I’m now living in Burbank, California on the edge of Toluca Lake in Los Angeles and loving it. The village of Toluca Lake is a quaint offshoot of North Hollywood but has it’s own Chamber of Commerce. It was founded in 1939 and its honorary mayor is Fritz Coleman, who is a well-known weatherman for NBCLA News and a comedian. I can easily walk to Warner Brothers, Universal Studios, NBC, ABC, Disney Studios and the Warner Brother’s Ranch. Not far away is Griffith Park and Hollywood is just over the hill.
Toluca Lake is best known as the residence of Bob Hope who lived there until he died in 2003 at the age of 100. I walk by his house almost every day. One of its first residents was Amelia Earhart. Other former Toluca Lake celebrities include Bing Crosby, Ozzie and Harriet, Frankie Avalon, Bette Davis, Donnie and Marie, Henry Winkler, Ron Howard, and Jonathan Winters. Recently, it’s been the home of Steve Carell, Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, and Kirsten Dunst.
It’s not unusual to see a film or TV show company shooting on the streets nearby. There are always studio equipment trucks, honeywagons (mobile dressing rooms) catering tents set up somewhere in the neighborhood. Film crews, production people, and actors flock to local eateries during their lunch break so you never know who you could schmooze with.
The charming original homes in the area were built in the 1920’s in the Spanish Style and many have tiny one space garages that were built to fit a Model T. Sprawling mansions are lined up by the Lakeside Golf Course below Universal Studios.
Toluca Lake Landmarks
Even though Toluca Lake is small it has its share of iconic landmarks.
Bob’s Big Boy – The Toluca Lake location is the oldest remaining Bob’s built in 1949 and still features car hop service. It’s where the original Big Boy Hamburger came from and on Friday night they feature a vintage car show. It was one of Bob Hope’s favorite places to go for a burger.
Priscilla’s Gourmet Coffee House – This neighborhood coffeehouse opened in the 70’s, has a bohemian flair and is a fun place to hang out and get to know the locals.
Milt and Edie’s Dry Cleaners and Tailoring Center – You can’t miss this colorful establishment when you get off the freeway and they always have an inspirational quote posted. Milt has been in business for 71 years.
Paty’s Restaurant – Another neighborhood gathering place that has been in operation since 1960. It offers traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinners as well as gluten-free options with outdoor patio seating.
Cinema Secrets – Everything you need for professional film and theater makeup founded by studio hair and makeup artist Maurice Stein in 1984.
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Things to do in Toluca Lake
The Garry Marshall Theatre – Formerly the Falcon Theatre, this 130-seat performance space was built by director/writer/producer Garry Marshall and his daughter Kathleen. It’s productions feature performances by top actors and theater companies.
Take the Starline Warner Brother’s Studio Tour – This VIP tour stars in nearby Hollywood and takes you to the backlot and sets of Warner Brother’s Studio located in Burbank. Visit sets of current TV and talk shows, memorabilia museum, production offices and more.
Where to stay in and around Toluca Lake
Hotel Amarano – A charming boutique Hollywood style hotel that was recently nominated in the 2017 Conde Nast Reader’s Choice Awards for Best Hotel in Los Angeles. It is located on Pass Ave and Oak St., officially in Burbank but walking distance to Toluca Lake.
Best Western Plus Media Center Inn & Suites – Conveniently located a block from Warner Brother’s studio and across from a swarm of small restaurants, this is a much more relaxed and easy going place to stay than in Hollywood, which can be dicey.
The Tangerine Motel – I love the sixties kitschiness of The Tangerine. It’s also close to Warner Brothers, restaurants, and the 134 freeway.
A plethora of cafes and eateries
I love walking in my neighborhood in the morning to get my 10,000 steps in and have stopped into several cafes for fabulous breakfasts. Below are some of my breakfasts and a few other meals. I also plan to try every restaurant on Riverside Dr, so stay tuned to more food porn.
If you want to visit or live in Los Angeles, Toluca Lake and Burbank are both wonderful locations. Clean, convenient, easy to park and freeway accessible. I don’t think I ever want to leave.