Get us in your inbox

Search
Silver Lake Meadow
Photograph: Shutterstock

The 10 best things to do in Silver Lake

Get to know these essential things to do in the trendy L.A. neighborhood.

https://d32dbz94xv1iru.cloudfront.net/customer_photos/134be1d4-dd59-4d53-8df1-cf55924a68e0.jpg
Edited by
Michael Juliano
Advertising

While you won’t find any major museums or landmark attractions in Silver Lake, that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of eclectic culture exciting things to do in the neighborhood. Go shopping along Sunset Junction, take a stair hike between hillside houses or roll out a blanket in front of the Silver Lake Reservoir—there are plenty of worthwhile things to do in Silver Lake.

RECOMMENDED: A complete guide to Silver Lake

The 10 best things to do in Silver Lake

  • Things to do
  • Silver Lake

Though you can’t get inside of this man-made, decomissioned reservoir, its public perimeter has two dog parks, a basketball court and a playground, along with a 2.2-mile trail around its entirety. It’s also home to Silver Lake Meadow, a soft, grassy knoll overlooking the water where visitors can lounge and picnic (though no pups are allowed here).

  • Restaurants
  • Coffee shops
  • Silver Lake

Sunset Junction, named for the intersection of Sunset and Santa Monica Boulevards, is home to Silver Lake’s walkable, trendy shopping district. The street is lined with some of the neighborhood’s best boutiques and is anchored by Intelligentsia, where you’re sure to spot beautiful people having very important discussions on its gorgeous tiled patio. Other notable spots nearby include clothing shop Mohawk General Store, bagel truck Yeastie Boys, an outpost of the lauded bakery Tartine and leater fetish spot Rough Trade.

Advertising
  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Silver Lake

This neighborhood market—hosted Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings at Sunset Triangle Plaza—is the place to see and be seen while you peruse produce. The shoppers here have style, as evidenced by the many (rather pricey) vintage clothing racks and jewelry stands dominating a corner of the market. There are also used books and records for sale, fresh flowers, a lot of crystals, dried sage and other hip hippie wares. Of course, there’s a ton of good food, too.

  • Art
  • Outdoor art
  • Silver Lake

Featured on the cover art of Figure 8, this swirling mural became an unofficial memorial to Elliott Smith after the singer-songwriter’s death. Following some bouts with tagging, the wall has been looking pretty good, with remembrance messages still popping up on the mural’s tight red, white and dark blue stripes.

In 2016, the a large swirling section of the mural was removed from the building’s exterior and relocated inside as part of the now-shuttered Bar Angeles. When the space flipped into lauded Filipino spot Ma’am Sir, the interior mural stuck around but was covered by a woven fixture. It’s now reopened as Sunset Sushi, though that interior piece doesn’t appear to have come along.

Advertising
  • Shopping
  • Liquor stores
  • Silver Lake
  • price 2 of 4

Every customer here gets the same treatment from an enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff who excel at helping you find the perfect wine. You’ll always discover something new; the selection—smartly chosen and constantly changing—is mostly small-production domestic and French with a smattering of natural European wines. Swing by on Mondays and Thursdays for in-store tastings (temporarily suspended).

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Silver Lake

There are dozens of public, outdoor stairways scattered around Silver Lake’s verdant hillsides. Though some homeowners have tried to prevent open access, make no mistake, these sets of stairs are for public use.

There’s an exhaustive guide in author Charles Fleming’s Secret Stairs, but we’ll call out just a few: the Swan Stairs and their “je t’aime L.A.” mural on Rotary Drive; the piano key-painted Murray Stairway on Sunset Boulevard; the gay rights landmark Mattachine Steps on Cove Avenue; and the Music Box Steps on Vendome Drive, where Laurel and Hardy haul a piano. But there’s one we’re sure you’re really looking for: the rainbow and heart-adorned Micheltorena Stairs off Sunset.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Eclectic
  • Silver Lake
  • price 2 of 4

It may seem like a typical, polished Silver Lake gastropub but take a close look at the historical marker near the entrance when you walk in: This was the site of the very first LGBTQ+ civil rights demonstration in the country back in 1967. Inside, look for photos and newspaper clippings of the spot’s indispensable history as you settle into a plush booth over some bar bites and a punch bowl.

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Silver Lake
  • price 2 of 4

Though architect Richard Neutra’s original live-work space burned down in the ’60s, his son oversaw the careful reconstruction of an updated version. Today, this glass-walled paragon of modern design overlooking the Silver Lake Reservoir is an active part of L.A.’s design community and home to occasional art installations. Each Saturday, students in Cal Poly Pomona’s architecture program lead half-hour tours.

Advertising
See a flamenco dinner show at El Cid
  • Restaurants
  • Spanish
  • Silver Lake

For the first half of the 19th century, this Sunset Boulevard space went through phases as a jail-themed café and a cabaret theater. But in 1962, it opened as the El Cid we know today: a recreation of a 16th-century Spanish tavern that features flamenco dinner shows on Saturdays, with music, comedy and burlesque throughout the rest of the week, and meals and drinks on the patio nightly.

  • Museums
  • Special interest
  • Silver Lake
  • price 1 of 4

This curious exhibit is often touted as a shrine to the man who inspired the Indiana Jones films. While stepping through this kitschy museum isn’t quite as swashbuckling as that association implies, it is a fascinating trip through Biblical ephemera from 20th-century explorer A.F. Futterer’s search for the Ark of the Covenant. Two-hour tours are offered daily by appointment only.

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising