Attractions in Sierra Madre CA
Nicknamed “The Village of the Foothills,” the City of Sierra Madre is three square miles of history and modern convenience. It is a small city in the foothills northeast of Los Angeles, home to 11,000 residents. The City sits at the base of Mt. Wilson where historic trails lead hikers and runners into the expanse of the Angeles National Forest.
Sierra Madre’s hometown spirit and community pride are evidenced in the number of festivals and special events that have become endearing traditions in town. The Fourth of July celebration is one of the largest events in the community. Thousands come out to take part in the festivities, including a parade complete with floats, marching bands, kids’ groups, classic and fancy cars and more. The Sierra Madre City College Marching Band is always a favorite. Though there really isn’t a Sierra Madre City College, the band is real, and the group’s members host fundraising events for various organizations in town in addition to performing in the parade.
The Wistaria Festival is another special event the town looks forward to each year. The Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce does a wonderful job putting on this event featuring more than 150 artists and craftsmen, live music and great food. One of the festival’s main draws is, of course, the chance to see the historic Wistaria Vine with its beautiful and fragrant blossoms.
Toward the end of each year residents get busy decorating the City’s float for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade held annually on New Year’s Day. The Sierra Madre Rose Float Association, which works almost exclusively from voluntary contributions, puts together one of the few remaining self-built entries in the parade. In 2006, millions of spectators from around the world celebrated with Sierra Madre as it won the Founders Award for the most beautiful entry built and decorated by volunteers. Then in 2007 Sierra Madre received the second highest honor: the Lathrop K. Leishman Trophy for the most beautiful non-commercial float.
Throughout the year, residents will usually find something exciting going on in town. But on a slow day, residents find it nice that the City is within a half hour’s drive of professional and major college sporting events, theater, and entertainment in the Los Angeles area. Everything the big city has to offer, including fine dining, specialty shops, museums, art galleries, theme parks and attractions is just a short drive away.
Recreation in Sierra Madre
Sierra Madre has an abundance of things to do and see. A wealth of recreational opportunities are provided through the City’s Community & Personnel Services Department – which offers a myriad of programs and hosts many special events year-round, including a fishing derby for children, a challenging trail race, concerts and movies in the park, senior lunch programs and day trips.
The weather in Sierra Madre is ideal for all kinds of outdoor activities. The area’s sunny and comfortable temperatures mean almost any day can be a fun day in one of the many parks.
Bailey Canyon Park (located at Grove Street and Carter Avenue) has picnic tables, barbecues and hiking trails that lead to nearby canyons. Memorial Park (on the corner of Sierra Madre and Hermosa Boulevards) is complete with a children’s play park, picnic tables, tennis courts, a band shell, a covered picnic area and the Senior Citizens Center in Hart Park House. Memorial Park is also home to many of the community-wide special events, including the Sounds of the Seasons Summer Concerts, the Friends of the Library Art Fair, and the Fourth of July celebration. Mount Wilson Trail Park, known affectionately as “Turtle Park,” is located at the end of Mountain Trail and Mira Monte Avenues, and it has a mini-park with toddlers’ play equipment, picnic tables and home of the Historical Society’s two historical museums.
Sierra Vista Park (on East Sierra Madre Boulevard) is home to the Sierra Madre Rose Float building, picnic tables and grills, softball diamonds, tennis and basketball courts. The Community & Personnel Services Department oversees the Aquatic Center in this park, where offerings include adult lap swim, recreational swim, American Red Cross swim lessons and other summer swim programs. The Youth Activity Center, newly built on the second floor of the Community Recreation Center also located in Sierra Vista Park, offers teens a place to hang out and get help with their homework, visit with friends, a chance to play sports, job training, and many other special events.
The Bailey Canyon Wilderness area is a tract with approximately 1,100 truly spectacular acres, including the Live Oak Natural Trail and a connection to the Mt. Wilson Trail in Mount Wilson Trail Park, which hosts the state’s second-oldest trail race. Sponsored by the Community & Personnel Services Department and overseen by the volunteer Mt. Wilson Trail Race Committee, this annual 8.6-mile run hosts hundreds of racers from around the world who welcome the challenge that the mountain poses. The Bailey Canyon Wilderness area is also an excellent and unique nature study park, and is a registered bird sanctuary.