A neighbourhood guide to Highland Park
Move over Silver Lake, Highland Park is quickly becoming the trendiest neighbourhood in Los Angeles. An intriguing mix of great independent stores, chic vintage fashion, authentic Mexican food and buzzing nightlife, Highland Park is not just one of the oldest districts in the City of Angels, it also offers an intimate neighbourhood feel complete with a diverse multicultural demographic and a sprinkling of sprawling green hills.
Popular with young families, creative types and with a thriving traditional Latino culture, Highland Park is well connected to Downtown LA via the city’s Metro Rail, appropriately named the Gold Line (we’re only a twenty minute drive from Hollywood Hills, after all). Known for its historic Victorian houses, colourful street art, booming café culture and monthly gallery nights, Highland Park is fast becoming one of hottest hoods in LA.
The epicentre of hip LA, York Boulevard offers an abundance of independent boutiques, stylish eateries and cosy cafés. A true pioneer, The York gastro pub opened here in 2007 and was the first eatery in the area to offer a selection of high-quality food and drink options, followed by artisan coffeehouse Café de Leche in 2008. If you’re after some traditional Italian grub, stylish Maximiliano restaurant makes a mean pizza, or visit low-key (and very colourful) My Taco for excellent authentic Mexican dishes. Opened in 2012, Fusion Burgers is the perfect spot to indulge in some American-style comfort food, or for a more intimate setting, visit bohemian French restaurant, Ba for classic French cuisine.
Late night bars
A must-visit for craft beer fans, newly opened Highland Park Brewery offers an impressive selection of brews. Try popular West Coast-inspired IPA, “Hello LA” or opt for the “Lazy Susan”, a sour wheat beer with notes of peaches and nectarines. If gourmet cocktails are more your thing, don’t miss Sonny’s Hideaway – try signature drink “The Night Owl”, a delightful mix of rye whiskey, Campari, China China Amer and house smoked angostura bitters. Having a white month? Don’t worry, Galco’s Soda Pop Stop has over 500 sodas and pops including much-loved classics, hard-to-find flavours and obscure brands from all over the world –a true treasure trove for sugar addicts.
Spend a Dime
A string of independent stores have opened on York Boulevard, making it a great destination for chic fashion and vintage finds as well as unusual furniture, books and limited-edition prints. Local designer Jay Dunton’s store Meridian Mercado Deseño is a heaven for homeware lovers, with an eclectic mix of vintage and contemporary interiors and gifts on offer. Across the street, Matters of Space showcases an exciting range of upcoming interior designers from around the world. One of the most popular stores on York Boulevard is Pop-hop, a creative bookshop and print studio specialising in art and children’s books. Fashion devotees will revel in the small but seriously stylish selection at concept store Platform, which stocks an interesting mix of independent designers and home décor. If music is your thing, make sure to pop into Wombleton Records, a specialist in rare and obscure vinyl. Hailed by many DJs as the city’s best Indie music store, it’s an essential spot to explore the LA music scene.
A close contender in popularity to bustling York Boulevard is Figueroa Street. A string of eateries have opened here in the past few years, offering a variety of choice from traditional Mexican fare to organic, locally sourced foods. Opened in May 2014, Kitchen Mouse is perhaps one of the surest signs that Highland Park has well and truly ‘come up’. With a focus on health-inspired and vegan dishes this cute eatery has become a popular addition to the vibrant café culture in this happening hood. Traditional boozer, The Greyhound Bar and Grill also opened its doors in 2014 and has quickly become a popular watering hole for locals seeking a low-key night out. Craving Culture? Visit independent art gallery Slow Culture to check out what’s hot when it comes to emerging young artists.
Totally unique and hugely popular, Good Girl Dinette is a Vietnamese diner serving a selection of contemporary Vietnamese dishes. The retro-inspired interiors and friendly, relaxed vibe makes this well-established eatery a firm Highland Park favourite.
Written by Anna Jacobsen