Between the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Silver Lake and Echo Park, and just beyond Hollywood sits the historic neighborhood of Los Feliz aka Rancho Los Feliz. Los Feliz Village, as many call it today is bordered south by Hollywood Boulevard, southwest by Hyperion Avenue, north by Griffith Park, the Los Angeles River on the east and Western Avenue on the west, Los Feliz “Village” is the perfect location. With its main veins being Los Feliz Boulevard, Franklin Boulevard, Vermont and Hillhurst avenues, there are many points of entry into the Los Feliz community.
The 6,647-acre Rancho Los Feliz was one of the first land grants in California. The property was granted to Corporal José Vicente Feliz, who the area has since been named after. An old adobe house built in the 1830s by his heirs remains on Crystal Springs Drive in Griffith Park.
Griffith Park Observatory is located in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, California
The ownership of Rancho Los Feliz changes several times after the Feliz family. Griffith Park was named after Colonel Griffith JenkinsGriffith, who donated over half of the park’s land to the city of Los Angeles, which became one of the largest city owned parks in the United States. Other sections of the land donated by Griffith were developed into the communities that are known today as Los Feliz and Silver Lake. Griffith died on July 6, 1919 at the age of 67. Griffith’s will called for $700,000 and his Los Feliz land to be donated to the city of Los Angeles and to be used for additions to the park. The park’s area was increased to over 4,100 acres after Griffith’s generous gift. In 1930 the Greek Theater was built as is was designed by Griffith. Funds from the Griffith estate were used to build the observatory at the peak of Mount Hollywood as well. In 1935 the Griffith Observatory and Planetarium was completed and opened to the public. Griffith’s will also included a provision for a permanent endowment to maintain the theater and park grounds. Griffith Park is home to the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles Zoo and the Greek Theatre. It also contains various childrens’ play areas, two 18 hole golf courses, a driving range and other sports fields as well as hiking and equestrian trails in the mountains away from the residential district. At Traveltown there is a miniature railroad operated by the Los Angeles Live Steamers and a collection of railroad locomotives, passenger cars and streetcars.
Los Feliz was home to many early movie studios, including the first Disney studio (now a Gelson’s supermarket) and D. W. Griffith’s studio; it currently is home to The Prospect Studios (formally known as First National-Warner Brothers and more recently ABC Television Center), at the intersection of Prospect Avenue and Talmadge Street. On Sunset Boulevard was Monogram Pictures (currently KCET public television), where early Charlie Chan movies were filmed, as well as “Hurricane” starring Dorothy Lamour and the camp classic “Johnny Guitar”. (The western street from that movie remained until the mid 1980s when KCET razed the set to make way for a much-needed parking structure–but they threw a huge studio-wide party there on its final days.) The neighborhood has historically been home to movie stars, musicians, and the Hollywood elite. It boasts some of the best known residential architecture in the city, including two homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright: Ennis House and the Hollyhock House, and Richard Neutra’s Lovell House.
Los Feliz is well known to be one of the most exclusive and expensive areas in Los Angeles, but is also one of the most posh areas around L.A.. After being featured in “Swingers” in 1996 the popularity of Los Feliz surged among artists, musicians and the tragically hip. Los Feliz is one of the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles to discover nightlife, living, and dining. “The neighborhood has historically been home to movie stars, musicians, other assorted members of the glitterati, and members of the Hollywood elite,” states Wikipedia. And we sometimes get a glimpse of the likes of Madonna, Gwen, and Leonardo spending time enjoying the hood. Our celebrity neighbors among us have also included, Flea (Michael Balzary) and Anthony Kiedis of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kirstie Alley, Colin Farrell, Brad Pitt, Mandy Moore, Eddie Van Halen, Valerie Bertinelli, Beck, Gavin Rossdale and so many more. (The community seems to attract plenty of musicians!)
Los Feliz village is home or in close proximity to numerous restaurants and bars. They are mostly located on Hillhurst between Los Feliz Boulevard and Prospect Avenue, and on Vermont between Franklin Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. Some were classic dives in their hey-day, frequented by the likes of Charles Bukowski, Lawrence Tierney, sundry working class drunks, poets, artists, writers and other creative types, but have now primarily been taken over by Los Feliz’s massive influx of hipsters and scenesters.
The Derby, at Hillhurst and Los Feliz and the last remaining location of The Brown Derby, is a traditional favorite, with swing classes on Sunday nights and a club-like atmosphere on Saturdays. Tangier, just across the street on Hillhurst, sports trendy decor and a back room for live music as well as a restaurant. The Good Luck Bar is a Chinese themed bar at Hillhurst & Hollywood that offers a comfy lounge area with Chinese decor. Skylight Books, a “fiercely independent bookstore,” is also a great place to go pick up a book or see a poetry reading in the evenings. And not to forget, the famous and always funky, Dresden Room, a hot and hip lounge act that has been around forever. Musicians Marty and Elayne, the Dresden Lounge Act, and still around entertaining us after all these years. And lunch at the Dresden may be one of L.A.’s best kept secrets. Afternoons spent at the Dresden represent a pleasant respite from the bustle of Hollywood and Downtown and a quiet contrast to the hot and happening night scene—which is standing room only late at night.
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