Silver Lake may be better known for its hipster flair, yet its most impressive watering hole isn’t found in a café, coffee shop, or speakeasy. The Silver Lake Reservoir is the center of fresh-air recreation here (and the most likely place to see outdoor enthusiasts dressed in skinny jeans). If you live downtown, your drinking water likely comes from this 100-acre reservoir holding close to 800 million gallons of water for thirsty Angelenos. A 2.25-mile loop around the lake is a great way to hike without leaving the city. Start at the south end just outside the Silver Lake Dog Park. After passing picnic tables and basketball courts to reach the west side of the lake, enjoy a surprising view of Griffith Park’s peaks and ridges. Across the street, houses built between the 1930s and 50s give the neighborhood a classic LA ambiance. There’s one minor hill on the lake’s east side, and it descends to Silver Lake Meadow—a 3-acre field that’s a “quiet place” on the lake, and popular with people practicing everything from juggling to kickboxing. Make your way on Silver Lake Boulevard beneath a canopy of eucalyptus and pine trees before finishing the loop back at the dog park. Silver’s in season!
Take the 101 Freeway 2 miles north of downtown Los Angeles to exit 5B for Silver Lake Blvd. At the bottom of the ramp, turn right and drive 1.4 miles to Silver Lake Reservoir. Park along the east side of Silver Lake Blvd., and take the crosswalk at Duane St. across Silver Lake Blvd. to the Silver Lake Dog Park. Turn left, walk downhill to Van Pelt Pl., and turn right, walking past the Silver Lake Recreation Center to West Silver Lake Dr. Turn right and follow the street through a quick turn to the left and then the right, before it straightens out for 0.9 mile along the west side of the lake. Turn right on Tesla Ave., where there is no sidewalk, walk one block to Armstrong Ave., turn right and walk over the hill to Silver Lake Blvd. Turn right, pass Silver Lake Meadow, and go 0.65 miles down the lake to the dog park.