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Los Angeles is a city of four million people in an area of just under 500 square miles (1280 square kilometers). The city borders on other well-known municipalities such as Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Burbank, Glendale and West Hollywood. In fact, the L.A. metro area is really a blend of the 88 cities and countless unincorporated communities which make up Los Angeles County-- a melting pot of 10 million people.
Downtown Los Angeles is geographically east of the center of the city. It is a great place to attend a live performance at the Music Center (live theater, symphony, ballet, opera), watch sports: the Los Angeles Dodgers (baseball), Kings (hockey), Clippers and Lakers (both basketball), explore neighborhoods like Chinatown and Little Tokyo, or see a reproduction of the origin of Los Angeles on Olvera Street. For a great 360 degree view, go to the top of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel.
"L.A. LIVE" is the sports and entertainment district that includes STAPLES Center and the Nokia Theatre and features sports and music events, night clubs, restaurants, a bowling alley, a museum and movie theaters.
Just south of the central downtown area is the University of Southern California (USC) as well as the museums of Exposition Park including the California Science Center, California African American Museum and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County as well as the Rose Garden with bushes in bloom 10 months of the year.
Directly west of downtown is the Central Los Angeles area including Koreatown, Miracle Mile.the Fairfax District and Beverly Grove.
A bit further west (beyond Beverly Hills) is Los Angeles' world-renown Westside, which stretches to the Pacific Ocean, including districts such as Marina del Rey, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Brentwood Village and Westwood (home of UCLA). It is approximately 13 miles from downtown to the coast., roughly the length of world famous Wilshire Boulevard.
East of downtown L.A. lies the San Gabriel Valley and San Gabriel Mountains, home to the Mt. Wilson Observatory, a 100+ year old astronomical research facility, and Chantry Flats, a trailhead for the Angeles National Forest. The San Gabriel Valley's most famous city, Pasadena, is host to the annual Rose Parade and Rose Bowl. Its also one of the best places to see winter holiday decorations (the Hastings Ranch area). Other attractions include Huntington Gardens and Library, Cal Tech, LA Arboretum, Santa Anita Race Track, and NASCAR at Irwindale. Further east is Pomona with its wonderful Los Angeles County Fair. San Gabriel Valley has some of the best Asian Food in Los Angeles.
Northwest of downtown Los Angeles is Griffith Park, the U.S.'s largest urban park which includes Griffith Observatory, Autry National Center, Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Greek Theatre (Los Angeles' premier outdoor theatre), L.A. Equestrian Center, TravelTown, and the Los Angeles Live Steamers. In December the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power puts on a wonderful Christmas light festival in Griffith Park.
South of downtown Los Angeles are the port areas of San Pedro and Long Beach. Long Beach is host to the historic ocean liner, the Queen Mary (now a hotel and a museum), as well as the Aquarium of the Pacific, Both port areas have cruises to Catalina Island as well as cruise ships to many locations.
Downtown is one of the few areas where it's better to walk than to drive. Parking spaces are limited and expensive, DASH shuttle buses (50 cents/ride) serve the area along with the metro rail and metro buses; everything can be seen in one day. Downtown is largely a commercial area -- office buildings, stores and the like so it tends to "quiet down" in the evening,
Olvera Street is the oldest area of Los Angeles, although there are no remains of the first settlement from 1781. The oldest house, Avila Adobe, which was built in 1818, is here, along with several other historic buildings. The Plaza is a popular place for street performances, vendors and also hosts the annual Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Olvera Street is one block long, with Mexican restaurants and shops selling Mexican handicrafts. On the other side of the Plaza are other historic buildings, including Pico House, the first building taller than two stories built in LA, and the Merced Theater, the first theater in the city. Across Main Street from the Plaza is the Plaza Church, oldest church in Los Angeles.
Broadway: This area most closely resembles a contemporary Mexican shopping street but most people visit for the vivid atmosphere. It is one of the busiest Downtown areas.
Jewelry District is technically a part of Broadway and starts right below 5th Street on Broadway.
Civic Center: This area hosts most of Los Angeles' administrative buildings and is the largest concentration of government buildings outside Washington DC. City Hall is the most distinctive of the buildings, familiar to anyone who watched the old Dragnet series. Nearby is the Cathedral Lady of the Angels, the home of the Los Angeles Archdiocese (Visit http://www.olacathedral.org/), and the L.A. Music Center, featuring Walt Disney Concert Hall, Ahmanson Theatre, Dorothy Chandler Pavillion and Mark Taper Forum.
Chinatown: Located at the northern end of Downtown, Chinatown is home to about 35,000 people and the place to watch the Chinese New Year's parade, and purchase Asian products.
Little Tokyo: Past Temple Street on Alameda, home of one branch of MOCA and the Japanese American National Museum.
Bunker Hill: This neighborhood was the city's first "high class" neghborhood. All of the homes from that era have been torn down and replaced with skyscrapers. At its foot is Grand Central Market where the residents of Bunker Hill used to do their shopping, and where you can still find all kinds of vendors selling all kinds of foodstuffs, some prepared food, and other things.
Other sites worth visiting near here are the Central Library, an architectural attraction (and home to one of the largest library collections in the world), Union Station, and the Bradbury Building (an extraordinary design of inner atrium and wrought iron -- as seen in the film "Blade Runner.")
University Park, Exposition Park & The Coliseum Complex: Due south of downtown and less than 4 miles away are the University of Southern California, and Exposition Park, the museum complex that is neighbor to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Coliseum which hosted its 2nd Olympics in 1984, is currently home of the Umiversity of Southern California Trojans football team. The museums include The California Science Center and Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. There is also an IMAX theater. The USC campus (across Exposition Bl from the Museums) has its own architectural gems - and it's not widely known that in "The Graduate", Dustin Hoffman who sought out his fair lady allegedly in Berkeley, was actually trolling the USC campus.
Central Los Angeles is bounded by Beverly Blvd to the north and by Olympic Blvd to the south. Neighborhoods are listed based upon their proximity to downtown. In the case where two neighborhoods are the same distance from downtown, the one that is northernmost is listed first.
ATWATER VILLAGE: an older neighborhood, just west of glendale and east of griffith park, this location is considered by families to be one of the best places to live in the entire city, with plenty of great restaurants and small businesses on the two thoroughfares, glendale blvd and los feliz blvd.
Echo Park: An older Los Angeles neighborhood often overlooked
by tourists. The center of the neighborhood is Echo Park Lake where
you can rent a boat or water bicycle or walk onto the island in the
center of the lake and commune with the waterfowl. The lake is also
home to the largest bed of lotus plants outside China. Every July the
Lotus Festival is held here, celebrating the many asian cultures that
call Los Angeles their second home.
Silver Lake: This is one of the oldest sections of the city with an energetic mix of gay and Latino cultures reflected in the ecclectic shops along Sunset Blvd just east of where Santa Monica Blvd terminates at Sunset.
Los Feliz: Just west and north of Silverlake, Los Feliz is a varied neighborhood from Sunset on the south and climbing into the hills on the north. There is a vital retail area that runs through the area with interesting shops, restaurants and clubs along Vermont Ave and Hillhurst Ave north of Hollywood Blvd. North of Los Feliz is Griffith Park, with access to the Greek Theater and Griffith Observatory via the extension of Vermont Avenue.
Griffith Park: The largest urban park entirely within an urban area in America. Griffith Park has hiking trails, horseback riding, golf courses, the L.A. Zoo, the Autry National Center, the Griffith Observatory and, on the northside (toward Burbank) TravelTown and the Los Angeles Live Steamers, where hobbyists will take you for a ride on their scale model trains.
Koreatown: Koreatown is bordered by Melrose Avenue (north),
Pico Boulevard (south), Arlington Avenue/Wilton Place (west), and
Hoover Street (eeast). Wilshire Boulevard runs through the center of
the neighborhood and features high-rise office buildings. Local
shopping is on 8th Street (running parallel to Wilshire to the south)
and on Western Avenue. Be sure to try some Korean barbecue at one of
the local restaurants -- uncooked meat is brought to your table and
you cook it over a built-in grill. For the brave, sample some kimchee
(Korean Pickled Cabbage).
Hancock Park and adjacent Windor Square (sometimes called Larchmont):
A well-to-do neighborhood in the eastern portion of central LA developed in the 1920s.
The area is bounded by Highland Ave, (west), Wilton Place (east),
Beverly Blvd. (north) and Wilshire Blvd.(south). Homes in this area
are unique in Los Angeles as they are on large lots (by Los Angeles
standards) and power and telephone lines are underground. Ninety
percent of Windsor Square homes have not been altered on their
exteriors (or if they been, the original architectural integrity has
been preserved) -- an interesting phenomenon for an area where the
homes are approaching 90 years of age in a city where last week's
fashions are now out of style. Vist the quaint "Larchmont Village"
shopping Street between Beverly Blvd and 1st Street, a few blocks east
of Rossmore Avenue (which becomes Vine Street just north of this
Hollywood covers a vast area starting at its eastern edge at Western Ave (the original 'western boundary' of the city of Los Angeles) and spans to the west to about Fairfax Ave. On the south, it is bordered by Melrose Avenue and on the north, Hollywood climbs up into the hills and ends at the ridge line at Mulholland Blvd.
The neighborhood has a rich history in early movie making where the streets were dotted with movie studios and supporting industries. "Bungalow Court" apartments -- horseshoe-shaped complexes of tiny houses -- were built to house the up and coming stars. Today, most of the movie companies have moved to either Culver City to the south or Burbank to the north but some of the old theatres are still here such as Grauman's Chinese. Adjacent to Grauman's is the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a series of brass plates imbedded in the sidewalk radiating from the intersection of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave commemorating all manner of entertainers in movies, theatre, TV and the music industry.
Today, the area is very popular with tourists and there are souvenir shops and coach tour companies that line Hollywood Bl. Public transit is exceelent from this neighborhood as there are both metro buses, DASH buses and metro rail trains that serve this district. Add to that, the numerous coach tour companies take visitors to the four corners of our metro area including trips to outlying theme parks in neighboring Orange County to the south and Six Flags Magic Mountain to the north. Other 'tourist friendly' attractions include Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and Ripley's Believe it or Not!
Miracle Mile: About a one-mile stretch
of Wilshire Boulevard between Fairfax and La Brea Avenues. It received
the name 'Miracle Mile' for its unlikely rise to prominence. Miracle
mile features the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Petersen
Automotive Museum, Museums of Arts and Crafts, and the unique La Brea Tar Pits .
Melrose Avenue: It actually has nothing to do with the popular TV show "Melrose Place" from the 1990s (although there is a Melrose Place just off Melrose Av that features high-end designer shops). Melrose Avenue features funky shops and restaurants .
Fairfax District: This district is bordered by West Hollywood
on the north, Wilshire Boulevard on the south, La Brea Avenue on the
east, and Beverly Hills and West Hollywood on the west. It is a center
of the city's Jewish community and the area around Fairfax Avenue is
lined with kosher restaurants, bakeries, delis, and little shops,
creating a village feeling in the middle of the city. Canter's Del is
one of the oldest and most famous.
Beverly Grove: This is a newly-named neighborhood -- more in people's minds than on any street sign -- but it describes the two extremes of the area: the Beverly Center shopping center on the western end (at La Cienega Blvd between Beverly Blvd and 3rd Street) -- a large indoor shopping mall with shops, restaurants and movies; and, on the eastern end of the area is the Grove, a relatively new outdoor shopping area made to look like a little town with a central square, a clock tower, a little pond (whose fountain performs "water shows" to the sounds of music), and an "old-fashioned" movie house with a rotating vertical column of neon light (don't let the facade fool you, this is a modern multi-screen multiplex theatre).
Just west of the Grove is Farmers Market. Started in the 30's to help local farmers find buyers for their produce, it has grown into one of the original tourist attractions of Los Angeles. A wide variety of things are available here, from produce to fresh meats, souvenirs, groceries, and housewares. Other noteworthy attractions are Pan Pacific Park (a former reservoir) located to the immediate east of the Grove, CBS 'Telivision City' (TV studios where popular TV shows are taped in front of live audiences) to the immediate north of the Farmers Market. and various museums along Wilshire Bl to the south of the Grove.
At the western end of the neighborhood are two malls (the Beverly Center -- upmarket -- and the Beverly Connection -- discount/mini-outlet). Running through the center of this neighborhood are dozens and dozens of restaurants and shops of all kinds and in all price ranges. This is a very walkable area that isn't touristy.
Located between La Brea Ave on the east and Doheny Blvd on the west, Melrose Ave on the south and Sunset Blvd on the north. West Hollywood, unlike Hollywood to its east, is an incorporated city of its own -- not part of the city of Los Angeles.
Studios where classic television shows, such as the "Danny Thomas Show" were filmed, are located on side streets near Santa Monica and Fairfax. This is where the three camera system was perfected after being created for "I Love Lucy" at Desilu Studios in Hollywood.
Before the area was incorporated, it was under the aegis of Los Angeles COUNTY. Two cultures flourished under L.A. County's relative "hands off" attitude:
1. The L.A. gay community with nightlife running along Santa Monica Blvd between Doheny Blvd and Fairfax Ave
2. The Sunset Strip -- a stretch of Sunset Blvd running parallel to Santa Monica Blvd between Doheny Blvd and Crescent Hts Blvd. For those old enough to remember the 60s TV series "77 Sunset Strip", the club featured on the show was, in fact, on the Strip but never had the "77 Sunset Strip" address (since all of the local addresses simply run between "8000 Sunset Blvd" to "9000 Sunset Blvd". No doubt: "77 Sunset Strip" sounded sexier than the building's actual address.
For decades, this has been a vibrant 'nightlife area' in the region with bars, lounges, live music venues and restaurants located amongst 'better' hotels and upmarket boutique shopping (and an H&M store -- inexpensive, trendy clothing).
What is there to say about Beverly Hills that's not already known? This is where the wealthy shop. Rodeo Drive is internationally renown as are the jewelry stores, clothing shops and restaurants that appear on that street and in the adjacent areas. Don't forget the "big boys" on Wilshire Blvd -- Barney's, Saks and Neiman Marcus. Beverly Hills is also an exclusive residential neighborhood but the homes aren't their largest and most expensive until you travel north of Sunset Blvd.
Beverly Hills High School has an oil well on the school grounds.
Want to start a fight in Los Angeles? Ask someone where "the Westside" begins. This area is the most extreme western section of the city. reaching to the ocean. Everyone knows that the Pacific Ocean is the western boundary of the Westside but it's never been clear where the eastern boundary is. For the purpose of this guide, let's call it Beverly Glen Bl. What you'll notice when you cross over the Beverly Glen boundary is that the air is a little cooler and the pace a little more relaxed (except for the traffic which is everywhere). Below are the major L.A. neighborhoods and cities of the westside. Santa Monica is a city at the western edge of the city of Los Angeles. Marina del Rey is an unincorporated area (not an actual city) adjacent to L.A.'s Venice neighborhood.
Bel Air: More of the Rich and Famous live here. Bel Air is a
hillside community between Brentwood and Beverly Hills: posh and sleepy
with not much to see as most houses are hidden from the street.
Contrary to what you might think, most of the really expensive homes
are at the BOTTOM of the community -- not the TOP.
Century City: Just west of Beverly Hills, this is a business
district created in the city by converting the backlot of the 20th
Century Fox Studios into a grid of high-rise office buildings and
hotels plus an outdoor shopping mall. The area is popular with people
coming to L.A. on business. After dark, the office buildings shut down
and there's not much open except the shopping mall and a couple of
Westwood Village: Westwood Village is home to the University
of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). The area is mostly populated by
students and is always buzzing. This is a "village atmosphere" with
shops and restuarants and movie theatres to serve the students. All
Brentwood: Brentwood is an exclusive residential neighborhood and has a 'small town' feeling to it. Marilyn Monroe's last residence was in Brentwood and it was here that O.J. Simpson's wife was murdered. Her house, as well as the one of O.J. himself has been bulldozed in the meantime. Although the shopping district has some nice restaurants and shops, the traffic here can be brutal especially during rush hours and finding a place to park can be an exercise in frustration. Hello, valet parking. For more information on local shopping, dining and events, check out www.sanvicente-brentwood.com and www.brentwoodvillage.org.
Culver City: Located towards the southwest corner of the L.A. metro area on the way to LAX, the city used to be home to three major movie studios (MGM, Hal Roach and Selznich). Culver City is now dominated by Sony Pictures.
Westchester/ LAX: The community of Westchester is in the very southwest corner of the city of Los Angeles and is best known for Los Angeles International Airport, LAX.
These are the westside neighborhoods that are along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean between the city of Malibu (at the north) and the city of Long Beach (at the south).
Malibu occupies 27 miles of coast along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). The main attraction is the beach. Contrary to popular belief, the TV Show "Baywatch" was mainly shot in Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades. Much of the city has private beaches and the public beaches are, as a rule, nothing to write home about. However, a visit to the Malibu Lagoon and Adamson House are well worth while. Other popular beaches in the area are Paradise Cove and Zuma Beach.
In the hills above Malibu, where Malibu Canyon Road crosses famous Mulholland Highway, is Malibu Creek State Park. Most famous for being the site where the movie and the TV show M*A*S*H were filmed, the park has a long and interesting history. Park docents conduct introductory tours of the park once a month.
Wealthy, residential community to the north of Santa Monica with a small neighborhood shopping district.
Santa Monica is located on the Pacific Ocean, where Wilshire Boulevard meets the sea. Known for its sunshine and beaches, and plenty of celebrity sightings, Santa Monica prides itself as a national model for progressive issues, including social services, quality of life for local residents, and environmental leadership. This urban village has spectacular views of its vast white sand beaches from Palisades Park, unparalled shopping on Third Street Promenade, Main Street and Montana Avenue, and the region's most renowned restaurant scene. Santa Monica stretches for about two miles along the coast before joining up with Venice Beach.
The somewhat 'bohemian' community still hangs on to many vestiges of the 1960s when 'flower power' ruled, and the little community is jam-packed between Santa Monica and Marina del Rey, reachable by foot from both communities. Ocean Front Walk is a mile long strip along the beach chock full of artists, performers, skaters, fashionable dogs, souvenirs of every kind and plenty of opportunity for pictures. Sidewalk cafes there are perfect for people watching, and the muscular bodybuilders working out at Muscle Beach's "Pit" have to be seen to be believed. A block off the beach on some of the side streets you'll find worthy restaurants and respected art galleries.
Electic shops, art galleries, and fascinating restaurants and wine bars populate the interesting Abbot Kinney Boulevard neighborhood, particularly between Venice Boulevard and Main Street, including surfing collectibles, etched glass, women's art collaboratives and wall murals.
No visit to Venice Beach is complete without a stop at the famous Venice Canals, located north of Washington Boulevard at Dell Avenue. These early 20th century canals were created by Abbot Kinney in his quest to replicate the canals of Venice, Italy. Today they criss cross a delightful intimate neighborhood of exqusite bungalows, scenic walkways, miniature wood raised bridges, and gardens lacing the sidewalks and unusual homes.
If you continue 1/2 mile further west on Washington Boulevard, you can enjoy a stop at this "End of Washington" district, which spills directly into the old Venice Pier. Metered or parking lots will give you an opportunity to explore the view from the pier, and the plethora of shops, cafes, bars and fine restaurants located here.
Hugging the south border of Venice Beach is Marina del Rey, which is the center of recreatonal boating in the L.A. area. Over 5,000 boats are anchored here, and it's a popular, casual, relaxed oasis in the middle of bustling L.A. This is one of the few places in the area where visitors can actually get out onto the water. Activity options include daily public fishing trips, hourly kayak, sailboat and power boat rentals, Wednesday cocktail, Friday blues, Saturday dinner dance and Sunday brunch cruises.
Many visitors choose to make Marina del Rey a base for their LA area visit, as most of the hotels in the community have water views overlooking the harbor, are walking distance from Venice Beach, offer more value for the dollar than other beach towns, and the community is only four miles north of LAX. For more info about this area, check out their website.
"The Marina" is famous for its waterfront restaurants, and weekend brunches. Most are located along the marina's Waterfront Walk and offer outside, covered and terraced dining. This is a great spot for sunsets too.
Marina del Rey really bustles during the summer, when the weekend Beach Shuttle operates, the Summer weekend Water Bus is zooming through the harbor, and the free summer pop and classical concert series in Burton Chace Park is in full gear.
And if you enjoy biking, the paved South Bay Bicycle Trail extends for 22 miles along the coast from Malibu in the north, through Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey, and Dockweiler Beach, ending at Torrance Beach in the south. This is an interesting ride since the beach communities are so varied. Bike and skate rental concessions are easily available along the route, including bikes for pets and children, tandems and low riders (great for seniors).
The Marina del Rey portion passes by the beautiful marinas as well as some interior areas for some portion, and is a good place to stop for lunch or to pick up some provisions for a picnic along the way. For directions, free bike and visitor maps, restaurant listings and more, stop at the Marina del Rey Visitors Information Center, located along the bike path at 4701 Admiralty Way (at Mindanao). Open daily.
Immediately south of Marina del Rey is the isolated little beach village of Playa del Rey. Quiet, serene, with wide, white sand beaches, the litte residential community is reminiscent of mid-century beach towns. A scattering of local dives, some pretty good restaurants, and a quiet beach front gives the area its slow paced flavor. It is surrounded by the newly restored Ballona Wetlands, which are a treasure of coastal wildlife on the westside.
The South Bay is generally recognized as beginning at Los Angeles International Airport, and moving south from there, and includes the beach cities of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes and Long Beach. Right out of a postcard of Southern California, they offer sand that stretches out of sight, clean water, beach volleyball, and beachfront paths for rollerblading, cycling and walking.
San Pedro/Wilmington: The offical Port of Los Angeles where the commercial freight arrives for this region of the country. It is also the port for all pleasure cruises, except Carnival Cruise Lines, and whale-watching cruises. Cabrillo Marine Museum is here. There is a water-side shopping center of shops and restaurants.
Long Beach: Long Beach is an independent city -- not part of the city of Los Angeles. It features the Queen Mary, the Carnival Cruise Lines docks, an aquarium, a city beach and an airport (where discount flights like Jet Blue arrive)
Studio City: Once the home of the Motion Picture industry, it is
now an up and coming area for hipsters looking to escape the crowds of
Hollywood. You can find nice restaraunts, bars, and excellent shopping.
Universal City: Its main attraction are Universal Studios and the City Walk. Universal City Walk features restaurants, a movie complex and dozens of specialty shops.
Burbank: One of Burbank's institutions is Bob's Big Boy on
Riverside Drive, every single Friday night, muscle car enthusiasts show
their restored old-timers. "Nightshow" host Jay Leno has been spotted
there frequently, sporting a 'new' vehicle on every occasion. Burbank is
also home to Warner Bros., NBC and Walt Disney Studios. Disney's
animation studio features a 2-story high wizard's hat.
A couple of minutes away, on the north side of Griffith Park, is Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills. This cemetery is the final resting place of Stan Laurel, Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable and Walt Disney, but the graounds are extensive and management doesn't appreciate 'star seekers' too much, staff members will not assist in locating individual sites and some, like the one of Humphrey Bogart, are roped off and patrolled.
Pasadena: Pasadena is where the world famous Tournament of Roses Parade kicks off New Year ' Day (except when New Year's Day is on a Sunday; then the parade is held on January 2). For visitors during the holiday season, it's one of those lifetime memories. The Rose Bowl game traditionally occurs the same day as the parade (except when it hosts the BCS Championship game) and is one of the most watched college football games in the country. The week or so before the Tournament of Roses Parade you can watch the floats being decorated. The downtown area has several restaurants, shops, and comedy clubs. The Last Comic Standing show taped at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium which is in the downtown area and hosts other events during the year. Also in Pasadena are the Norton Simon Museum, Gamble House, and world famous Cal Tech University. Descanso Gardens, a 160-acre botanic garden located in nearby La Cañada-Flintridge, has one of the world's largest collections of camellia bushes.
San Marino: Close to Pasadena is San Marino, with the wonderful Huntington Library and Gardens. The library has one of the world's finest collections of rare and valuable books, and many scholars come to the facility to study. The Art Gallery has a fine collection of works of art; two of the most well-known of which are Pinkie and Blue Boy. The grounds contain several themed gardens, e.g., the cactus garden, Japanese garden and formal gardens The place also serves a beautiful afternoon tea (reserve in advance.).
Arcadia: Arcadia is the home of the Los Angeles Arboretum It is also home of the Santa Anita Race Track which is a fun and historic place to watch horse racing. This was Seabiscuit's home track and much of the film was shot on location here. On weekend mornings during racing season (Oct-Nov and Jan-Apr) there are free tram tours of the stable area. There is a large mall in Santa Anita as well as many good Chinese and Asian restaurants.
Irwindale: If you like watching car racing, Irwindale's Nascar Race Track is a fun place to go. Check out the events on Friday and Saturday nights. Close by to Irwindale is the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area where you can enjoy swimming, fishing and picnicking.
San Gabriel is a good place to see a bit of California History with its Mission and several other histroic buildings in the immediate vicinity. The San Gabriel Mission was established in 1771. The community is a diverse one.
Baldwin Park: For one of the best Mexican dinners in the Los Angeles area, go to Guadalaja Grill; reserve in advance. Its a great way to see one of the best Mariachi Shows while you dine. It is a smaller community.
Pomona: Pomona is home of one of the Los Angeles County Fair. It is a suburban community with a couple of shopping malls. The Pomona Colleges are in this area. It is also home to Cal Poly Pomona and its famous herd of Arabian horses established by the founder of Kellogg's Cereals.