Welcome to the City of Arcadia and congratulations to the Chamber of Commerce for producing this wonderful publication.
Arcadia prides itself on being a business-friendly city and a premier business location. We recognize and appreciate the value that quality and successful businesses bring to our community. Within our borders are numerous retail and service establishments, a regional mall, a large variety of restaurants and a superior medical service population. To assist these businesses as well as those who wish to locate in Arcadia, a Business Assistance Program is available through the Development Services Department. This program offers personalized support customized to the needs of business owners and operators. The Business Assistance Program can be accessed by calling (626) 574-5414.
In addition to a thriving business community, beautiful neighborhoods with tree-lined streets, exceptional educational opportunities and renowned recreation and leisure-time facilities all contribute to our quality of life in Arcadia. However, the heart of Arcadia is its people. Arcadians are a special group, with great enthusiasm for and dedication to keeping our community unique and special. We watch out for each other, we volunteer thousands of hours each year, and we always have a smile for a friend, neighbor or visitor. The attitude is the true hallmark of Arcadia.
On behalf of the City, I want to thank the Chamber membership for your involvement in civic affairs over the years. The Arcadia Chamber is very active, serving not only as an advocate for business, but also providing services and hosting events that appeal to all facets of the community. For example, the annual Taste of Arcadia event in September is fabulous, a wonderful Arcadia tradition!
Should there ever be a situation in which City staff can be of assistance to you, please feel free to contact us. We welcome the opportunity to help.
Things to Do in Arcadia, California
Unlike most suburbs of major cities like Los Angeles and unlike most communities of 56,000 people that are no bigger than 11 square miles, Arcadia is a major draw for visitors.
Here are just a few reasons why:
Santa Anita Park race track – world famous on its own, and Breeders’ Cup weekend draws another 90,000 in early November.
Westfield Santa Anita – one of the most popular and progressive malls in the San Gabriel Valley.
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden – the jewel of the county.
Santa Anita Golf Course – one of the best and most picturesque in the region.
Angeles National Forest – The Chantry Flat picnic area is one of the most popular entry points of any forest, and it leads to beautiful hiking trails and waterfalls.
Large parks like the county’s Arcadia Park and the city’s Wilderness Park.
Arcadia Festival of Bands is the largest high school band competition in Southern California every November.
Arcadia Invitational Track Meet is the largest high school track meet in the country.
Santa Anita Bowling Green draws national and international lawn bowling competitors
Besides Westfield Santa Anita mall, there are several shopping districts with restaurants in Arcadia, including further south from the mall on Baldwin Avenue between Camino Real Street and Huntington Drive.
Not far from a cluster of hotels, the historic downtown Arcadia area surrounding the intersection of First Ave. and Huntington Drive in all directions, has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years with the additions of the popular Hyper Coffee and Boiling Point to complement the longtime favorite Matt Denny’s Ale House Restaurant and regional live music venue draw Arcadia Blues Club.
A group of business and property owners in the area are working to ensure the activity continues to expand in order to capitalize on the anticipated surge of travelers stopping at the new Gold Line train station set to open in 2016 on First Avenue just north of Huntington Drive.
Getting around Arcadia is a breeze. There is one main freeway that bisects the northern part of town, the east-west 210 “Foothill” freeway, running along the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.
The primary north-south streets are Santa Anita Avenue on the east and Baldwin Avenue on the west. The primary east-west streets are (starting north and working south) Foothill Boulevard, Huntington Drive, Duarte Road and Live Oak Avenue.
Signal lights on the busiest streets are electronically controlled by computer and overseen manually to adjust the light patterns to traffic demand.
Several streets include wide bike paths, such as the north-south El Monte Ave. in the middle of Arcadia.
The City also offers a small city Dial-A-Ride service called Arcadia Transit.
Gold Line Light Rail Train Service
Work on the 11.5-mile Gold Line Foothill Extension of the light rail line from Downtown L.A. is expected to be completed late this year and open for service in early 2016 to as far east as Azusa, with plans being developed to then extend the line to the county border and eventually the Ontario airport.
Arcadia is centrally located between the Ontario airport, the Burbank airport, and LAX. There are connections in town and nearby to the airports and other locations via Metro Bus, taxi or shuttles.
So, where do visitors stay in Arcadia? There are a handful of national brand name hotels all within a couple blocks of each other:
Arcadia Lodging and Accommodations
211 E. Huntington Dr.
311 E. Huntington Dr.
Hilton Garden Inn
199 N. Second Ave.
Residence Inn – Marriott
321 E. Huntington Dr.
Springhill Suites by Marriott
99 N. Second Ave.
And there are a couple smaller hotels as well, including historic Santa Anita Inn, which will soon be adding multi-story Fairfield and Residence Inns.
Most of them are not far away from great local restaurants that offer all manner of cuisine.
From the traditional American restaurant and sports bar of Matt Denny’s Ale House Restaurant to the historic steak house The Derby and the world-renowned Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, and from familiar comfort food chains such as Denny’s, IHOP, Marie Callender’s, The Cheesecake Factory, and Souplantation to quaint diners like Rod’s Grill and Moffett’s Family Restaurant, Arcadia offers something for every taste.
Within just 11 square miles, Arcadia has nearly 20 parks, including one of the larger parks in all of Los Angeles County right in the heart of the city, and the city-owned Wilderness Park featuring a nature center and hiking trails.
This is in addition to another of the county’s jewels, the Arboretum and Botanical Garden, filled with an unparalleled array of plant life in bloom year-round, including a rain forest, and a treasure trove of historical buildings and artifacts, all of which have been featured in many movies and TV shows.
Creating community through a broad spectrum of recreation activities, programs, and direct services is a passion for the City of Arcadia’s Recreation and Community Services Department. The Department is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life by providing positive recreation opportunities, encouraging involvement and developing cultural harmony. The staff is committed to fostering community partnerships and responding to the community’s needs. Whether you enjoy any of the scenic parks, athletic fields, or the Arcadia Community Center, you can rest assured there are plenty of leisure and enrichment activities for all ages. Here is just a short list of the numerous programs, events and services offered by the City of Arcadia:
Summer, athletic & science camps
Arts, crafts & music classes
Family nature hikes
Writing & art classes
Exercise & dance classes
Cooking & jewelry classes
Daily Lunch Program
Health & education seminars
Strength & mobility classes
Information & referral services
In addition to all these fantastic programs and services, the Recreation & Community Services proudly hosts free, community-wide special events, including:
Easter Egg Hunts
Breakfast with Santa & Holiday Snow Festival
Haunted Halloween Happenings
Community Bike Ride
Concerts in the Park
Youth Summer Carnival
Stop by the Recreation Department or visit www.ci.arcadia.ca.us to take a glance at these exciting opportunities provided right here in our community.
Snapshots by Decade
1900s: Arcadia incorporated by founder Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin in 1903. Saloons in the tiny community were open 24/7 and a horse race track opened in 1907. Not until Baldwin’s death and the end of horse racing in 1909, did the image of Arcadia change.
1910s: The sale of alcoholic beverages was outlawed in 1912, so the saloons closed. An active real estate market developed and a poultry industry began. Two grocery stores, a drug store, barbershop, hardware store and then a bank opened on First Ave.. The first official City Hall was erected in 1918 and Ross Field (a World War I reconnaissance balloon school) was established on Baldwin’s deserted racetrack grounds.
1920s: The Arcadia Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1921 and Arcadia’s Rotary Club received its charter in 1927. As the city grew, and with large undeveloped areas, a Planning Commission was established. Before long there were paved streets, street signs and reservoirs. Enforcing the provisions of the Volstead Prohibition Act was a major task for Arcadia’s police force. Poultry houses and garages were found to be used as distilleries. Citywide raids were frequent.
1930s: Deodar trees were planted in 1931 every 50 feet along Colorado Boulevard and Huntington Drive. These routes had opened Arcadia to automobile traffic and were considered a trade asset, thus beautification was necessary. A Public Library opened on North First Ave. next to the City Hall that served the city until 1961. A new Santa Anita Park horse racetrack opened on Dec. 25, 1934 with 30,277 in attendance. A bridle path along Santa Anita Ave. that led to the foothills and into the mountains added to the popularity of horseback riding in Arcadia. Horses were permitted in a large part of the city. Arcadia County Park was completed in 1938 with golf course, swimming pool and bowling greens.
1940s: Arcadia’s population grew from 9,122 in 1940 to 15,524 in 1946, which created the demand for three new schools: Santa Anita, Hugo Reid and Highland Oaks. Sewer Bonds passed and plans were finalized for an arboretum. During WWII many restrictions were placed on citizens: Vacation trips were taboo, auto speeds were limited to 35 miles per hour, car-pooling was encouraged and many foods were rationed. Car registrations dropped. Victory Gardens became popular, as did home gardens and food canning. A new City Hall was built on West Huntington Drive.
1950s: Arcadia became a Charter City in 1951, with a City Manager to oversee the city’s business. Six schools opened: Longley Way, Bonita Park, and Camino Grove Elementary schools, Arcadia High School, and Dana and Foothills Middle Schools. The Queen Anne Cottage and Coach Barn at the Arboretum were restored. Methodist Hospital opened, Wilderness Park was dedicated, and “Bekins Van & Storage” was the tallest building in Arcadia.
1960s: Population had grown to 41,005 at the beginning of the decade. A sidewalk construction program was adopted; Baldwin Stocker School opened; and the business of poultry raising was no longer permitted. A new Arcadia Public Library was opened on West Duarte Road, and, on Nov. 13, 1965, a unique and distinct Chamber of Commerce building was dedicated.
1970s: New City Council Chambers were built; a Paramedic Program launched; the 210 “Foothill” Freeway was completed; Santa Anita Fashion Park (mall) was opened; the historic Santa Anita Depot was reconstructed on the Arboretum grounds; and the population exceeded 45,000.
1980s: The community began to grapple with issues such as how to handle the growing trend of “mini-malls,” larger mansion-size houses on confined lots; and new types of signage with multiple languages. The 911 emergency number became operational. By an act of Congress, title to the Rose Garden portion of Arcadia County Park was transferred to Arcadia for its historical museum. A community center was built on this land. Real estate values soared.
1990s: Arcadia’s population was 48,290. High-rise construction was limited. Downtown and First Ave. areas were revitalized. The decades-old Anoakia Estate was demolished and a gated community was sanctioned. An $8 million police facilities bond was approved.
2000s: As Arcadia celebrated its Centennial anniversary, English was no longer the primary language of Arcadia’s students. The Hugo Reid Family statue was relocated from Arcadia County Park to behind the Community Center, Rotary International of Arcadia dedicated a clock by Huntington Drive and Holly Ave., and “Shops at Santa Anita” was initiated and later abandoned.
2010-2015: As the population grew to 56,565, Arcadians were instructed how to co-exist with coyotes left with no habitat. An unprecedented windstorm destroyed hundreds of trees and property. A light rail train line was approved and four bridges were constructed through town, three of which featured notable public art elements. A train station and transit plaza featuring their own public art elements relating to the city’s peacocks and iconic Santa Anita Park race track were opened across the street from the former site of Lucky Baldwin’s Oakwood Hotel. Baldwin’s legacy was further entrenched with the dedication of a statue across from the track entrance, and his name and prize-winning horses included on a new Thoroughbred Racing Walk of Champions in Downtown Arcadia.
Compiled and written by Carol Libby of the Arcadia Historical Society – all photos courtesy of Arcadia Historical Society.
There’s no second-guessing it – Arcadia’s public schools are about as good as you can get.
The students are well-rounded with consistent regional, state and national champions in everything from band and orchestra to sports, theater, science and more.
The district is also state-of-the-art in terms of technology and buildings now that it is nearing completion of a quarter-billion dollar facility upgrade district-wide. The centerpiece is a $20 million Performing Arts Center on the Arcadia High School campus that features seating for 1,200.
The six elementary and three middle schools all feed into the high school, and there are numerous quality private schools and tutor centers around town as well.
Arcadia Public Schools
ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS (K-5)
Baldwin Stocker Elementary School
422 W. Lemon Ave.
Camino Grove Elementary School
700 Camino Grove Ave.
Highland Oaks Elementary School
10 Virginia Dr.
Holly Avenue Elementary School
360 W. Duarte Rd.
Hugo Reid Elementary School
Elementary Campus: 1000 Hugo Reid Dr.
Primary Campus: 1153 De Anza Pl.
Longley Way Elementary School
2601 Longley Way
SECONDARY SCHOOLS (6-8)
Dana Middle School
1401 S. First Ave.
First Avenue Middle School
301 S. First Ave.
Foothills Middle School
171 E. Sycamore Ave.
High School (9-12)
Arcadia High School
180 Campus Dr.