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Berendo Stairs to Griffith Observatory in Los Feliz

Looking for some adventure in Los Feliz? Try finding all of the hidden staircases in Los Angeles, starting with the Berendo Stairs that lead to the Griffith Observatory. Spending a day on a walk looking for a hidden staircase is a great opportunity to get some exercise and mix up your daily routine.

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Photo Credit: http://eat-n-explore.blogspot.com/2010/07/berendo-stairs-to-griffith-park.html

Los Feliz is a neighborhood in Los Angeles that covers approximately two and half square miles. It is bordered by the Santa Monica Mountains and Hollywood. It was originally Rancho Los Feliz, and it eventually became the birthplace of Mickey Mouse when Walt Disney drew the famous character in his uncle’s garage. Los Feliz is also the home to Disney’s first animation studio and many celebrities who live there. You can view two of Frank Lloyd Wright’s original designs in Los Feliz: the Ennis House and the Hollyhock House.

The entrance to the Berendo Stairs (created in 1924) is located at Berendo Street and Cromwell Avenue. The stairs are recognized by the city as having historical status. There is a resting stop at the midpoint of the stairs (there are 181 steps in total) where there are two benches to sit on. This is a beautiful and romantic spot in the summer, covered by bougainvillea flowers.

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Photo Credit: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/content/stairs-top

To get to the Griffith Observatory, make your way up the Berendo Stairs, go up a second set of stairs, and eventually you’ll come across a dirt path that will take you to the observatory. From the Griffith Observatory, you’ll be able to see the Hollywood Sign and Downtown L.A. Eat-n-Explore has some detailed directions here.

The Griffith Observatory, which opened in 1935 and was renovated in 2002, is named after Colonel Griffith J. Griffith. It covers about 3,000 acres of land and features an art deco interior and educational displays on astronomy. Admission to the observatory is free. You can also view the Ennis House from here, which was built in 1924 and was featured in the film Blade Runner.

If you haven’t done so already, spend some visiting Griffith Park. It covers about 4,000 acres, and it has a lot to offer for those with different activities and interests in mind. People go to the park to play tennis, hike the trails, use the equestrian trails, have picnics, ride the train, and go golfing. You can also see the Hollywood Sign from the park, visit the Los Angeles Zoo, and see the Autry National Center. The park is open between 5:00 pm and 10:30 pm.

Here are some other “secret” staircases to put on your list as you explore L.A.:

-Music Box Steps

-Baxter Stairways

-Santa Monica Stairs

-Beachwood Canyon Stairs (This one is 800 steps!)

Have fun exploring the stairs in Los Angeles!

Are you interested in learning more about neighborhoods in Los Angeles and what they have to offer? At Real Estate Unlimited, it is our goal to share our expertise on the historic neighborhoods in Los Angeles, including the diverse landmarks, and the surrounding businesses, shopping, and dining to take advantage of. Call us today for a consultation!

Silver Lake Reservoir – The Heart of Silver Lake

With its famously Meditteranean climate, Los Angeles offers residents long stretches of beautiful weather – and no shortage of green spaces for basking in the sunshine! In this post, we’ll look at a famous park area that serves as the focal point of the scenic Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Silver Lake Resevoir

Photo Credit: La.curbed.com

Click here to read all about Elysian Park, the first public park established in Los Angeles.  

Silver Lake is named for the Silver Lake Reservoir complex, a pair of manmade miniature lakes that sit in the center of the community. Surrounded by a wide jogging path and several park areas, the Silver Lake Reservoir is one of the most popular parks in Los Angeles.

The Silver Lake Reservoir is made up of two basins – the much smaller Ivanhoe Reservoir, named for the hero of Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 novel, and the expansive Silver Lake Reservoir. The two ponds are linked by a bike and jogging path that stretches for 2.2 miles around the reservoir. In 2011, the City of Los Angeles opened up the “Silver Lake Meadow,” a three-acre public park on the east side of the reservoir. This new field is modeled after the “Sheep Meadow” in New York City’s Central Park.

The Silver Lake Reservoir area covers a total of 97 acres of open water, with an additional 31 acres of public green space. The reservoir complex is also an important wildlife preserve, since it provides a seasonal nesting area for majestic great blue herons who migrate back to Southern California every Spring. The Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy, a group of community volunteers, plants trees and picks up litter at the park to ensure that the area can be enjoyed by everyone.

The dual role these local landmarks play as public recreational areas and parts of the public water system means that they exist in a complex network of public policy. Last summer, the Silver Lake side of the reservoir was temporarily drained and removed from service as a public water source. The city is currently constructing the Headworks

Reservoir, a new, underground drinking-water reservoir near Griffith Park.

Silver Lake Resevoir 2

Photo Credit: Bybio.wordpress.com

Silver Lake will be refilled soon, and inducted into service as a recreation-only reservoir for Los Angeles residents to enjoy. The city is also considering using part of the Silver Lake site to create  shallower wetlands area that could become a wildlife habitat for native Los Angeles species like the Great Blue Heron, and using “hydroseeding” to create a more natural planted look around the water’s edge. City officials are concerned with sustainability and environmental impact, and urban planners hope to create a nature preserve that will replenish local wildlife populations without strainining Southern California’s dry climate.

Other creative proposals – for a beach area, an esplanade, a music venue – are still under consideration. One local group, Silver Lake Forward, is hoping that the area will be turned into a 96-area public park with a wildlife research center, shaded eucalyptus groves, and a refurbished dog park for the pet owners in the neighborhood.

Click here to read about famous midcentury homes in Silverlake!

Whatever the eventual fate of the Silver Lake basin side of the reservoir, Silver Lake has a long tradition of providing space for outdoor relaxation to the area. Even in its drier state, the reservoir still provides a lovely open community space for jogging, walking, cloudgazing, and picnicking. The gentle grade of the pedestrian path makes it perfect for parents with strollers and novice runners – more advanced athletes can explore the hills and steps nearby. As one of the largest bodies of water in the area, the Silver Lake reservoirs are a popular rest stop for ducks, coots, and Canada geese.  Birdwatchers can also see hummingbirds, red-tailed hawks, and starlings.

The Silver Lake reservoir sits at the center of the Silver Lake neighborhood, providing residents with the perfect retreat for outdoor pastimes.  If you’re in the area, consider stopping by to take a look at this urban oasis!

Are you interested in learning more about Silver Lake Reservoir and the other amenities that make the Silver Lake neighborhood such a pleasant place to call home? At Real Estate Unlimited, we take pride in matching our clients to the perfect home – and the ideal neighborhood! Call us for a consultation today! 

Sunset Junction in Silver Lake

Los Angeles has no shortage of poetic place names – and Silver Lake’s Sunset Junction is one example. Sunset Junction sits at the street junction of Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard, both of which run from Sunset Junction down to the Pacific Ocean.

Sunset Junction

Photo Credit: Takesunset.com

Sunset Junction was once known as Hollywood Junction. In 1895, the Pasadena and Pacific Railway Company built an interurban rail line from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica, whose route ran along Sunset Boulevard to Sanborn Avenue, where it swerved west along the current alignment of Santa Monica Boulevard.

In 1905, the Los Angeles and Pacific Railway, successor to the Pasadena and Pacific, built a new branch northwest along Sunset Boulevard from Sanborn Avenue as a shortcut to its already-built train line on Hollywood Boulevard, creating the junction that can still be clearly seen in the existing street layout. Rail service ceased on both lines in the nineteen fifties, but the graceful bend of the intersection still gives Sunset Junction a hint of early 20th-century elegance.

Click here to read about famous midcentury homes in Silverlake!

Sunset Junction was also the site of the Black Cat Tavern, a historic gay and lesbian bar that was the site of one of the first protests by gay and lesbian activists, predating the 1969 Stonewall protest for two years. A Different Light Bookstore, a gay and lesbian bookstore and community space that eventually became a national chain with branches in New York City and San Francisco, was founded at 4014 Santa Monica Boulevard in 1979. The store functioned as a salon for the community, hosting readings by luminaries like memoirist Christopher Isherwood, beat poet Allen Ginsberg, surrealist novelist William S. Burroughs, and activist Larry Kramer.

From 1980 to 2011, Sunset Junction also hosted the Sunset Junction Street Fair, a bustling festival that closed off a large portion of Sunset Boulevard so that the gathered crowd could enjoy live music, food, street vendors, and carnival rides. Musical performers at the Sunset Junction Street Fair included Beck, Sleater-Kinney, the Supremes, and Chaka Khan.

Although the Sunset Junction Street Fair has shut down, revitalization is currently underway in Sunset Junction, with design firm All That Is Solid planning to create a giant iron saddle sculpture to serve as the center of a newly envisioned landscaped plaza at the intersection. Although the new sculpture was stalled for a few years, it is hoped like the public installation, named “BLOOMRS,” will be going up soon. Right now, Sunset Junction’s signal landmark is a large royal-blue signpost that towers above the intersection.

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Photo Credit: Angelenoliving.com

Due to recent urban renewal, as well as spiking interest in the Silver Lake neighborhood, Sunset Junction is currently attracting attention for its eclectic mix of hip coffee shops, casual-dining restaurants and vintage boutiques. The focal point of this micro-district is a rambling, rust-colored stucco building from the 1920s, host to a growing cohort of community businesses. Intelligentsia Coffee, a Chicago transplant known for the intensity of its dark-roast drip coffee and the graceful arabesques traced into the foam atop its cappuccinos, is a favorite for locals in search of a steamy caffeine fix.

Café Stella, a bustling French bistro, serves up golden-brown pommes frites, peppery coq au vin and succulent mussels. The Cheese Store of Silverlake, easily the best charcuterie and fromagerie in the city, is a standout delicatessen in the best Parisian style.  The Town and Café Bakery serves a menu of fresh rolls and pastries along with more substantial brunch fare like salmon cakes and omelettes. Pazzo Gelato serves up soft Italian ice cream, including crunchy pistachio and crimson raspberry sorbetto and more contemporary flavors like thai tea and salted caramel.

Click here to read about more dining options in nearby Echo Park.  

Fashionistas and trendsetters will find plenty of tantalizing clothing and accessories at Sunset Junction. Upcycle headquarters Dean converts leather motorcycle jackets and members only windbreakers into stylish handbags and watchbands. Matrushka Construction combines clothing boutique with open studio, as owner-designer Laura Howe constructs elegant one-of-a-kind clothing onsite.  After dark, clubgoers line up outside the 4100 Bar, where you can sample cocktails in a luxurious, warmly-lit interior modeled after a Moroccan souk.

Los Angeles is legendary for its culture of constant reinvention, and Sunset Junction’s emerging market and nightlife scene is a sterling example. If you’re visiting Silver Lake, why not stop by the intersection of Sunset and Santa Monica to sample a coffee, try on a one-of-a-kind jacket, or take in the sunshine and local color?

At Real Estate Unlimited, we combine real-estate expertise with first-hand local knowledge, ensuring that every client is steered towards the perfect home in the perfect area. Silver Lake is just one of the historic Los Angeles neighborhoods where we show properties – call us for current property listings today!