Feliz means “happy” in Spanish and it’s an accurate name for such a pleasant and livable area of L.A. It’s hard to be down when you’re in walking distance of coffee shops, theaters, boutiques, and sidewalk cafes on Vermont Avenue, between Franklin and Hollywood, or the Hillhurst corridor between Los Feliz Boulevard and Prospect Avenue.
In a city where people feel like they spend more time in their cars then out, this neighborhood-feel is a welcome relief. Aside from the plethora of entertainment options, Los Feliz is also home to some of Los Angeles, CA’s most tranquil neighborhoods and standout architecture.
Los Feliz lies north of East Hollywood and just south of the Santa Monica Mountains, adjacent to the neighborhoods of Hollywood and Silver Lake. Home to the southern face of Griffith Park, the district includes the Griffith Observatory and the Greek Theatre.
As of the census of 2000, it is estimated that there were 40,573 people residing in the Griffith Park/Los Feliz area. The ethnic or racial makeup of the area was 70.54% non-Hispanic White, 3.77% Black or African American, 0.43% Native American, 8.61% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 2.37% from other races, and 6.45% from two or more races. 16.48% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The median income for a household in Los Feliz was approximately $97,104.
Los Feliz, CA, also known as Rancho Los Feliz (“Feliz Ranch”) is named for its land grantee José Vicente Feliz. The 6,647-acre Rancho Los Feliz was one of the first land grants in California. An adobe house built in the 1830s by Feliz’s heirs still stands on Crystal Springs Drive in Griffith Park, named for Colonel Griffith J. Griffith, who donated over half of the rancho to the city of Los Angeles. It later became Griffith Park, one of the largest city owned parks in the country. Other sections of the rancho were developed and became the communities of Los Feliz and Silver Lake.
On May 8-9, 2007, about 800 acres of uninhabited terrain in Los Feliz and Griffith Park, including the famous Dante’s View, were destroyed in a wildfire. In light of the event, Los Angeles, CA city officials have pledged millions of dollars in aid to reconstruct the parts damaged by the fire over the coming years.
Los Feliz was home to many early movie studios, including D. W. Griffith’s studio. It is currently home to The Prospect Studios (formally known as First National-Warner Brothers and more recently ABC Television Center), at the intersection of Prospect Avenue and Talmadge Street.
Monogram Pictures (currently KCET public television), was located on Sunset Boulevard where early Charlie Chan movies were filmed, as well as Hurricane starring Dorothy Lamour and the camp classic Johnny Guitar. The western street from Johnny Guitar remained in place until the mid1980s when KCET razed the set to build a parking structure.
Los Feliz Architecture
Los Feliz has historically been home to many stars, musicians and Hollywood elite. Today, young celebs like Danny Masterson, Liv Tyler, Eva Mendes, Robert Pattinson and many more call the area home. It also boasts some of the best-known residential architecture in Los Angeles, including two homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright: Ennis House (right), which was in Blade Runner, and the Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Park.
Richard Neutra’s Lovell House is also in Los Feliz. The Lovell house was completed in 1929, and its importance was comparable to other early iron, steel and glass exhibition buildings in Europe. In fact, it was through the Lovell house that Los Angeles, CA architecture became widely known in Europe.
Entertainment, Restaurants and Nightlife
Los Feliz is home to many restaurants and bars, most on Hillhurst between Los Feliz Boulevard and Prospect Avenue, and on Vermont between Franklin Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. While current nightlife in the area does have its share of L.A. scenesters, Los Feliz was once home to the favorite dive bars of Charles Bukowski, Lawrence Tierney, and other poets, artists and writers.
There remains a quirky artistic element to the neighborhood, thanks to an eclectic mix of bars and restaurants. And you cannot spend time in Los Feliz without visiting Griffith Park, whether you play a round of golf, hike the sprawling trails or catch a show at the Greek Theatre.
4730 Crystal Springs Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 913 4688
With over 4,210 acres of both natural terrain and landscaped parkland and picnic areas, Griffith Park is the largest municipal park with urban wilderness area in the United States. Situated in the eastern Santa Monica Mountain range, the Park’s elevations range from 384 to 1,625 feet above see level.
The park is home to the Griffith Observatory, which features an extensive array of space- and science-related displays, and the Los Angeles Zoo. The Greek Theatre, a 5,700-seat amphitheater, is also located within Griffith Park. It’s one of L.A.’s most historic entertainment venues and has hosted some of the biggest names in entertainment. Griffith Park also houses various children’s play areas, two 18-hole golf courses, a driving range and other sports fields, as well as hiking and equestrian trails. At Travel Town there is a miniature railroad operated by the Los Angeles Live Steamers and a collection of railroad locomotives, passenger cars and streetcars.
The Dresden Room
1760 N. Vermont Ave
Hollywood, California 90027
Remember The Dresden from Swingers? Well, Marty and Elayne are still there performing jazz standards Monday through Saturday from 9:00 pm – 1:15 am. There’s no cover to get in and valet parking is available for $2.50. If you want to sit at a table or booth, there’s a two-drink minimum, but it’s totally worth it to check this place out. They also have an Italian restaurant here, so you can have some fettuccine alfredo before you get rocked by the lounge act.
1850 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
It hard to live in (or even visit) Los Feliz without making a stop at Fred 62. It seems to happen no matter what you do. Open 24-hours and boasting an eclectic California diner menu, Fred 62 is the place to go after a long night (or during a long night). The retro kitsch atmosphere has a good dose of attitude (“punk tarts” anyone?) and the service is fast and no-nonsense. Fred 62’s food is exactly what you want from diner food–comforting and satisfying. What more could you ask for?
Alcove Cafe & Bakery
1929 Hillhurst Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Alcove is one of the most reviewed L.A. restaurants on Yelp, and for good reason. This converted brick bungalow opened in 2004, and has been a favorite of Los Feliz residents, and those from outside the neighborhood too, ever since. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but brunch is definitely the meal to get at Alcove. If you’re in the mood for something high-end and decadent, check out the Shrimp and Lobster Omelet or if you’re looking for something simple and delicious, go with the Breakfast Burrito. No matter what time or the day you’re eating, you can’t leave without sampling something from Alcove’s to-die-for bakery. From individual Molten Lava Cakes to Blue Velvet Cupcakes to Lemon Berry Meringue Tarts. There’s a sweet treat to satisfy everyone. Seating inside is limited, but the outside garden is where you’ll want to be anyway.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis-Brown House
One of my favorite things to do in Los Feliz is to drive through the hills and check out the amazing architecture. You pretty much cannot beat Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis-Brown House or “The Blade Runner House”. Plus, you will see a lot of other cool place on your way to the top.
The house is located at 2607 Glendower Ave. To get there, exit the 5 onto Los Feliz Blvd. (West), and turn right onto any of the small streets between Vermont and Nottingham. On your way back down, just keep heading downhill to get back to Los Feliz Blvd.