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.”
And it’s that artsy-creative-bohemian vibe that will forever make this neighborhood a destination spot.
MODERN HOMES & REAL ESTATE
Los Angeles’ big construction boom of the early 1920’s attracted many established and up and coming architects. Silver Lake attracted many, now legendary, names like Raphael Soriano, Gregory Ain, Richard Neutra, John Lautner, Rudolph Schindler, and Craig Ellwood. As a result, “There are more architecturally esteemed homes per square mile in Silver Lake than in any other part of the City.”
THE NEUTRA COLONY
Yew, Inadomi, Sokol, Treweck, Flavin, Ohara, Akai, Kambara, and the VDL Research House are the names of a collection of homes architect Richard Neutra built on Silver Lake Blvd and Neutra Place. Known as The Colony they are a stunning example of modernist architecture.
Each home is individually sited to capture views of the lake, 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) saw the light of the real estate market in 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 the home hit the market in 2006 it had seen better days. With a cracked foundation and other deferred maintenance the home lingered for 103 days.
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.
Silver Lake is considered highly diverse for the city of Los Angeles. Silver Lake is 41.8% Latino followed by 34% white. The Asians population is 18% making it high for Los Angeles county. Blacks/African American make up 3.2% of the neighborhood. There’s 3.1% that fall into “other” category.
LOCAL GRUB & THINGS TO DO
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’s where a Mediterranean style building on the corner of Sunset Blvd and Sanborn Ave stands as a neighborhood beacon calling you to spend a day.
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.
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.
This is where my caffeine addiction started. This is Intelligentsia’s first West Coast flagship store for these Chicago based drug dealers – I mean, coffee importers and roasters.
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
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
You can go here to check out books, 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.
ON THE MAP
The zip codes of Silver Lake include 90026, 90039 and parts of 90029. It is near Downtown Los Angeles. The neighborhood is West of Echo Park, East of Los Feliz, South of Atwater Village and north of the 101 Freeway.