Atwater Village is having a moment. This sliver of a neighborhood between hip Los Feliz and family-oriented Glendale is where inventive restaurants and cool new boutiques coexist with dry cleaners and fortune-telling joints. Its main drag, Glendale Boulevard, is a strip where the food is exceptional, the stores are sophisticated, and the tourists are few. Here are 10 great places to explore in this funky little pocket of Los Angeles.
1. An offshoot of the famed Hugo’s restaurants and a neighborhood institution, the Hugo’s Tacos stand is home to some of L.A.’s best tacos. One bite of its mushroom carnitas hard tacos and you’ll see why the menu also offers a plate of three.
2. Less than a mile from Glendale Boulevard, Momed restaurant on Casitas Avenue offers a modern take on Mediterranean food in a gorgeous setting. The best-selling drink on Momed’s popular cocktail menu is the Casitas Squad, a combination of mescal, Strega, lime, pomegranate, and Urfa chile pepper, a Turkish variety.
3. The dramatic, bird-like North Atwater Crossing, also known as La Kretz Bridge, hovers above the Los Angeles River, connecting Atwater Village to the L.A. River bike path and Griffith Park. In a city famous for its automotive traffic, the year-old bridge provides a refreshing nonmotorized zone for pedestrians, equestrians, and bicyclists.
4. You have to love a place where you can smell the spices all the way from the parking lot. Some customers frequent India Sweets and Spices on Los Feliz Boulevard as often as three times a day for the all-vegetarian meals, says café-supermarket owner Kumar Jawa. Lunch and dinner specials that include curries, rice, Indian bread, a samosa, and even a mango smoothie run about $8, perfect for day-trippers on a budget.
5. Specialty food-and-wine shop Wine and Eggs has the warm, cozy vibe of a Nancy Meyers movie. Stocked with everything from truffle salt to unusual produce like Desert Sunset heirloom garlic, this new kid on the block is a must-visit for cooks or just anyone who appreciates food presented beautifully.
6. As its name suggests, The Attic, a small boutique on the east end of Glendale Boulevard that carries vintage goods, feels like the magical attic of a collector with a discerning eye. Scour through the clothing and accessories in the front and then check out the nearly hidden back section for housewares and children’s goods.
7. Jacknife Records and Tapes brings back the gloriously tactile experience of physically browsing through music titles presented in vinyl, cassette, or CDs. It even carries 45 rpm records and players. For those who miss the joy of creating a mixtape, Jacknife sells blanks.
8. Elegant little wine boutique Oeno Vino features small-batch wines as well as a few beers. An intimate bar area downstairs offers flights, wines by the glass, and a selection of light foods. (Be sure to designate a driver if you plan to drink alcohol.)
9. Serene used-books store Alias Books East feels like a carefully curated private library. It also maintains the exhilarating feel of a place where you might find almost anything. Whether you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to typography or a book on card tricks, Alias might very well carry it.
10. At 99 years old, the Scottish-themed Tam O’Shanter restaurant on Los Feliz Boulevard remains wildly popular, so be sure to make a reservation. Rumor has it that in the 1930s, animators from then-nearby Walt Disney Studios took inspiration from this building when designing the cottage for the 1937 flim Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Walt Disney himself dined here frequently in the 1920s and ’30s. If you’re a Disney fan, request Walt’s favorite table, Number 31, and the staff will do its best to accommodate you.
AAA Travel Alert: Many travel destinations have implemented COVID-19–related restrictions. Before making travel plans, check to see if hotels, attractions, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, and local authorities have issued health and safety-related restrictions or entry requirements. The local tourism board is a good resource for updated information.