SILVER LAKE

Silver Lake was a neighborhood we were instantly drawn to when we moved to Los Angeles, mostly because it reminded us so much of Seattle. There’s a plethora of great coffee shops, diverse and trendy residents, and even a body of water (hey, it’s not Lake Washington, but the Silver Lake Reservoir is still fairly pretty). The neighborhood is less than 3 square miles, but is known as a center for a vibrant music scene, as well as a host of nightclubs, vintage shops, restaurants, and bars.

Walt Disney had one of his first studios in Silver Lake, and you might recognize several notable neighborhood spots every time you open the pages of a celebrity gossip magazine to see where young stars hang out. The constant comparisons to Williamsburg make total sense – and even if you’re adverse to hipsters, Silver Lake is one of the most walkable and bikeable neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The neighborhood has a ton to offer, and is just really, well, cool. Like many of our ‘hoods, we didn’t have a chance to see it all – and we’re looking forward to Round 2 on the other side of the reservoir!

Until then, throw on a pair of Ray Bans, and dive right in….

Stop 1: Naturewell

We were feeling particularly healthy at the start of our day, so decided to stop by Naturewell for a fresh-squeezed juice or organic smoothie. Everyone at the juice bar – employees and customers alike – seemed to be glowing from their healthy lifestyles and the friendly gal at the counter let us sample several smoothies. Everyone was raving about the Coconut Kale Smoothie, but we decided on the Super Acai and Coconut Date. Neither were cheap ($6 and $6.49 for a 12oz), but both were scrumptious and kept us full until lunch. And maybe our skin had a slight glow to it, too!

3824 W Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Stop 2: Silverlake Farmers' Market

This may not be the biggest farmers’ market in Los Angeles, but it’s a wonderful way to spend a few hours on a Saturday morning. It’s located in the pedestrian-zone (no cars allowed!) of the Sunset Triangle Plaza, and is divided into two parts: one side is a flea market with clothing, hats and other goods; the other side houses your typical farmers’ market fare of fruit, vegetables, and other tasty treats. You’ll find African art, old cassettes, vintage necklaces, fresh fish, and crepes all in one market. There’s also a mobile stand of Cafecito Organico, a new artisan coffee house that’s been creating a lot of buzz in town (pun intended).

3700 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Stop 3: Lamill Coffee

The coffee at LAMILL is described as “magical” and as they like to say, the baristas here treat it like a fine wine. This isn’t just a coffee shop though – there’s a full menu in the cafe. The food isn’t nearly as good as the coffee, but the ambiance is lively and the pastries are stupid good. We had the brioche donut holes with raspberry jam (OMG) and the most amazing chocolate chip cookie (baked fresh every morning with two different types of chocolate chips and sea salt). A neighborhood staple.

1636 Silverlake Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Stop 4: Silver Lake Reservoir

We were caffeinated and had just chowed down on a whole-lotta of pastries, so it was time for a walk around the Silver Lake Reservoir. This place is a central point for the neighborhood, with a dog park, basketball court and running trails.  We explored the newly-opened Silver Lake Meadow, a lovely grassy area with benches, a bike rack, and handfuls of people doing yoga, gazing out at the water, and reading. Insider’s tip: we’ve heard that the dog park – with an area for both big and small pups – is one of the best places in Los Angeles to meet good-looking singles!

1854 Silverlake Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Stop 5: Forage

There’s plenty of restaurants like Forage scattered around Los Angeles: long serving counters with an array of salads, soups and sandwiches, served cafeteria-style on plastic trays. But there’s a great community vibe to the restaurant, busy and bustling even at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon. The focus on produce is evident, and we thoroughly enjoyed our barley salad and citrus and beet salad with huckleberry soda. The Roasted Salmon Bowl was surprisingly delightful – the pickled turnips and garlic kale gave it a nice twist. The restaurant serves themed brunches on Sunday afternoons.

3823 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Stop 6: Sunset Junction

Sunset Junction is a historical location in Silver Lake, the point where Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard meet. The alternative outdoor shopping center is comprised of cafes, a music school, a flower shop, as well as courtyards and benches where you can enjoy the LA sunshine and watch passersby. We can never resist The Cheese Store of Silverlake, a little slice of heaven with cheeses galore, as well as baguettes and loaves of bread, wine, olive oil tastings, and speciality jams, honeys and mustards. There’s a sandwich menu with 4 to 5 different sandwiches (like salami rosa with gouda on Muffuletta bread).

3926-28 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Stop 7: Shopping on Sunset Blvd.

Le Pink and Co: a girl’s dream. Our favorite items include macaron candles, vegan coconut bath soak, and witch hazel soap.

Ragg Mopp Vintage: all that’s good about vintage shops. Furs, hats, and dresses separated by decade (great for costume parties!)

The Secret Headquarters: clean and clutter-free, this comic book store specializes in graphic novels, trade paperbacks and limited-edition prints.

Vacation: it’s hard to find vinyl record shops around town these days. Vacation isn’t as big as Amoeba, but there’s a great variety and the staff is knowledgeable.

ReForm School: truly the cutest. Shop with a school-house theme, with handmade wares and unique items, like David Bowie coffee table books, vintage sunglasses, seed bombs to attract native California wildlife, and even your own backyard tipi.

Stop 8: Music Box Steps

The Music Box Steps were featured in the 1932 film “The Music Box” – a Laurel and Hardy short that won the first Academy Award for Live Action Short Film. The film focuses on the pair attempting to carry a piano up the flight of stairs, and have appeared in several other commercials and films. The stairs are short, but steep, and part of several secret and historic staircases in the neighborhood.

923-935 Vendome Street, Los Angeles.

Stop 9: Thirsty Crow

Love whiskey? This saloon-style bar with heavy velvet curtains and dim lighting is a whiskey aficionado’s dream. Happy hour is 5-8pm on weeknights and 2-8pm on the weekends. We sipped on a perfectly-made Dark n Stormy and Moscow Mule, both $5. Their signature drink looked pretty darn delicious too, with rye whiskey, maraschino, lemon, ginger beer, and “magic.”

2939 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Stop 10: L & E Oyster Bar

Have we mentioned how much we love fresh oysters? Years in Seattle spoiled us rotten, but L & E Oyster Bar put a pretty big smile on our faces. This neighborhood joint proudly asserts itself as an Eastside establishment, and the intimate setting, with both a candle-lit upstairs and downstairs, is charming. The complimentary hush puppies were a great start, and we followed it up with 1/2 dozen oysters, smoked mussels on chorizo toast, and a fried oyster po’boy. Seattle what?

1637 Silverlake Boulevard, Los Angeles.

The Details:

We walked most of our day, but if you’re a little shorter on time, you can rent bikes here.

A map of our day looks something like this:

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