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The 7 Best Things to Do in Glendale

The 7 Best Things to Do in Glendale

A blossoming business district, Glendale is all about history and leisure and home to the country’s largest Armenian-American population.


5 min read

November 03, 2021

Adjacent to hip Los Angeles neighborhoods, a certain city sparkles like a ‘jewel in the sun’. We are, of course, talking about Glendale—the Jewel City, as named by 1900s Chamber of Commerce President Edward U. Emery. A blossoming business district, Glendale is all about history and leisure. Pair that with postcard-perfect views of the surrounding mountains and you have yourself an urban jungle with a thriving downtown worth exploring.

Glendale is home to one of the country’s largest Armenian-American populations—this should already tell you that there is no shortage of high-end kebab restaurants and scrumptious bakeries. But if you’re having a hard time figuring out things to do in Glendale, we got you covered.

Looking for Stuff to do in Glendale? Here’s the Best

The Glendale Centre Theatre has been providing affordable Broadway quality shows in the heart of Downtown Glendale since 1947.

1. Catch a Performance at Glendale Center Theatre

Nestled in the heart of Glendale, the Glendale Centre Theatre stands as a beacon for live performance enthusiasts, having hosted weekly shows without interruption since its doors first opened in 1947. The brainchild of Ruth and Nathan Hale, two thespians hailing from Salt Lake City, this intimate venue accommodates 110 guests and presents a diverse array of productions. Whether you're in the mood for timeless Broadway hits, innovative new plays, or enchanting performances for the younger audience, there's something here for every taste. One of the venue's unique features is its thoughtful design, ensuring that every seat in the house is within nine rows of the stage, guaranteeing an immersive and engaging viewing experience. This setup embodies the true essence of theatre, bringing audiences closer to the magic of live storytelling.

Hike the trails of Deukmejian Wilderness Park and watch nature's beauty unfold in front of your eyes.

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2. Stroll at Deukmejian Wilderness Park

Deukmejian Wilderness Park, often hailed as the crown jewel of Glendale, unfolds across 709 acres in the lustrous foothills of the San Gabriel Valley. Embarking on a four-mile journey through the verdant landscapes of Dunsmore and Cook’s canyons offers an unparalleled adventure. Right from the start, hikers are welcomed by the intricate beauty of coast live oak groves, setting the stage for the wonders ahead. By following the trails of Le Mesnager Loop and Rim of the Valley, you'll weave through the park's lush heart, ascending 420 feet to be rewarded with breathtaking views of Crescenta Valley. This vantage point offers a panoramic feast for the eyes: majestic trees, rugged mountains, and the most profound canyons stretching out before you, a testament to the splendor of nature.

For those inspired to delve deeper into this natural masterpiece, a journey across the canyon reveals a tapestry of yucca flowers and the luminescent bloom of white sage guiding your path. Nearing the two-mile mark, a peak rises to 3,200 feet, offering a vista that encompasses the Verdugo Mountains, the Santa Monica range, Pasadena, and the towering San Gabriels, inviting explorers to pause and absorb the breathtaking beauty of Southern California's diverse landscape.

3. Pop by the Museum of Neon Art

Since 2016, the Museum of Neon Art (MONA) has illuminated Glendale, making a vibrant shift from its previous location in Downtown Los Angeles. Spotting this glowing gem is easy, thanks to the unmistakable neon sculpture of a diver donned in a red swimsuit that beckons visitors from afar. Step inside, and you're enveloped in a world where neon's radiant glow takes center stage, showcased in a constantly evolving exhibition space. The museum doesn't just display art; it offers a hands-on experience with workshops for those intrigued by the craft of neon creation. Additionally, the museum is a treasure trove of history, ready to be discovered.

Among its famed pieces, MONA houses iconic signs like those from the historic Brown Derby and Zinke’s Shoe Repair, adding a local touch to its collection. Each piece within the museum's walls narrates its unique tale, inviting guests to immerse themselves in a journey through time and light. To truly embrace the stories encapsulated in these glowing artifacts, setting aside at least an hour to explore is a must.

The Americana at Brand shares some of its retail and dining options with sister center The Grove at Farmers Market.

4. Check out the Americana at Brand 

At first glance, The Americana at Brand might appear to be just another shopping center. However, to the residents of Glendale, affectionately known as Glendaletsis by the local Armenian community, it represents something far greater. This enchanting open-air shopping haven is often considered the more expansive counterpart to Los Angeles' The Grove. Its wide, bustling pathways are a common sight for leisurely shoppers, often spotted savoring a sweet treat or sipping a coffee, imbuing the space with a relaxed vibe that transcends the typical mall experience.

The Americana at Brand has evolved into a unique fusion of retail space and social gathering spot, where the community connection is as significant as the commerce. This affection for the locale goes beyond mere visits for some; over 300 luxury living spaces on the property mean that for a select group, the Americana isn't just a destination, but home. This blend of lifestyle, leisure, and living space makes The Americana a standout landmark within Glendale, embodying a vibrant lifestyle that extends well beyond shopping.

Thanks to TikTok, one of our favorite nostalgic activities is making a hot comeback: roller skating.

5. Glide at Moonlight Rollerway

Tucked away on North Brand Boulevard, Moonlight Rollerway stands as a nostalgic nod to yesteryears, capturing the quintessential charm of classic roller skating rinks depicted in films. Since its inception in 1956, originally known as Harry’s Roller Rink, it has been a beloved gathering place. Although its name has since evolved, the rink's authentic maple flooring continues to offer a smooth glide for skaters of all ages.

Moonlight Rollerway is renowned for its vibrant themed nights, adding a twist of excitement to the traditional skating experience. Notably, for over two decades, Wednesday nights have been dedicated to LGBTQ celebrations, fostering a spirit of love and inclusion on the rink. Meanwhile, Tuesdays offer a unique treat as Dominic Cangelosi, the rink's owner, serenades skaters with live music from a vintage organ, adding an extra layer of charm to the experience. For anyone looking to dive into Glendale's lively social scene, a visit to this roller skating haven is an absolute must.

Armenian cuisine is a perfect example of how history influences the culinary traditions of any land.

6. Eat at Elena’s Greek Armenian Restaurant

Elena's Greek Armenian restaurant, nestled in the heart of Glendale, offers a cozy dining experience where hearty meals are the norm, and the price point is pleasantly affordable, with dishes topping out around $12. The menu, while succinct, boasts a rich selection of flavors, featuring classics like lulu and shish kabob accompanied by sides of rice, fresh vegetables, creamy hummus, and a signature tangy garlic sauce. Vegetarian patrons won't feel left out, thanks to a thoughtful selection of falafel, stuffed eggplant, warming lentil soup, and an assortment of fresh salads.

This charming eatery has become a staple in the community, much like its owner, Elena, who has poured her heart into the establishment for nearly three decades. Her commitment to crafting each dish in-house, using only the freshest ingredients, ensures every meal is not just a dish but a delightful experience. Elena's is more than just a restaurant; it's a testament to the love of good food and the warmth of community.

A little too much chocolate is just about the right amount. As long as chocolate exists in this world, there will always be happiness.

7. Grab Dessert at Mignon Chocolate 

Nestled in Glendale, Mignon Chocolate is a cherished family-run establishment that has been sweetening the local scene for nearly two decades. Its roots stretch back to 1910 in Ukraine, where Hovsep Ter-Poghossian Sr. laid the foundation for what would become a lasting legacy in confectionery. Mignon Chocolate stands as a testament to the enduring power of family tradition in crafting exquisite desserts, embodying the belief that love is the quintessential ingredient in any sweet treat.

With an impressive selection of over 60 types of chocolates and truffles, Mignon artfully combines time-honored recipes handed down through generations with a flair for contemporary innovation. Each bite offers a journey through rich, culinary heritage and creative craftsmanship. For those exploring the delights Mignon has to offer, the hazelnut truffles, ginger and lime sea salt chocolates, and dark chocolate-dipped orange peels come highly recommended. Or, for the indecisive sweet tooth, why not indulge in a bit of everything? It's a decision that's sure to bring a bit of joy and a lot of flavor.

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