Echo Park, Los Angeles
Indeed, it is not the first choice area to see in Los Angeles but Echo Park is in the vicinity where locals and tourists alike travel -either for a Dodger game on Chavez Ravine, for fun at nearby Griffith Park and the L.A. Zoo, touring Hollywood or for cruising along Sunset Blvd.
Echo Park is most known for its most attractive neighborhood feature, the Echo Park Lake. This is the scene where violently beautiful water spring and collide filling the L.A sky. Families, friends and lovers enjoy the lake for a picnic and paddle boat rides. Huge crowds fill up the park area to see the largest bed of lotus flowers in the nation.
Echo Park, the neighborhood is largely Latino, mainly of Mexican decent. However, other ethnic groups and races are adding to the mix. I look forward to future visits here, especially for restaurants (like Masa in restaurant tips) and viewing spray paint art on building walls (as seen here). As a visitor, stick to coming here during the day but if coming at night for a restaurant or Dodgers game, just make sure to practice your street smarts. It is not the safest of neighborhoods, however, police presence is strong and for Dodger games, there has been added security procedures and safeguards. As a young woman, I have been here at night and have had no problems.
In the heart of Echo Park is the thriving little convenience mart for "Time Travellers". Is your flux capacitor out of commission? This is the place to go for repairs. Need leeches? They've got them in stock. Need a Toga in a jar? Need beards for disguises? weapons? dinosaur eggs? freeze dried milk robot milk? Viking odorant, mammoth chunks, Ricky Martin lunch boxes? they are in stock. While this shop has everything to peek one's interest and give a chance to get a souvenir while visiting historic Echo Park, in reality this shop is a facade for another artsy "www.826national.org" shop known as www.826la.org. These are amazing writing labs where kids can go to write and learn with a non-profit organization that tutors kids ages 8-18. Throughout America are 826 stores that have a creative facade to attract tourists and souvenir shoppers while supporting the non-profit witha mission to support the local community, sell books, and teach under-privileged youth. San Francisco's shop is a "Pirate Supply Store", New York City's is a "Superhero Supply Company", while Seattle's is a "Space Travel Supply Company", Chicago has a secret agent supply store, Boston a Cryptozoology shop, and Michigan's Liberty Street location is a "Robot Supply and Repair Shop". L.A.'s Time Travel shop is operated by Miguel Arteta, Mac Barnett, Joshuah Bearman, Nínive Clements Calegari, Dave Eggers, Jodie Evans, John T. Gilbertson, Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal, Keith Knight, Melissa Mathison, Salvador Plascencia, and Sally Willcox as the Board of Directors. Drop In Tutoring is available from Monday through Thursday, 2:30-5:30 pm. Tutoring has a focus on personalized instruction offering local students individualized help with their homework. Often many of the student's works are published by Dogtown Books, an in-house publishing outfit in L.A. Workshops are offered to help students strengthen their skills, foster their creativity, and give them an opportunity to execute projects that showcase their work. The 826LA also sends volunteers to local L.A. schools to support teachers in their classrooms.
Also known as "Kite Hill", the large steep hills that are criss-crossed in Echo Park by various streets such as "Baxter Street", "Fargo Street", etc. are the "steepest streets" in Los Angeles, and a little side-trip for visitors to historic Echo Park. Each of the hills have infamous stone steps climbing them that is reminescent of San Francisco's hilly highlights. This hill was popular in its historic origins as a great place for families to go fly a kite. It was first published as such in a short story called "Kite Hill" in 1996. Kite Hill is the hill east of Avon street and north of Baxter street stairs proper. It is also the name for a community that was resurrected by neighbours when a developer sought to build 10+ houses on the spot with huge retaining walls. Down below the hill is Lake Shore Avenue just over the hill from Echo Park Avenue. Baxter Street's stairway is a winding, narrow, cement climb of 230 steps. As everyone drives up and over "Baxter Street", their heart slips and falls as they hit the top of the hill without being able to see below the dash that the hill continues rather than falling off a cliff, or if there is traffic approaching all three ways.
Echo park is a cool place to go for a walk or a bike ride. I dont recommend coming here at night, cuz its not in the greatest area. But during the day its fine. It gets really crowded with picnic'ers. there is also little lake here, where you can rent paddle boats and cruise around. Lotsa vendors here that sell dirty ice cream and dirty water dogs, in case you get hungry. walk around alittle bit, youll even run into a group of guys smoking the herbs. Oh yeah and theres probably some bodies on the bottom of the lake.. have fun!!