Forbes magazine didn’t name Silver Lake CA “America’s Best Hipster Neighborhood” for nothing.
“The eclectic enclave boasts some of the nation’s most lauded food trucks and farmer’s markets, a booming arts scene and one of the largest creative class communities in the country. Silver Lake is also home to some of the most avant-garde Modernist architecture in North America.”
It’s this artsy-creative vibe along with the winding streets and hilly topography and its collection of modernist architecture rarely seen in other neighborhoods that makes living in this residential area unlike any other.
Explore what it’s like to live in Silver Lake, CA including a brief history about real estate and architecture in the neighborhood, advice on buying a home, local grub, and things to do. Ready to buy a home or thinking of selling? Skip to:
Los Angeles’ big construction boom of the early 1920’s attracted real estate developers and modernist architects to the neighborhood. Raphael Soriano, Gregory Ain, Richard Neutra, John Lautner, Rudolph Schindler, and Craig Ellwood were among those who designed the architectural houses of the community resulting in the neighborhood becoming the place where, “There are more architecturally esteemed homes per square mile in Silver Lake than in any other part of the City.” Among the most notable real estate and architecture in the neighborhood are:
THE NEUTRA COLONY
Yew, Inadomi, Sokol, Treweck, Flavin, Ohara, Akai, Kambara, and the VDL Research House are the names of a collection of houses architect Richard Neutra built on Silver Lake Blvd and Neutra Place. Known as The Colony they are a stunning example of modernist architecture. Each house is oriented to capture views of the Silver Lake Reservoir and the surrounding outdoors.
This is architect John Lautner at his finest. Built for industrialist and engineer, Kenneth Reiner, Silvertop (aka the Reiner-Burchill Residence) was the most talked about listing to hit the real estate market in Silver Lake during 2014. Measuring 4,721 square feet the three-bedroom, four-bathroom listed for $7.5 million. According to the LA Conservancy this was
“Lautner’s first major use of monolithic concrete as a sculptural as well as architectural component. It was completed in 1963, after nearly seven years of construction.
The Organic Modern house features a huge, arching concrete roof over a wall of glass opening the interior to the views all around, enhanced by a cantilevered swimming pool that seems to flow directly into Silver Lake Reservoir far below.”
The home also has a one bedroom, one bathroom guesthouse (that also offers a kitchen and a darkroom) and a workshop. In a fierce multiple offer battle the home sold to Luke Wood, president of Beats by Dre, for $8.55 million.
AUSTRIAN SPENCER HOUSE
This was architect Raphael Soriano’s very first commission.
He broke ground in the Silver Lake hills on the Austrian Spencer House in 1937. When this property hit the market in 2006 it had seen better days. With a cracked foundation and other deferred maintenance the house remained on the market for 103 days.
Restoration expert, Chris Salay, eventually purchased it. And when the home returned to the market in 2013 it looked like a gem. Updated with teak sinks, a reclaimed wood wall, Boffi fixtures, a modern utilitarian kitchen, and Soriano’s signature of steel framed ribbon windows made this home look like the classic it was intended to be.
BUYING A HOME IN SILVER LAKE, CA
Silver Lake homes are coveted. Located near Downtown, Hollywood, and other popular neighborhoods, and home to a collection of architecturally esteemed properties, the neighborhood attracts an eclectic assortment of artists, execs, and suited and booted business mavens.
When you sell a home here, open houses are packed and buying a home often means competing in multiple offers. Real estate listings of single family homes in the Moreno Highlands, within the Ivanhoe School District, and with lake views are coveted. And properties near Sunset Junction are highly sought after. Also, new developments, particularly new small lot developments, are gaining in popularity. It’s highly recommended you work with a local real estate agent who will help you navigate the real estate market by recommending new listings (both on and off market) and help you be prepared by making sure you’re mortgage pre-approval is completed along with other necessary paperwork.
To find a home search real estate listings in Silver Lake.
From March 2017 – September 2017 the least expensive home to sell in Echo Park was a 3 bedroom, 2 bath fixer measuring 861 square feet located on Laveta Ter in Angelino Heights. It sold for $415,000. During the same time frame, the most expensive home to sell in the area was the renovated, 3 bedroom, 4 bath, brick house of artist Pauline Annon located on Landa St. Measuring 3,280 square feet it sold for $2,500,000.
Average Sales Price for a Single Family Home: $1,042,007
Housing Trend: Homes selling within the first 30 days on the market sold for 108.37% above the asking price.
Neighborhoods Nearby: Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Echo Park, Elysian Valley, Glassell Park, Griffith Park, Koreatown, Los Feliz, and Westlake.
DINING IN SILVER LAKE, CA
Sunset Junction: I heart this hub of the neighborhood. The street junction of Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard was once where the Pasadena and Pacific Railway carried passengers from Downtown to Santa Monica. It was also where the nation watched as people at The Black Cat Tavern rioted in solidarity against police harassment in gay bars. And even later, it’s where the now defunct annual Sunset Junction Street Fair filled the streets with food trucks, local bands, and kiddie carnival rides.
Today, it remains the most lively section of the Silver Lake community.
3932 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029
Bringing a little bit of Paris to the ‘hood since the 90’s. Serving classic French bistro cuisine in an intimate setting. Indoor, outdoor, and wine bar side seating available. My favorite dish is the filet mignon accompanied by a glass of Pinot Noir.
3932 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029
The Parisian vibe continues just across the outdoor patio of Cafe Stella. Crafted cocktails include a list of your usual suspects like a classic martini, Manhattan, an old-fashioned, a mojito, as well as a Moscow Mule. And then seasonal mixes with names like Son of a Priest and Gold Jacket are thrown in for your salivating glands.
3922 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029
This is where my caffeine addiction started. It’s Intelligentsia’s first West Coast flagship store for these Chicago based coffee importers and roasters.
3909 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029
Here’s a fun fact: Harry Hay, considered by many to be the father of the modern gay rights movement, organized the pioneering gay rights group Mattachine Society. The Black Cat protests led to the creation of the now defunct Sunset Junction street festival. Now this historic location related to the LGBTQ civil rights movement is an upscale gastropub.
PINE & CRANE
1521 Griffith Park Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Self described as, “a fast-casual Taiwanese-Chinese restaurant located in the heart of Silver Lake. Our goal is to bring you authentic, delicious Taiwanese-Chinese fare in a comfortable, modern setting. We are passionate about what we do, and take pride in preparing our food using simple, fresh ingredients.” The food is really delicious.
SHOPPING IN SILVER LAKE, CA
1618 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
A vintage-modern furniture and home goods store offering an accessible alternative to mass-production or cliché knockoffs.
MOHAWK GENERAL STORE
4011 W Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90029
Where fashionistas shop to find designer apparel, shoes, swimwear, and lifestyle accessories for men & women.
MOLLUSK SURF SHOP
3511 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026
They live up to being, “a surfing institution” offering surfing newbies and pros a selection of unique surfboards, casual apparel for men, women, and kids, books, and art.
THINGS TO DO IN SILVER LAKE, CA
1717 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
1717 Silver Lake Blvd was formerly the home of Spaceland, the pulse of Eastside’s Indie music scene. Before they were famous bands like Beck, Foo Fighters, Elliott Smith and Weezer performed here. The Satellite continues the tradition by making stars of rising bands.
SILVER LAKE RESERVOIR
1854 – 2246 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026
There are two sections to the reservoir. The lower section is named after Herman Silver, a Water Board Commissioner of the early 1900s. The upper section takes its name from the book Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. It is one of the few open reservoirs remaining.
Recreational activities are abundant around the reservoir. The Silver Lake Recreational Center located on the South side of the reservoir offers a variety of sports programs for kids and teens. A 2.2 mile pathway surrounds the reservoir where joggers get their daily dose of fitness in by blazing around the pathway throughout the day. Outdoor fitness Boot Camps are very popular too. Many gather in the morning and evening hours to complete a grueling fitness regime sworn to get them in shape in a matter of weeks.
A dog park is adjacent to the Silver Lake Recreational Center and is a great place for throwing the ball around with man’s best friend.
On the north side, The Neighborhood Nursery School offers families with kids ages 3 -5 years old a great place to play and learn.
The Silver Lake Meadow is a park located on the North East end of the reservoir. The park is “passive space” meaning no dogs or organized sporting events. This green open space is a great place to throw a Frisbee around, fly a kite, do yoga, tai chi or simply relax.
SILVER LAKE LIBRARY
Remember when we read books? Go here to read, study, rummage through archives or just gawk at the library’s architecture. The 13,600-square-foot building is part of the city’s Sustainable Design Implementation Program (SDIP). It’s the city’s newest eco friendly green library.