Location and Transportation

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.


Lodging and Accommodations

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

Embassy Suites
211 E. Huntington Dr.
(626) 445-8525
www.arcadia.embassysuites.com

Hampton Inn
311 E. Huntington Dr.
(626) 574-5600
www.hamptoninnarcadia.com

Hilton Garden Inn
199 N. Second Ave.
(626) 574-6900
www.hiltongardeninn.com

Residence Inn – Marriott
321 E. Huntington Dr.
(626) 446-6500
www.residenceinn.com

Springhill Suites by Marriott
99 N. Second Ave.
(626) 821-5400
www.springhillsuites.com

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.


Parks and Recreation

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:

Youth Activities

After-school activities
Summer, athletic & science camps
Arts, crafts & music classes
Teen programs
Aquatics program

Adult Activities

Family nature hikes
Writing & art classes
Exercise & dance classes
Cooking & jewelry classes
Athletics programs

Senior Activities

Daily Lunch Program
Exciting excursions
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.


History

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.


Education

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.
(626) 821-8351

Camino Grove Elementary School
700 Camino Grove Ave.
(626) 821-8353

Highland Oaks Elementary School
10 Virginia Dr.
(626) 821-8354

Holly Avenue Elementary School
360 W. Duarte Rd.
(626) 821-8355

Hugo Reid Elementary School
Elementary Campus: 1000 Hugo Reid Dr.
(626) 821-8356
Primary Campus: 1153 De Anza Pl.
(626) 821-8346

Longley Way Elementary School
2601 Longley Way
(626) 821-8357

SECONDARY SCHOOLS (6-8)

Dana Middle School
1401 S. First Ave.
(626) 821-8361

First Avenue Middle School
301 S. First Ave.
(626) 821-8362

Foothills Middle School
171 E. Sycamore Ave.
(626) 821-8363

High School (9-12)

Arcadia High School
180 Campus Dr.
(626) 821-8370


Chamber Welcome

Greetings!

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.

Cordially,

Dominic Lazzaretto
City Manager


Business and Industry

The people of Arcadia are living in exciting times, according to Jason Kruckeberg, assistant city manager and development services director for Arcadia.

Residents enjoy a high quality of life, thanks to an increasingly healthy local economy, and they are about to start enjoying public transportation in the form of the Metro Foothill Gold Line train which will be fully operational by 2016, allowing commuters to travel around the metropolitan area without getting on the gridlocked freeways.

In the planning stages for more than a decade, the Foothill Gold Line will connect the people of Arcadia and other nearby communities in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains with Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles and everywhere in between.

“We are also poised to take full advantage of the new commuter hub that is being constructed at First Avenue and Santa Clara Street in our downtown area and leverage it on behalf of our downtown businesses. In fact, a new business improvement district has recently formed in our downtown. The Downtown Arcadia Improvement Association is active and motivated and has been meeting to discuss such issues as parking, special events, zoning and land use,” Kruckeberg stated.

Residents should also be pleased that new life has been breathed into the community’s major economic engine, Santa Anita Park, a thoroughbred racetrack that is synonymous with Arcadia. The ownership of the 81-year-old track has, according to Kruckeberg, invested millions in substantial improvements to the facility and into enhancing its slate of special off-season events and concerts in an effort to introduce a whole new group of people to the track.

“These improvements have really helped keep horse racing a relevant and exciting sport and have greatly enhanced the visitor experience,” he stated.

Santa Anita, which many consider to be the most beautiful racetrack in the world with its breathtaking view of the San Gabriel Mountains, hosts some of the most prominent racing events in the United States during their fall and spring meets, including both the Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap. They have also hosted the Breeders’ Cup on numerous occasions.

Neighboring Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall is another huge employer for Arcadia. They, too, have invested heavily in improvements recently, focusing much of their attention on bringing big name restaurants to their outdoor Promenade and significantly upgrading internal areas of the center to attract high-level tenants, Kruckeberg said.

Methodist Hospital of Southern California, another economic driver for Arcadia, employs scores of people and provides health care for even more. But over the past several years, he explained, the hospital has generated even more economic activity for the city.

“Approximately 104,000 square feet of top-shelf medical office space has been built near the hospital over the last couple of years or is currently under construction,” Kruckeberg said.

“We are also very excited about a new development of 1.6 million square feet of distribution and logistics facilities on an 80-acre former landfill in the southeast corner of the city. It is currently undergoing an environmental review and then we hope to proceed with this exciting re-use of land,” he explained. “Generally speaking, Arcadia is pretty well built-out. It doesn’t have much empty land or many large empty boxes. So this is a unique opportunity.”

In addition, ground will soon be broken on two side-by-side Marriott-owned hotels, featuring a total of 200 guest rooms, and negotiations are underway with Aldi to bring one of their stores to the city.

“Arcadia has a very good balance of commercial businesses and we are trying to maintain that balance,” Kruckeberg said. “We have Santa Anita Park and Westfield Santa Anita, of course, but our many small businesses are just as important to the economy of Arcadia because they bring needed services to our residents.”

“Currently, the city’s attention is focused on a number of fronts. First there is our new business assistance/ombudsman program for businesses which we instituted last year. A member of the city staff is charged with helping individual business people by answering questions and walking them through business expansions and other changes they wish to make,” he explained.

“In addition, we have partnered with the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce and the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership to make visits to existing businesses. So far, we have been concentrating on the industrial and technical sectors. These are essentially ‘meet and greets.’ We ask them what they need, what their concerns are, if they need to expand soon, etc. Our goal is to start a conversation and get the business people comfortable with working with the city.”

“Internally, we are also working to revamp our zoning and land use regulations so that we can be nimble and better able to respond to changes as they happen. We will be updating our codes this year, working to streamline them and make them more user-friendly,” Kruckeberg stated.

“We understand that there has been substantial retail retraction everywhere since the recession. So, we need to be able to react to those market changes. We need to be able to allow former retail areas to revitalize themselves and, in some cases, that will involve transitioning those areas to a different land use and bringing residential properties (and the consumers who will live in them) closer to commercial properties,” he said.


City Services

You’d be hard-pressed to find a city that provides more services more effectively and cost-efficiently than Arcadia.

The city is among the safest and the City Council and city staff are both remarkably stable, which creates a sense of security and calm for residents. Streets and sidewalks are kept clean and maintained, and there is seldom any reason to complain about utilities or public works.

Volunteerism is a hallmark of Arcadia with hundreds of volunteers spending tens of thousands of hours contributing to the fabric of the community, whether it be sitting on Commissions, leading classes, or just helping out in the book store at the library. City leaders are often seen engaging and interacting with the community at numerous events and they encourage residents to do the same.

The city and the Chamber of Commerce each publish regular newsletters, directories like this one, calendars and other materials, along with daily updates of their websites.

The city has replaced or remodeled nearly every major city building in recent years except the aging City Hall, which is completing a facelift of its own. A new City Hall is also being considered.