Category: Echo Park

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.

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.

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.

Creativity Runs Wild in Echo Park’s Animal Alley

Los Angeles is a mecca for contemporary art, including a vibrant culture of collaborative and public art projects. The city is filled with dynamic murals painted by local artists, and the Echo Park and Silver Lake areas are no exception. Today, we’ll show you the larger-than-life denizens of Animal Alley, a collaborative mural gallery in the Echo Park neighborhood.

Looking for more Echo Park public art? Check out our post about the Lady of the Lake!

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Elephant mural by artists Otto Schade and Cindy Schwarzstein – Photo Credit: Atlasobscura.com

Animal Alley is the brainchild of Los Angeles gallery owner Jason Ostro. He showcases emerging artists at Gabba Gallery, a boutique exhibition space Echo Park. His Gabba Gallery project began in 2014 as a constructive way to combat the prevalent graffiti and blight in the neighborhood. The initiative inspired local artists to begin decorating local alleys and side streets with imaginative artwork, on themes ranging from typewriters to superheroes to outer space.

Ostro kicked off the project with his own mural, a collaboration with local street artist Andrea LaHue, aka “Random Act.” Now, the Gabba Alley project incorporates over a hundred murals by more than eighty-five local and international artists. A prolific local talent whose compositions focus on botanical themes, “Random Act” has contributed her signature orchids to the Animal Alley murals.

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Mural by local street artist Phobik – Photo Credit: Imgrum.net

The artwork is focused in four alleys, three near Gabba Gallery and a “satellite street gallery” in Echo Park. “Animal Alley” takes its theme from the wild kingdom, and artists creating individual works for its walls are invited to base their artworks on the creatures of their choice.

“Animal Alley L.A.” can be found off Glendale Boulevard, just behind the Bob Baker Marionette Theater. Entries range from growling cheetahs to marching elephants to winged kittens – and since the Alley Project is eclectic by design, artists have created murals in a range of styles from figurative to realistic. Many painters have expanded on the animal theme by adding lush vegetation, including vines, ferns, and colorful flowers.

Looking for more local color? Read our post on the history of Echo Park’s Carroll Avenue!

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Lion mural in Animal Alley – Photo Credit: Imgrum.net

Ostro works with local residents and business owners to locate wall space, and most of the materials used to create the murals are donated. A few artists have contributed sculptures and art installations made from recycled materials, including a royal macaw made out of scrap metal from used coffee tins. National art supply chain Blick has been a proud sponsor of the Gabba Alley Project from the outset.

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Artists at work in Animal Alley – Photo Credit: Latimes.com

Animal Alley, like the other streets in the Gabba Alley Project, is designed to encourage neighborhood participation, so the project will be ongoing and may eventually expand into nearby side streets and wall spaces. Current murals occupy open walls, garage doors, and even dumpsters. Painting sessions tend to be half open studio, half block party, with troupes of artists showing up to work together on outsize compositions.

Animal Alley’s finished works already include fifteen bright animal-themed paintings, and the menagerie has already become a stop on several city art tours. If you’re planning to visit Echo Park, why not make a stop in Animal Alley? You can see local creativity and civic pride on display, and you might even catch local artists hard at work on a mural in progress!

Looking for places to eat during your visit? Read our guide to the best restaurants in Echo Park!

Real Estate Unlimited is a real-estate company dedicated to representing clients in Echo Park and other historic neighborhoods throughout the Los Angeles area. We pride ourselves on our in-depth knowledge of the Los Angeles area, and we’re glad to give our clients the benefit of our local expertise. Call us to schedule a consultation today!

Summertime Blooms at the Echo Park Lotus Festival

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Lotuses in Bloom – Photo Credit: Theeastsiderla.com

In addition to colorful murals and a renowned culinary scene, Echo Park, Los Angeles hosts an annual celebration of Filipino and pan-Asian culture and community.

Looking for more information on Echo Park? Check out our post about the Lady of the Lake!

The Echo Park Lotus Festival takes place every year in July, when the lotus plants on the north side of the park adorn themselves with delicate pink and white flowers. The pond at Echo Park holds the largest lotus bed in the United States, and the annual display is breathtaking. The festival has been an annual tradition for more than three decades, apart from a three-year hiatus when the park was closed down and the pond drained for a multimillion-dollar renovation.

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Tori Gate Decorations in Echo Park – Photo Credit: The eastsiderla.com

During the festival, red Tori-gate style decorations are installed over Echo Park’s arching bridges, along with white pavilions to protect festivalgoers from the blazing July heat. Crowds typically spill out onto the surrounding streets, and the events at the festival are designed for strolling, sampling, and freeform enjoyment.

Since its revival in 2014, the festival has expanded to include dragon boat races, traditional dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, and more. The festival’s focus is on Asian traditional arts and cultural events, but the summer festival includes a diverse mix of live music and food vendors, and the summer schedule means that it’s always a popular draw for all of Los Angeles. Although it is slightly smaller post-hiatus, the Lotus Festival is still one of Los Angeles’ largest outdoor events.

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Dragon Boat Races – Photo Credit: Lacitypix.wordpress.com

The all-day festival offers free admission and entertainment, but the many craft and food vendor stalls price their merchandise individually. Hungry visitors can find sit-down meals as well as handheld goodies like tacos, bibimbap, or mochi ice cream.  The dragon-boat races on the first day are among the most popular events, as teams race across the pond in boats with painted dragon figureheads and tails.

Each year, the festival organizers choose a theme – for 2016’s festival, for example, the festival honored Korea, with traditional dance performances and special attention to traditional Korean music and crafts. The perennial lineup ranges from Hawaiian and Tahitian dance performances to Taiko drummers to mainstream fare like jazz, rock and roll, and R&B. Entertainment runs from noon until late summer nightfall each day of the event, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy a range of performances, demonstrations, and dining.

If you’re looking for a summer celebration full of music, art, and delicious treats, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for at the Echo Park Lotus Festival!

Real Estate Unlimited is a real-estate company dedicated to representing clients in Echo Park and other historic neighborhoods throughout the Los Angeles area. We pride ourselves on our in-depth knowledge of the Los Angeles area, and we’re glad to give our clients the benefit of our local expertise. Call us to schedule a consultation today!

Echo Park’s Lady of the Lake

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Photo Credit: Kcet.org

Echo Park, LA is home to an impressive number of architectural and historical landmarks – including the Victorian homes on Carroll Avenue, the Pueblo-Style Atwater Bungalows, or Frank Lloyd Wright’s art-deco tribute to Mayan temple architecture, the Ennis House.

The Ennis House isn’t the only art-deco-inspired monument in Echo Park. The recently-renovated Lady of the Lake statue welcomes visitors to Echo Park Lake. Her official name is “Nuesta Reina de Los Angeles,” which translates to, “Our Queen of the Angels,” but locals tend to know her by her Arthurian nickname. In this post, we’ll tell you all about the history of this majestic sculpture.

Our story begins in 1934, when the Works Projects Administration, or WPA, commissioned a public statue for the city of Los Angeles. The WPA’s public arts division was designed to fund public projects by deserving artists who struggled to make ends meet during the depression – and also to assist in the creation of art works that would inspire everyday people. Many WPA mural and sculpture projects still survive. The WPA employed over 10,000 artists in total, including superstars like Diego Rivera and Willem de Kooning.

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Ada May Sharpless with the Lady of the Lake – Photo Credit: Lit250v.library.ucla.edu

Artist and sculptor Ada May Sharpless won the WPA commission for the Lady of the Lake, and she set out to create a monument that would capture both the history and unique cultural traditions of the Los Angeles area as well as a spirit of progress and modernity.

Ada May Sharpless grew up in Santa Ana, California, and developed an interest in painting and sculpture early on. She graduated from USC in 1922, and went on to study sculpture at the Otis Institute of Art and Design. She continued her exploration of form and design in Paris, where she studied with influential art deco sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. Sharpless created several other public sculptures in the Southern California area, including a full-length stone sculpture of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo for her hometown of Santa Ana.

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Photo Credit: Kcet.org

Sharpless’ work, like that of other art deco sculptors, is characterized by clean lines and stylized forms. Their work also called back to ancient sculpture traditions that emphasized the human form, including statues of Greek athletes and bas-relief friezes on Egyptian temples. Her “Queen of the Angels” was meant to synthesize these diverse influences into a seamless whole, a sculpture that was monumental, accessible, familiar, and innovative all at the same time.

The Lady of the Lake was installed in 1935, but the statue fell into neglect along with the park. Fingers broken, covered with graffiti, she was placed in storage in 1986, but restored in the late 1990s and returned to a renewed Echo Park Lake. Today the regal statue gazes down on visitors as they approach the park from the peninsula, with the water providing a dramatic backdrop. If you’d like to visit Echo Park’s own guardian naiad, you can find her welcoming visitors at the north end of the park.

Real Estate Unlimited is a real-estate company dedicated to representing clients in Echo Park and other historic neighborhoods throughout the Los Angeles area. We pride ourselves on our in-depth knowledge of the Los Angeles area, and we’re glad to give our clients the benefit of our local expertise. Call us to schedule a consultation today!