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New York City has a walk score of 88. I scoffed when I read that Silver Lake, Los Angeles has an 81. That mere seven-point difference means that Silver Lake defies the stereotype that LA is a car must-have city. I didn’t want to be that New Yorker saying, “It’s only a mile!” and then find myself walking on a highway overpass — but I did want to put Silver Lake’s 81 walk score to the test.
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I booked a stay at the Silver Lake Pool and Inn (rates from $410/night) and packed my suitcase. You will never see me fumbling with an overstuffed tote bag or weekender bag now that I am a streamlined luggage expert thanks to Quince’s Check-In Hard Shell Suitcase ($180). You won’t find a more affordable or spacious hard shell suitcase that weighs less (8.8 lbs empty).
This is probably the space-deprived New Yorker in me exaggerating, but my room was wastefully, gloriously huge. The hotel had no gym, but I usually exercise in a shoebox so I did a workout (shoutout to Heather Robertson’s no-repeat cardio classes) in the abundant square footage.
Oddly, the sink was in the main room, but I ended up liking the setup because it allowed me to talk to my boyfriend throughout my skincare routines (morning, mid-day, and night) and mask applications. The room came equipped with two real plants, waffle robes, and Diptyque products. The mini bar included Vacation sunscreen, Public Goods popcorn, and maude… accessories.
Next on the agenda: drinks with my cousins. There were three cocktail bars within walking distance (!!) and we ended up at the Black Cat (equidistant from hotel and restaurant). This is essentially the same concentration of bars in my neighborhood (Greenwich Village), but the bars near me are way more cramped, and hard to find a seat. (I’d later drop by Bar Stella, which was great for an after-dinner cocktail.)
Post-drinks shopping is the best kind. I felt at the center of things and barely remembered this was a sans-car, walking experiment. I stopped in at Maison Kitsuné, YOLK, Garrett Leight, and got gelato at Pazzo Gelato (try the root beer float flavor).
We fit in a quick dip in the pool. The view photo is only *slightly* posed — I was making notes for this very story. If the amount of sun I’m getting is triggering your sunblock sensors, don’t worry. I was fully protected with a trifecta of products: Guinot’s coconut-scented sunscreen ($47) for my body, Daybird’s Tinted Skincare ($40) as a first step right after I wash my face, and Glo’s SPF tinted moisturizer ($50) for touch-ups throughout the day.
Dinner was steps away at Bowery Bungalow (literally across the street from the hotel) for amazing Middle Eastern food. Afterward, we stopped by Erewhon for bottled water (I heard California tap water is not the same as NYC tap water). Is there anything more LA than Erewhon? The sceney grocery store was the hotel’s literal neighbor and our last stop for the night.
The next day we had breakfast at Marco Polo (the hotel restaurant), where my boyfriend hesitated for a moment when asked “Avocado or bacon?” But he did the right LA thing and went with avo.
Eventually, we got in the car and drove to Echo Park, but only because we had paid for the rental. I’m confident we could’ve spent several days happily occupied as pedestrians in Silver Lake. In a way, my visit was the (blessed) opposite of the typical New York experience (clamoring for a 9 pm reservation and feeling lucky when you get it). To my mind, a good walking neighborhood means you can eat, drink, and shop with your grandma in tow. Silver Lake more than lived up to its 81 walk score and I plan to return soon, car optional.