Glendale
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Glendale

Glendale
This Los Angeles County city is home to authentic Middle Eastern food, culture and its very own 'Walk of Fame'

Situated on the eastern edge of the San Fernando Valley and Griffith Park, and adjacent to hip Los Angeles neighbourhoods including Atwater Village and Eagle Rock, Glendale is technically a suburb in 'the Valley'. But with a growing business district and picturesque views of the surrounding mountains, Glendale and its city centre are worth exploring.

Glendale is perhaps best known for its Brand Boulevard, a famous stretch of road packed with a variety of retailers. Here, there’s The Americana at Brand, a large outdoor shopping complex brought to the city by the same developer as LA’s famous The Grove. Like its Central LA cousin, it has a dancing fountain, a complimentary tram, and loads of dining and drinking options, including Bacari GDL, a stylish wine bar and restaurant where the cicchetti—Italian-style tapas—is one of the highlights. Afterwards, catch a film at the 18-screen Pacific Theatres. Oh, and you can also shop at about 80 retailers.

Away from The Americana, Brand Boulevard is a bustling mini-mecca of cafés, shops and culture, including the Museum of Neon Art. While New Yorkers get MoMA, Glendale residents get MONA, a visually stimulating collection of some of the most famous LA-based neon signs, including that of an Old Hollywood staple, the Brown Derby Restaurant. Along the street, there’s a branch of one of greater Los Angeles’s favourite bakeries, Porto’s Bakery & Cafe, which offers delicious Cuban sandwiches and endless mouthwatering pastries (must-try menu items include the cheese rolls and potato balls).

As Glendale is home to one of the country’s largest Armenian-American populations there is no shortage of amazing Middle Eastern food here, from fine dining to pop-in bakeries. Opposite Porto’s is Carousel Restaurant, one of the top spots for authentic Armenian-Lebanese fare; there’s also belly dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. And a couple of streets along is another local favourite for Persian-Armenian kebabs, Raffi’s Place.

If shopping and art-gazing aren't enough to work off all the delicious local dishes, there are plenty of outdoor activity options. A Glendale gem, Deukmejian Wilderness Park, sits at the northern point of the city and offers more than 700 acres of wildflowers and paths, including the pretty easy circular walk on Dunsmore Canyon Trail, which offers sweeping views of the valley below.

For a different kind of trek outdoors, there’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park, a beautiful cemetery nicknamed Glendale’s 'Walk of Fame'. Forest Lawn is the final resting place of more Hollywood stars than any other cemetery—including Walt Disney, Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable and Sammy Davis Jr, but keep in mind that the cemetery does not offer maps or directions (though there are occasional exhibitions and events and there is a museum on the property). Even so, more than a million tourists a year stroll through the lush, rolling 300-acre space. Note that many graves are in closed-to-the-public locations, and you should be respectful when visiting.

While Glendale offers so much to see and do within its city limits, a major plus is its proximity to everything else Los Angeles has to offer, thanks to easy access to several major motorways. It’s about 10 miles from central LA and just minutes from Burbank and East LA hot spots.

 

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