Staycations are really, truly underrated. What's not to love about zero travel time and just as many new adventures?
My boyfriend's parents came to town to visit as well as celebrate their wedding anniversary, so we were prepared to show them a good time. Because we live in a very small studio apartment where hosting any guests at all becomes a small slumber party, Sam's parents found an Airbnb in Silverlake where we could all stay together (but in separate bedrooms). The Hyperion House was really the ideal place for the weekend, with a full kitchen, huge front porch and beautiful views of the houses in the hills.
We spent a lot of our weekend in the area between Silver Lake, Echo Park, Atwater Village and downtown, which allowed me to revisit some of my long-time east side favorites while finding new ones - both of which I've now molded into a list of five favorites.
1. The Village Bakery, Atwater Village - If you know me at all, you know I have a sweet tooth. So it shouldn't be any surprise that I listed a bakery as my number one favorite spot on the east side. This place has got it all - but their breakfast menu and bakery items are my absolute favorite. You can't go wrong with an VIllage Scramble or the oatmeal pancakes - or any of the bakery items.
2. Griffith Park - Griffith Park is an easy second as its so huge, and has so much to do. The LA zoo is actually located inside the park, along with a few tennis courts, a horse and pony ranch, the Griffith Observatory and even The Greek, an outdoor concert venue. But what I love most about Griffith is the hiking trails and views. We hiked Griffith with Sam's parents this weekend, and with the wildflowers in bloom, it even more stunning than usual.
3. The Griffin, Atwater Village - The Griffin is a great bar for anyone who wants to avoid the crowds, and feel like they're sitting on a set of Harry Potter as they do so. I personally hate crowds (which is part of the reason why I'm not a big fan of the LA nightlife scene), but The Griffin is usually a little more mellow than most other bars on a weekend night. The prices are also pretty reasonable, and did I mention it looks like it could be in a Harry Potter movie?
4. Echo Park Lake, Echo Park - This lake is a hub for walkers, nature lovers and those in need of a good lay in the grass. With a view of downtown LA in the distance it's hard to forget you're in the middle of a city, but the abundance of animals want you to think otherwise. Take a loop around the lake and you'll see ducks, swans, turtles, lizards and geese (with babies in the spring)! Those looking for a little more adventure can even rent paddle boats by the hour.
5. Mamitas, Glendale - This Peruvian restaurant is a real hole in the wall - or rather little shack in the middle of the auto mall? With a behemoth BMW dealership right next door, this little restaurant cranks out some incredible Peruvian fare that is worth driving to Glendale for. If you've never tried Peruvian food, do yourself a favor and check out Mamitas when you're done window shopping for your next 7 Series.
Being a tourist in your own city is so much fun - I'm glad I had such a good reason to go exploring all over again. Finding new places and visiting favorites is, in my opinion, the best way to spend a local weekend. (Stay tuned for more details on another new adventure from the weekend - The Broad museum!)