LA city guide: A tour of Los Feliz in LA's Eastside

Your must-have LA city guide to dining hot spots, celeb hangouts and places to chill in the laid-back Eastside 'hood of Los Feliz.

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  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    LA city guide, Los Feliz: Wacko/Soap Plant

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    LA city guide, Los Feliz: Wacko/Soap Plant

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    LA city guide, Los Feliz: Wacko/Soap Plant

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    LA city guide, Los Feliz: Wacko/Soap Plant

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    LA city guide, Los Feliz: Skylight Books

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    LA city guide, Los Feliz: Skylight Books

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    LA city guide, Los Feliz: Skylight Books

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    LA city guide, Los Feliz: Skylight Books

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

LA city guide, Los Feliz: Wacko/Soap Plant



Shop | Eat & Drink | Play


Local landmark Wacko Soap Plant, more commonly known as “Wacko’s,” is a psychedelic-inspired shop that first opened in 1971 as a family-run store selling handcrafted soaps and scented oils. It’s evolved since then to a hideout for local hippies and punkers looking for junky and collectible books, greeting cards, toys, bobble heads, vintage candy, posters, plush pets, taxidermy, fossils, action figures and more. The store also houses an art gallery in the back, La Luz de Jesus, which hosts opening receptions and first Friday events that draw in the locals.


For literary outings and readings, visit the iconic Skylight Books, one of the city’s most successful independent bookshops, kept strong by its fervent fans. A handpicked selection of titles from local authors shares space with locally published literature, zines, graphic novels and ubiquitous best sellers. The knowledgeable staff can answer your questions while giving you a detailed account of their favorite reads. With a central skylight, wooden beams and high ceilings, this light-filled airy bookshop is a peaceful escape. Pick a book and read on the wooden bench surrounding the indoor tree and the shop’s resident cat, Franny, might just curl up beside you.


At the end of your day in Los Feliz, slouch toward the infamous Dresden Room restaurant commonly known as “the Den.” (Check its memorable cameo in Swingers.) Cozy up with a date in a large white booth in the lounge for live jazz entertainment by Marty and Elayne—the musical couple has been performing here five nights a week since 1982. Sip the specialty Blood and Sand cocktail (made with scotch, vermouth, cherry liquor and freshly-squeezed orange juice) and unwind at this local mainstay. The popular open mic sessions are held every night of the week and the Dresden Room’s Facebook page keeps a full schedule and details.


Wacko Soap Plant

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  • Critics choice
  1. 4633 Hollywood Blvd
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Skylight Books

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  • Critics choice
  1. 1818 N Vermont Ave, at Melbourne Ave
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Dresden Room

  • Price band: 2/4
  1. 1760 N Vermont Ave, between Franklin Avenue & Hollywood Boulevard
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  1. Shop
  2. Eat & Drink
  3. Play

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Why I love Los Feliz...
See what locals love the most about Los Feliz’s creative culture.



Lisa Sprouss, saleswoman at Hotel de Ville and former local resident
“There’s a very relaxed energy here. On Saturdays, we’ll even close up shop to go have dinner at Mexico City and then just come back and reopen when we’re done.”


Bez Compani, chef-owner of Mother Dough
“I lived up the road from here for 10 years when I was a bachelor, before I got married and had children and had to move away. So when I was looking for a place for my restaurant, I knew I wanted Los Feliz. I’m a low-key guy. I love to go to Daily Donuts, up the street on Franklin, or sit at Cafe Figaro with a glass of wine. I’m intrigued by every store here, from the glamour and chicness of Confederacy to the wackiness of Wacko. My son even got his first haircut at Sweeney Todd’s Barber Shop.”


Steve Saladino, manager at Skylight Books
“It’s a very creative, artist community with young families and young adults. Customers hang out here, meet friends, go to the movies next door and get drinks after.”

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