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This must be Los Feliz

One of the greatest debates about Los Feliz is how to pronounce it: Some Angelenos say “Los FEE-lus,” while others prefer the Spanish pronunciation of “Los Fey-LEASE.” It’s an ongoing quarrel that can distract from the area itself — a shame, because what it offers is so rare.

Get to know Los Angeles through the places that bring it to life. From restaurants to shops to outdoor spaces, here’s what to discover now.

There aren’t many neighborhoods in Los Angeles where you can watch a film, listen to your favorite author talk about their latest book, go on a hike, catch a live concert, shop for vintage trends and fetch your weekly groceries, all without having to step foot out of your community. Let alone without having to hop into your car. This is perhaps the biggest flex about Los Feliz: There’s no need to leave unless you want to. And you’d risk losing your coveted parking spot anyway.

“So much of my joy of being in L.A. is being able to step out of my apartment and hike up to Griffith Park,” said David Montgomery, selling his artwork on a Saturday afternoon at the Los Feliz Flea. Shoppers were sifting through his hyperlocal prints — as the self-appointed “Mayor of Los Feliz,” Montgomery has painted everything from the historic Good Luck Bar to the view of the 5 Freeway from Los Feliz Boulevard to the late mountain lion P-22, who lived in Griffith Park.

Montgomery stumbled upon his current Los Feliz home after fleeing from a nightmare roommate — and he never looked back. “I just got lucky,” he said. “A guy on Griffith Park and Los Feliz [boulevards] had a room for rent, and I was like, ‘OK, let me test this out.’ And I was like, what is all this? Then I found [the Los Feliz 3] theater and I saw ‘La La Land’ on that tiny-a— screen and I was like, this place is f—ing magic.”

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Sandwiched between the celebrity-filled Hollywood Hills and trendy Silver Lake, Los Feliz has an appreciation for both the old and the new: On the busy strip of Hillhurst Avenue, you can grab a matcha latte at the TikTok-approved Maru Coffee, which always has a line outside, or at the House of Pies on Vermont, which has been around since 1969 — both are equally cherished.

The neighborhood is rich with history: Young Walt Disney started his cartoon studio in his uncle’s Los Feliz garage and opened the original Walt Disney Studios there. (The site is now an Extra Copy photocopy store and Kingswell skate shop, which both display nods to their connections with the Mouse.) And if you look close enough, you can spot homes designed by famous architects like Frank Lloyd Wright (the Ennis and Hollyhock houses) and Raphael Soriano (Gogol House).

Head over to Franklin Hills, an even smaller neighborhood in Los Feliz, and you’ll see the Gothic-style Shakespeare Bridge (which has virtually nothing to do with the famous writer) that was built in 1926 and is just a few blocks from John Marshall High School, which mimics its style and has been the backdrop for several movies and TV shows, including “Grease” and “The Wonder Years.”

On Vermont Avenue, you can see the Dresden Room, where famous jazz duo Marty and Elayne Roberts serenaded audiences six nights a week for almost 40 years until Marty died in January 2022. (The Dresden still hosts jazzy lounge acts a couple of nights a week.) A short walk from there is Palermo Italian Restaurant, helmed by magnetic owner Tony Fanara, who ran for governor in 2022 and received nearly 6,500 votes.

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Caroline Trujillo’s appreciation for Los Feliz all comes down to her daily routines, which often involve walking around the entire district, hiking at Griffith Park if she’s feeling ambitious and grabbing an iced coffee at All Time, where she likes to people watch.

“I love the walkability to Barnsdall Park,” says the 32-year-old music marketer. She’s lived in the area for nearly three years. “Being able to incorporate that into an everyday part of my life — just sitting at a park and reading, or playing my Nintendo Switch and being able to watch the sunset — is super convenient.”

Those type of comforts make it tough to leave Los Feliz — and luckily, you don’t have to. Whether you’re embarking on a solo adventure, linking up with friends or hanging out with family, there’s a plethora of things to keep you entertained on this side of town. Perhaps you’ll even get as settled in as Montgomery, who writes that he “will not cross the 405 even if you paid me.”

Love where you live? Tell us which neighborhood we should feature next.

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What's included in this guide

Anyone who’s lived in a major metropolis can tell you that neighborhoods are a tricky thing. They’re eternally malleable and evoke sociological questions around how we place our homes, our neighbors and our communities within a wider tapestry. In the name of neighborly generosity, we included gems that may linger outside of technical parameters. Instead of leaning into stark definitions, we hope to celebrate all of the places that make us love where we live.

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LOS FELIZ, CA - OCTOBER 3RD: Los Feliz neighborhood staple, Home restaurant on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 in Los Feliz, CA. (Joel Barhamand / For The Times)
(Joel Barhamand/For The Times)

Start your day off right at Home

Los Feliz Restaurant and lounge
There are multiple places to order eggs Benedict or mimosas in the neighborhood, but Home is a solid and reliable choice for a casual breakfast or brunch. At the entrance of the eatery is an idyllic sign that reads “There’s no place like home” welcoming patrons inside.

The outside patio, which is dog friendly, looks like it could be someone’s backyard, with large trees and lush greenery spread about and a fountain with swimming fish. The restaurant’s interior feels more like the moody dining room of a Craftsman-style house with tall tables and stools, plush leather couches, draped burgundy curtains and black decor. There are also several photos of old Hollywood stars, like that iconic image of Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandrige, and “Casablanca’s” Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

For breakfast and brunch, some favorites are the fried chicken sandwich and buttermilk pancakes, and for dinner, try the juicy jerk pork chop or short rib pot pie. Happy Hour is from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the bar. Valet parking is $10, but if you’re lucky, you can find street parking in the nearby neighborhood.
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LOS FELIZ, CA - OCTOBER 7TH: Customers browsing the Los Feliz Flea market on Saturday, October 7, 2023 in Los Feliz, CA. (Joel Barhamand / For The Times)
(Joel Barhamand/For The Times)

Hunt for vintage gems at Los Feliz Flea

Los Feliz Flea Market
On the iconic, Gothic-style schoolyard of John Marshall High School, where the TV show “Boy Meets World” and films like the 1984 version of “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Pretty in Pink,” “Grease” and “Space Jam” were filmed, is a free flea market that takes place every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine.

Shelly Famighetti-Dane and her husband, Phillip Dane, who was the mastermind behind what is now the beloved Melrose Trading Post, had been producing flea markets around L.A. since the early ’90s before deciding to bring one to their Los Feliz neighborhood during the fall of 2020. With roughly 235 vendors, shoppers can find an array of new and vintage garments, along with original print advertisements from the 1900s to the 1980s from American magazines like Playboy and Jet at the Vintage Printage booth and Italian Renaissance-era planters and paintings of go-to neighborhood spots like the Vista Theatre by artist David Montgomery, who calls himself the “Mayor of Los Feliz.” There aren’t many antique dealers at this flea, but the founders are planning to launch a holiday market at the Autry Museum in November, which will also feature live entertainment and a full bar.
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LOS FELIZ, CA - OCTOBER 2ND: Staff member pets a regular customer at popular coffee shop Obet & Dele on Monday, October 2, 2023 in Los Feliz, CA. (Joel Barhamand / For The Times)
(Joel Barhamand/For The Times)

Sip a Thai Town Latte at Obet and Del's

Los Feliz Coffeehouse
At the border of Thai Town and Los Feliz is Obet and Del’s, a vibrant Filipino- and Black-owned coffee shop known for distinctive drinks inspired by their neighborhood, including a Filipino iced coffee made with ube and a Thai Town Latte, which is their version of a Thai iced tea. With ample natural light, exposed brick walls, a vibey playlist (rapper J.I.D was playing on a recent visit), several outlets, light wood benches and large community table, Obet and Del’s is a remote worker’s dream. Plus, it has bottomless coffee, so visitors can order a basic drip coffee, either hot or cold, and get unlimited refills for just $6. Another standout on the menu: the “3-in-1 latte,” which is a classic iced or hot coffee with a shot of espresso and three types of milk (almond, oat and condensed).

The ’70s-style red, yellow and blue stripes on the walls (earth tones that represent clay, the sun and the sky), along with the massive gallery wall filled with plants, products by Black- and brown-owned businesses, and artwork by local artists adds to the inviting atmosphere. Heather Knox and Joshua Oliveros, the owners and longtime couple, don’t want visitors working on their laptops the entire time they are there, though. They designed the space to feel like somewhere people could mingle with strangers, chop it up with a friend and “feel comfortable being there all day.”
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A tree grows up to the ceiling in a bookstore.
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Meet your favorite authors IRL at Skylight Books

Los Feliz Book Store
Occupying the space that used to house the cherished Chatterton’s Bookshop is Skylight Books, which opened in 1996 and has been a landmark in the community much like its predecessor. There’s almost always people hanging out inside and outside the store, and on some days, you might even catch a performance from a live musician on the sidewalk. Celebrities like Chris Pine have been seen walking out of the store, holding a stack of books like a trophy, and everyone from Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and writer Patti Smith to novelist Zadie Smith, author Viet Thanh Nguyen and writer Dave Eggers have hosted readings and book launches at Skylight, along with several local authors.

At the center of the indie bookstore is a large ficus tree, as old as the building itself, with branches that touch the ceiling. The shop’s elusive cat, Franny, used to hang out on the bench surrounding the tree before she died in January. Skylight’s highly curated selection includes literary fiction, graphic novels, children’s books, nonfiction and books on California history and culture. It also sells stationery items and gifts. Two doors down from Skylight is the arts annex , which sells limited-run comics, zines and more.
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LOS FELIZ, CA - OCTOBER 7TH: The dual opening of Sean Powell's Forced Maturity & Win Wallace's Khloris Becoming Flora at the La Luz de Jesus Gallery on Saturday, October 7, 2023 in Los Feliz, CA. (Joel Barhamand / For The Times)
(Joel Barhamand/For The Times)

Take in the magical wonder of Wacko/Soap Plant

Los Feliz Retail
With the self-proclaimed title as “the second happiest place on Earth,” there’s no place quite like Wacko/Soap Plant in Los Angeles. The wildly colorful and energetic space is home to a retail shop known for its eccentric tchotchkes, vintage clothing, expansive book collection and soap, along with a storied art gallery (La Luz de Jesus Gallery) that helped propel California’s pop surrealism art movement to popularity.

Billy Shire, a self-taught leatherworker, opened the first iteration of the store with his mom, Barbara, who made handmade soaps, in 1971 in Los Feliz. In the 1980s, he took over the shop and moved it to a larger location in Melrose, before bringing it back to Los Feliz — inside an old post office — in 1995.

Growing up in nearby Thai Town, ?mine Avanessian, owner of Pygmy Hippo Shoppe, has been going to Wacko/Soap Plant on a monthly basis since she was a child. “I’m in my 40s and it’s just how we grew up,” she said on a recent visit, adding that the gallery also has been significant in the L.A. art scene for decades. “It’s just a rad spot to visit.”

Stepping inside of the Wacko/Soap Plant store, which is adorned by a vibrant mural with googly eyes atop the doorway, always feels like an exciting adventure no matter how many times you’ve visited. There’s always something new to see and admire in the 6,500-square-foot complex. Toward the middle of the store are two life-size mannequins dressed like empresses, an array of mugs and candles of icons including Frida Kahlo and Toni Morrison, preserved insects, Godzilla figurines, dachshund rugs and the TikTok-approved Sonny Angel toys.

At the back of the store is where you’ll find the La Luz de Jesus Gallery, which features striking art that matches the quirky sensibilities of the shop. On a recent visit, the gallery had solo exhibitions by San Francisco-based Joel Hernandez and Yucca Valley-based Dianne Bennett. La Luz also hosts a group show every July featuring hundreds of artists from around the world.
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A wooden unit holding shoes in a shop, with colorful clothing hanging on a rack behind
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Find 'L.A. cool girl' staples at Carol Young Undesigned

Los Feliz Retail
For eccentric, functional clothing that will make your friends ask, “Where did you get that?” visit Carol Young Undesigned, located across the street from the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream shop on Hillhurst Avenue. Owned by a former architecture student turned fashion designer, Undesigned was born in Echo Park in 2003 and moved to Los Feliz three years later.

Inside the quaint store, you’ll find everything that an L.A. cool girl would rock while on the go: colorful halter dresses, asymmetrical pants, crinkly-textured jumpsuits and sets, which come in drawstring bags for easy travel. All of the garments, some of which can be considered gender-neutral, are designed in-house by Young and her longtime seamstress, Sonia, and made with sustainable organic and recycled blends. If they have time, they’ll even make minor tailoring adjustments to ensure a perfect fit. Undesigned also sells eye-catching footwear from around the world, including Berlin-based 罢谤颈辫辫别苍’蝉 unconventional leather boots and Paris-based Calla Paris’ tabi slide-ons, which are made from vintage Berber rugs, along with playful accessories and jewelry.
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LOS FELIZ, CA - OCTOBER 3RD: A statue outside the Philosophical Research Society on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 in Los Feliz, CA. (Joel Barhamand / For The Times)
(Joel Barhamand/For The Times)

Step into the mysterious Philosophical Research Society (which is not a cult)

Los Feliz Library
Perched on the corner of Los Feliz and Griffith Park boulevards, the Philosophical Research Society is strange and mysterious, but absolutely not a cult. (Many have wondered.) Founded in 1934 to promote the study of philosophy, comparative religion, mysticism and metaphysics, it is currently home to an esoteric library, a small art gallery, a bookshop, a lecture hall and a 200-seat auditorium that is due for an upgrade.

The organization has gone through a few iterations over the decades, but it’s currently being run as a nonprofit arts and culture venue. On any given day, visitors to the Mayan Revival campus might stumble across a tarot workshop, film screening, poetry reading, sound bath or a lecture on the women of punk — and often several events at once. The bookstore has an extensive collection of books and pamphlets by the society’s revered founder, Manly P. Hall, including a new oversized and luxurious reprint of his magnum opus, “The Secret Teachings of All Ages.” The dark atmospheric library is open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.
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LOS FELIZ, CA - OCTOBER 2ND: Details of the Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Park on Monday, October 2, 2023 in Los Feliz, CA. (Joel Barhamand / For The Times)
(Joel Barhamand/For the Times)

Picnic on the grassy lawn and tour the marvelous Hollyhock House

East Hollywood City park
From the street view on Hollywood Boulevard, where only an Art Deco sign and blocklong fenced parking lot lies, it’s easy to overlook the wondrous Barnsdall Art Park, which is why it remains surprisingly low-key. But once you reach the top of the steep hill — there’s a parking lot on the second level of the area — there lies a 11.5-acre park with a luscious lawn with olive trees, an art gallery and theater and the stunning Hollyhock House, which was designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall.

It costs $7 for adults, $3 for seniors and students and is free for children under 12 to embark on a self-guided tour of the spectacular concrete- block, Mayan-inspired home. The spacious park also is home to the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, which is free to visit and has a wide range of contemporary art. And with a clear view of the Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory, it’s the perfect place to take a solo afternoon stroll or have a picnic with friends.
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LOS FELIZ, CA - OCTOBER 2ND: The storefront of Sumi's gift shop on Monday, October 2, 2023 in Los Feliz, CA. (Joel Barhamand / For The Times)
(Joel Barhamand / For the Times)

Hunt for gasp-worthy goods at Sumi’s gift shop (and bring your pup)

Los Feliz Retail
When you’re on the hunt for something extra special for a loved one, Sumi’s gift shop on Vermont Avenue is the place to go. Run by Sumi Siegel, Sumi’s is known for its jewelry, including Siegel’s own handmade jewelry line called Emma Lou — which is made to order and customizable — and Carita Viola upholstery fabric bags, which are made by her mother in Helsinki.

You’ll also find endearing ceramic plates with words like “bitch” and “damn” inscribed on the front, an art print of 20 L.A. buildings that no longer exist, petite notebooks that have been adorned with the remnants of damaged vinyl records and translucent coasters of musicians like Prince, David Bowie and Rihanna. There’s a small kids section at the back of the store that offers delightful goods like Cate and Levi stuffed animals and puppets. On the walls, there’s a display of Polaroid photos of dogs that have stopped by the store, many of which live in the neighborhood. (Store staff also pass out dog treats.)
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Customers enjoy dinner on the sidewalk of popular cafe Figaro Bistrot
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Sip espresso and people watch at Figaro Bistrot

Los Feliz Restaurant and lounge
There’s no better place to people watch in Los Feliz than Figaro Bistrot. Sitting at one of the petite tables on the snug sidewalk on Vermont Avenue feels like being transported to Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris. Figaro Bistrot is a lively French restaurant that embodies how Parisians dine: taking your time to eat your meal as you reconnect with loved ones over vino for hours. And if you’re dining solo, it’s easy to feel like a main character in your own film, while reading a book and sipping espresso as you silently judge passersby squeezing past on the sidewalk.

There’s no bad time to visit Figaro Bistrot, though, it’s typically busiest at lunchtime during the week and at dinner on the weekends, when mainstays like French onion soup, steak frites, Boeuf Bourguignon and escargot are served. If there are no open tables outside, the restaurant’s dining room and zinc bar, which is adorned with Parisian antiques and artwork, has a welcoming vibe. It’d be a crime to leave without stopping by the boulangerie to grab one of the delectable pastries like a macaron or multifruit tart.
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Customers wait to place their order at Yuca's Taco Hut
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Dig into authentic Yucatán-style tacos at Yuca's

Los Feliz Restaurant and lounge
On a typical afternoon, the view at Yuca’s, an 8-by-10-foot taco hut on Hillhurst Avenue, looks something like this: suit-wearing business folks scarfing down tacos in between work calls, groups of teenagers grabbing a snack after school, dog-loving couples on casual dates and regulars putting in their “usual” orders. The laid-back, family-owned taco joint, which has been a staple in the community since 1976, attracts people from all walks of life. True to its Yucatecan roots, Yuca’s specializes in burritos ($11.50) made with flour tortillas, fresh pico de gallo and pinto beans, as well as tacos ($4.25) made with corn tortillas and pico de gallo. The meat options include carnitas, carne asada, shredded beef, chicken or cochinita pibil (Yucatán-style pork).

There’s no salsa bar here and you won’t miss it because the food is consistent and straightforward. Yuca’s also sells burgers, hot dogs and tortas.
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A smiling person holds up a large bowl of shaved ice
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Try a cloud-like sweet treat at Ululani’s Hawaiian Shaved Ice

Los Feliz Dessert
There’s regular shaved ice, a chunky ice concoction with drizzled syrup on top that you might see at a fair, and then there’s Ululani’s Hawaiian Shaved Ice, a Maui-born sweet spot known for its juicy flavors and cloud-like shaved ice that is so soft it melts in your mouth. Tucked in the corner of Blue Rooster Art Supplies, which is also owned by Nick Gallo, on Hollywood Boulevard and Vermont Avenue (yes, this is technically still Los Feliz), this location is the first Ululani’s shop on the mainland. Gallo, a San Jose-native who has family on Oahu, opened Ululani’s after falling in love with sweet shops during visits to his wife’s family in Maui over the years.

What makes Ululani’s so special is its use of “ultra-purified” water to make the ice and 100% cane sugar and natural fruit purees to make 50-plus signature syrups, including flavors like passion fruit, coconut, cotton candy, pineapple and pickled mango. (If you’ve ever had a New Orleans snowball like the ones at the Sno Ball shop in Windsor Hills, then you’ll love Ululani’s.) Ululani’s has an array of toppings to amp up the dessert, including “snow cap” (sweetened condensed milk), toasted coconut, fresh mochi or li hing mui reduction drizzle or powder (a Hawaii dried plum treat). You can also add adzuki beans (Japanese red beans that make a sweet paste) or ice cream (flavors include coconut, macadamia and vanilla) to your shaved ice. The kids, or “keiki,” size costs $6.25 and the regular size is $7.50. The tiny space fills up quickly, especially on the weekends, so it’s common for people to sit on the bench in front of the shop while enjoying their delicious treat, or hang out on the back patio where there’s a bright mural by Brooklyn-based artist Gosha Levochin, who used to work at Blue Rooster.

Since the recent wildfires in Maui, which destroyed two Ululani’s locations, the shop has been fundraising via GoFundMe (75% of the donations will go to its employees in Maui and the remaining 25% will go to Lahaina organizations).
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LOS FELIZ, CA - OCTOBER 3RD: A young visitor to Griffith Observatory try's her best to see downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 in Los Feliz, CA. (Joel Barhamand / For The Times)
(Joel Barhamand/For The Times)

Hike, picnic or explore the galaxy at Griffith Park

Griffith Park City park
Let’s start by getting the elephant in the room out of the way: Yes, Griffith Park resides in its own L.A. neighborhood of the same name, but because there are few homes in this area, and many Angelenos consider the popular area to be in Los Feliz, we’re including it in this guide.

Spanning more than 4,210 acres, the park is one of the largest municipal parks in the country, nearly five times larger than New York’s Central Park. Griffith Park is a beast of a destination, which is why so many people haven’t experienced all that it has to offer. Among all that green space are popular destinations like the multitude of lawns where you can host a picnic, more than 50 miles of trails you can hike in order to get a better look at the Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory — the most visited public observatory in the world — where you can stargaze and view astronomy exhibitions. I’ve been to Griffith Observatory over the years, but I’d never explored the galleries there until recently. I stepped on scales to see how much I’d weigh on various planets and watched the observatory’s charismatic director, Ed Krupp, give a presentation about the autumnal equinox.

Griffith Park also is home to a zoo, museum, equestrian center, famous caves that you can visit, a golf course, cafe, the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum where you can visit Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn, and more. Do yourself a favor and start going to the areas at Griffith Park that you haven’t experienced yet — preferably during the week, because it gets packed during the weekend. You’re in for a fun adventure. It’s easy to get lost here, though, so it’s wise to use a map (on your phone or a paper one), guidebook or a friend who knows their way around the area.
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Los Angeles, CA. - MARCH 30, 2021: Catherine Mazzoleni, walks next to a mixed media collage by Brian D. Tripp entitled "The Best Things in Life Aren't Free" inside The Autry Museum of the American West. The museum re-opens to it's members March 30, 2021 in Los Angeles. The museum will re-open to the general public on April 6. LA County may be moving into less restrictive orange tier during the corona virus allowing museums to operate at 50% capacity. (Francine Orr/ Los Angeles Times)
(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

Learn about the real West at Autry Museum of the American West

Griffith Park Art Museum
Within Griffith Park, one specific location deserves to be highlighted: the Autry Museum of the American West, which turned 35 years old this year. Located inside of the park across the street from the L.A. Zoo, the 36,000-square-foot complex appears to be smaller than it is, but it has three floors, with administrative offices on the top floor and multiple exhibitions that are technically underground. At the museum’s entrance is a bronze sculpture of the co-founder of the museum, Hollywood’s singing cowboy Gene Autry, who’s responsible for holiday anthems like “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

The Autry is much more than a cowboy museum. The interactive art space has more than 600,000 pieces of art and cultural objects, and is the steward of the second-most significant Native American collection in the country. There, you’ll learn about true representations of the West, including the influence of Indigenous people, queer cowboys and even modern groups like the Compton Cowboys. At the long-term “Imagined Wests” exhibit, you can spin a wheel to write your own western, play a “Jeopardy” game to test your knowledge of western films or step in front of a green screen to set yourself in the middle of a fight scene. You can easily spend an hour or the entire day here, whether you’re solo or with your family — there are also several hangout and reflection areas inside the Autry. The museum also hosts events regularly on the property, including film screenings with Street Food Cinema. The Autry is closed Mondays and costs $16 for adults, $12 for seniors and kids ages 13-18, and $8 for 3- to 12-year-olds. It’s free to visit on the second Tuesday of the month.
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LOS FELIZ, CA - OCTOBER 3RD: A table set pool side at the Cara restaurant in the atrium of the Cara Hotel on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 in Los Feliz, CA. (Joel Barhamand / For The Times)
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Escape to a Mediterranean villa at Cara Hotel

Los Feliz American Restaurant
If it weren’t for its glowing red and blue sign beckoning visitors inside, it’d be easy to drive past the Cara Hotel without even noticing it. But it’s a worthy stop even if you’re not seeking a spot to rest your head on a vacation. Wedged between an apartment building and a shopping center near the corner of Western Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard and less than a mile from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the former 1950s-era motel was knocked down in 2020 and transformed into a chic hotel. With a warm scent of mahogany wood and citrus and Venetian-plastered walls with crown moldings, the boutique hotel feels like an escape to a European oasis sans the hours-long flight.

Though the Cara Hotel — “cara” is the Gaelic word for “friend” — has been around for only a few years, it’s become a staple for TV, film and music creatives looking for a respite from bustling Hollywood as well as for Los Feliz residents seeking a peaceful staycation. The true draw for Angelenos, though, is Cara’s restaurant, which sits in an airy courtyard and is filled with centuries-old olive trees and a tranquility pool. It’s open throughout much of the day, but the dreamy lighting makes it perfect for a romantic date night or a special occasion. Some recent favorites on the menu include the Yucatecan ceviche, mouthwatering lemon pasta and olive oil cake . And the night doesn’t have to stop there as Cara’s bar, located on a patio, offers an array of entertainment including a salsa band on Wednesday nights (the dancers don’t play), jazz on Sundays and live DJs throughout the weekend.
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LOS FELIZ, CA - OCTOBER 7TH:Brunch offerings from the restaurant Mirate on Saturday, October 7, 2023 in Los Feliz, CA. (Joel Barhamand / For The Times)
(Joel Barhamand/For The Times)

Share unlimited tostadas, family style, at Mírate

Los Feliz Restaurant and lounge
If you’ve been missing the fried chicken tacos, salmon skin chicharrón or mezcal-infused flan that were served at Mírame in Beverly Hills — the high-end eatery that closed in July after three years — make your way to the restaurant’s sister spot, Mírate, which opened in November 2022 on Vermont Avenue. It occupies the former location of Rockwell Table and Stage and, years before that, Sarno’s Pastry Shop (whose old sign hovers above the entrance like a ghost).

To get inside the laid-back, 7,500-square-feet space, you’ll have to walk up a flight of dimly lit stairs — one of the main sources of light is a neon sign glowing “mezcal.” The adventure continues as you walk through what looks like a trendy hotel lobby revealing a stunning dining room with indoor and courtyard seating on two floors. In the middle of the dreamy Tulum-reminiscent eatery is a tree house with luscious greenery spread throughout.

Though the restaurant, which was recently added to the Michelin Guide’s list of top spots in California, has an extensive food menu, with some of the same items as Mírame — like the fried chicken tacos, whole fried snapper and ceviche — Mírate works best as a brunch or pregame spot before a night on the town with friends. Enjoy the vibe with tunes playing like “狈耻产别蝉” by hip-hop artist Ni?a Dioz from Monterrey, Mexico. (It felt like a place that would have been featured on Issa Rae’s “Insecure.” )

It’s the perfect place to grab an inventive cocktail — the bar exclusively sources its beer, wine and mezcal from Mexico — like a margarita made with aguachile, nopales granita, coconut and avocado-washed tequila blanco. Then split small plates like crab esquites, which comes with an unlimited supply of tostadas, jicama aguachile with gooseberry and morita jamaica, and any of their tacos (beef brisket and fried chicken) . It’s open until 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
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LOS FELIZ, CA - OCTOBER 7TH: The revolving pie case features some of the offereings from House of Pies on Saturday, October 7, 2023 in Los Feliz, CA. (Joel Barhamand / For The Times)
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Dig into delicious strawberry cream pie at House of Pies

Los Feliz American Restaurant
It’s hard to miss the revolving house-shaped sign for House of Pies that has overlooked the corner of Vermont and Franklin avenues since 1969. Created by Al Lapin Jr., who’s also behind the well-known International House of Pancakes, House of Pies has long been cherished for its wide selection of cream and fruit pies, including flavors like strawberry, Key lime, peach, German chocolate, Dutch apple, peanut butter and more. Patrons get a sneak peak of the delicious pies and cheesecakes in a vintage rotating glass case near the entrance. The cottage-style diner, which feels like being transported into the ’60s, has a full menu and sells breakfast all day.

Open until 1 a.m. during the week and 2 a.m. on weekends, House of Pies is the perfect spot after a late showing at the historic Los Feliz 3 Cinemas or when you’re craving something sweet after a night out. The charming eatery has indoor and outdoor seating. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find a parking spot in front of the diner, but there’s also a small overflow parking in the back or limited street parking.
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The marquee of the Los Feliz Theatre features the films "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer," Friday, July 28, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
(Chris Pizzello/AP)

Time travel to the Golden Age of Hollywood at Los Feliz 3 Cinemas

Los Feliz Movie Theater
The Los Feliz 3 Cinemas may not be as notable as the nearby Vista Theatre, which used to be under the same ownership until Quentin Tarantino bought it, but it has its own charisma that cinephiles adore. Designed by architect Clifford A. Balch in the 1930s, the old-school indie theater has a neon Art Deco entrance with gleaming purple and green lights and three screening rooms adorned with colorful murals on the walls and a glistening ceiling that makes you feel like you’re watching a movie under the stars.

The cushioned seats fill up quickly — the rooms have 55, 60 and 150 available seats — so get there early in order to find a cozy spot. (One time I arrived too late and had to sit on a folding chair.) You won’t break the bank visiting this spot; tickets are $12.50 ($10.50 for matinees, seniors and kids under 11). Online ticketing isn’t available yet, according to the theater’s website. The Los Feliz 3 also hosts events and screenings with American Cinematheque.
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LOS FELIZ, CA - OCTOBER 3RD: The dining room of Little Doms Italian restaurant is bathed in afternoon light just before dinner service on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 in Los Feliz, CA. (Joel Barhamand / For The Times)
(Joel Barhamand/For The Times)

Fill up on meatballs and wine at Little Dom's

Los Feliz Restaurant and lounge
If you were to ask any Los Feliz resident on the street what restaurant they’d recommend for dinner, the likelihood of them saying Little Dom’s is extremely high. Though the Italian eatery isn’t necessarily mind-blowing — many Yelp reviewers say they prefer brunch here — it’s the vibe that keeps the blood-red booths filled. Make a reservation to avoid what can be a long wait.

While it’s the type of place where you can imagine 1950s-era mobsters dining with James Brown’s “The Big Payback” ringing in the background (as it was on a recent visit), there’s a warmth and coziness at Little Dom’s that is undeniable. You can eat on the sidewalk or in one of the dimly lit dining areas inside, but the coolest and most chill of them all is the back area, which looks like an old-school deli. The restaurant’s walls are filled with horse memorabilia and black-and-white images of celebrities like Muhammad Ali cutting a birthday cake, chrome-polished barstools, a vintage wooden bar near the entrance, and leaded glass windows that were salvaged from an old building. Order the wood-oven-roasted hanger steak along with meatballs or rice balls, which are filled with fresh mozzarella, Parmesan and provolone.
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LOS FELIZ, CA - OCTOBER 3RD: Patrons of Ye Rustic Inn perfom at karaoke night on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 in Los Feliz, CA. (Joel Barhamand / For The Times)
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Come for the chicken wings, stay for karaoke and trivia?at Ye Rustic Inn

Los Feliz Bar
Ye Rustic Inn is the place to go to watch your favorite sports team , play trivia or perform your best karaoke rendition of “Mr. Brightside” by the Killers or “What’s Your Fantasy” by Ludacris. There’s also a digital jukebox inside, where you can play DJ all night. But the true allure of the dive bar is its fall-off-the-bone chicken wings, which they say are the best in the city. The kitschy dive bar, which is next door to the 40-year-old Chi Dynasty restaurant, has two patios, in front and in back.

Arrive early, especially on karaoke Tuesdays or trivia Sundays at 9 p.m., to land a booth inside. Near the jukebox is a digital sign that says, “Bartenders: If it wasn’t for them, you’d still be sober. Tip accordingly.” There’s also a handwritten sign at the entrance that instructs patrons to ask for a parking pass if you parked in the lot, but I’ve never done that. The pub is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on most nights but opens at noon on Fridays and Saturdays and 9 a.m. on Sundays.
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