Los Feliz, Los Angeles

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Los Feliz
Neighborhood of Los Angeles
Southwest Los Feliz bungalow listed in the NRHP
Southwest Los Feliz bungalow listed in the NRHP
Los Feliz is located in Los Angeles
Los Feliz
Los Feliz
Location within Central Los Angeles
Coordinates: 34°06′45″N 118°17′06″W / 34.1124°N 118.2851°W / 34.1124; -118.2851

Los Feliz[1] is an affluent hillside neighborhood in the central region of Los Angeles, California, abutting Hollywood and encompassing part of the Santa Monica Mountains. It is noted for its historic expensive homes and celebrity inhabitants.

The neighborhood is named after its colonial Spanish-Mexican land grantee, José Vicente Feliz, and, along with present-day Griffith Park, makes up the original Rancho Los Feliz land concession.



Los Feliz Boulevard treelined with Deodar trees

Los Feliz contains several smaller neighborhoods. This includes Los Feliz Estates, Laughlin Park, Los Feliz Village, and the Franklin Hills.

Los Feliz neighborhood, as mapped by the Los Angeles Times

According to the Mapping L.A. project of the Los Angeles Times, Los Feliz is part of Central L.A. Los Feliz is flanked on the north by Griffith Park, on the northeast by Atwater Village, on the southeast by Silver Lake, on the south by East Hollywood and on the northwest by Hollywood and Hollywood Hills.[2][3]

Street and other boundaries are: the Griffith Park line between Fern Dell Drive and Riverside Drive on the north, Riverside Drive on the east, Hyperion Avenue and Griffith Park Boulevard on the southeast, Fountain Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard on the south, and Western Avenue, Los Feliz Boulevard and Fern Dell Drive on the west and northwest.[4][5]

Adjacent neighborhoods[edit]

Relation of the Los Feliz neighborhood to other places, not necessarily contiguous:[2][4]


Shakespeare Bridge over the Franklin Hills in the Los Feliz district


The 2000 U.S. census counted 35,238 residents in the 2.61-square-mile neighborhood—an average of 13,512 people per square mile, among the highest population densities in Los Angeles County. In 2008 the city estimated that the population had increased to 36,933. The median age for residents was 36, older than in the city as a whole; the percentage of residents aged 65 and older was among the county's highest.[4]

The neighborhood was highly diverse ethnically. The breakdown was whites, 57.6%; Latinos, 18.7%; Asians, 13.5%; blacks, 3.7%, and others, 6.6%. Armenia (25.3%) and Mexico (9.4%) were the most common places of birth for the 44.5% of the residents who were born abroad, a high ratio compared to the rest of Los Angeles.[4]

The median yearly household income in 2008 dollars was $50,793, about the same as the rest of Los Angeles, but a high rate of households earned $20,000 or less per year. The average household size of two people was low for the city of Los Angeles. Renters occupied 75.5% of the housing stock, and house- or apartment owners the rest.[4]

The percentages of never-married men (50.2%) and never-married women (37.2%) were among the county's highest, as was the percentage of widowed women (10.1%).[4]


The area north of Los Feliz Blvd. below Griffith Park is commonly referred to as the Los Feliz Hills. The Los Feliz Hills contain multi-million dollar homes and has been known for a large share of its inhabitants being involved in creative pursuits. This is one of the wealthiest areas of Los Angeles and the mean household income is $196,585.[6]


Col. Griffith grantee of the Los Feliz family

Native Americans[edit]

Long before the Spanish settlers arrived to settle near the banks of the Los Angeles River, Native Americans were the only inhabitants. The Native Americans established villages known as rancherias throughout the countryside. One of these settlements was located within the boundaries of what was to become Rancho Los Feliz. Archeological surveys have found evidence of a substantial rancheria that existed in the mouth of Fern Dell Canyon in Griffith Park. It is estimated that the Native Americans first came to this area approximately 10,000 years ago. The traditional name of this village is not known but the inhabitants were Gabrielinos. This name was given by the Spanish because of the Native Americans' association with the San Gabriel Mission. When Gaspar de Portola traveled through the vicinity in 1769, his expedition encountered members of this village.

Land grants[edit]

The 6,647-acre (27 km2) Rancho Los Feliz, one of the first land grants in California, was granted to Corporal José Vicente Feliz. An old adobe house built in the 1830s by his heirs still stands on Crystal Springs Drive in Griffith Park. Other sections of the rancho were developed and became the communities of Los Feliz and Silver Lake.

Griffith legacy[edit]

Rancho Los Feliz had a succession of owners after the Feliz family. One owner, Griffith J. Griffith, donated over half of the ranch to the city of Los Angeles, which became one of the largest city-owned parks in the country.

In 1882, Colonel Griffith Jenkins Griffith acquired 4,071 acres (16 km2) of Rancho Los Feliz. The Lick estate still owned the southwest portion of the rancho and there developed the Lick Tract, which later became a part of Hollywood. Griffith never served in any branch of armed forces in the United States, but he was given a courtesy title of "Colonel" from influential friends in the California National Guard. The title remained a permanent fixture to his name.

Griffith died on July 6, 1919 at the age of 67. Griffith bequeathed $700,000 and his Los Feliz area to the city of Los Angeles to be used for additions to Griffith Park.

Motion pictures[edit]

Frank Lloyd Wright: Ennis House

The neighborhood has been home to movie stars, musicians, and the Hollywood elite. It boasts some of the best known residential architecture in the city, including two homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright - Ennis House and the Hollyhock House - and Richard Neutra's Lovell House.

Mickey Mouse was "born" in Los Feliz — Walt Disney drew his first image of the now-legendary character in the garage of his uncle's house, which was located on Kingswell Avenue between Vermont and Rodney. Disney's first animation studio (now a photocopy store[when?][citation needed]) was also on Kingswell Avenue, just down the street from his uncle's house and east of Vermont. Disney's second, larger studio (now a Gelson's supermarket[when?]) was located at the corner of Griffith Park Boulevard and Hyperion Avenue, on the Silver Lake side of the Los Feliz-Silver Lake boundary.

Los Feliz was also home to many other early studios, such as D. W. Griffith's, which site now houses The Prospect Studios (formally known as First National-Warner Brothers and more recently ABC Television Center), at the intersection of Prospect Avenue and Talmadge Street. On Sunset Boulevard was Monogram Pictures (KCET public television), where early Charlie Chan movies were filmed, as well as Hurricane, starring Dorothy Lamour, and the camp classic Johnny Guitar. (The Western street from that movie remained until the mid-1980s, when KCET razed the set to make way for a much-needed parking structure.)

May 2007 fire[edit]

Fire at Griffith Park in Los Feliz, 2007

On May 8–9, 2007, about 800 acres (3.2 km2) of uninhabited terrain in Los Feliz and Griffith Park, including the famous Dante's View, were destroyed in a wildfire. In light of the event, Los Angeles city officials have pledged millions of dollars in aid to reconstruct the parts damaged by the fire over the coming years.[7]


The Laughlin Park section, with 60 houses, is gated. In 1998 Laura Meyers of Los Angeles Magazine described this section as "The most seductive, excusive neighborhood in Los Feliz".[8]


Forty-two percent of Los Feliz residents aged 25 and older had earned a four-year degree by 2000, a high figure for the city.[4]

The schools within Los Feliz are as follows:[9]

  • John Marshall Senior High School, LAUSD, 3939 Tracy Street. Designed by architect George M. Lindsey in the Collegiate Gothic style, the school opened on January 26, 1931. After the Sylmar earthquake of 1971, some of Marshall’s buildings were condemned. The cafeteria was torn down, but the Main Building was preserved. In 1975, it was closed for structural strengthening, and in September 1981 it was reopened. Mike Haynes Stadium, the school's football and track arena, dates to 1981.[citation needed]
  • Franklin Avenue Elementary School, LAUSD, 1910 North Commonwealth Avenue
  • Los Feliz Elementary School, LAUSD, 1740 North New Hampshire Avenue
  • Thomas Starr King Middle School, LAUSD, 4201 Fountain Avenue
  • Our Mother of Good Counsel, private elementary, 4622 Ambrose Avenue

In 1998 Laura Meyers of the Los Angeles Times stated that residents of the Laughlin Park section of Los Feliz "tend not to send their kids to the local public schools" and instead "often" select the Lycée International de Los Angeles, the area French School, or The Oaks School.[8]

The Immaculate Heart school is in proximity to the community.[10]

Los Feliz Village[edit]

Los Feliz Village is the southern section of Los Feliz, home to most of the commercial storefronts in the district. It is centered around the thoroughfares of Vermont and Hillhurst and spans from about Prospect avenue north to a few blocks south of Los feliz Blvd. There are several coffee shops, restaurants, and small clothing and vintage stores. It is also the part of the neighborhood that has more affordable housing, with blocks of less expensive apartments and single family homes than found closer to Los Feliz Blvd.

Los Feliz Village Business Improvement District helps promote local businesses and has an annual street fair.

On February 2014, a local shop called Dumb Starbucks Coffee opened in Los Feliz Village. It has gained notoriety as a parody on Starbucks.[11]


The Brown Derby ca. 1945

Los Feliz village is home or in proximity to numerous bars and restaurants catering to nightlife. They are mostly located on Hillhurst between Los Feliz Boulevard and Prospect Avenue, and on Vermont between Franklin Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. Some were classic dives in their hey-day, frequented by the likes of Charles Bukowski, Lawrence Tierney, sundry working class drunks, poets, artists, writers and other creative types.

The Derby, at Hillhurst and Los Feliz, the last remaining location of the historic Brown Derby chain, was featured in the movie Swingers. It closed in 2009.

The Dresden Room on Vermont, also featured in the film Swingers, has live entertainment by Marty and Elayne. (Marty and Elayne make brief, performing appearances in both Swingers and the fourth-season Mr. Show episode "Rudy Will Await Your Foundation".)

Disneyland recreation[edit]

Buena Vista Street, the new entrance to the California Adventure theme park at the Disneyland Resort, is partly modeled after Los Feliz during the 1920s, when Walt Disney first arrived and set up shop in Los Angeles, initially in the garage of his aunt and uncle's Los Feliz house.[12] The area had special importance to Disney since his original animation studios were located here, before moving to the present location in Burbank. The Disney Buena Vista Street even includes a retail location called Los Feliz Five and Dime.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Local Spanish feliz is pronounced [feˈlis] or [feˈliθ]. While an approximation of this is often used, more commonly an anglicized pronunciation, /ˈflɨz/, is used.
  2. ^ a b [1] "Central L.A.," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
  3. ^ [2] "Northeast L.A.," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
  4. ^ a b c d e f g [3] "Los Feliz," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
  5. ^ The Thomas Guide: Los Angeles County, 2004, pages 593 and 594
  6. ^ [4] Higley1000.com
  7. ^ Reuters. Wildfire continues to burn in heart of Los Angeles. Both published and accessed May 9, 2007.
  8. ^ a b Meyers, Laura. "The High Five." Los Angeles Magazine. Emmis Communications, January 1998. Volume 43, Issue 1. ISSN 1522-9149. p. 58.
  9. ^ [5] "Los Feliz Schools," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
  10. ^ "Los Feliz Laughlin Park." Los Angeles Magazine. Emmis Communications, January 1998. Volume 43, Issue 1. ISSN 1522-9149. p. 58.
  11. ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/dumb-starbucks-shop-appears-las-678728
  12. ^ a b Live, Bryan (September 7, 2011). "What to Expect on Buena Vista Street in 2012". disneylandlive.com. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°06′45″N 118°17′06″W / 34.1124°N 118.2851°W / 34.1124; -118.2851