I don’t know about you, but many of my favourite places are discovered on accident, usually during a detour or missed turn, and Echo Park in Los Angeles definitely falls in this category. Andrew and I had just eaten a gigantic bowl of ramen each and decided we needed to find a place to walk it off before we checked off the next spot on our list: the Time Travel Mart.
(Is it just me, or are the ramen portion sizes so much bigger in the states?!)
While driving around, I noticed a huge pond with people paddle boating in it and decided that this was where we should shake off the impending itis.
(Seriously, the bowl of ramen was HUGE)
After parking and walking closer, we learned that we stumbled across Echo Park (the park named after the neighbourhood) and that the pond was actually a pretty sizeable lake! And the palm trees… Well… You know I love palm trees.
A Cinderella story
I consider us lucky to see Echo Park in all its beauty because while doing research for this post, I learned that it didn’t always look like this! Lotus flowers that were said to have been planted in the 1920s flourished in the water until around 2008 when they died off (I couldn’t find the reason for this, but I’m assuming it was due to water pollution and lack of maintenance).
The man-made lake was barren until it underwent a huge cleaning which, among other things, involved the replanting of these majestic flowers in 2013. An article I read stated that the new flowers were predicted to blossom in 2015, and I can assure you that they’ve had a glorious comeback!
What I did notice about the water was a good amount of scum on the surface, and I think a lot of it has to do with people feeding bread to the wildlife (ducks, geese, and even turtles). If you’re curious, here are some reasons why this happens!
*Note: I did a little more research about the efforts to clean up Echo Park, and just last summer 150 milk crates of algae and a bike were removed from the lake! Imagine pulling a bike out…
Overall, I would have loved to spend the entire day here; we didn’t even get to walk around the entire park! Echo Park is definitely filed under “places to return to”, and our next trip to LA can’t come fast enough.
Next stop: back in time!
After successfully evading the ramen-induced itis, we headed over to the Echo Park Time Travel Mart. I came across this peculiar sounding place through Atlas Obscura while I was putting together our to-do list, and from the pictures alone I knew I had to see it for myself.
Just read how Atlas Obscura introduces the TTM and tell me you don’t want to check it out:
Have you ever traveled through time and foolishly forgotten your Pastport? Woken up in the morning and realized you’re fresh out of dinosaur eggs for breakfast? Discovered that your robot is out of milk…and has lost its toupee? Thankfully, The Echo Park Time Travel Mart has all the necessary supplies for your trip to the fourth dimension – and yes, that apparently includes robot toupees!
It was actually a much smaller shop than I had imagined, but it was jam packed with things to look at – from mammoth chunks, to robot feelings, to dinosaur eggs! I’m also fairly sure that everything was for sale!
It was only afterwards that I learned that the TTM is run by a non-profit organization called 826LA, and all profits from the shop go back into the program. They help students hone their creative and expository writing skills through workshops and after school programs! I didn’t even realize this, but at the back of the Echo Park location was a tutoring room where around 20-30 students come everyday!
I’m absolutely in love with everything that 826LA and the TTM aims to do. The atmosphere alone fueled my creativity and imagination, so I can understand how it can do the same for young kids!
This was one of my favourite days during our trip to LA! I’m so glad I made visiting the TTM a priority because I got to support an amazing organization, AND we got to discover a beautiful lake in the process.
Here are a couple of videos from that day (it’s no surprise that these were my favourite videos to make):
Google Maps has this amazing feature where you can share maps that you’ve made, and you best believe I’ll be posting our LA itinerary soon! In the meantime, I thought I’d just share the post-specific locations:
Want more LA content?! Click here for the archive!
Catch you next time!