Top 11 Things To Do In Historic Arcadia, California

things to do in arcadia california

Arcadia is best known for its horses. Whether you are into horse racing or not, the beautiful race track will lure you in regardless. The history of the city gives Arcadia a nice charm that will take you back to the Rancho period. At the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, you can get the best of both worlds with community, history and nature all on in one. Here is a list of the top activities to do in Arcadia.

1. See a horse race at Santa Anita Race Park

SantaAnitaTrackMtns wb
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Elf used under CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the big landmarks in Arcadia is the Santa Anita Race Park. The beautiful grounds have an even more gorgeous back drop of the California Mountains. Spend the weekend at the races cheering on your favorite horse while sipping on refreshing beverages. This world-class sporting venue will definitely surprise you with its elegance.

Horse Racing

Address: 285 W Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91007

Website: Santa Anita Race Park

2. Go hiking

Source: Photo by user Geographer used under CC BY 1.0

The Angeles National Forest is a great area to get your adventure on with trails for every type of hiker. The incredible scenery and great picnic spots will have you always wanting to go back for more. Tucked between the colorful trees are flowing creeks, waterfalls, and lots of different terrain. Avid hikers can challenge themselves with the popular Cooper Canyon hike, whereas novice hikers can have a more relaxed time at Eaton Canyon Falls.


Address: Arcadia, CA

Website: Angeles National Forest

3. Visit the Arboretum’s historic Queen Anne Cottage and Coach Barn

Source: Photo by user Bruce Boehner used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Who can resist gorgeous gardens surrounding a very historical site in Arcadia! Stroll through the beautiful 127-acre (51.3 hectare) Arboretum and botanical gardens for stunning sites, flowers, and enchanting butterflies. The rose garden is a must-see in the Arboretum and perfect for pictures or romantic dates. After being one with nature, check out the Queen Anne Cottage and Coach Barn, which once was the heart of the historic city of Arcadia. Built in the 1800s, the architecture of this place is fascinating and has been the site of several movies and TV shows. Overall the vibe in this Arboretum truly represents the Rancho period Arcadia is known for.

Queen Anne Cottage

Address: 107 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

Website: Arboretum

4. Grab a beer at Matt Denny’s

Voted the number one restaurant in Arcadia, it is safe to say you won’t be disappointed. Besides the delicious American cuisine, most Arcadia residents use this as their watering hole for some refreshing craft beers and micro-brews. Grab your meal and brew here and the ambience will take you back in time. Don’t forget to try a customer favorite: the Guinness Pot Pie

Matty Denny's

Address: 145 Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91006

Website: Matt Denny’s

5. Go on the Seabiscuit Tour

Seabiscuit workout with GW up
Source: Photo by user Seabiscuit Herita... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Since horse racing is a central theme in Arcadia, travelers also need to check out the Seabiscuit Tour. If you haven’t seen the movie Seabiscuit or haven’t heard of the horse, then you need to rent the movie ASAP before taking this tour in order to get the full experience. Seabiscuit was a race horse during the great depression era, who acted as a symbol of hope to many Americans because of his humble start and how he became an unlikely champion. The tour will have you board a tram and take you to Seabiscuit’s original stall and barn. You will get to see where the movie was filmed and have the chance to meet the famous horse actor who played him for a very unique experience.

Seabiscuit Tour

Address: 24 W 50th Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

Website: Seabiscuit Tour

6. Attend Carcadia

Another one from #Carcadia yesterday.

A post shared by Emily Lopez Camaro 2SS (@tannedbluemarine) on Oct 31, 2016 at 11:42am PDT

On the fourth Sunday of every month car enthusiasts gather around the Denny’s parking lot to spectate rare classic and exotic cars. The show is off the historic Route 66 and is completely free to see!

Car Show

Address: 7 E Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91006

Website: Carcadia

7. Go to a carnival at Santa Anita park

Source: Pixabay

If you aren’t into horse racing but would love to see the stadium in a cool way, on select weekends Santa Anita Park transforms the center of the race tracks into a fun carnival. The setting could not be cooler for a carnival and is unlike the typical fair grounds. Enjoy challenging carnival games and win horse stuffed animals or take a spin on the thrill rides. Keep an eye on the calendar for the perfect family outing.


Address: 285 W Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91007

Website: Santa Anita Park

8. Game at Neon Retro Arcade

Posted by Neon Retro Arcade on Saturday, 18 March 2017

Pinball fans rejoice! This old school arcade will give you all kinds of nostalgia with over 50 classic games. The cute little arcade is a very well run establishment and perfect for kids or adults who want to relive their childhood. Play Donkey Kong, PAC-MAN, and vintage pinball machines for a great price.

Neon Retro Arcade

Address: 28 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

Website: Neon Retro

9. Go to the 626 Night Market

Five years and still going strong! Don't miss the return of the 626 Night Market, July 1st-3rd. Learn more about the largest Asian-themed night market in the US here >

Posted by Santa Anita Park on Sunday, 26 June 2016

626 Night Market is a large shopping area that is packed with tons of food, entertainment and fashion. It only happens during the summertime and is held monthly, so keep an eye on the calendar to see event dates. Inspired by the markets of Taipei, this market perfectly embodies Asian culture and gives it a California twist. Make sure you come on an empty stomach to try all the yummy stall offerings!

Night Market

Address: 285 W Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91007

Website: 626 Market

10. Watch a play in the nearby Pasadena Playhouse

Pasadena Playhouse 2012-09-04 18-42-07
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user JuanKenobi used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Next door to Arcadia is the Pasadena Playhouse, a performing arts center that hosts a lot of plays, concerts, and cultural events. The theater opened in 1924 and has a nice historic charm that draws in quite the audience. The venue is perfect to watch performances and see some big name theater actors perform in your favorite plays.

Pasadena Playhouse

Address: 39 S El Molino Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

Website: Pasadena Playhouse

Great location

For those who don’t like to stick to one area, Arcadia is in an excellent location to make day trips to surrounding areas. Drive south to downtown Los Angeles for a more urban feel, it is only 30 minutes away! Or hop over to Pasadena and Burbank, Arcadias lovely neighbors.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Just an American girl chasing the unique in the world. I've been to 22 countries and 4 continents. My current goal is to go to all 7 continents before I turn 25. I'm a filmmaker, journalist, and...Read more

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