Silver Lake sits in Central Los Angeles between Los Feliz and Echo Park, just minutes from Downtown. The neighborhood’s proximity to the Interstate 5 and Glendale Freeways makes it easy to get in and out. The pace of life here is relatively unhurried.
The Silver Lake Reservoir sits in the middle of the district; the body of water makes the area feel less urban than other parts of the city. Plus, the neighborhood has many trees that further contribute to a more bucolic vibe. Homes that sit higher up in the hills enjoy serene views; one could easily think that they live in a small town here.
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Silver Lake Real Estate
Home prices in Silver Lake are higher than the L.A. County average. The district has a population 33,000 residents and covers 2.72 square miles of land, giving it a population density of 12,132 per square mile, slightly above average for L.A. County.
The whole neighborhood is referred to as Silver Lake, but local history buffs and current residents might recognize subdivision names like Edendale, Primrose Hill, and Fleming Sunset Heights. If you’re buying a house here, you only need to mention “Silver Lake” to your real estate agent, and they’ll point you in the right direction to explore the various enclaves.
The housing stock here is comprised mostly of single-family homes. A few condos and townhomes are available from time to time but are far fewer in number. Hillside homes often have decks to take advantage of valley and lake views; they are great for entertaining guests, especially on warm summer nights. Most residences are one or two stories high, even the luxury homes, leaving Silver Lake with a less ostentatious vibe than other parts of the city, which suits its low-key denizens just fine.
Home remodeling has been popular in Silver Lake for decades. You’ll find many well-maintained older homes, most where the appliances have replaced with newer, commercial-grade equipment. New cabinets and refinished wood floors bring out some extra charm. A few houses here sport rooftop solar panels.
Backyard pools are not as common in Silver Lake as other areas of Los Angeles, especially when compared to the suburbs where lots are typically larger and the terrain is flatter. When a property here includes a pool, they tend to be smaller. Only a handful of properties have tennis courts.
Architecture in Silver Lake
Homes for sale in Silver Lake come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from smaller Bungalows to larger Contemporary styles. Craftsman, Spanish, and Mediterranean homes are the most common styles here. Cottages can be found throughout the neighborhood, too – always colorful, always welcoming. A few Art Deco homes dot the area.
Architecture lovers with a keen eye can spot homes designed by John Lautner (e.g., his famous Silvertop residence), Rudolf Schindler, and Richard Neutra.
Silver Lake Neighborhood
Silver Lake is a hilly neighborhood with narrow, winding streets once you get off the main thoroughfares. Around each bend, you’ll find cabanas and cottages nestled into the gentle rise of the hillside slopes. In the early days, the native flora of the area was sparse, but with plants brought in by early settlers and years of backyard landscaping, today Silver Lake looks like a treed Greek or Italian hillside community.
The Silver Lake vibe is a mixture of hip, hippie, family-friendly, trendy, rock and roll, artsy, and lots more. The only sin, according to residents and entrepreneurs, is not to be colorful. You’ll find sidewalk art, abundant foliage and flowers, well-maintained vintage VW buses, city buses, bikes, clothing racks holding colorful apparel, and pottery outside boutique shops.
Walk or bike around town as you contemplate which diner to drop into and grab a bite to eat. All this charm and personality is right in the middle of L.A., which puts residents within reach of big city and amenities without all the hustle and bustle.
Silver Lake Reservoir
At the basin of the neighborhood – a bowl or sorts – sits Silver Lake Reservoir, named for one-time Water Board Commissioner Herman Silver. The reservoir consists of two bodies of water: the lower, called Silver Lake and the upper, called Ivanhoe (named for Sir Walter Scott’s novel).
Silver Lake Stairs
Between the earliest, horse-back riding days of the city and the automotive age, Los Angeles had the biggest streetcar and trolley system in the United States. One of the privately-owned transportation companies, Pacific Electric, operated two Red Car (electric trolley) lines near the south and east borders of the Silver Lake neighborhood.
In the 1920s, developers build several stone staircases around the city, including Silver Lake, for pedestrians to climb up and down the hills. The stairs improved access to the local Red Car line, making it easier for Angelinos to get around town in a time when most folks could not afford cars. Today, the stairs are still here for curious folks to explore or for people who just want a good glute workout running up and down them.
Silver Lake Branch Library
Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) operates its Silver Lake Branch, a cherished local resource housed in a modern glass and stone building with clean lines. In addition to books and computer workstations, the library offers practical and fun programs and classes from the “Girls Who Code Club” to “Introduction to Buddhist Chanting.” The library is open every day except Sunday.
Parks & Recreation
Because the Silver Lake reservoir was once a source of drinking water (but no longer), the perimeter remains fenced off, rendering it unavailable for activities like swimming or boating. However, there are many pocket parks surrounding the reservoir and a jogging path that that circumnavigates it. The lake is still a focal point, and around it, you’ll find many other opportunities to enjoy being outside.
Silver Lake Recreation Center
The recreation center sits on the south end of the reservoir and features an outdoor basketball court and soccer field. Programs include Tai Chi, tumbling, yoga, ballet, and cheerleading to name a few. Nearby Tommy Lasorda Field of Dreams has a baseball diamond for league play.
Silver Lake Dog Park
A few steps from the rec center sits the every-busy local dog park, a place to let Fido work off those extra dog biscuits and ensure a sound night of sleep. The park is divided into small dog and big dog areas. After playing fetch with tennis balls, the water stations come in handy. Shaded areas and seating for pet owners also provide some relief on hot days.
Silver Lake Meadow
On the eastern flank of the reservoir sits an open meadow, good for picnicking, playing or just communing with Mother Nature. This is a good spot to watch a sunset. The meadow has picnic tables and restrooms, too. However, Dogs are not allowed in this part of the reservoir area.
The Chandelier Tree
Who else but Silver Lake residents would turn a tree into public art? A licensed contractor, Adam Tenenbaum, and his partner placed leftover chandeliers from a production set outside their home in a 100-year-old sycamore tree. Every night, they are lit for neighborhood residents and visitors to enjoy. To defray the electricity bill, people can contribute by donating money in a tricked-out parking meter.
Shopping, Dining, and Entertainment
The commercial areas of Silver Lake are found at the edges of the neighborhood along Glendale and Sunset Boulevards and Rowena and Hyperion Avenues. Here you will find restaurants, bars, cafes, boutiques and services like dry cleaners and dog groomers.
Silver Lake Boulevard runs right down the middle of the neighborhood and is lined with small businesses, too. At the southern end of the district, where Silver Lake Boulevard intersects with Sunset Boulevard sits Sunset Junction, a popular area and great spot to sit underneath a cheerfully colored awning as you sip artisanal coffee and nibble at a homemade pastry,
Walk three blocks south of “The Junction” and you’ll see Sunset Triangle Plaza, an open space and former street with pavement painted bright green (with matching tables and umbrellas). Every Tuesday afternoon and Saturday morning, it serves as the site of the Silver Lake Farmers Market; this is the place to load up on fresh, organic fruits and veggies. While you are there, check out the vintage clothing, crystals, jewelry, books, music, and flowers.
The nightlife in Silver Lake is renowned; it’s a longtime hotbed of established clubs where locals flock to catch live shows of up-and-coming bands. The scene is always vibrant and eclectic, and the odds are high that will catch the “next big thing” in alternative music. You might recognize a band’s name on a flyer and then catch them a few months later on television. Bigtime artist pop into the neighborhood from time-to-time for a “small club” show.
Silver Lake REALTORS®
Thinking of buying or selling a home in Silver Lake? Our Silver Lake real estate agents are neighborhood experts who can help negotiate the quickest home sale possible. We can provide up-to-the-minute real estate statistics on the Silver Lake market: average home prices; house sales history; and information about broader housing market so that you can make a well-informed decision. What’s more, all our team is comprised of trusted professionals who work full-time – you’ll be working with dedicated experts whose only aim is to help you reach your goals.
Silver Lake Statistics
- Estimated Population: 33,000
- Area: 2.75 square miles
- Population Density: 12,000 people per square mile (Average)
- Median Resident Age: 35 (Average)
- Elevation: 433 feet
- Zip Codes: 90026, 90039
- Ivanhoe Elementary – 2828 Herkimer St., Los Angeles, 90039
- Micheltorena Street Elementary – 1511 Micheltorena St., Los Angeles, 90026
- Allesandro Elementary – 2210 Riverside Dr., Los Angeles, 90039
- Clifford Street Elementary – 2150 Duane St., Los Angeles, 90039
- Mayberry Street Elementary – 2414 Mayberry St., Los Angeles, 90026
- Thomas Starr King Middle – 4201 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles, 90029
- St. Francis of Assisi Elementary – 1550 Maltman Avenue, Los Angeles, 90026
- St. Teresa of Avila Elementary – 2215 Fargo Street, Los Angeles, 90039
- Kids’ World School & Cornerstone Academy (K-12) – 2132 Hyperion Avenue, Los Angeles, 90027
- Camino Nuevo Charter Academy (9-12) – 3500 West Temple Ave., Los Angeles, 90004
- New Village Girls Academy (9-12) – 147 North Occidental Blvd., Los Angeles, 90026
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* Image Courtesy of Silver Lake Neighborhood Council