By this point, we’ve all happily brainwashed ourselves that Echo Park Lake was never closed. Those years of constantly watching the Lake progress seem like a fairy tale since it’s comeback was so strong and so perfectly executed: it feels like the park never closed. It’s absolutely bustling with life and people eager to sit on grass and enjoy their day outside–how did we get along without it? Taking a stroll around the park, you feel the importance of parks in Los Angeles and notice that–while we don’t have tons quite like Echo Park Lake–their value is so important to the outdoor loving people of Los Angeles.
The Lake officially reopened a little over a month ago with lots of fanfare and buzz. We had been wanting and wanting and wanting to go since it’s become the ~*~c00LeSt~*~ place to take Instagram photos and “be seen” at. Everyone had nothing but raves to say about the lake and we had been actively watching news about the park too: it was time to finally experience the it ourselves. On a Sunday around 1PM, we didn’t really have an expectation of what the park would be like but–really–we should have predicted it was going to be bustling with park goers.
Everyone is here on a Sunday–but it isn’t uncomfortable. There were people picnicking, people laying on the grass, people walking, people running, kids on playgrounds, an impromptu volleyball game, lots of independent ice cream vendors, and lots of leashed dogs along for the hang out session. The pedal boats were also out too, which was totally a surprise since it was so recently announced that they were coming back. We thought there was a while to go before we’d see them! Nope: they rolled out on Saturday (which we know because we were there Friday afternoon too and saw them, unused, chained to the docks). We had wanted to take a spin around the lake on them but, unfortunately, the line to wait for one was too long and the people using them seemed to be having too much fun out there. Thus, get to the park early if you want to pedal. Bring $10 cash (if you are an adult) and $5 (if you are a child). It has to be the cheapest, most fun you can have in town!
Everything about Echo Park Lake is so well executed. Despite a month of wear and people not following rules (i.e., picking water lilies and going in the water), the Lake still looks great. The restored statues and lotuses are beautiful and all the added signage and historic information have a simplistic and to-the-point look. There are a few odd things, namely why the near-the-highway pool wasn’t reopened to detract people from taking a dip in the lake. Seeing the boathouse in action also made us wonder where exactly SquareOne is going since there was no room to eat or serve food there. There also must be something barring food trucks from stopping by because none were in sight: it seems like that is a big missed opportunity. Perhaps the least important but most annoying thing is there is no place to hang out and have a drink while lakeside. Will SquareOne sell wine and beer? Can’t there be like a little place for people to have a taste and enjoy the sun? Why is it so hard to have a drink outdoors in LA?? This is a personal concern, we are aware.
Echo Park Lake’s restoration was so well executed and so thorough that future efforts to restore it won’t be nearly as difficult or as long as this past one. There is no wonder everyone and their friend and friend and other friend who has more friends are hanging out at this park because it’s so idyllic and chill and gathers every type of Angeleno. Between the many hispanic families to the post-church whoevers to the cool alt-teens to the yuppie couples to the frustrated joggers to the odd proselytizing roaming open-air preachers, everyone is welcome and coming to Echo Park Lake. There is a lot to love in this park and it will certainly make you want to move to Echo Park to be closer to it.