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Planning a Day Trip with the Highland Park Field Guides

This week we launched the Highland Park Field Guides, a curated exploration of culture, recreation, food and sightseeing in the dense and historic neighborhood in Northeast L.A. After exploring the cultural history of the area this Fall, we've been crafting and finessing this interactive tool for discovering just how wonderful Highland Park can be.

The Field Guides is broken down into eight categories:

  • Art
  • Architecture & History
  • Family
  • Walking and Sightseeing
  • Food
  • Nature 
  • Bicycling (coming soon)
  • Horse Riding (coming soon)

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    Using the guides, we came up with a day-long exploration of many things that Highland Park has to offer:

    » Sycamore Terrace Tour:
    Begin your day by arriving at the The Southwest Museum Gold Line Station, and walk a few blocks to Sycamore Terrace. This area was formerly known as "Professor's Row" for the faculty from Occidental College that resided here in the early 1900s before the school moved to its current Eagle Rock location in 1914. The block offers a bevy of architectural delights for anyone interested in the influence of the Arts and Crafts Movement on homes in the Arroyo Seco. From here you can easily cross Figueroa Street to enjoy a bit of open space at the historic Sycamore Grove Park. You can then walk towards the historic Hiner House and past the Ziegler House, and hop back on the Gold Line and ride one station over to:

    » Highland Park Gold Line Station:
    Walking by the Metro Gold Line | Photo by KCET DeparturesThe Highland Park Gold Line Station was completed in 2003 after decades of development. Located in the heart of the Figueroa Street shopping district, the station hosts the Old Los Angeles Certified Farmer's Market every Tuesday evening. During the day it's an easy walk to $3 movies at the Highland Theater, or to pay your respects to Chicken Boy at Future Studio Design & Gallery. If your stomach is up for it, you can then explore:

    Tacos on Figueroa Tour:
    This tour will guide you through the many food establishments along Figueroa St. that offer one of Highland Park's most famous products - the taco. You can bring your vegetarian friends along to Cinnamon, or feast on the overwhelming variety of carnitas available at Metro Balderas. To recover from the food coma, you can head over to:

    Tierra de la Culebra Park:
    Originally scheduled for development as an apartment complex, this lot was abandoned for several years until 1992, when artist Tricia Ward turned the space into an art park for the local community. River rocks from the Arroyo Seco were sculpted into the Culebra, a 500 foot long serpent. Youths manage the park under the supervision of ACLA (Art, Community, Land, Activism), providing reading programs, cultural festivals, and art classes to local teens. You can relax at on-site coffee shop and small music venue, Ghetto Grounds, before crossing the Parkway and the Arroyo Seco at Via Marisol to walk off the rest of your lunch at:

    Ernest E. Debs Regional Park:
    Part wildlife refuge, part recreational facility, the park serves much of the Northeast Los Angeles community, providing hiking trails, basketball courts, and picnic areas. Visit the Audubon Center and learn about native flora, or hike to the top of Debs Park to be rewarded with beautiful vistas of Highland Park, Downtown Los Angeles, and East Los Angeles and enjoy the famous L.A. sunset from the charming lake at the top.


    We've only scratched the surface of everything that Highland Park has to offer. Use our Field Guide to plan your trip by interest, location, or appetite and you will find your path to enjoying the neighborhood a little bit better.

    Be sure to share your thoughts on the Highland Park Field Guide with comments, future suggestions, and of course photographs and stories from your adventures!

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