In the age of “best of” lists, it’s not uncommon for homebuyers to consult articles with titles such as “Best Cities for Raising a Family,” “Best Places to Retire” and “Best Places for the Rich and Single” for guidance on their next investment. But if they’re looking for a city that’s a little less cookie cutter and a little more cool, what are hipsters to do? Try the Forbes’ first-ever America’s Best Hipster Neighborhoods list with Silver Lake planted right at the top. (Not to be outdone, the L.A. Times also called Silver Lake “the hipster capital of cool”).
Forbes’ methodology took a “quantitative approach to determining the 20 places in which ‘hipsterdom’ is most likely to flourish.” For Silver Lake, it was a combination of factors, including “the number of neighborhood coffee shops; the assortment (and Zagat ranking) of local food trucks; the number and frequency of farmers markets; the selection of locally owned bars and restaurants; and the percentage of residents who work in artistic occupations” that put it over the top. They also factored in data from San Francisco-based startup Nextdoor.com to determine a Neighborhood “Hipness” Index, in part by folding in terms such as “art, gallery, designer, and musician.”
“It is true that Silver Lake is a hipster neighborhood,” said Isaac Fast, Coldwell Banker sales associate in the Los Feliz office. “I believe it’s due in large part to the music industry, and the many artists of today who got their start here, or who have lived in the neighborhood.”
Sandwiched between Atwater Village, Echo Park, East Hollywood, and Los Feliz, Silver Lake has also been embraced by actors, costume designers, and artists who connect to all that the city has to offer.
“There is definitely a ‘neighborhood’ quality to life here…with tons of restaurants, clubs and shops,” said Fast. “It also offers great proximity to the Westside, with lower prices than you will find there, and a certain ‘grittiness’ in the look and feel of the area. It reminds many people of San Francisco, due to the hills and the overall atmosphere.”
See: The popular weekend farmer’s market, with fruits and veggies in addition to breakfast crepes, fresh Korean food, jewelry, live music, and Silver Lake’s celebrated food trucks. The several staircases that climb Silver Lake’s hills. Among them: the Music Box Stairs from the Laurel & Hardy film The Music Box.
Do: Appreciate the city’s unique architecture. “The housing is far more interesting and diverse than in many other areas of the city and includes a myriad of properties built and designed by very prominent architects,” said Fast. Silver Lake is home to some of the country’s most famed modernist architecture, including Richard Neutra’s VDL Research House and John Lautner’s Silvertop. Once you’re finished admiring the local houses, spend the remainder of the day at the Silver Lake Reservoir and Silver Lake Meadow. This favorite spot emphasizes the city’s walkability. “Quite a bit of Silver Lake can be reached without a car, and walking and biking are huge here,” said Fast (Silver Lake’s is the 15th most walkable neighborhood in L.A. with a Walk Score of 78.). The reservoir is surrounded by a 2.2-mile jogging path, three parks, the Silver Lake Recreation Center, and the Meadow—a three-acre, dog-free relaxation space that welcomes picnickers, bocce ball games, and barefoot dwellers (signs invite the removal of shoes).
Eat: Edendale Grill, for gastropub fare served out of an old restored firehouse. There is also Best of Los Angeles Magazine 2012 recipient Cliff’s Edge Cafe, for upscale, rustic Italian food among a romantic atmosphere, and one of the prettiest patios in the city.
Stay: The Standard Downtown. It’s not exactly in Silver Lake, but it’s just two miles away and a totally “chic and cheeky” place to camp out for a night.
Live: A classic three-bedroom home with views of Silver Lake and fully updated to meet today’s lifestyle needs, for $2,099,000.