Echo Park: Greatest Neighborhood in Los Angeles, Which Has 87 of Them | The Informer | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
Loading...
Neighborhoods

Echo Park: Greatest Neighborhood in Los Angeles, Which Has 87 of Them

Comments (0)

By

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 7:10 AM

click to enlarge BOSS TWEED CIRCA 2006
  • Boss Tweed Circa 2006

Echo Park is, depending on your point of view: the poor man's Silver Lake, the rich man's Highland Park, the Williamsburg of the West Coast, a 40,455-person working-class burg full of diversity and a wee bit of gang violence. Or, it's that strange little neighborhood you drive through getting to Dodger Stadium.

But, bar none, it is the greatest neighborhood in Los Angeles (sorry Holmby Hills, you were this close).

Any great neighborhood in L.A. must have "location." Verdant, ravine-filled Topanga Canyon might be the cat's pajamas, but it's like a 45-minute drive to see a movie. Echo Park, however, is near practically everything that matters, save for the Pacific Ocean and the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

It's a stone's throw from Chinatown, a short bike ride from downtown L.A., Silver Lake and Los Feliz. It's also surrounded by four, count em, four major freeways:

click to enlarge OSKARLIN
  • oskarlin
The 5, The 2, The 110 and The 101. That makes for a quick jaunt to the Arclight in Hollywood, The Americana in Glendale, (referred to, affectionately, as The Armenia) or even USC.

Echo Park has the highly underrated Elysian Park (technically a separate neighborhood of 2,500 souls), full of great hiking trails, teenagers smoking pot, and cops trying to get back their muscle tone. Los Angeles Police Academy is adjacent to Elysian Park. The cops' diner, next to the firing range, is open to the public, although the food is horrible. On the other hand, the Los Angeles Police Revolver & Athletic Club has a kickass gift/equipment store where you can buy such things as "tactical pants" for $29.95.

click to enlarge Praying for a lotus flower comeback. - LULU HOELLER
  • Lulu Hoeller
  • Praying for a lotus flower comeback.
There's also Echo Park -- the park itself, bounded by Glendale Boulevard and Echo Park, Bellevue and Park avenues -- set to reopen in a couple of months (fingers crossed).

Echo Park the park has a placid man-made reservoir-turned-lake, circa 1860 (the Paleozoic Era, by L.A. standards) that's undergone a massive cleaning and renovation (pray for the return of the lotus flowers and paddle boats) and features a charming bridge leading to a teensy island, ducks, palm trees, a jogging path, and a weird statue of a lady holding up her hands.

On the Fourth of July, the park turns into L.A.'s biggest open-air fireworks market/amateur fireworks display, where 11-year-olds push shopping carts full of roman candles, bottle rockets and M-80s. Then everyone shoots them off over the lake and at each other.

The whole thing looks like downtown Beirut circa 1983.

click to enlarge Fly low, it's July 4th in Echo Park. - HILLEL ARON
  • Hillel Aron
  • Fly low, it's July 4th in Echo Park.
Check out Angelus Temple across from the park, a massive coliseum-esque church built in the early 1920s by celebrity lady evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson.

But perhaps the greatest historic gem in Los Angeles is Echo Park's Victorian-era pocket neighborhood, the tiny hillside community of Angelino Heights.

Angelino Heights was the city's second suburb, built when downtown L.A. was all dirt roads and horse buggies. The first 'burb was Victorian-era Bunker Hill, whose opulent late 1800s mansions were later turned into flophouses with spectacular views, then, finally, skyscrapers.

click to enlarge Plus 5,000 other folks on Halloween. - HILLEL ARON
  • Hillel Aron
  • Plus 5,000 other folks on Halloween.
But not Angelino Heights.

It's chock-full of stunning Victorian mansions lovingly renovated and available for personal tours if you know the right people (OK, it's the L.A. Conservancy). Angelino Heights rivals Hancock Park as the best place to go trick-or-treating on Halloween, attracting several thousand kids and their parents.

For a while now, Echo Park has been right in that sweet spot of half-gentrification. It hasn't been completely taken over by middle-class white people.

Related Content

Related

Now Trending

  • Mother Killed in Front of Grown Kids Over Parking

    A 43-year-old woman was fatally stabbed in front of her grown children following a parking-related dispute, and two suspects now face murder charges, Whitter police said. The victim's teary-eyed son, Daniel Crable, told reporters his mother's throat was slashed and that he tried to give her CPR, not realizing she was...
  • 420 Dating Is Now a Thing

    It appears to us that nearly half the online dating  profiles out there express affinity for long walks on the beach. The other half seem to say, "420 friendly," at least in L.A. Los Angeles marijuana entrepreneur Miguel Lozano noticed that too, and this year he launched cannabis dating site my420mate.com...
  • Controversial Detective Frank Lyga Fired by LAPD Chief, His Lawyer Says

    Controversial cop Frank Lyga was terminated by Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck, the detective's attorney, Ira Salzman, told L.A. Weekly today. Lyga was sent home with pay in June after a recording of comments he made to an ongoing-training course for law enforcement was brought to the media's...
Los Angeles Concert Tickets