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Northeast Los Angeles


Another New Yorker that’s Made The move to LA, Our managing Editor Sarah Kim shares her Northeast LA Recreational SPOTS.

Moving from New York to LA, you quickly realize the biggest difference between the two cities: WALKING. There’s a lot of sitting in a car and a significant lack of movement and daily steps. Great for podcasts and phone call catch-ups with parents, but not ideal for someone who was used to walking everywhere. It was almost frustrating to have to incorporate something that seemed so natural and built into my daily life. 

Then, (and really now do I feel like my true LA life has begun), I was put on to the glory that is NELA, better described as Northeast Los Angeles. It’s a pocket that’s just east of Silver Lake, Echo Park and Los Feliz, but not far from Highland Park, Pasadena and Glendale plus, a straight shot north from Downtown. 

If you live in LA you can get an expensive gym or beautiful pilates, yoga studio membership or Classpass OR you can defer to LA’s year-round sunshine and the outdoors as your training ground. I’ve chosen the latter.

Glassell Park Pool

The Glassell Park Pool is $4 a session (or if you’re serious about a full body work out you can buy an $88 pass for 30 sessions). This is part of a larger Rec center that also has a basketball court, baseball diamonds, jungle gym and two tennis courts. Enjoy watching adult softball games between swimming laps or get some Vitamin D by laying out pre or post-swim.

Pro-Tip: Definitely check the times, bring cash and don’t use the kickboard outside of the lap lanes (I just got scolded twice for this). It’s always busy right around 12 PM and 5 PM so the off-hours (not at lunch or right when people get out of work), maybe an hour before closing is better to go if you want a lane to yourself.

Glassell Park Pool

Millard Falls

It’s crazy to think that just minutes away from congested LA is this beautiful hike. It even comes with a waterfall.

Pro-Tip: If you’re a dog parent and a good one with well-trained dogs, they are able to roam off-leash here!

Millard Falls
Millard Falls

LA River Walk & Bike Path

So it’s not so much a river walk, as a paved bike path that people like to walk on. But, it’s a great easy walk with local shops alongside it for coffee, food, plants and furniture. Step off of the path to visit Sanso and her beautifully unique pottery and selection of greens. Also stop by DeKor for furniture and Salazar for their chips and salsa and margaritas. Pick up a coffee on the way up at La Colombe, grab an espresso tonic from Spoke on the way back down.

Pro-Tip: If you’d rather bike, you can rent bikes at Spoke Cafe!

The walk/bike path along the LA “River”

Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Garden

Hidden in the hills of Mount Washington, this meditation garden is a super special place that is open to the public.

Pro-Tip: Not the best place for Instagram selfies. Be mindful of others who are there for an introspective and contemplative moment. Also, the road getting there is winding and skinny so be mindful while you drive!

A tucked-away bench mid-garden

Griffith Park Hike & Observatory Star Gazing

People love hiking to the Observatory, but on a recent trip, I learned that they bring telescopes out on to the lawn at dusk most nights. It’s worth doing a sunset hike with that reward awaiting you at the end.

Pro-Tip: If you do go in the morning, stop at Trails Cafe for some good pastries and strong coffee.

Griffith Park Observatory
Griffith Park Observatory

Written & Photographed by Sarah Kim