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What to Do in L.A.’s Trendy Silver Lake Neighborhood

Silver Lake

The popular L.A. neighborhood is perfect for hipsters, artists, families, boutique shoppers, foodies, and more

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Often described as the “Brooklyn of Los Angeles,” Silver Lake is much more than just a hipster haven. The popular central L.A. neighborhood has gone from urban grit to sophisticated chic over the years and is home to celebrities, creatives, professionals, and an ever-increasing number of families. Silver Lake is diverse, eclectic, and above all, authentic. It offers some of the best of L.A. living, with close proximity to Hollywood and Downtown L.A., and incredible hilltop views, independent boutique shopping, and an increasingly popular dining scene.

One of the neighborhood’s most famous features is its massive namesake body of water, Silver Lake Reservoir, which offers a popular 2.25-mile loop for runners and walkers. Grab a cold brew at neighborhood staple Lamill Coffee down the street and take in the views of the res and the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance. After your reservoir stroll, head back down the street to catch happy hour at L&E Oyster Bar’s bright, airy upstairs patio or make your dinner reservations at the foodie-favorite Italian bistro, Alimento. Later, catch a rock show at the ’hood’s mainstay indie venue, The Satellite.

The main hub of Silver Lake is Sunset Junction, a bustling, walkable strip along Sunset Boulevard with dozens of trendy shops such as boho chic Mohawk General Store, clothing and home goods shop The Odells, and the neighborhood's favorite bar-stocking shop, Bar Keeper, which specializes in vintage barware and local and small-batch spirits.

If all the shopping and people-watching tires you out, there are plenty of places to refuel. For your caffeine fix, take your pick among Intelligentsia (known equally for its pour-over and people-watching), La Colombe, Alfred [“but first”] Coffee, or MatchaBar.

If java’s not enough, there are several hot restaurants dotted along Sunset Boulevard, including spicy Thai favorite Night + Market Song, insanely popular Silverlake Ramen (which opened a separate location just for takeout), and neighbors Sawyer and Kettle Black.

After you’ve pepped up, hit some of Silver Lake’s famous secret stairs, which are more hidden than secret (and there’s an app for that). These historic steps once played a major role in how residents got from their steep hillside homes to the main streets to take public transportation, proof that Los Angeles wasn’t always car-dependent. These days, the majority of the steps are used by locals for fitness and by visitors for photo ops, since many of them, including the Micheltorena Stairs (3400 Sunset Boulevard) and the Swan Stairs (Westerly Terrace and Swan Place), are vibrantly painted.

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