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Ten Things to Check Out at San Gabriel’s 626 Golden Streets

9:11 AM PDT on June 23, 2016

[caption id="attachment_118933" align="aligncenter" width="572"]626 Golden Streets is this Sunday. Click here for detailed route map. 626 Golden Streets is this Sunday. Click here for detailed route map.[/caption]

In case you haven’t heard, this Sunday the CicLAvia-style 626 Golden Streets event will finally arrive to the San Gabriel Valley. The 626 open streets route, from South Pasadena to downtown Azusa, will close 18+ miles of roadway to walk, bike, dance, skate, and explore. The event features seven cities and eight planned activity hubs offering an array of activities, plus food trucks, water, restrooms, maps, t-shirts, and lots of smiling faces. Activities include live music, arts and crafts, Rams players and cheerleaders, lawn sports, bicycle repair, a Cyclo Cross competition, lion dances, chalk art, selfie spots, Zumba, and much, much more.

Check out 626’s website here to learn more detail about the event route, activities and services at each hub, points of interest, feeder rides, and answers to any questions you may have.

For added high-tech convenience there is even a 626 event app you can find here.

We at Streetsblog were so excited about this massive open-streets event we compiled a list of our own highlighting some restaurants, shops, and points of interest alongside the route. There will be lots and lots of official activities at the hubs, but we found some off the beaten path neighborhood attractions that can give participants some taste of the surrounding San Gabriel Valley neighborhoods.

Streetsblog created a Google map for easy visual reference. If you have any other points of interest feel free to include them in the comments below!

[caption id="attachment_118986" align="alignleft" width="300"]Videoteque Videoteque[/caption]


Vidéothèque is a local video rental store located in South Pasadena’s downtown, nearby the Gold Line station hub. The store, according to its website here, offers some 25,000 international, independent, classic, and cult titles to satisfy any film enthusiast - young and old, new and experienced. DVDS line the store and are organized by genre, director and country. It is like a candy store for movies, and many of the DVDs offered can’t be found online. Whatever kind of movie experience you’re looking for, Vidéothèque will almost certainly have it.

Vidéothèque is located right near the route’s western terminus at 1020 Mission Street, South Pasadena, CA 91030.

[caption id="attachment_118987" align="alignleft" width="300"]DSC_0276 Bhanu's and Why Thirsty[/caption]

Bhanu's Indian Grocery & Cuisine and Why Thirsty

The San Gabriel Valley is known for a great variety of Asian food restaurants and markets. Though these are mostly somewhat south of the route, there are many close at hand. Why patronize food trucks when there are so many good bricks-and-mortar restaurants to choose from?

Bhanu’s is both a sit-down restaurant and a store stocked with Indian groceries and ingredients. I’d recommend the chicken tikki masala, which was close to perfect, but the whole menu looked incredibly appetizing and featured some dishes with some serious spice.

If you’re feeling in need of a cold drink or shaved ice while traveling the route, check out Why Thirsty for all kinds of boba tea and shaved ice flavors.

Bhanu's and Why Thirsty are located at the south end of the Trader Joes strip mall at Rosemead Boulevard and Huntington Drive - a block west of the Michillinda Park L.A. County Hub. The address is 7248 N Rosemead Blvd San Gabriel, CA 91775.

[caption id="attachment_118988" align="alignleft" width="300"]DSC_0278 Vroman's Bookstore - Hasting Ranch branch[/caption]

Vroman’s Bookstore

Did you know Vroman's has a second location?

Vroman’s Bookstore is known as Southern California’s Oldest & Largest Independent bookstore. The independent, family-owned business has added a second location, pictured above on E Foothill Blvd, just a two block walk from the 626 route and next to a Whole Foods market. The bookstore offers a large selection of children’s books and is a wonderful option for stationary, journals, and posters.

Vroman's Hastings Ranch is located at 729 E Foothill Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

[caption id="attachment_118992" align="alignleft" width="300"]IMG_0584 Taza Coffee House[/caption]

Taza - A Social Coffee House and Monarch Donuts.

On Hungtinton Drive, two blocks southeast of the Arcadia Gold Line Station hub is Taza’s, a small coffee house with comfortable sitting, beautiful coffee art, waffles and ice cream, and of course, delicious coffee. For any coffee nerd Taza is a must-sip.

If coffee or ice cream isn’t your thing, Monarch Donuts next door provides cook-to-order donuts and is sure to satisfy any donut-cravings you have.

Both located at 11 W Huntington Drive, Arcadia, CA 91007.

[caption id="attachment_118993" align="alignleft" width="300"]IMG_0576 Arcadia Park[/caption]

Arcadia Park

If you need of a cool shady space to relax, or jungle gyms, swings and slides for kids to play on, check out Arcadia park. Across the street from Taza’s and Monarch Donuts, Arcadia Park provides plenty of pleasant green space and shade for 626ers in need of some rest.

Parks with plenty of play space and shade are especially good for kids and their families taking a break along the route.

Arcadia Park's address is 405 S Santa Anita Ave, Arcadia, CA 91006; it is located at the corner of Santa Anita and Huntington, two blocks southeast of the Arcadia Metro Gold Line Station hub.

[caption id="attachment_118994" align="alignleft" width="300"]Donut Edited Yummy donut delicacies from AM Donut[/caption]

AM Donut & Yogurt

There are too many great donut in the SGV to just list one!

AM Donut & Yogurt is a 24 hour donut shop that sells your usual selection of breakfast sandwiches, donuts, and pastries. However the store also features fruit and chocolate cronuts, (a mix between a croissant and a donut) sure to satisfy any donut enthusiasts need.

AM is located a block south of the route at 305 W Huntington Dr, Monrovia, CA 91016.

[caption id="attachment_118996" align="alignleft" width="300"]Ale House Congregation Ale House[/caption]

Congregation Ale House

At the eastern end of the route in downtown Azusa is Congregation Ale House, a “gastropub” or bar and restaurant, with an impressive list of craft beer and food offered for adult travelers finishing or starting or taking a break during their journey. The menu can be overwhelming for those new to craft beer, so make sure to ask staff if you are struggling to find a beer of choice.

[caption id="attachment_116099" align="alignleft" width="300"]The Metro Gold Line has arrived in Azusa. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A. except where noted Metro Gold Line - photo: Joe Linton[/caption]

Metro Gold Line

Knitting the route together is Metro's Gold Line. There is no need to try to walk or bike all 18 miles, because Metro's Gold Line light rail parallels the route. Get a day pass and jump from city to city, or find yourself far from your starting place and hop a train back.

The route touches on five of the six newly-opened Gold Line Foothill Extension stations - just do not expect anything at Azusa Pacific University station. It also connects with the now venerable Gold Line South Pasadena Station.

These are just a few of the points-of-interest along and near the route. The Huntington Library and L.A. County Arboretum are also located right alongside the route as is the San Gabriel River trail among many other attractions. Check out SBLA's Google maps above for visual reference and feel free to comment some of your own recommended points of interest alongside 626 below.

SBLA coverage of San Gabriel Valley livability is supported by Foothill Transit. Foothill Transit has been a leader in sustainable transportation for years. And now they’re committed to having a 100% electric bus fleet by 2030. To celebrate, Foothill Transit is giving away prizes and sharing facts about how their electric buses help clear the air. Visit Foothill Transit’s e-bus sweepstakes webpage to see how you can join in the eco-friendly fun!

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