Los Angeles Neighborhood Guide: Highland Park
If you're looking to explore a pocket of Los Angeles that has a little grit, check out Highland Park. Located in northeast Los Angeles, Highland Park is still in the early stages of gentrification which makes for more colorful and diverse surroundings.
Stop 1: Meridian Mercado Diseno (5007 1/2 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042)
Meridian is a home decor shop that carries colorful, well-designed furnishings that put chain brands like Crate and Barrel to shame. Here you'll find handmade ceramics, mid century modern inspired furniture and unique gifts for design aficionados.
Stop 2: Social Study Store (5028 1/2 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042)
Social Study Store's tagline is "For what we wear, what we give, and how we live". The store was one of the first to inhabit Highland Park's York Boulevard, helping to attract a new crowd of people to the neighborhood. This fun, design-inspired store carries handmade jewelry, unique home accents, womens apparel and a wide range of gift options. A reflection of its surrounding neighborhood, Social Study Store is full of eclectic, well-designed products.
Stop 2: Dotter (5027 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042)
Dotter is an adorable boutique that carries unique womens and kids apparel, home decor and gifts. Here you'll find anything from Levi's 501's to handmade ceramic tumblers to unique handmade kids decor.
Stop 3: Shop Shorthand (5030 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042)
Paper and desk accessory lovers beware: Shop Shorthand is the best place hands down for that perfect notebook or pen. The Shop Shorthand location is part retail store part printing studio (they do custom designs). One step inside and you'll be reminded of why pencil and paper should never be thought of as obsolete.
Stop 4: Joy (5100 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042)
Joy is a Taiwanese eatery that was recently opened by Pine & Crane owner Vivian Ku (a second generation Taiwanese-American and Harvard alumnus). Joy is the sister restaurant to Pine & Crane, offering goodies like dan dan noodles, pork belly sandwich on sesame scallion bread (pictured below) and Taiwanese shaved ice. The atmosphere is casual (you order at the counter), and the service is quick and friendly. It's definitely a neighborhood lunch spot I'd go to more regularly if I lived nearby.
Stop 5: Doughnut Friend (5107 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042)
Here's a sampling of the menu: "Lemon Weapon" (lemon cream, blueberry jam, and fresh mint inside a raised donut, topped with lemon glaze) and "Nutella Vision" (chocolate hazelnut inside a raised donut, topped with vanilla glaze and seasalt). First you pick out your donut base (glazed, chocolate, vanilla, gluten free-ish), next is the filling (e.g. bavarian cream, nutella, apricot ginger, raspberry habanero), and last are the toppings (e.g. lime zest, crushed oreos, mochi). Enough said.