There was a time I couldn’t have said this, but Echo Park is now one of the economical and best places you can take the family for an outing.
Echo Park Lake has the distinction of being one of the first man made lakes in Los Angeles. A dam was built there way back when there were less than 30,000 people living in Los Angeles (I know, hard to believe isn’t it) in order to provide power for a nearby wool mill.
During the eighties and nineties, the area started to go downhill rapidly. Street gangs ruined the quality of life in the area during the eighties, only to be compounded by LAPD corruption in the nineties. From what I have heard, the lake wasn’t exactly pretty then either.
After decades of decline, the park was designated a Cultural and Historic Landmark in 2006. There was a spirit of renewed interest in the neighborhood. The lake was drained during renovations in 2011. In with all the other trash, two guns were found in the lake bed. Granted that’s pretty tame compared to the reported body count in the lake at MacArthur Park, but it still isn’t the kind of thing you want showing up in your neighborhood.
The park reopened in June 2013 after a 45 million dollar makeover and it is now one of the most beautiful parks in the city. Much of the beauty in the lake is also functional. 900 acres of urban land in the neighborhood drains into Echo Park Lake. A filtering system that cleaned the water was needed. Hence the large areas of beautiful lotus flowers, water lilies, giant arrowhead, and hair grass covering large areas of the lake serve the additional purpose of filtering the water that drains into the lake.
The renovations have put Echo Park Lake in the forefront once again and it is indeed a great place to have a picnic, walk or bicycle around the lake, rent one of the swan paddle boats (for roughly about $11.00 per hour), photograph the unique turtles, ducks and other birds, or just sit on a park bench and enjoy some peace and quiet away from the noise and congestion of the city without having to leave it. You will also find one of the most beautiful views of downtown Los Angeles from the northern end of the lake.
Echo Park Lake is just off of Sunset Blvd at 751 Echo Park Ave, Los Angeles 90026
More pictures after the break…