In the bustling and booming city of Los Angeles, finding the right neighborhood to settle in can be both exciting and overwhelming. Neighborhoods that embrace stunning old-school architecture, trendy shopping and dining become the new places to be. These sought-after neighborhoods are selling quickly, with multiple offers, and for good reason. Buyers are demanding walkability, upscale dining, and safe neighborhoods. The areas of Highland Park and Monrovia tick all these appealing real estate boxes.
In these neighborhoods, “preservation is a huge factor,” Douglas Elliman broker Donna Baker says. “After watching nearby communities allow perfectly good older homes to be torn down and replaced by ‘McMansions,’ these cities have focused on preserving their image, both with their housing and planning. Annual old home tours are popular, which also attract potential buyers to these areas.”
An exciting development for the area is the opening of the Metrolink Gold Line Foothill Extension, enabling residents to avoid maddening gridlock when traveling to downtown Los Angeles. “I believe MetroLink has made these areas, once considered to be ‘not-so-cool’, cooler and ‘hip.’ Accessibility to them is now easy with the light rail system,” says Douglas Elliman broker Tim Durkovic. Adding to the ease of transportation options, companies like Lyft have implemented dirt cheap one-way fares in cities like Monrovia, impacting the appeal.
If these hotspot neighborhood virtues aren’t enough, we put together an insider’s guide of things to see and do within this hotbed of Los Angeles County.
Nestled between Pasadena and Eagle Rock, buzzworthy Highland Park has become known for its stylish hangouts and strong sense of community. Upscale coffee shops now mingle with old-school taco stops, and its pedestrian-friendly streets are a welcome reprieve from the car culture of L.A. “Highland Park is FULL of cool, hip restaurants, and a totally restored bowling alley. It has a more urban flair which appeals to the type of buyer that would have bought in Silver Lake, but can’t afford it,” Durkovic says.
Here are just a few places to check out within this up-and-coming haven.
This spot’s intimate ambience, creative menu, and brick-walled patio make it popular among locals. Natives also love its tucked away location, ideal for keeping out tourists, so diners can expect an authentic California experience.
With 16 beers on tap and an extensive wine list, the Hermosillo is an optimal spot to relax with upscale pub fare. The laid-back décor is a welcome makeover in a brewpub that was once an escort bar in this changing community.
Situated on the walkable York Boulevard, this delightful shop offers the best of home décor, clothing, and books. The mother/daughter-owned store focuses on American-made brands and locals say its perfectly curated selection makes it the stop for inventive and stylish trinkets.
The Pop-Hop Bookstore
Come by POP-HOP tomorrow in support of this year's Small Business Saturday! 😀❤️ . . The store is plenty stocked with delightful goodies which we think you'll adore! ✨ . . With every passing year we're ever so thankful to be apart of such a great community of small businesses here on York Blvd! 🙏🤝 _ #smallbusinesssaturday #yorkblvd #highlandpark
In a world of online shopping, the Pop-Hop Bookstore has thrived since its opening in 2012. Its York Boulevard location sits next to thriving restaurants and shopping options, ensuring ample foot traffic. Visitors rave about the shop’s rare finds and great selection, including cards and other novelties perfect for gift-giving.
As the fourth oldest city is Los Angeles County, landmark historic homes with delightful facades pervade the town. “Vintage properties are my specialty,” Baker says, “I tend to get buyers who are specifically looking for historic or older homes built before 1940.” Baker, a Monrovia resident for over 30 years, takes pride in the community and preservation efforts in her neighborhood. “The city has done an amazing job with redevelopment, attracting businesses that cater to a smaller community, but also keeping up with trends, such as Lime Bikes and the Lyft program.” Baker maintains that locals call it “one of the best kept secrets in the San Gabriel Valley.”
The sense of community and its slower pace resemble a small town, rather than a bustling suburb of Los Angeles, and these spots contribute to its newfound buzz.
This popular spot lives up to the hype, with dumplings so good that Eater L.A. designated it a “wonton-wrapped dynasty.” The high quality of the food is matched in popularity by its impressive price (with most options under $10), so you might have to wait to get in.
The Peach Café
The Peach Café brings comfort food rooted in happiness to a land of shape-conscious California cuisine. Locals can spend their cheat days at this brunch favorite feasting on maple waffles or the infamous Peach Omelet. The southern-inspired eatery also celebrates the weekend with bottomless mimosas and Bloody Mary’s.
Monrovia Canyon Park
In the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains lies a wilderness encounter only five minutes from downtown. Nature lovers can hike several trails from the easier Waterfall Trail to the 2.6 mile Monrovia Canyon Falls.
Monrovia Wine Walks
Residents can stroll through the streets of Old Town or shop various businesses, glass in hand. This popular event encourages visitors to stop by retailers in town, driving foot traffic and a festive community atmosphere. Ticket prices include live music and 12 one-ounce wine samples, while proceeds give back to the close-knit community.
Properties for Sale
271 N Myrtle Avenue
4 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms
Complete remodel of a classic Craftsman in the heart of Monrovia. Open concept with 5 built-in speakers in the living room. The kitchen comes with new countertops and hardware with Wolf stove and range with Sub-Zero refrigerator. The ample master bedroom has its own walk-in closet and spacious bathroom with dual sinks and huge glass shower. Amenities and conveniences include a lush, green backyard great for grilling, a brand new 2-car garage and an easy walk or ride to town.
305 W. Duarte Road, B
3 Bedrooms | 3 Bathrooms
Gorgeous tri-level Craftsman featuring high gables, wood siding, and river rock columns and accents. Features include a corner fireplace, XL balcony, abundance of cherrywood cabinetry, newer appliances, large pantry, granite counter tops, double sinks, laundry area, and a door to a second balcony. On the first level is the entry, along with an en suite bedroom, on the third level are 2 additional bedrooms, including a master suite with ceiling fan, hardwood floors, and large walk-in closet.
1838 N SANTA ANITA Avenue
3 Bedrooms | 4 Bathrooms
New construction contemporary home currently functions as a 3-bedroom, 4-bathroom home, but is designed for an easy transition to 4-bedroom, 5-bathroom with a main level en suite bedroom. Living space features soaring ceilings and an open kitchen with a chef’s island, custom Italian cabinets, high-end Jenn-Air appliances, and built-in fridge. The kitchen flows to a second living space with vaulted ceilings and panoramic folding doors that connect the indoor living space with the lush backyard with patio and sparkling pool. Upstairs features a bonus loft space and 3 en suite bedrooms, including an impressive master with deluxe, marble-lined bathroom.