24 Hours InTravel

24 Hours in Los Angeles with Joy Cho of Oh Joy!

by Stephanie

Today’s ’24 Hours In’ comes to us from Joy Cho of Oh Joy! Joy has lived in various locations across the US, but has made Los Angeles her home for a while now and today she shares her ideal day strolling around her favorite parts of her local neighborhoods in LA. Thank you so much for sharing your perfect day in the city with us, Joy! —Stephanie

*Please note: “24 Hours In” is series where we ask designers and artists to show us their favorite local spots. These guides are not intended to be full and comprehensive looks at an entire city, but a personalized look at a specific area. Please see our full D*S City Guides for longer-form travel guides.

Illustration by Libby Van der Ploeg

Read the full guide after the jump…

Oh boy, I’m excited to share some of my favorite East Side spots with you guys. Now, we all know that we usually don’t get to go to ALL of our favorite spots in a city all in one day…work or kids or life takes over a lot of the time. But this is what I would do if I had a full day to myself to enjoy my favorite spots and what I’d recommend to you if you’re visiting Los Angeles anytime soon and you want a day full of fun design and even better things to eat!

24 Hours in East Side LA with Oh Joy!

8am – There are a so many places I could recommend starting your day off with for a morning treat. Two of my favorites for a sweet, pastry-style breakfast include Republique and Proof Bakery. Both have some of the best pastries I’ve had in LA and are my go-to spots to meet with friends. If a sweet breakfast is not your thing, then go where all the East siders go for a one-of-a-kind, savory breakfast: SQIRL. If you visit Proof, stop by Individual Medley for a beautiful mix of home goods and clothing for both men and women. If you go to SQIRL, stop by the cutest flower shop afterwards, Twig & Twine for a little bouquet treat.

24 Hours in East Side LA with Oh Joy!

10am – I’m about to fill your head with a ton of places to eat and shop, so take a quick break and head to Griffith Park and ride the old-fashioned merry-go-round. It goes up to 22 miles per hour, is beautifully preserved, and a hidden gem in this beautiful public park.

11am – Now that you’ve gotten a breath of fresh air, head to Silver Lake for some shopping! On Sunset Blvd, you’ll find the most beautiful bags at Clare Vivier, gorgeous textiles and home goods at En Soie. Then head down Sunset to Reform School, Bucks & Does,  Clementine Floral Works, and Mohawk General Store.

24 Hours in East Side LA with Oh Joy!

12pm – Take a lunch break for ramen at Silver Lake Ramen. Be sure to ask for the black garlic paste which isn’t listed on the menu but is pretty much the best addition to ramen broth ever. Or, if you want something a little lighter, head to Forage for a mix of fresh and local options.

1pm – Finish up a bit more shopping in Silverlake at Broome St. General Store, Yolk, Lawson-Fenning.

2pm – Take an afternoon break and get an Iced Genmaicha Tea latte at Café Dulce in Little Tokyo. While sipping your latte, wander around to the Japanese bookstore for boatloads of inspiration, then stop into Mikawaya for an ice cream mochi—they are fresh and so, so good!

3pm – Head over to the Arts District in Downtown L.A. for some more shopping at Poketo, Apolis, and Alchemy Works. And because all that shopping will make you hungry, be sure to grab a slice of pie at The Pie Hole.

4pm – Stop at Sunbeam Vintage in Highland Park for some inspiration and to find something special to add to your home decor collection.

5pm – Grab a friend and head to Echo Park Lake. You can ride peddle boats around the lake, take a long walk, and enjoy the fresh air and scenery. There are lots of little paleta (popsicle) carts, too, for a refreshing snack. It’s a fun little spot to find within LA and especially on the East side where we’re further from the beaches.

24 Hours in East Side LA with Oh Joy!

7pm – Dinner time! It’s hard to narrow down the options for dinner, so I’ll name a few of my favorite East side spots. Head to L&E Oyster Bar if you’re an oyster lover. Paired with a glass of wine and some other sides, it’s a very chill dinner to wind down to. Or if you love trying new things, Black Hogg has some really fun and meaty dishes to sink your teeth into. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, try Sage for some delicious veg options that even your non-vegetarian friends will enjoy.

10pm – Boy, are you tired or what? After all that eating and shopping and exploring, it’s time to get some rest!

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  • Thanks Joy! Love this 24 hour tour with you. The next time I visit L.A. your guide will be close by.

  • I love this! I live on the east side of LA and have yet to visit many of these places. I LOVE Mohawk General Store, so I think I will love all the rest of these suggestions!

  • There are definitely loads of great spots on this list. However, I’d say it’s a bit (ok a lot) optimistic to think you’d be able to hit up even one third of these spots, what with LA traffic being what it is. I’ve spent an entire afternoon just trying to get to/from/find parking in Silver Lake.

  • Some great spots but perhaps a bit Silverlake and Echo Park centric. I’d argue that Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Atwater Village/Frogtown and other neighborhoods on the eastside of LA, have more offerings.

    Also, I have to laugh at giving an hour to go from one location on this grid to the next and do that activity. HAHAHHHAH. Traffic is not a joke.

  • These are all great…but honey THIS is NOT the East side of L.A. This is straight up L.A., not West, not East. Great write up though. Xo Xo

  • As a 4th generation LA native, it is disappointing when well meaning newbies come into a neighborhood that has a beautiful history and for whatever reason (gentrification) feel entitled to baptize it with a name that historically belongs to another old and culturally beautiful neighborhood in this city. The East Side of LA is east of the LA River. Echo Park, Silver lake, Griffith Park are all north of 1st Street and west of Main and the River (our NSEW demarcation line). A knowledge of local neighborhood history is as important as the knowledge of where the cool and hip places are. All the places mentioned here are great, it is the new identity that is off.

  • I have to agree with Rose and Iris that this is not the east side of LA, in fact it’s really north of LA at best. Considering the cool renaissance that is going on east of the city center, it’s a bit insulting to find that the author has ignored the entire region’s great food, shopping and other unique opportunities as if it does not exist.

    • Jen (and others)

      Thank you for clarifying the geographic parameters for ‘East Side’. I don’t think Joy in any way intended to represent the entire city here, and she wasn’t asked to- these guides are intended as a small, personalized look at a city through one person’s eyes. Joy focused on the areas closest to her, so other neighborhoods weren’t included for that reason. She wasn’t asked to provide a thorough guide (we have full city guides on DS for that, this column is more specialized) so please don’t assume she chose to ‘ignore’ anything, she was only asked to provide her favorite spots in her local area of LA and I’m so glad she did. I think it’s a great list of spots to check out that are incredibly fitting for this particular audience. We’ll be sure to reach out to other people in different parts of LA (we already have, we’re just spacing out guides so it’s not all LA, all the time.)


  • Some good suggestions, but what about DeKor LA!!?? A great interiors shop on Sunset with an amazing selection of mid century furniture… or Moon Juice in Silver Lake. The best juice and raw food cafe in LA?

  • Grace, It’s great that you are responsive to your readers. Most of us take our neighborhoods seriously. I admit this was my first response to your title and I’ve only been in LA for 30 plus years. May I suggest you pay tribute the real “East LA” in another of your posts. It has a very deep and rich tradition for Native Angelinos.

    • Mark

      I’ve already put in a request- but I think this guide is a wonderful look at LA, too. All these “24 hours in” guides are meant to be a super specific look from one person’s point of view.


  • I agree, it would be nice if this post was renamed Downtown and Silverlake. The reason people are commenting in droves is that there’s a racial/class appropriation going on here that’s really tense- true East LA is Latino neighborhoods east of the river, the ones that get a lot less attention than Silverlake and the downtown Arts District. Middle class people, primarily white and definitely younger and wealthier couples have moved into Silverlake and Echo park, making those the Brooklyn of LA and then started calling those areas “The Eastside” because they were traditional Westsiders, headed east, but it’s sort of offensive to a true East La resident to have what is still west of where they live called the Eastside. I live in K-Town and people call that the EAST and it’s nuts.

    I’m sure this is an innocent mistake, and it’s been bubbling up more now, but it would be really gratifying to see Design Sponge change the title of the post. that would be a really supportive gesture towards the incredible diversity of Los Angeles and the traditionally Latino neighborhoods fighting for cultural recognition and identity.

    Here’s an article about why the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council recently declared officially that Silver Lake is NOT Eastside: http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-eastside-battle-20140218-dto,0,6508792.htmlstory#axzz2uTConyu4

  • EGH summed up this issue much better than I could. What she said.

    I have no bones to pick about why Joy didn’t include some places. (Love your blog BTW!) It’s HER guide after all. It’s just not in East LA.

  • Thank you, Rose. So many transplants mislabel the hoods but Cho is yet another newbie to the West Coast after all. Also wish that this included some cultural markers rather than just painting LA as a city of superficial behavior, as the list is all about retail therapy and gastronomic pleasure.