(credit: Clarissa Wei)
An often-overlooked part of Los Angeles located in eastern part of the county, The San Gabriel Valley is actually larger than its San Fernando counterpart at 284.13 square miles. Most people just don’t know that much about it. Home to the some of Southern California’s most interesting cities including Altadena, Alhambra, Pasadena, and Monterey Park, the SGV as locals affectionally call it, has the largest concentration of Chinese Americans in the U.S. and some of the best attractions around Southern California including great flea markets, farmer’s markets and more. We took a deeper look to discover the top things to do in the 626.
Altadena Farmers Market
3330 Lincoln Ave,
Altadena, CA 91001
For a wonderful place to take a stroll and pick up your week’s groceries, the Wednesday Altadena Farmers Market is one of the best spots in the San Gabriel Valley. Although, it’s a small operation next to a park, it’s a nice place to unwind and promises a great selection of food from terrific food vendors (we recommend Mama Musubi, Hugo Foods, Shucks Oysters, and Gypsy Eats) as well as lots of fresh produce, of course. The market is also a quick drive away from the Altadena Ale House, a local watering hole which has Taco Wednesdays and is populated by locals and farmer market vendors alike.
Vineland Drive-in Movie Theatre
443 Vineland Ave,
City of Industry, CA 91746
Located in the City of Industry, this classic drive-in movie theater is open seven days a week and shows the latest blockbusters under the night’s sky. A swap meet by day and a movie venue by night, the admission is notably cheaper than regular theaters and the benefit is you get to watch from the comfort of your own car. With sound broadcasted via FM radio and a ultra-large screen, you can be sure that the experience will be like no other. And, if you don’t like the movie you are watching, you can drive over to the other one. The site can hold up to 1,500 cars and is one of the few remaining drive-ins in Los Angeles.
Hike the San Gabriel Mountains
E Loma Alta Dr At Lake Ave
Altadena, CA 91001
Recently designated a national park monument by President Obama, the San Gabriel Mountains has some of the best hiking trails in the Southland. Start off easy and trek up Echo Mountain in Altadena, which is a do-able 10.4 mile hike featuring ruins and a killer view at the top. And if you’re a more seasoned hiker, Mt. Baldy and Mountain High is just a stone’s throw away and ideal for snowboarding.
Stroll Around Old Town Pasadena
1 W Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91105
A perfect pedestrian-friendly town, Old Town Pasadena is one of the areas most well liked spots to dine, shop and simply hang out at. With the ever popular Umami Burger, Intelligentsia Coffee, 85C Bakery Café and more, it’s become a foodie hotspot. Saunter down Colorado Boulevard, grab a bite to eat, and maybe try your luck at ice-skating at the local rink.
Rose Bowl Flea Market
1001 Rose Bowl Dr,
Pasadena, CA 91103
Rain or shine, the Rose Bowl Flea Market pops up at the Rose Bowl Stadium on the second Sunday of each month. With 2,500 vendors, it’s most definitely a local hub where people like to go to scope out the latest fashions and or pick up quirky furniture pieces. Admission begins at $9,00. The Rose Bowl Flea Market also offers an express admission ($12 per person) that will get you in earlier, or pay $20 and you can start shopping earlier than anyone at 5 a.m. Regular admission for $9 gets you in at 9 a.m.
The Exit Game
111 N Atlantic Blvd Ste 148
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Recently opened, Exit Game is a real life video game with three missions to complete is modeled after the large-scale escape games in Japan. The gist: you’re in a private group of about 10 people and the goal is to escape the rooms by solving interactive puzzles and mind games. You have an hour to escape. Ready? Go.