Highland Park is located along the Arroyo Seco, situated within what was once Rancho San Rafael of the Spanish / Mexican era. Its boundaries are roughly the Pasadena Freeway (California Route 110) and the city limits of South Pasadena on the southeast, the city limits of Pasadena on the east, Oak Grove Drive on the north, and Avenue 50/51 on the west. Highland Park's neighbors include Mt. Washington to the southwest, Montecito Heights to the south, Hermon and Monterey Hills to the southeast, Pasadena and South Pasadena to the northeast, Eagle Rock to the north, and Glassell Park to the west. Primary thoroughfares include York Boulevard, Avenues 50, 54, and 64, Monte Vista Street, and Figueroa Street.
One of the oldest settled areas of Los Angeles, Highland Park is also one of the most scenic, due to its unique architecture and its proximity to the Mt. Washington hills, the San Rafael hills and Monterey Hills. There are large sprawling parks in the area which include the Arroyo Seco Park and the Ernest E. Debs Regional Park. The Southwest Museum, with one of the largest and most significant collections of Native American artifacts in the country, is located in adjacent Mt. Washington. The light rail Metro Gold Line from Union Station to Pasadena (traversing all of Highland Park) is one of the most enjoyable and dynamic public transportation journeys in the city, because of views offered by the parks, hills and valleys along the meandering route.
Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock was founded in Highland Park in 1923, and constructed its building in 1930. It is the second oldest synagogue in Los Angeles still operating in its original location.
During the 1950s and 1960s, many of Highland Park's grandest and oldest homes were razed. As a result, local activists started Heritage Square, a Highland Park museum, in an attempt to save some of the Victorian homes which were scheduled for demolition. Gentrification began to set in in 1984 when large tracts of the district were set aside for historic preservation under Los Angeles' Historic Preservation Overlay Zone ordinance.
Before the rise of Southern California housing prices from 2002–2005, many arrived to Highland Park to seek out, buy, and revitalize Craftsman homes, some of which had suffered neglect over the decades. Although this quiet movement continues, Highland Park has not undergone the dramatic changes that Echo Park and Eagle Rock have experienced. The district's proximity to those neighborhoods (coupled with low rents), have made it increasingly popular among "hipsters". Many local dive bars have become trendy nightclubs with their doormen and velvet ropes. Since 2006 the Old LA Certified Farmers Market has operated adjacent to the Highland Park Gold Line Station. The market has become a new nexus of community activity.
From the late 1950s to the 1970s, Highland Park and neighboring Eagle Rock were known as havens for Hot Rod builders. While most of the original hot rod shops have disappeared, McGibbon's Auto Body still exists at 5251 York Blvd. McGibbon's shop was the creator of many of the hot rodder and low-rider graphics and paints from the 1970s onward, as well as being reknowned builders of customized hot rods.
In the 2010s, gentrification and "house flipping" has occurred in Highland Park, yielding increases in property values in a neighborhood that is still quite affordable.
The clothing retail chain Forever 21 was founded in Highland Park in 1984. The first store is still located in its original location at 5637 N. Figueroa and bears the original name of the company, Fashion 21.
Some of this information is courtesy of wikipedia.com