You might think of Highland Park as L.A.’s answer to Williamsburg—with better weather. The historic neighborhood northeast of Downtown L.A. has experienced quite a renaissance over the past few years, drawing young families and creative types with its charming old bungalows and bustling food and arts scene. Here’s The Agency’s guide to the best places to eat, drink, shop, and play in L.A.’s most up-and-coming enclave.
Where To Eat:
Ba is a charming bistro that is quintessentially French with a little California decorating flair. Enjoy classics like moules frites and coque a vin to a soundtrack of Adele and Florence and the Machine. James Graham—Ba’s chef and co-owner— is a regular at L.A.’s farmers’ markets, and the menu is always locally sourced and seasonally inspired.
A local favorite for breakfast and lunch,Kitchen Mouse offers a no-frills vegan and vegetarian-friendly menu with standouts like gluten free pancakes and Tempeh Reubens in a laid back neighborhood setting that will make you feel right at home.
Down the street, Maximiliano offers solid Italian eats like pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, and cacio e pepe, as well as heartier mains like roasted pork chop and braised short ribs. The casual atmosphere includes a charming outdoor patio perfect for warm L.A. nights.
Where to Drink:
Grab an after-dinner cocktail at Sonny’s Hideaway, a swank restaurant and lounge complete with burgundy leather booths and a dark wood bar that make it seem better suited to the Don Draper set than its real-life hipster clientele who flock here for everything from classic martinis to bourbon-heavy Machiavellis served with sarsaparilla and absinthe.
If beer and wine are more your speed, drop into The Hermosillo, a no-frills hangout on York Avenue (Highland Park’s answer to Silver Lake’s Sunset Junction) where you can sample a rotating selection of craft beers, including a few from their small back house microbrewery.
Where To Shop:
The POP-HOP Books & Print is a charming bookshop featuring tried-and-true classics to cult favorites, zines, and funky handcrafted novelties. In other words: the perfect place to get away for an hour or two on a lazy Sunday.
If you’re on the hunt for some new home digs, check out Platform. This eclectic space is part storefront, part gallery, part home staging consultancy—and all part cool. Shop for funky imported furniture and local crafts, all expertly curated by owners Sarah Brady and Cordelia Reynolds.
Situated in a cute 1920s bungalow on York Boulevard, Society of the Spectacle is a quirky eyewear shop owned by two local sisters featuring an extensive collection of vintage and new frames by the likes of Moscot, Oliver Peoples, and L.A. Eyeworks.
Where To Play:
The newly restored Highland Park Bowl is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful bowling alleys in Los Angeles. Everything from the original pin machines to the wooden finishes are period correct, harkening back to 1927 when the space doubled as a speakeasy during Prohibition. Don’t expect your typical Budweiser-toting bowling league here; the crowd is as stylish as the decor, and between the horseshoe-shaped bar, live jazz band, and burlesque shows, there’s plenty to keep you entertained between games.
Housed in a former billiards bar, Hi-Hat is York Boulevard’s first designated live music venue. Opened by the team behind Silver Lake’s L&E Oyster Bar and nearby Hermosillo, patrons can enjoy local and national acts on an intimate stage and snack on tasty bar eats like fried pickled cauliflower and crispy potato tacos.
What To Explore:
In 1984, Charles Lummis—a writer, historian, and advisor to President Teddy Roosevelt—purchased land by the Arroyo Seco and built a 4,000-square-foot rustic American craftsman house made almost entirely out of stones from the Arroyo. Now on the National Registrar of Historic Places and a designated L.A. historic-cultural monument, visitors can drop by The Lummis House for a tour of the iconic property on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-3pm.
If you’ve ever driven down the Arroyo Secco Parkway, odds are you’ve spotted The Heritage Square Museum, a little Victorian village just north of Downtown Los Angeles. The museum features eight historic, Victorian-era L.A. homes that were saved from demolition and are now open for private tours. You can visit Friday through Sunday, 12pm- 3pm, for a glimpse of what life was like in the city at the turn of the 20th century.