Author: Emmanuel

Top Outdoor Activities In Echo Park

Echo Park is a great place to live and play no matter what the season is, but the warmer months offer ample opportunity to partake in some outdoor activities. The neighborhood is centrally located, making it the perfect starting point for a myriad of activities and events. Here’s a few things you can do if you’re in the area:

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Echo Park Lake

You can’t have a conversation about outdoor activities in Echo Park without talking about Echo Park Lake. This historic park underwent a massive makeover and has remained a go-to ever since. The lotus flower blooms make way for the Lotus Festival (mentioned later) and downtown views make for the perfect backdrop to a sunny afternoon. Though you’ll have to keep an eye out for events, there’s plenty to do here on a day-to-day basis. Start your day by heading over to the revived boathouse for breakfast at Square One. Then have a picnic, go fishing, take a stroll through its pathways, or rent a pedal boat and coast along still waters.

Lunch Concerts In Grand Park

If you live in Echo Park but commute downtown for work, why not spend your lunch hours listening to music at Grand Park? The performance lawn will have free music and plenty of food trucks to satiate your hunger. Head over to check out the local talent every other Thursday throughout the year.

Get A Workout On Echo Park Stairs

Echo Park is renowned for its many staircases, some hidden and winding, while others offer phenomenal views of the Los Angeles landscape. Whatever your style, there’s a staircase for you. It makes for the perfect workout and helps build appreciation for the neighborhood. For a challenging workout, the Baxter staircase is your best bet. The 231 steps offer downtown LA views at the top, and you’ll even find a wealth of succulents at the bottom of the steps near Elysian Park. Alternatively, the Delta staircase offers some great views of the northern side of Echo Park and is adorned with natural floral displays growing along the stairwell.

Go To A Dodger’s Game

Head to the Dodger’s stadium and root for your home team. Tickets start at just $12, and it’s a perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon. Go for an infamous Dodger Dog, or head to one of Echo Park’s highly-rated restaurants nearby.

Beach Yoga

There’s little doubt that beach yoga is worth traveling for. Head over to the beach for SUNSET Beach Yoga with Brad. The class is held by Brad Keimach, a Juilliard-trained conductor who’s also a yoga enthusiast and health lecturer. Classes are held on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and while no registration is required, there is a minimum donation of $15 for each 90-minute session. The Santa Monica Business Group voted the class “Best Yoga Business in Santa Monica” for the past three years.

Lotus Festival

Every year, the City of Los Angeles hosts the The Lotus Festival, an Echo Park Lake event that occurs during the lotus flower summer bloom. Each year, the festival is hosted by a different country. Last year, the host was Bangladesh, while this year, its 38th installment will be hosted by China. Expect traditional dancing, food, and other attractions inspired by the Chinese culture. This year, the event will be held July 14th and 15. There will be dragon boat races, free family-friendly entertainment, a silent auction, and much more. Visit the Lotus site for more information.

2018 LA Beer Fest

Starting at just $45, you’ll have access to unlimited beer tastings at the 2018 LA Beer Fest, held at LA Center Studios Studios over the course of two three-hour sessions (one session per ticket). Last year’s event was completely sold out, and this marks its 10th annual event. Expect dozens of domestic and international beers, food trucks, and live music. Proceeds from this event will go towards Noah’s B-ark, Inc, a non-profit organization whose aim is to rescue dogs from shelters and place them in permanent homes.

Best Spots to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Echo Park

Valentine’s Day is a day of love and laughter, and there’s plenty to go around. With a romantic lake at your doorstep, Echo Park is the perfect backdrop for a romantic Valentine’s Day date.

Every year, there are some amazing, eclectic experiences to be had in Echo Park and the surrounding area.

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If you’re looking for date ideas for the perfect February 14th, look no further. We’ve summed up the perfect events and dinner spots to help you and your loved one have an ideal Cupid’s date.

Start With Drinks

Right before you head over to your evening dinner plans, consider stopping at Bar Bandini. It’s dark, sultry, relaxed, and makes for the perfect introduction to a nice glass of wine. The grapes are processed organically with little intervention, and made using native yeast. There are some small fare plates and wine friendly appetizers to hold you over until dinner. A highly knowledgeable staff that will help you choose the perfect taste if you’re overwhelmed by the large list of wine choices. .

Alternatively, El Prado is an Echo Park wine bar that’s fairly mellow during the week. This is a no-gimmick spot with plenty of wine and beer offerings and appetizing bar bites (think: pita and hummus). It has a cozy bohemian feel, impressive vinyl collection, and outdoor patio.

If beer is more your style, there’s no better place than the Sunset Beer Company. There are 500 varieties of beers here, and several selections of wines. There’s everything from California microbrews to rare Belgian ales. The atmosphere is cozy and comfortable for couples who want a relaxing start to the rest of their evening.

Lastly, at restaurant Mohawk Bend (considered a “beer wonderland” by LA Weekly) there’s no shortage of options. California craft beers are paired with American fare at this highly-rated, brick-walled eatery. Almost the entire menu is vegan, but you wouldn’t recognize it from its offerings: expect vegan-friendly pastas, pizzas, and salads.

Take A Cooking Class

Take your date to a cooking class, where you can both learn something new and feast on your own cuisine. There are plenty of amazing cooking classes in Echo Park and the greater Los Angeles area. For example, the Donable cooking class teaches guests how to make traditional Japanese fare while in a small, intimate setting. At the end of the class, you can purchase any of the Donabe ingredients and products to take home with you and try your hand at home.

Over at Eataly’s La Scuola, you can learn to master Italian dishes with renowned Chef Lidia Bastianich, where handmade pastas are the specialty. La Scuola also offers experimental walking tours and paired wine dinners.

For dessert, why not try decorating a cake together? Duff’s Cakemix is hosting a Valentine’s Day cake decorating class where couples can learn the art of professional dessert decorating while having fun. You’ll be able to pipe, airbrush, roll, and execute other techniques alongside pastry chefs. There will be snacks and drinks available, as well as raffles to win some of the bakery’s delicious baked goods. The price is just $60 per couple.

Take A Dance Class

If you enjoy a unique cultural experience and dancing, why not swing to the beat with your partner at a dance class in a train station? That’s exactly what will be happening this Valentine’s day at Union Station. Afro-Cuban dancer Chris Kizomba will be teaching visitors how to dance in the style of kizomba. Expect this to be a high-energy event, followed by a full-on dance party with live music from Ricardo Lemvo y Makina Loca.

Go See A Movie

There’s nothing like cozying up to a romantic film. This year, there will be a Cinespia screening of Roman Holiday (Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck). Tickets for this event are just $33 for General Admission and come with complimentary sparkling wine from Freixenet Cava.

If that’s not your style, head over to the El Capitan Theatre to catch an animated viewing of the classic tale, The Lady and the Tramp. This film will be showing between Feb. 9th – 14th. Before each screening, there will be a live accordion performance by Ed Vodika. If you don’t get a chance to see it, keep El Capitan in mind for next year — they usually show Valentine’s themed movies during this time of the year.

Make It An Experience

Lucha Vavoom is great for couples who want to combine fun and adventurous with your classic V-day date night. Here, you’ll find fun masked Mexican wrestling matches with and knee-slapping comedy, and it’s sure to deliver a great time. The entire event will be Valentine’s Day themed, and there will be plenty of V-day gifts and surprises.

And if you love high-tech and gear, there’s no better (or more unique) way to spend your Valentine’s Day than the Virtual Room. The Virtual Room is where you and your partner work together to solve a mystery via a full-fledged virtual reality experience. The agency’s current “adventure” scheme is as follows:

“The year is 2217.These are dangerous times. Your mission… Choose your Omega team (two to four people) from your most loyal companions and set off through the corridors of time to find the Alpha team and repair the damage caused by the temporal rift – and save the future of the world!”

Each member of your team will have a dedicated room that’s equipped with the latest virtual reality gear. As you maneuver the game, you’ll be able to be to move around the room and collaborate with your other team members virtually.

Classic Dinner Dates

You can’t go wrong with your classic dinner date, and Echo Park has some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles. Among them are Ostrich Farm, Elf Cafe, and Winsome. At Ostrich Farm, the food is made fresh daily and brunch is especially popular. Recommended dishes include the varied and delicious cheese plate, Pork “ossobuco”, and spicy chickpeas.

The Elf Cafe serves Mediterranean food and the menu boasts an all-natural wine list. Many good things have been said about its cuisine and interior. LA Eater considers it one of the most underrated restaurants in Los Angeles, while LA Weekly stated, “Every dinner here feels like a special occasion.” Try the Moroccan vegetable tagine, California risotto, and buffalo oyster mushrooms.

Lastly, Winsome offers a little bit of everything with classic American food with a twist, served in a laidback, lush California setting. Some of its more popular menu items include the Lamb ribs, bone-in pork chop, and potato rosti with eggs.

Free Things To Do In Echo Park

Whether you’re an Echo Park resident or a visitor, it’s good to have a solid arsenal of free things to do when your budget is tight. Fortunately, Echo Park has quite a bit up its sleeve. In addition to the items listed here, take note of the surrounding establishments and check out their websites. You never know what events a local music store or restaurant (near your home or hotel) has to offer, and many Echo Park businesses transform their spaces during the evenings. With that in mind, here’s our selection of free things to do in Echo Park:

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Echo Park Lake

The historic Echo Park lake underwent a two-year renovation before it once again became the ultimate family-friendly destination. Walking along the path or enjoying a picnic on the grass costs nothing. Echo Park Lake is the perfect meeting place for a leisurely stroll, some fishing, or relaxation.

Head over from April to August, and you’ll see dozens of lotus pads, frogs, and turtles. With beautiful views, spraying fountains, free WiFi, and well-maintained grounds, this is the ideal place to take a breather. Additionally, many events are hosted here (including Machine Project events, mentioned later in this article). Check out the park website to learn more about current events in advance.

Go On A Gallery Crawl

Echo Park is a diverse neighborhood with art as an integral part of its foundation. In fact, from the minute you get to Echo Park, you’re greeted by a giant wall mural on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Echo Park. With that being said, there are plenty of art galleries to suit your desire. Go on a gallery crawl to get a curated look into the multicultural minds of local artists and designers.

Subliminal Projects and iam8bit are two Echo Park galleries worth checking out. Subliminal Projects is owned and operated by Shepard Fairey, the artist and founder of popular clothing line OBEY, as well as the creative mind behind Obama’s renowned “HOPE” campaign photo. The gallery displays work from local artists, including street art. Iam8bit, on the other hand, hosts pop culture-inspired installations and their receptions are grand affairs with free drinks.

Attend A Literary Event

For book enthusiasts, attending a literary event (for free) is the perfect activity. The Stories Books & Cafe is an Echo Park staple with an outdoor patio and rows of new and used books. Fortunately, many Echo Park bookstores, including Stories, hosts literary events at no cost for attendees. In addition to literary events, the book shop also hosts comedy shows and movie nights for free, with drinks and food available for purchase. In fact, if you bring in your old books, you may even make money from your visit. Use it to buy a nice cup of fair trade coffee from the cafe.

Visit Angelino Heights

Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or simply appreciate a good home, there’s nothing like a stroll through Angelino Heights — especially on a nice day. The neighborhood, particularly Carroll Avenue (in 1976, the street was added to the National Register of Historic Places), is lined with historic Victorian homes.

Nearly all of these grandiose homes have been remodeled, and they make up Los Angeles’ first ever suburban neighborhood. Several of these homes are a part of the Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments.

If you’ve never been here before, but feel like you have, there’s probably a reason for that. This area also served as a backdrop for Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the Charmed television series, and the Fast and the Furious films. While you can take a walk through the area on your own, there’s a walking tour available for a small fee.

Get A Workout – AND A View

There are 33 different stairways in Echo Park (some that were built before the commercialization of vehicles), each set winding its way through various neighborhoods and points of interest. But none offers a better view or more thorough exercise than the Baxter Street Stairs. With 231 steps and 180-foot vertical incline, you’re greeted with a phenomenal panorama of Echo Park’s northern hills, Downtown LA, the Hollywood sign, and the Griffith Park observatory.

Chavez Ravine Arboretum

Nature lover’s will rejoice at all the green here at Southern California’s first and first and oldest arboretum. The Chavez Ravine Arboretum in Elysian Park is home to more than 100 different varieties of trees from around the world. From the late 1800s to the early 1940s, horticulturists everywhere donated species to this space. A few of the trees here are the oldest or largest of their kind in the entire country. In addition to free admission (it’s a part of the park) and a variety of trees, you’ll also see a variety of birds, ranging from woodpeckers to ravens and hummingbirds.

Attend An Event Hosted By Machine Project

According to their website, “Machine Project is a place for artists to do fun experiments, together with the public, in ways that influence culture.” It achieves this through a series of events, installations, and workshops. Many of Machine Project’s events are free to attend, with suggested donations advertised. Check out their website for current event listings, or browse previous events to get a feel for what Machine Project does.

Hot Spots Near Dodger Stadium

Whether you’re a die-hard Dodgers fan or just enjoying the baseball game experience, more often than not you want a balanced meal or itinerary of activities on game day. Chances are, you don’t live across the street from the Dodger Stadium, like many of the locations listed here. And furthermore, several hours of hot dogs and overpriced, average beers can be overkill for the most seasoned baseball fans. We’ve put together a list of eight hot spots near the Dodger Stadium to give you a range of game day options to choose from:

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Button Mash

If you’re going to the Dodgers game as a family, Button Mash is the place to go before or after the game––maybe even twice in one day. With a full arsenal of amazing arcade games and an equally appealing Pan-Asian menu, there’s something for everyone at this restaurant. According to Los Angeles food critic Jonathan Gold, the small wine lines is “shockingly good” and the food is “light years ahead” of other food-serving arcades in the country.

Sunset Beer Company

After the game (or before), head over to Sunset Beers for a drink. The tasting bar has 12 rotating taps and 800 types of bottled beers. The bar also frequently hosts Dodgers specials during game days, where there are steep deals on beers and specialty drinks.

The walls are decked in beer decor and there are even plenty of board games to keep your crowd busy until it’s time to go. According to Yelp reviews, this is the perfect pregame spot, and while no food is served, the bar does permit patrons to bring food of their own.

Ostrich Farm

This beautiful sit-down eatery has been touted as one of the best in Los Angeles by publications  like the Infatuation and the Los Angeles Times. It’s a little fancier than your casual pre or post-game stop, but not in a pretentious way. The staff is welcoming, the food delicious and well-thought, and the plates and interior just as beautiful as the cuisine is tasty. The kitchen––which is too small to hold an exuberant amount of food––keeps only enough product stocked for the day, ensuring you get the freshest food possible.

Subliminal Projects

If you’re creatively minded, consider visiting Subliminal Projects, a local art gallery that features contemporary and street art. Artist Shephard Fairey is the owner of the gallery (where many of his own works are features) and is the founder of the popular OBEY clothing line (the space also doubles as OBEY headquarters).

The gallery is spacious, and different exhibitions mean there’s a little something for everyone among the gallery’s revolving themes. The space also hosts lecture series and workshops. If you’ve got tickets to a game, try and coordinate attendance to an event, or just to check out the exhibition space.

Sage Vegan Bistro & Brewery

The Sage Vegan Bistro is a vegan, farm-to-table restaurant with a solid reputation. Locally sustained and produced food is the passion behind the menu, ensuring you get something healthy in your stomach before a long day of eating baseball stadium goodies.

Last year, the vegan restaurant was complemented with an all-vegan brewery, too. A reformed cement taproom gives the space an industrial feel, but it’s the drinks that keep the guests coming. Currently, the brewery is stocked with over 40 taps.

Guisados

Angelenos love their tacos, and Guisados is one of the best Mexican eateries in not just Echo Park, but the entire city of Los Angeles. Tortillas are handmade and the menu is both equally simple and powerful. There are over a dozen types of tacos, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal than the $2.95 tacos or the $8 sampler of six mini tacos. This place is an Echo Park staple, and you’ll quickly discover why.

Tierra Mia Coffee

Sometimes, all you need prior to the game is a nice cup of coffee and a simple breakfast sandwich. And Tierra Mia Coffee certainly delivers. This spot serves Latin-inspired coffee drinks made with house-roasted beans, and an assortment of hot pastries worth trying. Try the horchata latte or the cubano con leche.

Winsome

This high-rated restaurant has great Downtown views and is just around the corner from the Dodgers stadium. The interior embodies the carefree California lifestyle and the food, like other restaurants on this list, comes highly rated by Los Angeles food critics and locals alike. Lush greenery and comfortable banquettes make for the perfect atmosphere for dining. Winsome also serves great cocktails and wines. Try the whole roasted branzino, pork short ribs, or the Buckwheat and semolina pancake.

Best Shops In Echo Park

Echo Park is a growing community in Los Angeles, and every year, adds something new to the roster for locals and visitors to love. Whether you’re an Echo Park transplant or someone considering moving to Echo Park, it’s nice to know there are some great places in store for you. And as far as shopping goes, there’s no shortage of options available. Here are some of the best shops in Echo Park:

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Time Travel Mart

The Echo Park Time Travel Mart––no matter how many times you visited––never seems to go out of style. Each product is reminiscent of a time period: go back in time with a nice can of Mammoth Chunks, or head to the future and purchase a glass bottle of Robot Milk. And if you get sick from all the time warps, don’t fret: there’s always the Time Travel Sickness Pills to keep your system in check.

When you purchase any item from this store, 100% of the proceeds go towards teaching children creative writing, where classes are held in the back of the store. That’s not the only cool thing about Travel Mart, either. If your perusal through the shop inspires you with an awesome product idea, you can talk to the staff, who will assist with design to help get your product on shelves. Furthermore, many of the products were created by students themselves.

Shout and About

Shout & About is a gift lover’s fantasy, filled to the pretty with beautiful stationary and curated design goods. From throw pillows to photo frames to greeting cards to notebooks, there’s a little something for everyone. But where the shop really shines is its extensive greeting card collection. Forget about the cheesy, one in a million cards you can find at your local convenience store. These cards are all about delivering a unique experience to the people you love.

Spacedust

Spacedust boasts an impressive collection of novelty items and specialty clothes. The boutique proudly showcases artwork and fashion from local artists, making it an ideal destination for visitors and locals alike who want a piece of Echo Park to take home.

Situated on Sunset Boulevard, everything here is original and handmade. According to its website, “As long as it’s locally-made, independently-made, or handmade, it doesn’t matter – all subcultures are represented, and all folks are welcome.” From a line of prayer parody candles to a large assortment of pop culture-inspired patches and stickers, Spacedust is worth a visit if nothing else.

 Kaleidoscope Kollective

A “kaleidoscope” of vintage and handmade items fill the racks at this kitschy spot. People from all over the world come to Kaleidoscope Kollective to purchase handmade goods. Founded by five diverse women, tts mission statement is a testament to its offerings: “We are a collective of creative women who transform various materials into works of beauty.” There’s a perfect mix of past and present fashion trends, and with such a wide array of artisan crafts, nearly everything here constitutes as the perfect gift.

The Ampal Creative

The Ampal Creative Shop is a menswear store chock full of creative snapbacks. Here, well-crafted hats are the centerpiece of the store. Each hat tells a story of its own, with unique prints, versatile fabrics, handmade logos, and diverse shapes and styles. This headwear company aims to defy odds by creating a perfect hat for everywhere; each with the perfect style, fit, and fabric. Each hat is premium, and made custom with the utmost care and attention to detail.

Hot Cactus

What’s a home without a plant? Greenery is all the rage in interior design, and not just for its aesthetic: plants and nature are proven to boost productivity, creativity, and happiness. And in today’s design world, succulents, air plants, and various other trendy green species are finding in a place in every Los Angeles home.

Hot Cactus is a hip cactus emporium that focuses on a variety of types of cactus. From budget-priced basics to rare breeds ranging in the thousands, it’s definitely worth a visit. And you’d be surprised to know just how many species of cacti there are. The currently sold-out Pachypodium horombense rings in at $275, while Haageocereus tenuis costs a whopping $250,000 (it’ll be extinct by 2024). At Hot Cactus, you can also purchase tools and supplies, clothing and music, and pots and stands.

Luxe de Ville

There’s simply no better place to go for vintage than Echo Park’s Luxe de Ville. The boutique offers “unique one of a kind vintage garments.” From Middle Eastern threads to 60s skirts and accessories, every piece of clothing here feels like it’s the only one in existence. The store also displays local, handmade jewelry.

The majority of items––even vintage designer finds––are modestly priced. No matter what your style is, you’re bound to find something you like. The owner, Oskar, is very knowledgeable in fashion, and happy to help navigate the stories many racks and shelves in search of something that fits your personality.

 The Dog Show USA

Quirky and full of spirit, the Dog Show USA is filled to the brim with merchandise––and that’s exactly what makes it so unique. Doused in pink, the shop exudes girl power. Everything about this place––profile here in Paper Magazine––is eccentric and eclectic. You’ll notice this as soon as you walk by the oversized unicorn that greets you at the entrance, or hear the pink telephone meow instead of ring. Hair accessories are organized on a giant wall of hair, and items include fun leather tights, multicolored and themed, onesies, wire jewelry, and 90s-inspired graphic design shirts.

Best Family Spots in Echo Park

As Echo Park real estate continues to break price tag records and more people migrate to the area, you might be wondering what family-friendly activities you can partake in. Echo Park is popular spot for young adults, with some of the best restaurants and venues in Los Angeles, but what about your little ones? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are six of the best family spots in Echo Park.

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See A Show At The Bob Baker Marionette Theatre

There’s a reason why the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre has so many stellar reviews on Yelp; it’s the perfect show for families and provides some of the most unique entertainment in East LA. The description for the company’s upcoming show, “Something To Crow About,” perfectly sums up the entire experience: “The most enchanting place on Earth… A place that exists in every child’s imagination, and is a warm glow in the secret heart of the adult.”

Originally started in 1963, it’s the oldest children’s theatre in Los Angeles and was designated as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. Every year, the performance utilizes over 2000 handcrafted puppets for a show-stopping puppetry performance. During the holidays, the company also runs festive-themed productions like Bob Baker’s “Nutcracker” and “Holiday On Strings.” Admission to the space is free for children under two.

Echo Park Lake

Echo Park Lake has stunning views of downtown Los Angeles and serves as the epicenter of the community. Whether you’re walking along the park’s paths, having a family picnic, or pedaling across the lake on a pedal boat, there’s plenty to do here. Other activities you can indulge in include fishing, guided canoe and gondola tours, and a visit to the boat house.

See A Dodgers Game

What’s a more classic family outing than a good ol’ fashioned baseball game? Fortunately, the Los Angeles’ Dodgers Stadium is right in Echo Park, so families don’t have to go too far. Sit back and relax in the sun with a hotdog or bag of peanuts. Maybe one of your kids will even catch a ball. Before you go, check out these tips for taking your kids to a baseball game.

Visit Button Mash

Right around the corner from the Dodgers Stadium is Button Mash––an ideal family outing for your average weekend, with better than average arcade games and cuisine. With an impressive lineup of old school video games, this food-fun hybrid is ringing with energy. Classics like “Food Fight” and “Ms. Pac Man” keep the little ones entertained, and a diverse food menu ensures that everyone has their fair share of good food and leaves with a full stomach.

Buy Something at the Echo Park Time Travel Mart

For a quick trip back (or forward) in time, take the family to visit the Echo Park Time Travel Mart. Here, you can purchase magazines like “Self Defense For Time Travelers” and groceries like “Robot Milk,” “Mammoth Chunks” and “Fresh Dinosaur Eggs.” Of course, the entire thing is a gimmick, but it’s all a part of the adventure. The store was created by creative company 826, who also have other unique retail locations in Brooklyn and San Francisco.

The store also doubles as a non-profit; in the back, students are taught creative and expository writing, and all proceeds go towards funding lessons. If you’re interested in what they’re up to, you can purchase student publications in the freezer.

Cool Off at Icy Rush

Icy Rush Co creates Latin-inspired ice cream flavors from scratch. This artisan creamery originally started by catering to children’s parties, and still does––only now, they’ve expanded to provide a nostalgic ice cream experience for families everywhere. Flavors include Horchata, coffee cake, coconut flake, smores, and Mexican chocolate. The ice-cream boutique uses only organic ingredients, and also has vegan and dairy-free ice cream options. On Wednesdays, single scoops are doubled for free.

Echo Park Real Estate Trends For 2018

As we enter 2018, Echo Park is becoming a hotbed for great cuisine, the trendy hipster scene, beautiful homes, and bustling creative energy. Its resident lake and beautiful landscape make it natural reprieve to the city center––a home within a home of sorts. One Huffington Post article even called Echo Park the “epicenter of the genuine L.A. experience.”

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There’s no doubt that the Echo Park scene is changing, but for many, change is good. The year 2017 brought increased awareness of Echo Park potential, and those trends continue to carry over and become more accentuated in 2018. The following are Echo Park real estate trends for 2018.

Homes Will Go Up In Value

According to Trulia, Echo Park real estate saw an increase of $135,000 in median home sales in 2017 (up 19% from last year). Four bedroom homes saw the biggest increase year-over-year, with a 55% increase. In June 2017, one contemporary home in Elysian Heights broke a single-family sales record when it sold for $2.275 million, which was over its asking price. As you’ll read on, it’s easy to understand the hows and whys of rising real estate prices in the area.

New Wave of Real Estate Development

According to the Los Angeles Times, this decade of real estate development will far surpass the 1990s and even the housing bubble of the 2000s. And Echo Park alone currently has several development projects underways. In March 2017, Champion Real Estate purchased a Sunset Boulevard property where it plans to create BrickWorks, a retail and residential complex. According to their announcement, its 15,000 square feet of retail space “will create a trendy food-court-style collection of the latest eateries and restaurants.” The space will hold up to ten restaurants, and initial renderings were released in August.

At the same time, two residential projects along Glendale Boulevard are underway from developer Aragon Properties. This includes an apartment building with 70 units and eight live-work apartments. At five stories tall, it would be one of the tallest in the Echo Park area. The second construction is an 18-home townhouse project that will replace a recently-demolished warehouse.

Increase In Millennial Market Share

Currently, the median age for homeowners in Echo Park rides the Millennials and Generation X cusp at 35 years old. However, real estate analysts predict that the millennial age group will make up more than 43% of home buyers in 2018. In the first-time home buyers’ market, millenials are currently the dominant market. And in 2018, they’re expected to compete with baby boomers for upmarket properties.

New Ways of Commuting

Currently, 79% of the Echo Park demographic commutes by car, 18% by public transportation, 2% by foot, and 0% by bike. However, new developments will shift the available options for Echo Park residents. The Echo Park Lake bike share station is making modest headway after an initial pilot program, according to a Metro spokesperson. Though the station isn’t connected to a regular bike-sharing network, the Metro team is happy with the demand it’s seen thus far. During October and November alone, 800 trips had started or ended at the station, and Metro expects those numbers to rise in 2018.

Other commute possibilities are underway as well. Current plans for Elon Musk’s high-speed underground transportation could prove highly beneficial for Echo Park. Musks’ Boring Company revealed that the “Loop,” which transports people between San Francisco and Los Angeles at speeds of up to 150 mph, would stop in two Eastside neighborhoods: Echo Park and Silver Lake.

According to the Boring Company, “Phase 2 [of the Hyperloop] specifics would be developed in cooperation with Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles, city governments in the greater Los Angeles area, and the general public.” While this wouldn’t come into fruition in the year 2018, it’s worth noting, as the production would certainly alter Echo Park real estate demographics. Those considering selling their Echo Park homes may see a major payout, while those thinking ahead of the tech transportation curve could jump in before real estate prices skyrocket.

More Relocators

As the Los Angeles population increases, we can expect more people to relocate to Echo Park. From 2016 to 2017, the city hit a record population in the 4 million-mark, and more people relocate to L.A. than any other city in California. Los Angeles continues to position itself as a dominant city, attracting more East Coasters than ever before.

A 2017 LinkedIn report found that for every 10,000 Los Angeles profiles, 7.3% were recent New York transplants. Most of those workers were in creative industries, and experts believe it’s because the L.A. economy is more attractive. Some housing experts believe that the L.A. infrastructure may not be able to support the wave of people coming into the city, but Echo Park’s recent real estate developments will only make it easier to transition.

Top 5 Eateries In Echo Park

Echo Park is known for having good food. And in this area, it’s not just about delicious bites: food serves as the epicenter, and Echo Park restaurants cultivate community, doubling as local hangouts and meeting grounds, too. Recently, a few more hip places have opened, adding to the roster of great places to eat. With so many options, prospective homebuyers looking for Echo Park real estate will never go hungry in their new homes. Here’s our roundup of the eateries in Echo Park:

Button Mash

As of this writing, Button Mash has a 4-star rating on Yelp with 406 reviews, and a 4.5 star rating on Google+ with 313 reviews. That’s not the kind of food community you build overnight. This Pan-Asian restaurant is part-arcade, part-eatery, and doles out more than a few surprises. In a Los Angeles Times article, Jonathan Gold said the wine list “is almost shockingly good” and that the cuisine was “light-years ahead of the grisly jalapeño poppers and frozen pizzas that pass for food at almost every other arcade.”

What to try: Double-fried Tamarind chicken wings, crispy tofu balls, Bun Cha Ha Noi (pork belly, fish sauce, lemongrass, caramel, rice noodles, herbs, butter lettuce cups)

Full menu here.

Guisados

Taco spots are a dime a dozen in LA, but not all are created equal. You won’t find fancy decor at this unpretentious taco spot, but you’ll quickly see where all the attention is going. Guisados is one of the highest-rated spots in Los Angeles, period. Handmade tortillas and smoky spices help make this place one of the best savory options around. By now, the restaurant has expanded to quite a few locations, but the chain hasn’t detracted from the value-infused food.

What to try: Sampler platter, Conchinita pibil, steak piscado, pescado

Full menu here.

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Ostrich Farm

Ostrich Farm is an Echo Park staple, and if you’re new to the area, you’ll quickly find out why. Situated right off of Griffith Park, this is a popular, intimate spot with a friendly staff and small menu that packs a powerful punch. Even the kitchen is too small, which means it only has enough room for the food that’s made fresh daily. The chef and owner is Jaime Turrey, who worked at several San Francisco restaurants before making his way to Echo Park. Brunch is especially popular here, and Angelenos come dressed the part.

What to try: Cheese plate, Pork “ossobuco”, spicy chickpeas, blueberry lemon ricotta pancakes

Full menu here.

Elf Cafe

Before Echo Park real estate reached property values in the millions and organic grocery stores began to sprout, Elf Cafe was leading the vegan and healthy eats scene. LA Weekly said of Elf Cafe, “Every dinner here feels like a special occasion.” And the decor, vibe, and meatless food are a testament to that.”This spot was also listed as one of LA’s most underrated restaurants. The menu is Mediterranean and features an all-natural wine list.

What to try: Moroccan vegetable tagine, California risotto, Buffalo oyster mushrooms

Full menu here.

Winsome

Winsome, according to LA Weekly, the perfect embodiment of a carefree California lifestyle. Lush greenery and blood wood ceilings and both contribute to the laidback hipster atmosphere of the place. Even the Los Angeles Times said a visit to this spot feels like entering the modern version of Peru’s Machu Picchu. but of course the food is what continues to attract visitors to this fairly new eatery. Close to the Dodger Stadium, guests can enjoy highly-rate meals with great views of downtown.

What to try: Lamb ribs, Bone-in pork chop, potato rosti with eggs

Full menu here.

Best New Year’s Celebrations Around Echo Park

It’s that time of the year again to start researching where you’ll go to ring in the new year! It’s an exciting endeavor, but with so many options, it can be difficult to hone in on where you’ll have the most fun. That decision is even more tiring when you’re looking for an event that isn’t so far from home. We’ve narrowed down some of the best New Year’s celebrations around Echo Park to make your choice a little easier. These options accomodate all types of budgets and party styles. As usual, the Los Angeles Metro service will be providing free routes on rail and bus from 9pm to 2am on New Year’s Eve. Here are our top picks.

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N.Y.E.L.A.

N.Y.E.L.A. is touted as the West Coast’s flagship New Year’s Eve celebration, where thousands of fellow LA neighbors come together as one. City Hall will splashed in color as the countdown is projected onto the building. There will be live performances, food, photo booths, and more. For those going to the NYE Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers afternoon game at the Coliseum, there will be enhanced Metro service directly between the stadium and N.Y.E.L.A. at Grand Park. This event is promised to be a colorful Angeleno experience to remember. Check out more information about the event here.

Prohibition NYE

Now in its 6th year, Prohibition NYE is a 20s-style theme party you don’t want to miss.  Come dressed in your best Roaring Twenties attire and prepare for a night of live DJs, jazz music, custom cocktails, champagne fountains, and show-stopping burlesque dancers. At midnight, a 60-foot custom ball will be dropped — and the party will go on. Join your fellow party-goers at Union Station for a majestic night of Prohibition-style dancing.

Queen Mary

The Queen Mary has a little something for everyone. Dance the night away while coasting through gentle waters and taking in the beautiful Los Angeles skyline. Listen to music from a Selena Tribute Band, Sir Mix A Lot, and Los Chicos Del 512.

The Las Vegas Showgirls will kick-off the evening’s celebrations, and different areas of the boat will cater to different types of music. The Verandah Deck Gazebo will feature Top 40 hits; DJ Cutt will be playing the best EDM in the Queen’s Salon; over at the Royal Salon, guests can catch live performances by Daniel Bonte and the Bonafide; and lastly, the VIP Britannia Salon will feature music from the Dueling Pianos.

The countdown will culminate with a full display of fireworks, and those aboard will have the best view of the midnight-colored sky. In addition to the live performances, there will of course be plenty of food and drinks.

Cleopatra’s NYE Ball

California Nightlife is hosting its 9th annual Cleopatra’s NYE Ball at the Egyptian Theatre. Tickets don’t come cheap, but they do include a five-hour open bar, three rooms, and separate VIP areas. Top Hollywood DJs (DJ Rico 100, DJ Shanto, & DJ Structure) will be playing Top 40, Hip Hop, and House. This celebration has been rated the best NYE gathering for six years in a row. A grand courtyard will be decorated in festive lighting with both indoor and outdoor dancing in the heart of Hollywood Boulevard. Though the event is Cleopatra-themed, guests are not required to dress according to theme. Buy tickets here.

Minimal Effort

Minimal Effort is a finely-curated champion in the underground house and techno scene. A few times a year, they bring together some of the best international DJs to set the stage for a wildly fun countdown. Expect to bring in the new year with over 3,000 house fans. There will be multiple indoor and outdoor stages, and the lineup includes Justin Martin, DJ Tennis, Jimmy Edgar, J. Phlip, and DJ Three. You can purchase your tickets here.

Ace Hotel Palm Springs – Wavves

If you’re looking for an NYE event in Los Angeles that doesn’t break the bank, Wavves fits the bill. This mini-music festival is taking place at the Commune at Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs, where guests can take a dip in the pool and dance to music from Wavves, The Love Language, and Desert Daze DJs. Tickets include a champagne toast at the stroke of midnight.

Candi Pop Dance Party

If you want to go back in time, the Candi Pop Dance Party is probably for you. With emphasis on the 90s, this party will be playing all your turn-of-the-millenium favorites. Expect Britney Spears, *NSYNC, Madonna, Backstreet Boys, Mandy Moore, the Spice Girls, and many more. Candi Pop calls it “a bubblegum dance party littered with all your guilty pleasures.” For party-goers who want to jump into the future with a blast from the past, get your tickets here.

Real Estate Unlimited is a real estate agency with expertise in luxury real estate in Los Angeles. Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home in Los Feliz or in another Los Angeles neighborhood, we are here to answer your questions, share our knowledge with you, and help you find the right fit. Feel free to contact us today.

Best Holiday Events In Echo Park & Nearby Areas

During the holidays, it seems as though everything between Echo Park real estate and Hollywood Hills is decked out in festive spirit. Whether you’re looking for upcoming or last minute holidays plans in Echo Park, or the best New Years Eve events around Los Angeles, there’s a little something for everyone. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best holiday events in Echo Park and the surrounding area. And as you’ll see, you don’t have to go too far to have fun!

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Snow Day L.A. — Dec. 15th- 16th

There’s no real snow in Los Angeles, but Snow Day L.A. makes the most of a holiday staple. Hosted by Snow Day Los Angeles, visitors will have fun tubing down winter-themed synthetic tube lanes along the giant hills of The Old Lodge at Montecillo De Leo Politi Park.

Just five minutes from downtown LA, you’ll be able to whiz down hills decorated with twinkling trees, falling snow, and brightly lit archways. And that’s not all: in addition to the tubing lanes, there will also be a giant snow globe photo booth, games, VIP Penguin Lounge (where you’ll get a free penguin onesie), and winter skating rink. Purchase tickets here.

Makers on Merchant St. – A Holiday Marketplace Supporting Inner-City Arts

Christmas is the season of giving, and you can support local independent designers and artists at this winter holiday shopping festival. There will be hundreds of hand-crafted goods, gourmet bites, cocktails, and live music. This is a great opportunity to check out the local artisan craft community and make a difference. For event information and a full list of artists, click here.

2017 Holiday Light Festival Train Ride

The 2017 Holiday Light Festival Train Ride begins the day after Thanksgiving and goes on until December 23rd. The event is perfect for families, and follows along an elaborately decorated mile of track. This magical scene will be decked out with tens of thousands of lights to get you fully immersed in the Christmas spirit. The first train heads out at 5pm each day, and the last train leaves at 8 or 9pm depending on the day.

Beauty and the Beast: A Christmas Rose

Beauty and the Beast: A Christmas Rose” is a Christmas-themed, updated version of Disney’s classic “Beauty & The Beast” tale. The play is executed in traditional British Panto style and the a handful of the dancers hail from the television show “So You Think You Can Dance.” It retains the same magic from the Disney version while adding a little more comedic twist. The show is directed by Tony Award-nominee Sheldon Epps and choreographed by Mandy Moore, and has a slew of other well-known creatives behind it. .

N.Y.E.L.A.

Considered the West Coast’s flagship New Year’s Eve celebration, at N.Y.E.L.A. you can bring in the New Years alongside thousands of other fellow Los Angeles residents. The countdown will be light-projected onto City Hall, and you can expect plenty of live music, food, photo booths, and dancing throughout the event. Check out more information about the event here.

Prohibition NYE

Who doesn’t love a well-executed themed party? For the sixth year in a row, Prohibition NYE is just that. With live DJs, jazz music, burlesque dancers, custom cocktails, and stylish Roaring Twenties attire. A 60-foot custom ball will be dropped at midnight, and the party will commence. Join in on the majestic celebration at Union Station this New Years.

New Year’s Eve aboard the Queen Mary

The Queen Mary has a little something for everyone. Hop aboard the boat and you can enjoy live performances, food, and drinks in a mellow atmosphere, or ring in the new year with a little more excitement in a club-like setting. The soiree will feature Sir Mix A Lot,  Los Chicos Del 512, and a Selena Tribute Band. At midnight, enjoy a bright display of fireworks over the water.