A popular cultural destination in Los Angeles, Silver Lake is home to trendy boutiques, coffee shops, eateries, and unique street art. It offers a little something for everyone, despite being known as a hipster enclave. After exploring Sunset Junction or climbing the Micheltorena Stairs, you can head over to The Kind Center to keep the chill vibes going.
Silver Lake is a residential neighborhood located within central Los Angeles. It is bordered by Atwater Village, Elysian Valley, East Hollywood, Westlake, Echo Park, and Los Feliz. The neighborhood was built around two reservoirs (Silver Lake and Ivanhoe) and got its name from Herman Silver, the Water Board Commissioner who helped with the development. The Silver Lake community has attracted a diverse population who value culture and authenticity. It is bursting at the seams with things to do. You can enjoy a cup of joe and explore the shops at Sunset Junction. Experience a concert like no other at Satellite. Satisfy your hunger at one of the many restaurants. Discover a hidden stairway. The Kind Center loves serving the residents with their cannabis needs. Stop by our dispensary today and learn more about our premium products, or use our marijuana delivery service!View Deals
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It’s not hard to understand why we at The Kind Center love Silver Lake so much. A strong sense of community and identity is evident when strolling the streets of this Los Angeles neighborhood. It is full of rich history, creativity, and pizazz. It has the perfect spots to grab a bite to eat, to get a caffeine boost, to let go and get fresh air, to order a drink with an old friend; the list goes on. But despite all that this wonderful neighborhood has to offer, the people remains what we love most. They are welcoming, accepting, and have great taste!
Many runners, joggers, and those just wanting to take an afternoon stroll flock to a 2.2 mile trail that loops around the Silver Lake Reservoir. It offers stunning views of the water and surrounding nature.
If you’re a foodie, Silver Lake is the place to go. Some of our favorite eateries include Pine & Crane, Alimento, Night + Market Song, El Cochinito, Mh Zh, and Burgers Never Say Die.
In Silver Lake, you’ll find a mural that displays the cover art of Elliot Smith’s album Figure 8. While the mural has since been ruined due the installation of a window, it is still a place where fans can pay tribute to the late singer.
Due to an uneven terrain and rolling hills, the inclines of Silver Lake have municipal staircases built in. While mostly installed for walkability, many are famous due to their artistic renderings and appearance in notable films.
Silver Lake is known for its presence in the hipster aesthetic and lifestyle, likely spurred by the 1960s hippie movement. It’s said that Silver Lake’s residents fully embrace hipster-ness like no other.
Home of some of the first drag performances and a hub for gay culture beginning in the 1990s, Silver Lake (alongside Echo Park) has been a catalyst for LGBT communities and identity expression.
Did you know that the steps featured in The Music Box are located in Silver Lake?
The Academy Award-winning short film, comedy, The Music Box, was released in 1932 and it starred Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. During the film, Laurel and Hardy attempt to carry a large piano up a long stairway. While we don’t want to give too much away, let’s just say the piano landed at the bottom of the steps multiple times.
Today, locals and visitors alike can climb the same stairs (sans piano) as Laurel and Hardy in the film. This stairway is located at 923-937 Vendome at Del Monte and consists of about 133 steps. At the foot of the steps, there is a plaque commemorating the comedic duo. The Silver Lake Improvement Association hosts an event called Music Box Steps Day every year, where the community can enjoy entertainment, free food, a screening of the film, and more!
Even More on Silver Lake
Located in the east-central region of Los Angeles, California is the neighborhood of Silver Lake. This area, originally and unfortunately named Ivanhoe in the 1900s, is now a residential and commercial town built around a city reservoir. Silver Lake was renamed in honor of the reservoir, despite the fact that it was not at all a lake and that water's color was not silver; instead Silver was a local politician who campaigned for the reservoir. Anyway.
Silver Lake is now known for its abundance of restaurants (yum), painted staircases (neat), hipster hangouts (also neat), and the many notable people who have made Silver Lake their home. It is often touted that Silver Lake "fully embraces the hipster lifestyle," though when prompted, no one could really explain what they meant by that.
Silver Lake is surrounded by Atwater Village and Elysian Valley to the northeast, Echo Park to the southeast, Westlake to the southwest, East Hollywood to the west, and Los Feliz to the northwest. It is bound by the Los Angeles River, Glendale Freeway, Effie Street, Coronado Street, Berkeley Avenue, Fletcher Drive, Virgil Avenue, Fountain Avenue, Hyperion Avenue, and the Hollywood Freeway. Try saying that three times fast.
Silver Lake's history before the mid-1900s isn't well-recorded, but it can be imagined that it was, like its neighbors, inhabited by the Tongva Native Americans before being colonized by Spanish explorers. In Los Angeles, it's common that the neighborhoods are named after prominent ranchos, or later renamed after whomever decided the town needed a railroad. Again, Silver Lake seems to be neither. Its original name, Ivanhoe, was Scottish, and its current name is after an obsolete lake. It should be noted that Silver Lake uses the Headworks Reservoir, found underground north of Griffith Park, for water resources.
Silver Lake's first time in the limelight was in the 1930s, during which Walt Disney built a large studio here. It was located on the corner of Griffith Park Boulevard and Hyperion Avenue, and later replaced with a much less exciting grocery chain store, Gelson's Market. Having originated here, you'll still see Hyperion used as a name within the Walt Disney Company and its subsidiaries, such as Hyperion Books and Disney California Adventure Park's Hyperion Theater. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Silver Lake was also the site of a studio for Tom Mix, who was known for his early Western films — no princesses or talking mice. Similar to Disney though, the Tom Mix studio site was replaced with the Mixville Shopping Center. Replacing things with shopping outlets seems to be a trend here. Interestingly though, it's believed that Tom buried his trust steed, a horse named Tony, on the property and therefore, under the Mixville Shopping Center.
Due to Silver Lake's signature hills and steep inclines, the neighborhood is filled with municipal staircases. They're used for pedestrian access up and down Silver Lake, so they're just like sidewalks but for hills. To be expected. The most famous stairways include the Descanso Stairs, Redcliffe Stairs, and the Music Box Stairs. The latter was a famous set of stairs from Laurel and Hardy's film called "The Music Box," released in 1932.
In the mid-1900s, Silver Lake became a prominent home to middle class working communities. Residents would travel to the manufacturing districts in downtown Los Angeles, which had been a hub for such industry at the time. As outsourcing took over in the 1970s, the neighborhood dwindled and experienced what some have referred to as "urban decay." This fall from manufacturing-grace gave the neighborhood the opportunity to reinvent, and Silver Lake became a space for gay subculture. It was considered the equivalent to San Francisco's SoMA neighborhood. Gentrification soon followed — somewhat in response to the urban decay and somewhat due to the changing culture — and added many independent boutiques, coffee shops, fitness studios, and restaurants to Silver Lake.
Silver Lake's presence in the LGBT community is one strong facet of its origin. Drag performer of the early 1900s, Julian Eltinge, built his home there and regularly performed until the city criminalized cross-dressing. Silver Lake was also home to Harry Hay, who was the founder of the first gay organization called the Mattachine Society. It is said with full sincerity that Silver Lake may have been the birthplace of the gay-rights movement, and its Black Cat Tavern had a police raid and riot in 1967 — two years before Stonewall.
Silver Lake offers plenty to do for those visiting. Among the public grounds of the reservoir are the Silver Lake Recreation Center, a city park, the Silver Lake Walking Path, two dog packs, and more. Of course, there's always the city's many nightlife hotspots and local eateries to try as well!