Very few things get me as excited as an open streets event coming to my neck of the woods, but May 19th’s 626 Golden Streets feels equally exciting.
While CiclaValley is quite a lean towards the San Fernando Valley, you can add an “s” to the end of my title because of my close ties to the SGV.
This August will mark my ten year wedding anniversary with Mrs. CV who has about as many Alhambra ties as I do with the 818.
Born and raised here, many of her high school friends still live in the area, as well as her mom and sister still living in the same duplex.
We have family outings every few weeks, so by the power of osmosis I’ve become well acclimated with the area.
To have Golden Streets come back for its second (and a half) iteration into the heart of this neighborhood feels a bit like a homecoming if you’re allowed to have more than one in a lifetime.
For starters, the western start of the route is at the South Pasadena Gold Line Station which is the one I frequent when I come to town on rail.
The route hits the sweet spot covering five miles with three hubs with many possibilities to explore.
Exiting the Gold Line to South Pasadena
Starting down Mission St., you’ll probably want to instantly stop as there’s a number of restaurants and small businesses that will grab your attention.
Mike & Anne’s is a popular breakfast spot that will be even more packed come game day, but there are a lot of great options to eat, especially wandering up and down Fair Oaks, the main north/south thoroughfare to the east.
You’ll also find the historic 1925 Rialto Theater a couple of blocks to the south with it’s neon-lined marquee that is now open more frequently hosting Mosaic Church services.
1925 Rialto Theater
On the other side of Fair Oaks, Mission St. becomes residential with the shaded Garfield Park on your left as a good place to stop off with kids before the route makes a right turn.
Before making that turn, I’m pretty sure I’ll continue east a few blocks off-course to stop off at the Cub House, one of the most eclectic bike shops you’ll find anywhere.
For those of you staying on course on Marengo, you’ll get quite the Mayberry feel with tall, arched treescapes with a number of personable craftsmen homes lining the street.
The Cub House is just a few blocks off course in San Marino
Crossing Huntington Drive, most may not notice that both the Pacific Electric and Southern Pacific train lines intersected here along the median and closed off pieces of land positioned diagonally.
As you turn left onto Alhambra Road, you’ll start hitting the northern edge of Alhambra where you’ll notice a distinctive change.
The lots are tighter together, but if you notice the signage, there are a number of historical neighborhoods each with it’s own architectural flair.
After the route winding it’s way around Atlantic, you’ll land on Main St. which has long been Alhambra’s central commercial district.
Once again, this road used to house the Pacific Electric Railway on a line that terminated in Temple City.
Looking back at a time when rail prevailed (1924)
Along this stretch, there are a lot of great food options including Pho, Korean, Chinese, and Indonesian, as well as a couple of good breweries and even specials, so it’s really what you’re in the mood for.
A great way to cap off your meal is ice cream from Fosselman’s which is celebrating its 100 year anniversary!
As you cross into San Gabriel, Main St. turns into Las Tunas which will take you a couple of blocks until you turn onto Mission Dr. towards the end of the route.
The San Gabriel Mission bookends this route with century’s old history.
San Gabriel Mission
Originally founded in 1771, the original settlement was placed five miles south washing out in a flood five years later.
The Mission displaced a number of the native Tongva and was a leader in the chain for baptisms.
One of the main distinctions is despite the history of earthquakes, that the main building is the oldest in Southern California made of brick, stone and mortar.
With the event running from 9am to 4pm, you’ll have plenty of time to stroll and enjoy all this route has to offer.
That’s not to mention, the great team behind ActiveSGV who pulled off the remarkable feat of hosting the longest open streets event ever in LA County, despite having to reschedule the original date due to fires.
I’ll be out and about at 626 Golden Streets the whole day with the family and I’ll be proud to go by “CiclaValleys” for the day!