I’ve lived next door to Highland Park for 3 years now and only recently did I get out to explore the neighborhood! My friend Lauren came into town for my baby shower and we were able to go out for a Friday afternoon of pizza, shopping, and exploring. I still need to go back and explore the neighborhood’s shops and restaurants some more, but I wanted to go ahead and publish my Ultimate Guide to Highland Park, California in case you’re planning a visit!
Ultimate Guide to Highland Park
There are two main drags in Highland Park: York Avenue and Figueroa Street. Both have centralized areas with restaurants and shops, but there are also some outlier restaurants, shops, and things to do and see in Highland Park, so I’ve listed all of them under their respective locations below.
Let’s start with the York Street side of town!
York Street // Where to Shop:
Dotter // Women’s fashion, accessories, home furnishings, and baby and children. Cute little shop! I bought a pair of velvet sunglasses. I’d go back in the future to look at their linen clothing.
Shorthand // Desk and office supplies, stationery, and gifts.
Crush // Cute gifts and items you never knew you needed!
Big Bud Press // Colorful, bright, size-inclusive clothing store.
Honeywood Vintage // Bohemian vintage apparel and home goods.
Social Study // Modern clothing and jewelry. I purchased a chartreuse corduroy tunic top.
Society of Spectacles // Optical glasses shop. They aren’t located with all the other shops, but a short drive down the street. I purchased my old-lady glasses frames here a few years ago but had the lenses done elsewhere.
Luxelust Life // Vintage home. They aren’t located with all the other shops, but a short drive up the street.
York Street // Where to Eat:
Donut Friend // Did you play those “choose your own adventure” gamebooks as a kid? If so, you’ll love the donuts at Donut Friend in Highland Park where you can choose a donut base and then top it with glazes, fruit fillings, cream cheese, and toppings until you create your own little donut masterpiece. I had the Jets to Basil which is vegan cream cheese, strawberry jam, and fresh basil inside their traditional donut which is then topped with vanilla glaze and a balsamic reduction. I also took this perfectly sprinkled rainbow donut to go and it was delicious! I totally want to go back to try the Fudgegazi.
Galco’s Soda // If you’re looking for an obscure soda, this is the place that will have it. Galco’s has been family owned and operated for over 100 years! They started as an Italian grocery store with an Italian deli in the back, but the store has slowly changed to more of a soda emporium based on the owner’s passion for soda! They also sell beer, hard ciders, french champagnes, honey meads, artisanal waters, vintage candy, and retro toys!
We stopped in when we switched over from Figueroa Street to York Avenue and grabbed a couple of sodas from their cold section. My peach lemonade hit the spot! But I also recommend picking up an assortment of root beers for an at-home taste test, be sure to grab the local White Rose Root Beer to sample!
El Huarache Azteca // If you don’t stop at Galco’s for a soda, stop here for an agua fresca and a huarache.
Town Pizza // It’s pizza. I haven’t been, but I will try it and update asap.
Joy // Taiwanese food in the former Elsa’s Bakery location.
Sonny’s Hideaway // Bar that specializes in craft cocktails and serves a limited menu.
York Street // What to See & Do:
LA Police Museum // I haven’t visited yet, but it looks like they have a lot of cool old cars and a helicopter as well as an exhibit dedicated to the North Hollywood shootout.
Bob Baker Marionette Theater // I haven’t visited the Bob Baker Marionette Theater since they moved to this new location in Highland Park, but I’m sure it’s the same awesomeness and I highly recommend a visit with or without kids.
Barcade // It’s a bar. It’s an arcade. It’s barcade.
Ok, let’s switch over to the other main drag in Highland Park, Figueroa Street, with some places to shop, eat, and things to do and see:
Figueroa Street // Where to Shop:
The Juicy Leaf // Plants, cacti, succulents in beautiful, modern pots and misc home decor. If I didn’t kill every single plant I bring home, I would’ve purchased one!
Prelude & Dawn // Women’s apparel, accessories, home, and gifts. My friend Lauren purchased a beautiful skirt and I purchased an oversized pair of wooden statement earrings.
Topo // Super cute little gift shop/bakery/deli extension of the restaurant Kitchen Mouse. Lots of baby/kid gifts.
The Bearded Beagle // Vintage, thrift shop.
Charlie Roquette // Vintage, thrift shop.
Wild Terra // Bulk herbs, teas, and spices.
Gimme Gimme Records // Fun record shop! But, I’m not the target audience, it was missing my favorite section of Easy Listening and Exotica music. Plus, I really enjoy just finding records for $1 at a thrift store/bookstore.
Fashion 21 // The original Forever 21. We didn’t go in, but it looks like a current Forever 21 and uses Forever 21 branded hangers.
Owl Bureau // I haven’t been inside, but it’s apparently a minimalist bookstore and the yelp reviews repeatedly state that it is overpriced hipster madness.
Sunbeam Vintage // Vintage furniture and homewares shop. Not located directly on Fig, but just one door down the corner.
Avalon Vintage // Vintage, thrift shop. Not located directly on Fig, but just one door down the corner.
Cookbook // Neighborhood grocer specializing in hard-to-find ingredients.
Figueroa Street // Where to Eat:
Triple Beam Pizza // I highly recommend lunch at Triple Beam Pizza! I’ve been seeing it pop up on the internet and in magazines as a must-visit place so I was excited to try it! When we arrived, there was a long lunch line, but it moved fairly quickly. I got the lunch special which includes 4 mini-slices of pizza (your choices), a giant garlic knot, and a soda/drink. It was delicious!
Just look at those perfectly burnt pepperonis!
Burgerlords // Serving both meat and vegan burgers!
Jeff’s Table // Sandwiches and salads from 11 am-3 pm, located inside Flask Fine Wines.
HomeState // Breakfast Tacos. There was a long line out the door each time we passed by.
Kitchen Mouse // Vegetarian restaurant serving breakfast and lunch
Go Get Em Tiger // Coffee, breakfast, and lunch.
Cafe Birdie // Dinner or brunch on weekends
Hippo // Dinner or brunch on weekends
Otoño // Spanish fare
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse // not directly on Fig, but just down the corner. Look for the “All Butter Everything” painted on the side of the white building.
The Greyhound Bar & Grill // Neighborhood pub
Civil Coffee // Coffee, pastries, and light breakfast menu
Kindness & Mischief Coffee // Coffee, pastries, and light breakfast menu
Figueroa Street // What to See & Do:
Highland Park Bowl // The most beautiful bowling alley I have ever seen! It’s LA’s oldest operating bowling alley and it dates back to 1927. It has been meticulously preserved and the 8 lane bowling alley reopened in 2016. Even if you don’t plan to bowl, I recommend a peek inside if they’re open!
Chicken Boy // It’s a muffler man with a chicken head proudly standing over Highland Park. It’s pretty amazing!
Other Shops & Places to Visit in Highland Park
There are several other shops and places to visit that are NOT part of the central little areas on York Ave or Figueroa Street, so I’ve listed them below:
Merci Milo // One of the most adorable and best toy stores I’ve been to. My only complaint is that because there are no price tags on anything, you have to ask the owner/store clerk and you may feel compelled to purchase more than you have budgeted.
Heritage Square Museum // I love this little museum of Victorian houses! I love it so much that my husband and I got married on the porch of one of the houses (the one below) 8 years ago. It’s such a quirky little place. It’s referred to as an open-air architecture museum and it’s made up of eight historic buildings, a vintage train car, and new reproduction of a former Highland Park drug store/soda fountain.
US Office Machine Co // Typewriter repair shop
Sustain LA // Refill station and zero waste living shop
Judson Studios // A fine art studio specializing in stained glass. They offer public tours once a month for $20. Check the website for more details.
Audubon Center at Debs Park // It’s a bird sanctuary with lots of trails. I haven’t been yet, but the photos online look nice. I’m looking forward to checking it out when my kiddos are a little older – most yelp reviews mention 3-year-olds.
Lummis House // Historic house museum
Southwest Museum // The second largest collection of Native American objects in the United States. Open Saturdays from 10 am-4 pm with free admission.