A Neighborhood Tour – Echo Park Lake and Angelino Heights

Kelli’s Take

My friend Judy of “My Well Seasoned Life“, invited me to take a tour of her neighborhood, Angelino Heights. Once again a luxurious layer of Los Angeles I hadn’t experienced.  Our afternoon turned out to be an eye opening day in my life as a new Angeleno. For one, I realized you spell Angelino Heights with an “i” and ended the day with my head full of more questions about this area of LA, this first “suburb” of the city. Judy owns a lovely home in this area. She filled me in on the fact of this area’s gentrification. Angelino Heights has come back into it’s own after a long decline. Now, I can’t wait to go back and have lunch at the Boat House at Echo Park Lake and discover more. Let me give you a peek into this rich historic neighborhood.

DSC_0134 China Town Bridge

We met at the lake, Echo Park Lake. The lake has also been cleaned up and restored. If you’ve seen the classic film “China Town” (take a look)  you probably recognize this iconic wooden bridge.

DSC_0135 Lotus

The glorious floating lotus plants also have a story. The Lotus flower is a symbol of “rebirth” in the Asian culture. Echo Park Lake is full of these gorgeous flowers. We almost lost them forever. Take a minute to read about the wonderful story of the return of the Lotus flowers.

DSC_0132 life at Echo Park Lake

DSC_0142 statue

This beautiful spot is so very close to Downtown Los Angeles. You see the lovely “Lady of the Lake” statue in the foreground.

DSC_0141 the boat house

The quaint boathouse is home to paddle boat rental and a fabulous cafe.

DSC_0140 Judy

DSC_0130 boat house sign

DSC_0127 cafe hours

Square One at the Boathouse is the cafe. I would call it a destination, not just an afterthought. The menu is delightful. Fresh, with quality ingredients. Sit under the sunny yellow umbrellas and enjoy the view of the sparkling (newly clean) lake.

DSC_0129 paddle boats


DSC_0143 bust

Ok, this is the Jose Marti monument. (I had to google him) He was a Cuban national hero, poet, essayist and political theorist. “Other famous men, those of much talk and few deeds, soon evaporate. Action is the dignity of greatness.” One of his many noteworthy quotes.This statue of him is at the corner of Park and Echo Park Avenues to honor the Cuban American community of Los Angeles.

DSC_0147 echo park sign

DSC_0149 angelus temple

I have driven by this huge building on the corner of Echo Park Avenue before and never questioned what it was. This building houses an immense piece of history, charity and faith woven into the story of LA. It began as the first Four Square Gospel church founded by Aimee Semple McPherson. It tells a tale of the willingness of one flawed woman to spread the Gospel, while doing so much good for the lost and hurting. The church Began in 1923. Aimee accomplished incredible feats for a woman of her time.  During the Great Depression her church fed 1.5 million people. She was also one of the first women to preach a sermon on the radio, plus so much more. Her story is fascinating.

DSC_0155 temple

DSC_0154 mission

The parsonage (her home) behind Angelus Temple has been fully restored and is open to the public.  fascinating piece of Los Angeles history. The Angelus Temple itself is now home to the Dream Center ministries which meets the needs, hurts and problems inner city people. An incredible ministry for Los Angeles.

DSC_0159 carroll avenue sign

Now we come to another eye opening part of our tour. A step back in time.  If I didn’t know I was walking distance to Downtown LA, I would have thought I was on Main Street USA in the heart of the Midwest.

DSC_0160 green house

The homes are beautifully restored, or in the progress of being brought back to their glory.

DSC_0161 pink house


DSC_0167 circle house


DSC_0171 front porch

This porch is so welcoming. Don’t you just want to grab a icy glass of lemonade and sit for a while.

DSC_0172 yellow house

Bougainvillea one of the most glorious plants in Los Angeles. It grows in spite of the lack of water and loves the forever sunshine. The pop of color lifts your spirits on any day of the year.

DSC_0166 hollyhock house

DSC_0165 Free Hollyhock Seeds

Hollyhocks are a part of my Midwestern childhood. They grew wild in alleys in the old neighborhoods of Minneapolis where I made many mud pies and forts. I wish I would have taken a cup of these seeds.  I call this a “California Nice” gesture.

DSC_0158 carroll ave house

DSC_0181 downtown

So close to DTLA, yet miles away in the cozy neighborhood feel.

DSC_0185 house behind fence


DSC_0194 Gloria Swansons house

Pretty sure this was Gloria Swanson’s home.  As we left the beautiful homes on Carroll Avenue, Judy wanted to introduce me to a neighborhood market on Sunset that she knew I would love. She was right! It’s the kind of market that made me feel like I was in NYC. It’s packed with a cook’s dream ingredients and serving pieces.  

DSC_0206 supermarket

 A-Grocery Warehouse is full of fresh produce of the usual and unusual variety, meat, seafood and unique everything you’d want to prepare a gourmet meal.  The prices are so reasonable.  They frown upon photographs, otherwise I would have spent more time documenting for you.  Just make the trip, it’s so worth your time.

20150929_151504 herbs beets

Here is a challenge for you.  Go explore the Angelino Heights neighborhood for yourself.  Did you watch the Mad Men series?  Go find the actual house they used as Don Draper’s childhood home. I’m sure you can find it. Report back.DSC_0174 yellow picket fence house

DSC_0186 angelino heights

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