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Echo Park

echo-park-la-ca-mapEcho Park is a 120-year-old, walkable neighborhood just west of Downtown L.A. Since its start, this diverse community has been home to working class families and blossoming artists, musicians and writers. Before World War I, the neighborhood was nicknamed “Red Hill” because of the political radicals living in the area, like folksinger Woody Guthrie who lived on Preston Avenue at Ewing St. in the 1930s.

Echo Park is home to the annual Lotus Festival, the Cuban Festival, and historic Filipinotown, as well as world-class dining, beautiful craftsman-style homes, modern architecture, great schools, parks and libraries.

The community was originally founded by Thomas Kelly, a carriage maker turned real estate developer. Legend says that Echo Park got its name after workers building the reservoir remarked that their voices echoed off the canyon walls.

Echo Park Boundaries

According to Echo Park Historical Society, Echo Park has no official boundaries or borders. The construction of the 101 freeway in the 1950s and the 2 Freeway also cut off large section of the neighborhood on the south and west. However, historically, speaking, there are some general boundaries. The western boundary is Benton Way or Waterloo Street, Glendale Blvd., Allesandro St. The northern boundary is Riverside Drive. The eastern boundary borders with Elysian Park (north of Sunset Blvd), Boylston St. (south of Sunset Blvd.) The southern boundary is Beverly Boulevard.

Film History

echo-park-lakeJust before World War I, the Los Angeles film industry was centered in Echo Park. Mack Sennett’s studio was in the neighborhood until the end of the silent film era, and a large number of silent comedies were shot in the area, as were several Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Our Gang, Ben Turpin, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Charley Chase, Chester Conklin, and Three Stooges shorts.

Echo Park has continued to be used as a location for films such as Chinatown, Echo Park, Kentucky Fried Movie, Mi Vida Loca, Tending Echo Park, and Columbus Day. The 1960s television series Gilligan’s Island was shot in the area, as well as scenes in Michael Jackson’s 1982 music video Thriller, as were parts of the original 1953 film version, The War of the Worlds. The Manor, a house in the television series Charmed, is also located in the neighborhood.

Famous Residents

Echo Park has been home to many famous residents, including writer Ayn Rand; actors Shia LaBeouf, Anthony Quinn, Steve McQueen, Leonardo DiCaprio; architect Richard Neutra and disciple Harwell Hamilton Harris; film director John Huston; filmmaker Monica Gazzo; and African-American playwright, poet and screenwriter Lemar Randle Fooks. The painter Jackson Pollock made his home here as a child, and the singer Elliott Smith lived in Echo Park during the final years of his life. Residents of the neighborhood during the 1960s and 70s included J.D. Souther and Glenn Frey of the Eagles, Tom Waits, Jackson Browne, and Frank Zappa. Baseball legend Babe Ruth maintained a bachelor pad at the Crown Hill apartments in South Echo Park for much of the 1920s and 30s.

Echo Park Schools

Berkeley Ave Children’s Center
1814 Berkeley Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 413-6655

Golden West Christian School
1310 Liberty St.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 413-6272

Logan Street Elementary School
1711 Montana St.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 413-6353

Entertainment, Restaurants and Nightlife


Echo Park

1632 Bellview Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 689 8822

What started out as a natural arroyo filled with water from a stream is now a notable park. The land was donated to the city for use as a public park in 1891, and Joseph Henry Tomlinson designed the grounds based on a garden in England. The park is 26 acres and has a lake with paddle-boats for lotus-festivalhourly rental.

Lotus Festival

Given the large amount of lotus leaves that existed in the lake up until 2007, Echo Park has been the site of the annual Lotus Festival, a pan-Asian celebration complete with Chinese dragon boat races. The event has been held since 1972 and it showcases a different Asian ethnicity (such as Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino, Bangladeshi, etc.) every year. The program was designed to create in the Southern California community an increased awareness of the contributions to our culture by Asian Americans.

Origami Vinyl

1816 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 413-3030

With more music going digital everyday, it’s nice to support the vinyl record shops that are popping up around L.A. Along with Vacation Vinyl in Los Feliz, Origami Vinyl is a welcome addition to the east side. Their record selection is full of the new and hard to find indie rock albums along with some hip-hop, rock, and reissues. They also have live in-store performances.

The Short Stop

1455 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 482-4942

You can’t leave Echo Park without stopping for a drink at a dive bar. The Short Stop has a dance floor, pool table, video games, jukebox, and a photo booth–everything that spells success for a dive bar. And of course, the drinks are cheap.

2367950788_7e5f8f799aMasa

1800 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 989-1558

Displaced Chicagoans and those who simply love Chicago style pizza flock to this Echo Park restaurant that makes authentic deep dish pizza, yes, in Southern California! All of their “masa” (dough) is baked fresh daily in their bakery, and their sauces and dressings are all made from scratch, as well. Masa uses all organic, local produce, along with “imported” Chicago favorites like Scala’s Authentic Hot Giardiniera. If you want some real Chicago-style Italian food without taking a trip to LAX, head over to Masa.

Delilah Bakery

1665 Echo Park Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 975-9400

The cupcake craze has yet to die down. And Echo Park mainstay Delilah Bakery is the spot to indulge your craving. They have unique flavors like Chocolate with Jack Daniel’s frosting and, of course, the ubiquitous red velvet. They also have full-sized cakes, pies, and other pastries, as well as a lunch menu and catering services.

Live Music

There are plenty of live music events happening any night of the week in Echo Park. Take your pick from music venues like The Echo, Echoplex, and Spaceland (in nearby Silver Lake). They all serve up a good time.

The Echo

1822 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 413-8200

Echoplex

1154 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 413-8200

Spaceland

1717 Silver Lake Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 661-4380