The perfect healthy day in Echo Park, LA
Come for the the mochi pancakes, stay for the metaphysical workouts.
The westside of Los Angeles gets all the wellness credit.
Venice Beach has arguably been the epicenter of hippie, health-centered culture as far back as the 1980s. Westsiders made hemp seeds cool way before marijuana legalization, and the original sensory deprivation float tanks were built (and still stand) right on the Venice Boardwalk.
But the neighborhoods on the eastside—Silver Lake, Echo Park, Highland Park, and Downtown LA—are the actual sleeper hits of wellness. Tucked into the hilly terrain well beyond the 405 freeway, holistically minded humans thrive in these small, creative neighborhoods.
Echo Park in particular has come into its own over the past few years. Situated around Echo Park Lake—yes, that famous landmark that’s been in at least 33 famous movies, and probably half of your LA friends’ Insta feeds—the neighborhood is an amalgamation of gorgeous Victorian-era houses, shiny new luxury condos, and 1920s bungalows. As a result, it’s home to all walks of life. Student artists and wealthy movie stars alike (Leo has a home in the area) rub shoulders at the local coffee shops and health food stores.
Whether you’re just passing through on your way to the Angeles Mountains or you’ve snagged a sunny Airbnb for the weekend on the eastside, Echo Park has more than enough studios, stores, and hidden gems for wellness enthusiasts to explore.
Here’s how to have the perfect healthy day in Echo Park, LA:
Move: Samarasa Center
Start your day with a sweat. Sunset Boulevard is lined with studios, but the standout is the bright and well-designed Samarasa Center. The colorful studio offers yoga, pilates, and meditation classes with the best teachers in LA. For a functional and thoughtful workout, check out instructor Justine Malick’s Reformer classes. You’ll shake, quiver, and drip with sweat as Malick artfully guides you through anatomy-focused, targeted movement that almost instantly gives you a six-pack. (Not kidding, it’s kind of incredible.) Looking for a slower start to your morning? Roll out your mat—or rent one at the front desk—for a mindful yoga flow class (or run across the street to Love Yoga‘s Echo Park outpost, which brings Venice Beach vibes to Vinyasa-style classes).
1030 N. Alvarado St., Los Angeles; (213) 375-7503
Breakfast: Honey Hi
The hippest hive on the eastside, Honey Hi has become a wellness lover’s go-to spot for casual dining. Co-owners Caitlin Sullivan and Kacie Carter serve up high-quality, nourishing eats that span every dietary need. The meat is grass fed, the sourdough is gluten free, and the milk is plant based—but nothing on the menu is lacking in flavor (promise). Rather, the two have somehow managed to make their refined sugar- and gluten-free restaurant one that anyone would love to eat at–from your Paleo partner to your vegan BFF. Don’t skip the Mochi Pancakes and the Dandy Brew latte with coconut milk (just trust on this one). And yes, you’ll want to grab a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie on your way out—they’re the best in town.
1620 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles; (213) 221-7810
Relax: Breathwork with Keely Semler
Digest your pancakes with a walk down Sunset Boulevard (taking shopping breaks at boutiques like Passenger and Nico & Bullitt). When you’re ready to get meditative, enjoy a private breathwork session with Keely Semler. Breathwork is a deeply restorative, relaxing, and invigorating way to get back into your body. (If you haven’t tried it before, LA is most definitely the place to do it.) Keely gently guides you through a 30-minute session of breathing and sound therapy—the combination washes over your whole body, and will seriously make you feel like a new person.
Hit up Botanica to grab lunch to go—you can walk around the nearby Silver Lake Reservoir for a truly local feel—or sit down to enjoy farm-to-table food from their incredible female chef. Check out the outside patio to get a little Vitamin D, too.
1620 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles; (323) 522-6106
Shop: Spellbound Sky
Searching for a souvenir? If you’re in LA, it better be a crystal. Swing by Spellbound Sky, in nearby Silver Lake, to shop ’til you drop (and then are energetically revived by the citrine in your hand). The mineral assortment—lovingly hand-selected by the store’s proprietors Mark Phillips and Martin Anguiano—changes weekly and is charged daily by the built-in skylights. If you can nail Anguiano down, convince him to do a reading for you—his divinations are remarkably accurate.
4210 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles; (323) 284-8115
End your day at the vegetarian-friendly, Mediterranean-style spot Elf. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but the Pan-Seared Haloumi salad is next-level good. Most dishes can be made vegan, too. If you’re planning on a low-key night after this (read: no dance workouts), order yourself of biodynamic wine.
2135 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles; (213) 484-6829
Party: Gaga Improv Class at The Sweat Spot
Get back into your body with an hour-long improvisational, Gaga-style dance class at The Sweat Spot. Open to dancers and non-dancers alike, the teacher uses imagery to guide you through full-body movement that will take all over the room. By the end, you’ll have worked your body in ways you didn’t know were possible … and you’ll definitely be ready to hit the sack.
3327 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles; (323) 953-8089