Altadena is home to seven distinct neighborhoods and a population of approximately 44,000 people. For the most part, the city is a primarily residential community with separate districts and diverse communities. Tucked up towards the San Gabriel mountains, the area is removed from the hustle and bustle however there are some shopping and dining options in the city.
The historic, remote town of Altadena is famous for its proximity to the adjacent Angeles National Forest. Residents might discover they share their property with various wildlife, such as foxes and even the occasional bear or mountain lion sighting. Although Altadena is only about 15 miles away from Los Angeles, the woodsy atmosphere makes it feel like it might exist in another county altogether.
Along with the neighboring forest, Altadena residents receive unparalleled views of the surrounding mountains. The city is also zoned (in some areas) for horses, making it a popular area for equestrians and outdoorsy types.
Creative-minded people are attracted to the breathtaking scenic views offered by living near the natural mountains and forests. Therefore, there’s a thriving niche of artists and designers living in Altadena.
Despite being densely populated, locals love that Altadena remains far enough away from DTLA to avoid rush hour traffic. The downside to this is that commuting to some of the bigger, bustling cities, like Santa Monica, Century City, and Downtown L.A., can take an hour or more. As a result, residents often use public transportation for their daily commute.
Because of its remote nature and several open, green spaces, Altadena is limited in its dining and shopping options. Still, the following are some of the community's main staples.
Altadena is home to L.A.'s premier acoustic music venue, the , which serves traditional coffee, milkshakes, and small dishes. Connecting to the 49-seat showroom Backstage, this café’s intimate environment allows patrons to feel deeply connected to the incredible performances and singers who visit regularly.
is a local neighborhood haunt serving diner-style meals since 1955. Paul and Edie Fox are passionate entrepreneurs who value creating a community watering hole dedicated to giving customers a casual mid-afternoon place to dine.
If you enjoy Mexican food, you'll want to try , an Altadena staple known for its sensational salsas and Drunken Margaritas. Tucked close to the foothills of Echo Mountain, it makes for a great post-hike meal in a cozy, lively space.
Taverns appeal to those who like a dimly-lit, intimate atmosphere to share beers and pub grub with friends. is a down-to-earth location serving fine ales, wines, and French champagnes. Guests enjoy dining on the outdoor patio when the weather is nice, too.
Since Altadena is famous for its scenic areas, most of the main town attractions are outdoors. , a promontory of the San Gabriel Mountains in the Angeles Forest, offers the well-trafficked Sam Merrill Trail. In terms of difficulty, the trail is considered moderate. Hikers enjoy walking through the fields of vibrant wildflowers. Dogs are allowed as long as they remain leashed.
Novice hikers and families are better off starting with , although there are spots along the trail for experienced hikers—such as hiking to Inspiration Point. It can be steep in some sections, but Mt. Lowe is worth checking out for its incredible, one-of-a-kind views. Once you reach the top of Mt. Lowe you will be able to enjoy the history posted from the Mt. Wilson Railroad Co. which existed from 1893 until it was abandoned in 1938 and had the distinction of being the only scenic mountain, electric traction railroad ever built in the United States. Atop Echo Mountain stood a 40-room hotel which included an astronomical observatory, car barns, dormitories, a casino and a dance hall. Today, the ruins of Mount Lowe Railway remain as a monument to a one-ever experienced enterprise.
Beyond the fantastic hiking scene, many Altadena residents are members of the private . An elegant events venue, the club is located near the San Gabriel Mountains and takes advantage of the landscape to give residents landscaped tennis courts, colorful gardens, and swimming pools. The club also has multiple dining areas and regular social events for families to enjoy.
During the holidays, Altadena's famous becomes an absolute must-visit. The 0.7-mile lane of cedar trees has been annually lit since 1920. Supposedly, this special event is the "oldest large-scale outdoor Christmas display in the world." The Christmas Tree Lane Association works year-round to set up the dazzling display, including hundreds of towering trees trimmed with thousands of lights.
The Pasadena Unified School District services Altadena. Altadena is also home to the highly-rated, public school , which offers grades K-8.
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