Los Angeles might be known for showbiz, but the city also has plenty to offer when it comes to design. Considered a creative capital, you’ll find hundreds of museums covering everything from modern art to military history, striking architectural landmarks, and your pick of trendy places where you can eat, drink, or stay.
It’s a lot easier to wrap your head around Los Angeles when you think of it less as one massive, sprawling city and instead more as a cluster of neighborhoods that all have their own charm. So rather than try to hit all the design spots in one guide, we’re bringing you the best of the best of Los Feliz.
Situated just below Griffith Park (you can even spot Griffith Observatory from below), the area was originally inhabited by the Tongva Native Americans. In the early 1800s, Corporal Jose Vicente Feliz helped organize a new pueblo in Los Angeles, and he was rewarded with the land from the King of Spain. Today, Los Feliz rests between chaotic Hollywood and ultra-hip Silver Lake, but this largely walkable neighborhood has an eclectic vibe all its own.
What to Do
Head to Barnsdall Art Park for the sweeping city views, but stay for the beauty of the Hollyhock House. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and completed in 1921, it was built as a residence for an oil heiress and patron of the arts. Her favorite flower was the hollyhock, and Wright used that as inspiration, incorporating an abstract hollyhock motif throughout the building. Its architectural significance marked the Hollyhock House as LA’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019.
Just a short walk from the park, you’ll find La Luz De Jesus Gallery in the back of the weird and wacky gift shop, Soap Plant/Wacko. Billy Shire, the entrepreneur and art collector behind the gallery, aims to bring “underground art and counter-culture to the masses” with Lowbrow, Kustom Kulture, and pop surrealism pieces. The work featured here rotates every month (check their Instagram for updates), and exhibits range from more well-known artists to new and emerging artists across the US, Mexico, and Canada.
For some shopping, you’ll find plenty of vintage stores and quirky boutiques on Vermont, one of the neighborhood’s main drags. Locals love the selection and events at Skylight Books, but you can head to their smaller store next door, the Arts Annex, for zines, graphic novels, and books on art and design. If it’s clothing or jewelry you’re after, BellJar fits the bill—the whole shop comes filled with boho desert vibes, and the curated selection makes every piece feel like a precious heirloom. Queer-identified woman-owned Otherwild offers an array of unique home goods and ceramics, all mindfully designed and produced.
Strolling down Vermont, you also can’t miss the elegant neon script and art deco design of the Los Feliz 3 Theatre. Opened in 1934, the cozy neighborhood theater shows big Blockbuster films but welcomes plenty of indies, too.
Eat and Drink
Black-owned coffee shop Obet & Del’s will satisfy your caffeine fix—or your matcha or pastry fix—and it’s worth sitting down and enjoying the atmosphere. Husband-and-wife team Heather Knox and Josh Oliveros painted a retro rainbow stripe that adds some fun to the space, in addition to minimalist wooden seats and tables with plenty of natural light.
Atrium is the kind of place you want to visit on an empty stomach because the food is just that good, but it’s the open and inviting space that will seal the deal. You enter the restaurant down an unassuming alleyway and walk into the main dining area with high ceilings, wooden beams, and exposed brick. They use open space to their advantage, giving diners a laid-back yet luxurious experience. Afterwards, pop into Pinky’s for some craft cocktails to end the night. The tropical-inspired color palette and décor elements feel like you’ve somehow made a pit stop in Miami, and the music and DJ sets (curated by Alex Rodriguez, the man behind Coachella’s on-site record store) will tempt you to dance the night away.
For a more low-key evening, Lolo Wine Bar fits the bill. Snag a seat on the lush, covered patio and indulge in some bites or handmade pasta. Make sure to peruse the bottles in the back room—Lolo works exclusively with natural micro distributors, so the labels are ones you won’t find in big grocery stores. Those who love natural wine will have a field day here since the selections come from organic farms, and most have no sulfites added, but anyone merely wishing to try something new with their vino of choice will feel welcome at this neighborhood gem.
Where to Stay
For a calm oasis hiding right in the middle of the neighborhood, stay at Hotel Covell. Sally Breer designed the nine rooms in this boutique hotel to represent the chapters of a book about a fictional man named George Covell and his daughter, Isabel. No two rooms are alike, and they follow the protagonist on a journey from Oklahoma (where owner Dustin Lancaster is from) to Paris, New York, and beyond.
Cara Hotel is an upscale spot on the outskirts of Los Feliz. Rooms have a quintessentially California-cool feel, with crisp, white furniture pieces and a neutral color palette. Even if you don’t stay here, it’s worth stopping by for a bit of rest and relaxation on their open-air courtyard, surrounded by postcard-worthy palm trees, while you have a seasonal cocktail in hand.