated to offer the best to those venturing through the neighborhood,” says Sarah Dandashy, concierge at The London West Hollywood. “You even feel cooler after just one visit. If your trip involves a stop in Silver Lake, be prepared to discover the next hip thing.”
By day, take in the avant-garde architecture that overlooks the basins; the surrounding hills are also home to masterpieces like Richard Neutra’s VDL House and John Lautner’s Silvertop. Or do as the locals and rent a bike to explore the diverse boutiques and coffee shops (namely, Intelligentsia). You can also meander through Silver Lake’s quaint farmers market, which takes place every Tuesday and Saturday on Sunset Boulevard.
Once the sun goes down, the neighborhood flourishes as a hub for alternative and indie rock music. Once you’ve danced through the night at live music venues and funky bars, there are plenty of options for a late-night bite, from ethnic restaurants to food trucks.
After spending just one full day in Silver Lake, you’ll see how artisans and innovators get their inspiration in this eclectic and vibrant bubble.
Where to Go and Why
1. “VISTA THEATRE is an old grand movie theater that shows current movies. You feel like you’ve gone back in time when seeing a movie there.” (4473 Sunset Dr.; 323-660-6639; vintagecinemas.com/vista) —Charles Hawkins, concierge at SLS Beverly Hills
2. “Located just under the famed Sunset Junction sign, CAFE STELLA is a stylized French bistro and bar, perfect for any date night. With a beautiful patio, cozy dining rooms and a fun bar area highlighted by exposed brick walls, French-inspired artwork and wicker chairs, this is a great destination to start or end a night out in Silver Lake. The moules frites, ‘côte de boeuf’ and creamy polenta with wild mushroom ragu are favorites on the menu. Craft cocktails round off the experience, expertly made by their skilled bartenders. And they even offer a popular brunch on the weekends where diners can nosh on avocado toast, ‘croque monsieurs’ and eggs Benedict.” (3932 Sunset Blvd.; 323-666-0265; cafestella.com) —Sarah Dandashy, concierge at The London West Hollywood
3. “No trip to Silver Lake is complete without a stop at INTELLIGENTSIA COFFEE. Morning, noon and night, Intelligentsia serves up a brew that pleases the most discerning coffee aficionado. The atmosphere is casual and minimalist in design. The coffee bar sits front and center as you enter the intimate space, with a staff ready to guide you through their espresso specialties. Their distinct tile work makes the interior that much more unique.” (3922 Sunset Blvd.; 323-663-6173; intelligentsiacoffee.com) —Sarah Dandashy, concierge at The London West Hollywood
4. “Set your inner geek free and visit the SECRET HEADQUARTERS in Silver Lake. Just walking in the door, you get the feeling of entering an upscale private club with wood-lined bookshelves and deep comfortable leather chairs. At any moment it seems as if Bruce Wayne will step through a swing-away bookcase on his way to the Batcave. Carrying a huge inventory of comic books, original art, clothing and prints, the Secret Headquarters will leave you in a childlike state of euphoria after your visit.” (3817 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323-666-2228; thesecretheadquarters.com) —James Little, chef concierge at The Peninsula Beverly Hills
5. “TACOS DELTA—the best taco stand in all of LA— is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” (3806 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323-664-2848) —Charles Hawkins, concierge at SLS Beverly Hills
6. “CLIFF’S EDGE … offers a changing menu that focuses on fresh seasonal ingredients with simple preparation techniques that let the flavors shine. Most locals and visitors never make it as far east as Silver Lake, which makes this restaurant a secret gem especially with the amazing patio.” (3626 Sunset Blvd.; 323-666-6116; cliffsedgecafe.com) —James Little, chef concierge at The Peninsula Beverly Hills
7. “ALIMENTO in Silver Lake has received glowing reviews by the media and our hotel guests who want to venture east. The restaurant draws inspiration from Italy’s regional traditions, while using local California produce and ingredients. I love sharing small plates and house-made pasta dishes with friends.” (1710 Silver Lake Blvd.; 323-928-2888; alimentola.com) —Kristina Martindale, chef concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
8. “From the Silver Lake Reservoir, you can capture great views of a couple of houses by one of the most important modern architects, Richard Neutra. The houses are tucked into the Silver Lake Hills. Neutra designs are known for their geometric but airy structures. The VDL HOUSE he built at 2300 Silver Lake Blvd. is open for 30-minute tours led by Cal Poly Pomona architecture students.” (2300 Silver Lake Blvd.; neutra-vdl.org) —Joyce Louie, chef concierge at Montage Beverly Hills
9. “In Silver Lake, you have to check out BAXTER STREET, arguably the steepest street in the city of Los Angeles. … So if you’re looking for a fun walk around Silver Lake, go to Baxter Street.” (Baxter Street, between Allesandro and North Alvarado streets) —Joyce Louie, chef concierge at Montage Beverly Hills