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November visit

minnesota
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November visit

Daughter lives in Sierra Madre. Visiting Oct 31-Nov 5th. Looking for a day trip to areas scenic spots. Love to hike, waterfalls, beaches, etc. Any "not to miss" spots. Also, any restaurants that are highly recommended. Thanks!

Dublin, California
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1. Re: November visit

Will you have a car? For scenic hiking you pretty much have to drive. Not many waterfalls in the area. There should be plenty of day hikes in the foothills from Sierra Madre. For beaches you can try any of the LA County or Orange County beaches, all involve a rather long drive from Sierra Madre (about an hour or more). Lots of good restaurants in Pasadena. Great Chinese restaurants in Arcadia, Monterey Park area.

minnesota
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2. Re: November visit

Thanks for your reply. Yes, we will have a car. We were looking for a day trip. Maybe even an over night somewhere. Could you recommend specific restaurants in Pasadena?

Pasadena, California
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3. Re: November visit

For hikes...I'll have to ask my sons. We had a huge fire in the mountains west of Sierra Madre a few years ago, and our previous favorite hiking spots have not yet recovered. The mountains above Sierra Madre were spared, though. There are some small waterfalls, but November may be too early for them, as our usual rainfall season starts later.

A few suggestions for nearby activities:

1. Huntington Gardens, Museum and Library. The best gardens in the entire region, many themed gardens, extensive. Library and museums also worth a look. Requires 3 hours +.

2. San Gabriel Mission. And just around the corner, have Dim Sum at Mission 261 Chinese Restaurant, or pho and the famous spring rolls at Golden Deli.

3. If you are interested in architecture, ask your daughter for a tour of some Pasadena highlights, including the turn-of-the-century Gamble HOuse and surrounding neighborhood. While there, visit Old Pasadena.

4. My favorite restaurant, in nearby Arcadia: Din Tai Fung, for Chinese dumplings. Order juicy pork dumplings, the signature dish; Shanghai rice cakes, and the shredded tofu and seaweed appetizer. Even the won ton soup is divine. Don't try to go there for weekend lunch, as waits will be over an hour.

Coronado, California
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4. Re: November visit

I'll throw in Descanso Gardens.

http://www.descansogardens.org/

Dublin, California
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5. Re: November visit

LA County Botanic Garden, Arcadia, is another possibility. For architecture don't forget Pasadena City Hall. For Museums, the small but excellent Pacific Asia Museum and the Norton Simon in Pasadena.

There are lots of restaurants in Old Town Pasadena. We like Cafe Santorini (Greek).

Pasadena, California
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6. Re: November visit

Oh, the Norton Simon! Of course. Smaller museum with world-class art. Near Gamble House and Old Pasadena. Descanso and Arboretum are great, but if they only have time for one gardens, I think it should be the incomparable Huntington Gardens, which should be lovely in November. Highlights: Cactus Garden, Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden...the only one that will be "finished" for the year is the Rose Garden.

Pasadena City Hall is a beauty.

Joshua Tree...
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7. Re: November visit

All suggestions above are great. As far as beaches you could drive to Venice or Santa Monica Beach and walk the boardwalk between Santa Monica and Venice. (abour 45 minutes with no traffic and in LA you'll need to be aware of traffic and rush hours times as that can double the drive time!) Once you're at the beach, to avoid evening rush hour, consider staying for dinner. Gladstones is about 20-30 minutes from Venice/Santa Monica and is a fun place to eat on the beach.

If you're into amusement parks, Universal Studios (and adjacent CityWalk) is fun - about 30 minutes from Sierra Madre.

Pasadena, California
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8. Re: November visit

I agree you need to include a day at the beach or at least within view of the ocean.

A great day in Santa Monica could include a bike ride along the beach bike path between Venice-Santa Monica Pier-Pacific Palisades (@ 7 miles round trip starting and ending near the Pier, where you can rent bikes). Great exercise, great scenery. I loathe Gladstones, so I cannot second that recommendation, although there are many fabulous restaurants in the Santa Monica area. As a rule, the great restaurants do NOT include an ocean view, so enjoy the beach, but don't eat there. Getty Center and Getty Villa are near Santa Monica, so a day there would be enriched by a visit to one of them. www.getty.edu. To avoid traffic, drive into Santa Monica after 10 am, and don't leave until after dinner. (We do this drive weekly to visit family, and it is frequently a nightmare if not well timed.)

If you do the Santa Monica bike ride above, a perfectly acceptable place for lunch is Back on the BEach, near the Annenberg Beach HOuse near the northern terminus of the bike path. Park the bikes, eat lunch with your toes in the sand. Delightful. It's just sandwiches, but no pretentious and overpriced bad food.

A very long day trip-- or better, overnight-- would be Santa Barbara, a gorgeous beachside city @ 2 hours from Sierra Madre. 210 to 134 (which turns into the 101).

Edited: 17 September 2013, 22:36
minnesota
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9. Re: November visit

WOW! I was not notified of all these responses! Thanks for all the great ideas!

Burbank
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10. Re: November visit

Check out the local waterfall at Eaton Canyon, Pasadena...about an hour or so walk from the nature center parking lot..a bit of rock hopping thru a small river/stream...all the way back to a waterfall at the end. Its pretty easy to follow the path, you can really only go one way thru the canyon.

If you are REALLY up for a hike you can go up to the ruins of an old hotel at the top of Echo Mountain. The trail starts at the top of Lake Street, you walk thru the ruins of an estate the Marx Bros used to own..to the Sam Merrill trail. At the top of the mountain are the ruins of the funicular that once brought guests up the steep hill, some of the machinery, and foundations of the buildings. The view is amazing..on a clear day you can see all the way out to Long Beach harbor.