Echo Park is LA’s Newest Trendy Neighborhood

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The northeast section of Los Angeles is now the new, trendy area in California’s largest city. Los Angeles perfected urban sprawl, with extensive commuting time in heavy traffic. Echo Park real estate offers quick access to downtown L.A., the Wilshire District, and Hollywood, saving time and fuel for commuters.

This community of approximately 43,000 residents is next to popular Silver Lake and features similar, classic California bungalows, Spanish and Victorian style homes. Several homes offer dramatic views of nearby Dodger Stadium and the downtown skyline.

This area is bordered by a busy stretch of Sunset Boulevard as it winds west toward the coast from downtown. Echo Park includes the Elysian Heights and Angelino Heights neighborhoods.

History

This was once an area of street gangs, graffiti, and corruption. That is the past for this Central L.A. community. This rough past has given this neighborhood an edgy character, but home prices in the $500,000+ range have added to its gentrification.

Nevertheless, it still reflects its Latino heritage and working class background. Like real estate in many L.A. neighborhoods, Echo Park has undergone a major renaissance.

Recently renovated Echo Lake is slightly smaller than neighboring Silver Lake, and the surrounding terrain is hilly. The lake features a central fountain; the park offers more views of the downtown skyline. Colorful artwork leads up the famous Bellevue steps from Glendale Boulevard to a lookout above the park.

The Liberty Stage at the park is a major outdoor venue for some of the best indie bands in Los Angeles. Echo Park Rising is a four-day festival of music from local bands held at the park during August. The event offers the latest indie rock groups and many bands reflecting the Chicano flavor of the area.

Home Styles

The classic Craftsman design originated in the northeast. By the time it reached Los Angeles, it was known as the bungalow. Many of these homes from the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s are in Echo Park and Elysian Heights. They have been modernized and completely renovated.

This includes new wiring to accommodate modern appliances and WiFi. The classic wood floors have been carefully refinished and railings on stairs have been replaced. Skylights have been added. Landscaping includes drought-resistant plants. The traditional bungalow is now a modern home selling above the $600,000 price range in the Echo Park area.

A two-story traditional Craftsman in the Angelino Heights section was recently listed for just under $1 million. This is a 2,090 square foot, four-bedroom home with three baths and a modern kitchen listed. A home in neighboring Silver Lake with only 1,300 square feet is in the same price range. By that standard, Echo Park is a better value per square foot.

Sports

Echo Park and Elysian Park included Chavez Ravine. This was an area of small homes until Walter O’Malley moved the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1958 and decided this was the right place for a ballpark.

Dodger Stadium is a Los Angeles landmark. It opened in 1962, and it is the oldest baseball park west of the Mississippi. It is surrounded by parklands and hills that offer views of the San Gabriel mountains and even the distant ocean on a clear day.

Dodger Stadium is walking distance or a short ride on public transportation for most Echo Park residents. This is the place for baseball fans.

Los Angeles Lakers fans have a short ride from Echo Park to Staples Center, the sports arena next to the Memorial Coliseum. The famed Coliseum is also the venue for USC football and pro games now that the L.A. Rams are back. (The Rams may also play at the stadium at Hollywood Park.)

Shopping and dining

Retro is the style for shopping in the Echo Park area. The Lemon Frog Vintage Bazaar features retro clothes and accessories for women at the intersection of Alvarado Boulevard and Sunset. TAVIN Boutique is another Sunset shop specializing in vintage styles. Hecho in Echo Park and Gingerly Witty are also boutiques lining Sunset.

The music is live at Permanent Records on Sunset, where you can also buy old vinyl LPs. (Lollipop Records, a landmark store for records and tapes, has moved from Echo Park to a larger warehouse in Boyle Heights.)

Alternate Universe sells recycled toys. The Cactus Store features a large collection of exotic cacti from around the world. Spacedust is an art gallery.

Sunset Boulevard is also home to Eightfold Coffee and the Woodcat Coffee Bar. Both offer plenty of local ambiance and WiFi.

Dining is an experience for the trendy eater. Fried tofu balls are a favorite at Button Mash, while the Ostrich Farm is big on vegetarian cuisine. Real Mexican food is served at Guisados by Dodger Stadium. These are a few of the 10 best restaurants in the area, according to LA Weekly.

Add the Echo Park area to the growing list of communities close to downtown Los Angeles that offer nice homes, good schools and excellent real estate investment opportunities.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, always revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance producer for USA Today, and a contributor at Technorati. She lives in Utah with her 2 kids and husband. Melissa Thompson can be reached via LinkedIn or Twitter @melthompson88. Please follow and friend her on either site.