Getting to Know the Area Part IV

Written by jordan on . Posted in Blog

The next area we are looking at from Frommers.com is San Fernando Valley and Central Eastern, which is Zone 4 and 1.



The San Fernando Valley

The San Fernando Valley, known locally as “The Valley,” was nationally popularized in the 1980s by the notorious mall-loving “Valley Girl” stereotype. Sandwiched between the Santa Monica and the San Gabriel mountain ranges, most of The Valley is residential and commercial and off the beaten track for tourists. But some of its attractions are bound to draw you over the hill. Universal City, located west of Griffith Park between U.S. 101 and California 134, is home to Universal Studios Hollywood and the supersize shopping and entertainment complex CityWalk. About the only reason to go to Burbank, west of these other suburbs and north of Universal City, is to see one of your favorite TV shows being filmed at NBC or Warner Brothers Studios. There are also a few good restaurants and shops along Ventura Boulevard, in and around Studio City.

Glendale is a largely residential community north of Downtown between the Valley and Pasadena. Here you’ll find Forest Lawn, the city’s best cemetery for very retired movie stars.

Pasadena & Environs

Best known as the site of the Tournament of Roses Parade each New Year’s Day, Pasadena was spared from the tear-down epidemic that swept L.A., so it has a refreshing old-time feel. Once upon a time, Pasadena was every Angeleno’s best-kept secret: a quiet community whose slow and careful regentrification meant nonchain restaurants and boutique shopping without the crowds, in a revitalized downtown respectful of its old brick and stone commercial buildings. Although the area’s natural and architectural beauty still shines through — so much so that Pasadena remains Hollywood’s favorite backyard location for countless movies and TV shows — Old Town has become a pedestrian mall similar to Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, complete with huge crowds, midrange chain eateries, and standard-issue mall stores. It still gets our vote as a scenic alternative to the congestion of central L.A., but it has lost much of its small-town charm.

Pasadena is also home to the famous California Institute of Technology (CalTech), which boasts 22 Nobel Prize winners among its alumni. The CalTech-operated Jet Propulsion Laboratory was the birthplace of America’s space program, and CalTech scientists were the first to report earthquake activity worldwide in the 1930s.

The residential neighborhoods in Pasadena and its adjacent communities — Arcadia, La CañadaFlintridge, San Marino, and South Pasadena — are renowned for well-preserved historic homes, from humble bungalows to lavish mansions. These areas feature public gardens, historic neighborhoods, house museums, and quiet bed-and-breakfast inns.

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