“Los Feliz” literally means “the happy” in Spanish. In Los Angeles, it translates as an artsy enclave just to the east of Hollywood. One of the few neighborhoods in the city that functions as a walking village, you could spend an entire day hanging out in this hip, small corner of the city.
Home to some of Hollywood’s coolest stars, including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, this neighborhood is no Beverly Hills or Bel Air. Instead of exclusive shops and gated driveways, Los Feliz is brimming with bohemians, artists, writers, struggling actors, and rock stars. Walking down the main strip on Vermont Avenue between Hollywood Boulevard and Franklin Avenue, you will find nary a Coach, Chanel, or Gucci store; instead an opportunity to window-shop at a wide variety of unique boutique stores and cafes.
Start your day off with an outdoor brunch at Alcove. It may take a few minutes to find a table here on a weekend morning, but it’s worth the wait. Situated in a charming cottage setting, Alcove is the perfect place to enjoy an omelet and mimosa on a beautiful L.A. morning. Save some room for dessert – Alcove has a very enticing display case of cupcakes and assorted pastries and desserts. Go ahead and treat yourself, because you’re about to burn some major calories.
Los Feliz borders one of the largest public urban parks in the country – the famous Griffith Park. The park is a 4,467-acre city run wilderness complete with canyons, horseback riding trails, an observatory, golf course, tennis courts, picnic areas and zoo. Park at the Griffith Observatory and take a tour of the grounds. Here you’ll find telescopes, planetarium shows, and interactive exhibits. Even if astronomy isn’t your thing, everyone will be amazed by the Observatory’s beautiful architecture and panoramic views of the city from the multi-layered patios.
Head uphill from the Observatory and begin your ascent onto the Mt. Hollywood Trail. You’ll pass through the Berlin Forest (named in honor of L.A.’s sister city in Germany) and hike up a winding dirt path to the top of Mt. Hollywood. Along the way you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the LA skyline, the Hollywood sign, the San Fernando Valley, and everything in between.
After your hike, head back down to Los Feliz Village for some lunch and an afternoon of strolling and window-shopping. If you love 50’s décor, an updated take on diner fare, and fantastic people watching opportunities, pop in to Fred 62. Open 24 hours a day, Fred’s window booths or outside tables provide front row seats for the unofficial parade of Los Feliz locals-and potentially a few celebs- cruising by.
Amongst the charming storefronts along Vermont Avenue, you’ll find The Los Feliz Theatre 3; A small movie theater with three screens, where you can catch new releases as well as small independent films for a reasonable price.
After a long day of walking and basking in the hot sun, you might be ready for some strong drinks and a satisfying dinner. You don’t have to stray from the village to find either. Head to Vermont Restaurant- relax in a lounge atmosphere while enjoying great food and a couple bottles of wine. If you’re looking for live music instead of the DJ at Vermont, Tangier Restaurant is a few blocks away and has live music almost every night. A breath of fresh air from small and gritty music venues, Tangier attracts a hip, Hollywood crowd in an unpretentious setting.
What & Where:
Alcove (1929 Hillhurst Ave., 323-644-0100)
Griffith Park Observatory (2800 E. Observatory Rd., 323-664-1191)
Fred 62 (1850 N. Vermont Ave., 323-667-0062)
Los Feliz Theatre 3 (1822 N Vermont Ave., 323-664-2169)
Vermont Restaurant (323-661-6163)
Tangier (2138 Hillhurst Ave., 323-666-8666)