Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Glendale, CA

  • Published 2022/10/09

Glendale, a city in Los Angeles County, California, is known for its lively downtown area, which is home to boutiques, restaurants, and businesses.

Long-time residents of the region were the Tongva people, often known as the “People of the Earth,” who were later given the new name Gabrieleos by Spanish missionaries.

José Maria Verdugo, a Baja Californian corporal in the Spanish military, obtained the Rancho San Rafael, establishing his ownership of the land on which he had cultivated crops and raised livestock since 1784.

Due to its milder winter temperatures, northern Glendale’s mountainous regions rarely receive snow, possibly happening every five to ten years.

The summers are typically dry and mild; however, storms from Arizona can bring significant humidity to the region.

Glendale has parks, recreation areas, and historical landmarks.

Here are the best things to do in Glendale, California:

Explore the Exhibits of the Museum of Neon Art

Exterior of the Museum of Neon Art

Gerry Matthews /

The Museum of Neon Arts is solely dedicated to electric light art.

For more than four decades, the Museum of Neon Arts has promoted the appreciation and preservation of this unique art form.

The Museum of Neon Arts has displayed fantastic art and distinctive old neon signs.

Night view of the Museum of Neon Art

MSPhotographic /

It is the only museum on earth devoted solely to art in electric media.

The museum’s collection includes more than 100 signs, spanning the history of neon from the early 20th century to the present day.

The Museum of Neon Arts offers educational programs, including workshops, lectures, and tours.

Neon dragon in the Museum of Neon Art

AndrewKeenanRichardson, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Soak up the Sun at Verdugo Park

Verdugo Park, one of Glendale’s biggest parks, features many open areas bordered by grass and trees.

Verdugo Park is charming and fosters a serene, relaxed atmosphere, so it’s a perfect place to visit if you want to take it easy for a while.

The park also has a playground, baseball field, and skate park, so there’s something here for everyone.

There are available picnic tables for you to rest on if you want to enjoy a meal in the park.

Their sycamore trees deliver extraordinary shade to keep your guests cool on hot summer days.

For those who live physical activities, there are hiking trails and a children’s area so that the little ones can have fun too.

Take a Photo at the Doctors House Victorian Museum

Having undergone renovations, the Doctors House Victorian Museum is a beloved Victorian landmark in Glendale.

Built around 1888, the house is one of Glendale’s two existing Victorian houses in the Queen Anne-Eastlake style.

Four prominent doctors have lived there successively, giving the house its name.

Nell Shipman, a famous silent movie actress, and producer, subsequently lived there with her family and a coterie that included two bear cubs from 1917 until 1920.

The Doctors House Victorian Museum underwent a significant renovation in 1984.

Docents give tours as you learn about the history of this home on the Glendale Register of Historic Resources.

See a Show at the Alex Theatre

Exterior of the Alex Theatre

MSPhotographic /

The Alex Theatre is one of Glendale’s most popular entertainment venues.

In 1925, architects Lindley & Selkirk built the Alexander Theatre in the Neo-Classical Greek style, with an exterior courtyard.

The theater has a rich history in the performing arts.

The Alex Theatre was Walt Disney’s preferred location to preview his cartoons to determine how they would perform to crowds, as it was only a few miles from his Hyperion studio.

Marquee of the Alex Theatre

MSPhotographic /

S. Charles Lee, a renowned theatre architect, transformed the theater’s façade into a magnificent Moderne structure in 1940, and the building received its current name.

The Alex Theatre is best known for its movie screenings, live performances, and special events.

Ticket booth of the Alex Theatre

Marine 69-71 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover the Wonders of the Verdugo Mountains Open Space Preserve

The Verdugo Mountains Open Space Preserve is in the Greater Los Angeles River Watershed on the verdant, north-facing slope of the Verdugo Mountains.

Fourteen square miles of habitat make up the distinctive urban, mountainous region known as the Verdugo Mountains.

The area is only obscurely connected to the Angeles National Forest through the Big Tujunga Wash.

The Verdugo Mountains Open Space Preserve features a wide variety of habitats supported by different springs and blueline creeks.

Moreover, the 244-acre preserve is in a Significant Ecological Area and boasts one of the best views in Los Angeles.

The Verdugo Mountains Open Space Preserve is home to many native plants, including 2,300 live oaks, bay laurels, maples, and California sycamores.

Take an Impromptu Tour of the Brewyard Beer Company

A hidden gem in Glendale, the true objective of the Brewyard Beer Company is to reinvent and reaffirm the world of lagers.

Located in a remote converted warehouse, Brewyard Beer Company creates exquisite hybrid beers with ale’s robust flavor but the lighter, sharper aftertaste of a lager.

Brewyard Beer Company developed this category of lagers to include dozens of varieties, including citrusy, toasty, smokey, slightly sweet, peachy, and light.

The transparent design of the Brewyard Beer Company’s brewery and taproom was explicitly planned to allow visitors to watch and track the brewing process from the grinding of the grain through to the kegging.

If you see Brewyard Beer Company brewing or working in the pub, you can ask for a tour, and they’d probably give in.

Shop ‘Til You Drop at Americana at Brand

Buildings of the Americana at Brand

Kit Leong /

The Americana at Brand is a world-class shopping mall in Glendale’s center.

The mall features over 80 stores, including high-end retailers such as Tiffany & Co. and Cartier.

The grounds of the Americana at Brand

Kit Leong /

The Americana at Brand is also home to some restaurants, cafes, and bars that serve seasonal and perennial favorites.

You’ll also enjoy fabulous meals there, where all your favorite flavors are fresh while satisfying your palate with delectable entrees to sweets that will make you drool.

Clothing store at the Americana at Brand

Noah Sauve /

In addition, the Americana at Brand is one of Glendale’s most popular tourist attractions.

The shopping center features public art installations, including a 120-foot tall fountain or rides around the mall in an electric-powered trolley for the complete experience.

Buildings at the Americana at Brand

Noah Sauve /

Relax at Raffi’s Place

A few minutes from the American at Brand, you will find the hidden jewel of Glendale, Raffi’s Place.

This restaurant has become a local family-owned favorite since 1993, known for its Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.

Raffi’s Place will give you a distinctive dining experience as you take in the gorgeous Mediterranean courtyard feel.

Raffi’s Place draws customers from as far away as the eastern coast and the Los Angeles Area as a landmark in Glendale.

Visitors flock there to try the best Middle Eastern and kabobs in town.

You can try the Tadig, a rice crust with either one or two stews for your entrée.

For those who love meat, you can order the lamb rack or lamb shank for your main meal.

The kabob is also popular; you can order it with chicken, lamb, or beef.

Appreciate the Art at Brand Library & Art Center

The Brand Library & Art Center is a public library and art gallery that has served the Glendale community since 1956.

In addition to offering free services and events for a multicultural community, this unique public Library concentrates on visual music and arts with a database of more than 110,000 items.

Brand Library & Art Center presents a variety of exhibitions of contemporary art, as well as a hands-on craft program.

Various events are available at the Brand Library & Art Center, including artist presentations, roundtable discussions, creative director tours, movie premieres, poem readings, and art classes.

For those who love dancing, you can join the Dance Series, which features prominent Southern California dance companies.

They deliver site-specific performances in unconventional entertainment venues around Brand Library & Art Center.

Thanks to these interactive initiatives, local artists at Brand Library & Art Center bring music to life in unique and unforgettable ways.

Check Out the Shops at Glendale Galleria

Exterior of Glendale Galleria

Kit Leong /

The Glendale Galleria is the fourth-largest shopping mall in Los Angeles County.

The Glendale Galleria’s original façade comprised plain, windowless brickwork, in keeping with comparable retail centers constructed around the US between the 1960s and 1970s.

The Galleria had a significant makeover in 2012, designed by Kevin Kennon, with the goals of giving it a more contemporary appearance, better branding, and improved balance and accessibility.

Dessert shop in Glendale Galleria

Kit Leong /

The building’s exterior was adorned with various metallic frames and meshes, mainly constructed from marble and black granite.

Glendale Galleria has at least 200 stores and hosts events and activities throughout the year.

The mall is also home to several restaurants as a relaxing venue to take a break from shopping.

Interior of Glendale Galleria

Hayk_Shalunts /

Discover the Scrumptious Treats at Porto’s Bakery & Cafe

For an authentic Cuban treat, you must visit Porto’s Bakery & Cafe, a favorite in the Los Angeles area.

Rosa Porto, the owner, loved sharing her delicious cakes and pastries with her friends and family, which is how Porto’s Bakery started.

This much-loved Cuban institution is best known for its delicious potato balls, cheese rolls, and sourdough batard, but there’s so much more to explore at Porto’s Bakery & Cafe.

In addition to bread and pastries, you’ll find an array of Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, tamales, soups, salads, desserts, and coffee drinks.

Porto’s Bakery & Cafe is the perfect place to enjoy a quick bite or linger over a leisurely meal.

Satisfy Your Xiao Long Bao Cravings at the Din Tai Fung Dumpling House

Din Tai Fung Dumpling House is a must-vis Glendale, as the New York Times ranked it as one of the world’s top ten fine dining restaurants.

Din Tai Fung Dumpling House’s specialty is the xiao long bao, a soup dumpling filled with broth and meat.

You’ll go to culinary heaven as you savor these delicate dumplings and want to order more than one plate.

In addition to the xiao long bao, Din Tai Fung Dumpling House also offers various Chinese dishes, including rice, vegetables, and meat.

Mr. Bing-Yi Yang, a native of Mainland China, emigrated to Taiwan at the age of 20 with $20 in his pocket.

Mr. Yang created his store, Din Tai Fung, where he sold cooking oil and fried xiao long bao.

The xiao long bao became so well-liked that Mr. Yang eventually shut down his oil business and transformed Din Tai Fung into a proper restaurant.

Offering a taste of Taiwan to the United States and other countries, the company has received numerous honors and expanded its menu to include more options than the xiao long bao.

Explore the Trails of Deukmejian Wilderness Park

Trail at Deukmejian Wilderness Park

Noah Sauve /

Hiking is an exciting activity to do with your family.

What better place to hike than Deukmejian Wilderness Park?

The Deukmejian Wilderness Park takes up a 709-acre site on the cliffs of San Gabriel Mountain and offers trails for hikers of all levels.

The park is also home to the Stone Barn Nature Center, a historic landmark and venue for environmental education programs for all ages.

Rosemary bloom at Deukmejian Wilderness Park

Noah Sauve /

Aside from picnicking, Deukmejian Wilderness Park has several activities, such as interpretive hiking, bird watching, and plant study.

Nature-themed games are also organized in the park, making it a great place to spend the day with your family and friends.

Moreover, the park provides water, meals, and transportation for registered participants.

The Deukmejian Wilderness Park is a great place to bond with your family while getting some exercise and enjoying the beauty of nature.

Marvel at the Historic Casa Adobe de San Rafael and Park

Casa Adobe De San Rafael is one of the oldest adobe buildings in Glendale, now a museum that is open to the public.

As one of Glendale’s oldest dwellings, Casa Adobe de San Rafael has been occupied continuously since its construction in 1865.

Its finest attraction is the stunning, enormous eucalyptus trees that provide shade on the grounds of the Casa Adobe De San Rafael and Park.

On October 31, 1935, it became a California Historical Landmark.

Documents show that the Casa Adobe De San Rafael and Park, situated in Glendale’s Verdugo-Viejo neighborhood, was finished in 1871.

It was also in 1871 that Tomas Sanchez, the city of Los Angeles’s first sheriff, and his family moved in.

Tomas lived there until he died in 1882.

Maria and her family continued to reside there for several more years before she lost everything.

The Casa Adobe De San Rafael fell into disrepair in the 1920s after being sold several times.

Community women’s rights groups in Glendale brought the case of the historic home before the city.

In the 1930s, Glendale bought the property with its gardens and eucalyptus trees.

Explore the Glendale Library, Arts & Culture

Exterior of the  Glendale Library, Arts & Culture

Noah Sauve /

The Glendale Library, Arts & Culture is the public library system for the City of Glendale.

The system comprises six libraries and the Brand Library & Art Center, which has existed since 1904.

The Glendale Library, Arts, & Culture has more than 700,000 items in its collection, including books, magazines, and other print materials.

The Library offers various programs and services, such as literacy programs, educational games, Kiwanis Storytime to Go Kits, and mental health resources.

In 1973, the current Library opened where Glendale Union High School and Glendale College had once stood, featuring 92,600 sq. ft. of floor space.

Spend the day at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture!

Final Thoughts

Glendale is a hidden gem in Southern California; in terms of trends and attractions, it is hundreds of miles ahead of the other cities in the estate.

With its rich history, diverse attractions, and delicious food, Glendale is a must-visit for anyone in the area.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Glendale!

© All rights reserved.