Hollywood began here! In the silent film era, Echo Park, northwest of
downtown, was a the center of California filmmaking and the locale for
films starring Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and Tom Mix. Since
then, Echo Park has been home to hippies, old lefties, artists, movie
stars, a slew of ethnic immigrants, and most-recently, SUV-loving
yuppies (just a few, though). Author Ayn Rand, slugger Babe Ruth,
hippie activist Jerry Rubin and actor Steve McQueen have all lived in
Echo Park. Charles Bukowski spent so much time in the bars that he
be considered an honorary resident. The park and its lake, which were
often used while filming "Gilligan's Island", are known for a huge
collection. Each summer, the Lotus Festival celebrates the
neighborhood's pan-Asian heritage. Each spring there's a Cuban Festival
celebrating revolutionary poet Jose Marti. Speaking of Cuba, chow down
on Cuban sandwiches at Masa's bakery or old-school French food at Taix
French Restaurant before a show at Echo nightclub.
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