Why Atwater Village Is an L.A. Neighborhood with a Vibe All Its Own

It’s like a small town within a really big town

Across the L.A. River from Griffith Park, Atwater Village is as fast-paced as the waterway’s summertime current. Encircled by Silver Lake, Glendale, Glassell Park, and Los Feliz, the enclave has a major thoroughfare that invites window-shopping. Here are some recs for the next time you’re in the ‘hood.

Three local business owners offer some tips…

Rheena Mae of Mae Mae Jewelry


“We’re alchemists. We transform gold into feelings and sell it as jewelry. I grew up around here. I love Bon Vivant Market & Cafe. You can get a charcuterie board or a macaron or an amazing cocktail. I’m obsessed with Wanderlust Creamery. They’ve got flavors from around the world. All’Acqua has date-night vibes with fancy pizzas and short ribs, while Treehaus has quirky giftable items and Atwater T-shirts.”

Patrick Paeper of Alias Books 


“We’re a little scholarly, with a lot of classic literature, counterculture, and art books. At Kaldi Coffee, they don’t mind you sitting around working. Proof Bakery has higher-end coffee and terrific baked goods. Grain stocks furnishings from well-known designers from the 1940s on up, and they’ve got great taste. Pampered Birds has a big mural on the facade and parrots in the window. Viet Noodle Bar is a great Vietnamese restaurant. I just love the chicken and jicama meatballs.”

Cynthia Su of Thank You for Coming


“We do brunch service on the weekends and have an artist-in-residence program. We’ve had photo shows and musical performances. Tacos Villa Corona is awesome. They prep for 16 hours to make a six-hour service happen. Dune is Mediterranean deliciousness with falafel and shawarma and a really good blood orange salad. Individual Medley is a boutique with clothing from local designers. The neighborhood is changing. We’re getting luxury condos.”

Things to know before you go…

Heartbeat House


With classes ranging from Afro-funk to Bollywood, the exercise studio scours the world for ways to make you move.

Echo Theater


Playwrights, directors, and actors can learn their crafts at the theater, housed at the ATX Crossing arts complex.

Crystal Matrix


The mystic arts of numerology and astrology live on at the store, where a packed class schedule includes instruction in tarot and hedgewitchery.

Dave’s Accordion School


Besides repairing squeeze-boxes for the likes of Danny Elfman, the school offers lessons on the bellows along with violin, mandolin, and guitar.

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