a short stay in Echo Park, LA


I had a three day weekend so Sean and I decided to go for a quick and sweet getaway to our neighboring city, LA. In particular, the Echo Park region of Los Angeles. We Airbnb’d a gorgeous, minimalist space that was walking distance to solid coffee, amazing food, and Echo/Elysian Park. We only had a little over 24 hours but we made the most out of it-enjoy the pics friends.

Smorgasburg

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Before we actually dived into Echo Park, we stopped by Smorgasburg-an open-air foodie market heaven located in Prospect Park. It was our first time and for anyone planning on going to this, go hungry! Parking and entrance is completely free (woop woop) and the venue is basically the parking lot of a chain of produce markets.

The unique thing about Smorgasburg is the vendors. All foods are from local vendors-everything from live uni, to Filipino desserts, to savory fusion tacos. A dreamland for people who love good food! Unfortunately, Sean and I had a hefty breakfast so we didn’t get to try much. We loved Shrimp Daddy (Hawaiian-styled shrimp, macaroni salad, and rice). AMAZING and so flavorful. This was the busiest stand out of all of them.

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We also grabbed a refreshing hibiscus and oolong tea drink from PopdUp-they specialize in mixing flavored soda with tea. They also come in these adorable glass jars, very Instagram worthy.IMG_3224_Fotor.jpg

The venue also has a small strip in the middle where vendors were selling everything from homemade candles, vintage clothing, to crafty jewelry. Such a great way to spend a Sunday morning/afternoon in LA. We will be visiting again soon!

Art District / Salt & Straw

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We still had some time to kill before check-in so we stopped by our favorite region of LA-the Art District. I wrote a post about this district quite some time ago if ya want to check it out! We were feeling peckish so we stopped by Salt & Straw and got the infamous Honey Lavender ice cream. If you can, please please try this-I was tempted to buy a pint and carry it around with me all day lol.

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I was starting to get hungry again so we decided to get a bite at Cafe Gratitude-a very hyped up vegan restaurant that I have been dying to try. First off, the place is so beautiful-everything is clean, modern, and spacious. Such a relaxing and inviting place to eat. Sean and I shared just the nachos and boy was it freaking scrumptious. It certainly did NOT taste vegan. Any vegetarians/vegans who haven’t tried this place really is missing out!

Echo Park / AirBnB

 The AirBnB that we stayed at for the night was simply gorgeous. Aesthetically pleasing and a genius use of space-the hosts had renovated their back house to a comfortable one-level studio-type home. We were originally going to stay at a hotel but there is nothing more intimate and immersive than staying in the neighborhood that you are visiting. Our hosts were the best- I really wanted to stay for at least another day!

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Echo Park was just a short walk (less than a mile) from our little abode and what an interesting park it is. There was a real sense of community there-vendors selling piping hot food, kids playing in the grass, and cute ducklings swimming about. Really loved the laid-back atmosphere.

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Late lunch was a cute vegan restaurant called Sage. Very eclectic and designed beautifully inside. The menu is delicious and all plant-based. We shared a Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich that was super yummy.

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The highlight of the night was having some wine and cheese at The Semi-Tropic. No pictures for this place as it was too dark but pics won’t do it justice anyway. This place is randomly located next to a KFC and someone’s house-it was pretty funny trying to find this place but so worth it. We got the cheese & charcuterie plate that included brie, truffle, prosciutto, and some nuts/apricots. WOW. Hands down best cheese plate I’ve had. By the way, I am lactose intolerant so I suffered greatly after. HA. Will do it again in a heartbeat.

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We then walked along Sunset Boulevard to browse through various bookstores, bars, and stumbled upon the Echoplex that happened to be in the middle of a stand-up comedy act. The Echoplex is an intimate venue that usually houses concerts for independent artists-unfortunately no one we knew was playing that night but we definitely enjoyed the last half of the act. This is definitely a place to go dancing/clubbing/chilling if you are ever in the area. Really cool vibes and loved the ambience.

After the wine and cheese, we were both completely shattered so we spent the rest of the evening relaxing in our cozy home and really soaking in the possibility of having our own place soon.

Last, but certainly not least was what we had for breakfast the next day. We longingly said goodbye to our little home and our hosts and drove off to Winsome. Echo Park has a handful of renown breakfast/brunch places and Winsome seemed to a very popular one. The location was tricky to find since it was nestled next to a neighborhood and an apartment complex, but the food and coffee was so good.

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I had the avocado toast (THE BEST I have ever had) and Sean had a classic egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich (very delish). Again, the decor was on point-a trend that I have noticed during our stay at Echo Park. I even loved the look of the menu!

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After, we stopped by the Santa Monica pier to really savor the last few hours we had before going back to the OC. As you can tell, this trip focused mostly on food haha! Echo Park is a very hipster, eclectic, vibrant place to visit. I loved how we found the most amazing food in the most random, unforeseen areas. I will be back in the future, there is so much more to see! I do hope you enjoyed this lengthy post of me rambling on and on about how pudgy I got from all the eating I did.

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paige xx

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter | 4 Years


 

This past weekend, Sean and I celebrated 4 years of being together and wowzie has that gone by fast! We have been wanting to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in L.A. ever since it opened and we FINALLY had a full Saturday to go and boy was it worth it.

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The entrance to Hogsmeade was like a big, warm welcome to childhood. I grew up with Harry Potter and it was so exciting-I almost peed my pants. It really is beautiful, especially all the little details like the cobblestone walkways, the lampposts, crooked chimneys, etc…just AMAZING.

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The first thing we did was the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride-you go through the Hogwarts castle, including the Defense against the Dark Arts classroom, Dumbledore’s office, etc…

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Apologies for the dark pictures! The line was moving fast so it was difficult to take proper pictures without getting trampled on. These definitely don’t do it justice. There were so many details that I wish got on camera, you really feel like you are in Hogwarts! Fair warning, the actual ride consists of virtual reality and can make you extremely nauseated especially if you suffer from motion sickness (me, all day every day). Other than feeling like vomiting, the ride is so fun and totally worth waiting for!

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Roaming through the shops and browsing around in Honeydukes, Zonko’s, and Ollivander’s was so sentimental. We decided to get a Chocolate Frog for a souvenir but passed on the wands (very pricey at almost $40). They even had interactive wands for around $10 more that allowed you to use spells to perform magic in certain areas of the park. Naturally, we had to try the famous butterbeer and the hype is real! I prefer the hot version. It basically tasted like a buttery, rice-crispie treat in liquid form-very addicting and sugary!

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There is basically one sit-down restaurant in the Harry Potter park: The Three Broomsticks. The food was surprisingly good and decently priced for an amusement park restaurant. I got the Lemon Herb Chicken with Corn/Potatoes and Sean got the Fish and Chips. The atmosphere is amazing and cozy, especially with the soft Harry Potter soundtrack playing in the background. Hogs Head (the pub and only place you can purchase alcohol) was busy and one of the few places that sell hot butterbeer. YUM.

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Overall, it was a magical experience and people of all ages will adore this place. Sean and I basically spent 8 hours in the Harry Potter section and used the other two to wander around the other parts of Universal Studios haha. Something definitely worth mentioning is the new AMC Walking Dead attraction. It’s a walk-through attraction where walkers scare the living shit out of you. So funny and a must.

I hope to one day visit the Harry Potter park in Orlando, Florida as I heard it’s bigger. I highly suggest visiting The Wizarding World, even if you are not a Harry Potter fan. It literally whisks you away to another land-I could live there!

 

xx/paige