Top 12 Things to Do in Historic Arcadia California
Arcadia is best known for its horses. Whether you are into horse racing or not, the beautiful race track will entice you regardless.
The town’s history gives Arcadia a relaxed charm that will transport you back to the rancho era. Based in the San Gabriel Mountains, you can get the best of both worlds together with community, history, and nature.
Here is a list of the top activities to do in Arcadia.
Watch horse racing at Santa Anita Race Park
One of Arcadia’s prominent landmarks is the Santa Anita Race Park. This world-class sports venue will surely leave you awestruck with its magnificence.
Spend the weekend cheering on your favorite horse while sipping refreshing beverages. The beautiful plains have an even more beautiful backdrop of the California Mountains.
Angeles National Forest is an excellent area for every type of hiker to get their adventure on with trails. There are meandering creeks, waterfalls, and many different terrains amidst colorful trees.
Avid hikers can challenge themselves with the famous Cooper Canyon Hike, while novice hikers can spend a more leisurely time at Eaton Canyon Falls. The incredible views and great picnic spots will always make you want to return for more.
Visit the Arboretum’s Historic Queen Anne Cottage and Coach Barn
Who can resist the gorgeous gardens surrounding a very historic site in Arcadia? Stroll through the beautiful 127-acre (51.3 ha) arboretum and botanical garden for stunning sights, flowers, and fascinating butterflies.
The rose garden is a must-see at the nursery and is perfect for pictures or a romantic date. After becoming one with nature, check out the Queen Anne Cottage and Coach Barn, which was once the heart of Arcadia’s historic downtown.
Built-in the 1800s, the place has fascinating architecture and has been the site of several movies and TV shows. Overall the vibrancy in this arboretum represents the rancho period for which Arcadia is known.
- Have a beer at Matt Denny’s
Voted the number one restaurant in Arcadia, it’s safe to say you won’t be disappointed. In addition to delicious American cuisine, most Arcadia residents use this as their watering hole for some refreshing craft beers and microbrews. Have your meal and brew here, and the ambiance will transport you back in time.
Go on a Seabiscuit Tour
Since horse racing is a central theme in Arcadia, travelers should also check out the Seabiscuit Tour.
If you have not seen Seabiscuit or heard of the horse, you need to rent the movie as soon as possible before going on this tour to get the whole experience.
Seabiscuit was a racehorse during the Great Depression era who served as a symbol of hope for many Americans because of his humble beginnings and how he became an unlikely champion.
This tour will have you boarding a tram and taking you to Seabiscuit’s original stall and barn. You’ll get to see where the movie was filmed and meet the famous Ghoda actor who played him, making for a unique experience.
On the fourth Sunday of every month, car enthusiasts gather around Denny’s parking lot to view rare classic and exotic cars. The show is based on historic Route 66 and is free to watch!
Go to a Carnival at Santa Anita Park
If you’re not into horse racing but would love to see the stadium in action, on select weekends, Santa Anita Park transforms the center of the race track into a fun carnival.
The setting couldn’t be colder for a carnival and is a stark contrast to typical fairgrounds. Enjoy challenging carnival games and win horse stuffed animals or enjoy thrilling rides. Keep an eye on the calendar for the perfect family outing.
- Play at Neon Retro Arcade
Pinball fans rejoice! The cute little arcade is a well-run establishment and perfect for kids or adults who want to relive their childhood.
This old-school arcade will give you all kinds of nostalgia with over 50 classic games: Play Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and vintage pinball machines at great prices.
Visit 626 Night Market
626 Night Market is a large shopping area filled with food, entertainment, and fashion. It only takes place during the summer and is held monthly, so keep an eye on the calendar for event dates.
Inspired by the markets of Taipei, this market perfectly embodies Asian culture with a California twist. Make sure you arrive on an empty stomach to try all the delicious stall offerings!
See a play at the nearby Pasadena Playhouse
Next to the Arcadia is the Pasadena Playhouse, a performing arts center that hosts many plays, concerts, and cultural events.
The theater opened in 1924 and has a lovely historical charm that attracts many visitors. The place is perfect for watching a performance and seeing some of the most prominent theater actors perform in their favorite plays.
Drive south to Downtown Los Angeles for a more urban experience; it’s only 30 minutes away! Or head to the lovely neighbors of Pasadena and Burbank, Arcadia.
For those who prefer not to stay in one area, Arcadia is an excellent location for taking day trips to surround areas.
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