Los Angeles is an interesting place to visit because unlike most traditional cities in the U.S., you have a pretty lengthy drive on the highway to get from area to area. No quick hop on the metro or nice walk along the river in this city.
So on my past trip to L.A., I extended my visit a bit to stay with some friends in the area of Silver Lake. Most tourists probably wouldn’t come to see Silver Lake usually; its much more of a residential area for the more alternative crowd. However if you do happen upon this area, there is a bit to offer, most of which is on Sunset Blvd.
A couple places for brunch
Probably my favorite of the two brunch places I went to, Millie’s has a really, really extensive menu. With a lot of outdoor sidewalk seating, this little cafe is a good place to have some good ol’ comfort food while watching the numerous, sunglasses wearing locals stroll on by. I had the healthy green burrito (very Southern Californian of me right?) that was made of egg whites, guacamole and spinach and comes with a side of fresh fruit. It was enormous, and actually quite delicious for the “healthy” option. I’d recommend it, however if you do need the grease and goodness of bacon, sausage, french toast, pancakes etc., don’t worry, they have all that too. I’ll probably go back and have that when I’m not on a health kick.
For a quieter alternative down the street, give Local a try. The ambiance is a bit calmer, and their menu is not as extensive. That being said, for a lazy Sunday type place, Local fits the billing. There isn’t really any sidewalk seating, but their covered patio is large.
Silver Lake, from what I saw, doesn’t seem to be a “going out” type of area, but there are a few places to grab drinks and have a good time. The Thirsty Crow in particular is quite good. It’s a very divey, dark place with a speakeasy, candlelit vibe. Despite its darkness, the place is actually quite vibrant with some great Motown music playing the night I was there. Outside a chef grills up hamburgers to order while listening to Michael Jackson. And if you like whisky, THIS is your place. The whisky list is extensive and you should be able to find one to your liking.
Things to do
Not far from Silver Lake is the Griffith Observatory (as seen in numerous movies including Rebel Without a Cause and The Terminator). Located at the top of a steep mountain, those of you looking to break a little sweat on your trip should try hiking to the top. You should be in relatively good shape if you want to try the hike, and be sure to bring water, hats, sunscreen, etc. because there is practically no shade on the trail. I’d say the hike was very similar to hiking up Masada. When you get to the top, you can enjoy the exhibits inside the Observatory and there’s a $7 planetarium show that is the perfect recipe for the post-climb collapse.