A few miles north of Pasadena and east of La Canada and Flintridge is the rural community of Altadena, an unincorporated neighborhood in Los Angeles County. The area offers residents an open and nature-like vibe because it sits at the foothills of the Angeles National Forest. Altadena gives off a comfortable feeling of being at home in the country, and this is illustrated through the lack of paved sidewalks and towering residential buildings. In fact, visitors are more likely to see English-style cottage homes or sprawling estates with horses instead of contemporary condominiums. While Altadena exemplifies a rustic community with mountainside activities readily available to the public, it’s still only a short ride away from Los Angeles’s busy metropolitan areas and its popular hotspots.
Here are 8 reasons why you should visit Altadena, California.
The Library District
The century-old Altadena Library District on Mariposa Street is special because of its architectural beauty and overall effort in bringing the community together. The district is operated by the Board of Library Trustees, which regularly hosts book readings, free concerts, and numerous community volunteer and learning events throughout the year. The library has two branches, the Main Branch at Mariposa as well as the Bob Lucas Memorial Library on Lincoln Avenue. It’s located right around the block from several boutiques and mom-and-pop shops.
There aren’t many old-school theater companies that still exist today, but Theater Americana, which was originally created in the 1930s, is still going strong in Altadena. The premier performing arts theater specializes in community performances—including supporting work from original playwrights—as well as live musical and dance performances. The theater company regularly holds auditions, a variety of workshops, and even partners with local organizations to provide community-friendly arts programs for the public.
Christmas Tree Lane
In case you haven’t noticed yet, Altadena is a community that likes to keep its traditions alive, and this includes its annual display at Christmas Tree Lane. The celebratory event has been happening every year since the 1920s, and the organization prides itself in being “the oldest large-scale Christmas lighting spectacle in the United States.” Nearly one-mile of deodar cedar trees that line Santa Rosa Avenue are illuminated every year around Christmas, which is perfect for anyone looking to visit the area during the holidays.
The Bunny Museum
Altadena’s record-holding Bunny Museum is great for all ages. This place takes rabbits very seriously, and it currently carries over 30,000 bunny-related objects, such as books, toys, stuffed items, figurines, and cutlery, as well as real rabbits. If you’re visiting Altadena around Eastertime, The Bunny Museum is a must.
The Cobb Estate
Located on Lake Avenue is the famous Cobb Estate, which gives visitors a taste of Altadena’s former Millionaires Row. Although there are several regal mansions on the famous street, the Cobb Estate, also known as “the haunted forest,” is a local attraction because of rumored ghost sightings that appear at night. Stories aside, the 107-acre area offers visitors the opportunity to explore Altadena’s history with a free botanical garden and hiking ground operated by the U.S. Forest Service.
Zorthian Ranch is a 48-acre junkyard that was built by the Armenian American artist Jirayr Zorthian. The area is not just odd and quirky with various knick-knacks, artistic works, and random llamas roaming through the area, it’s also a popular filming location. The site is now maintained by Alan Zorthian, Jirayr’s son, who lives on-site along with other artists.
If you’re traveling with the family, Farnsworth Park may be worth the visit, especially since it features picnic spaces, playgrounds, a clubhouse, and even an amphitheater. This park, located near the top of Lake Avenue, was inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. It was named after General Charles S. Farnsworth, a retired veteran and an Altadena resident who championed the property as a community park.
Access to Other Amenities
Of course, the beauty of being so close to the city is having easy access to neighboring amenities. While there are many charming attractions to see in Altadena, The Rosebowl in Pasadena, the Santa Anita racetrack, and the LA County Arboretum in Arcadia, are only a short 15-minute drive away. Altadena is also located close to DTLA, Chinatown, and Universal’s CityWalk.