Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people situated in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County.
The city’s slogan is “Pride in the Past, Faith in the Future.” This is fitting because the city is close to its roots but set on being a modern urban centre, with state-of-the-art facilities and a wide range of cultural events and attractions that represent the city’s diversity.
The best thing about Monterey Park is its location. The city is small, but if you’re unable to find what you’re looking for, the downtown area of Los Angeles is only seven miles away.
In Monterey Park, you’ll find many parks, museums, and shopping areas, including Monterey Park Mall, Atlantic Times Square, and Monterey Park Village.
The downtown area is where many of the restaurants are found; the city has gained a reputation for being a foodies paradise due to the diversity of its eateries.
Many festivals and events take place in Monterey Park throughout the year, including the Harmony Festival, the Lunar New Year Festival, The Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Cinco de Mayo Celebrations.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Monterey Park, California.
1. Visit the Garvey Ranch Observatory and Monterey Park Historical Museum
This park is home to two of the city’s top attractions: Garvey Park Ranch Observatory and the Monterey Park Historical Museum.
The Observatory is run by the Los Angeles Astronomical Society and is home to an 8-inch refractor and a telescope-production workshop. The site is open to the public on certain evenings throughout the week for those who wish to observe the night sky.
The museum is the former home of Monterey Park pioneer and cattle rancher Richard Garvey. Inside the museum, you’ll see many artefacts related to the history of the city. Guided tours are available on certain days of the week.
2. Relax or Get a Workout in Barnes Park
Barnes Park is situated in the centre of the city and is one of the most popular parks in the area.
Across the 17 acres of outdoor green space, there are many facilities, including baseball fields, basketball and tennis courts, a playground, and picnic areas. Many community events and celebrations are held in the park throughout the year.
3. Unwind at Harmony Spa of Monterey Park
Travel can be exhausting; if you need a break from exploring Monterey Park and its surrounding area, a great way to do that is with a trip to Harmony Spa of Monterey Park. This boutique spa specializes in relaxing and healing massages.
The professionally licensed massage therapists offer various massage treatments, including hot stone massages, deep tissue massages, Swedish massages, and aromatherapy massages.
4. Beat the Heat at Splash Zone Aquatic Center
On hot days in Monterey Park, the best place to be is at the Splash Zone Aquatic Center. On-site, there’s a 25-yard swimming pool with diving boards and two waterslides.
Water polo facilities, a water fountain spray area, and picnic areas are also available. Lap swimming and aqua aerobics take place at certain times throughout the week.
5. See a Unique Attraction at the Museum of Neon Art
Not only does the Museum of Neon Art in nearby Glendale have one of the biggest collections of electric media in the world, but it’s also the first museum of its type anywhere.
Since the early 80s, the museum has been showcasing kinetic art, electric media, and neon signs. Some of the signs on display are from well-known, local landmarks, including the Brown Derby.
As you make your way through the museum, you’ll learn about the scientific techniques used in this type of art, as well as the history of it. Many of the exhibits rotate throughout the year, so there’s always something different to see.
On certain evenings throughout the week, neon cruise bus tours are offered; during this tour, you’ll see a variety of epic neon signs.
6. Go Hiking in Edison Trails Park
Hiking is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air, but it’s also an excellent way to see the natural side of any city. At Edison Trails Park, you can get away from the hustle and bustle for a while and enjoy all these things on a 1.5-mile easy hike through a pristine green space.
Within the 11 acres of parklands, there’s also a playground, washrooms, and picnic areas.
7. Dine on Chinese Cuisine at Happy Family Restaurant
At Happy Family Restaurant, you can be sure to receive the best service from friendly and professional staff who go out of their way to make you feel at home. This eatery specializes in traditional Chinese cuisine with modern additions.
Many of the dishes are plant-based, and only the highest-quality and freshest ingredients are used in their creation.
On the menu, you’ll find a wide variety of options, including appetizers, soups, rice and noodle-based dishes, seafood dishes, and vegetarian options.
8. Explore the Deukmejian Wilderness Park
Deukmejian Wilderness Park is a large nature area in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, on the outskirts of nearby Glendale. Situated in the main section of the park are the ranger station and the historic Le Mesnager Barn.
While most of the rest of the park remains untouched, several hiking trails pass through areas of chaparral, sage scrub, and woodlands. Along the way, you’ll see native wildlife and spectacular views of the Crescenta Valley.
9. Play a Quick Round of Golf at Monterey Park Golf Club
If you want to play some golf but don’t have a whole lot of time, the 9-hole course at the Monterey Park Golf Club has just what you’re looking for. On-site, there’s also a driving range and a golf pro shop. Lessons are available through the golf academy.
Also on-site is a cafe offering high-quality coffee, snacks, and a variety of dishes, including burgers and wings. Handcrafted cocktails are also served, and you can enjoy your meal on the scenic outdoor patio.
10. Vincent Price Art Museum
In 1957, the actor Vincent Price opened an art gallery that has grown over the years to hold more than 9,000 pieces. These artworks are housed across 100 exhibits in seven galleries.
There are both permanent and rotating exhibits on-site, and the pieces you’ll admire as you wander through the galleries include Native American art and works from Africa, Europe, and many other places all over the world.
11. Take in a Live Production at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse
Situated in nearby San Gabriel, the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse serves as both an entertainment venue and outreach organization for artists and people interested in the arts.
Throughout the year, a wide variety of productions are showcased including opera performances, symphonies, dance performances, mariachi, and Broadway classics. Kid-friendly shows are also showcased, and silent movie nights take place from time to time.
12. Hike Into the Wilderness of the Beaudry Loop
If you’re interested in a longer hike to get away from the urban surroundings for a few hours, the Beaudry Loop is a perfect escape into the wilderness of the Verdugo Mountain Range.
This six-mile hiking trail starts in nearby Glendale and travels in a loop. The trail is fairly easy most of the way. Along the way, you’ll come across stunning views of Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains.
13. Visit the Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens
There’s a lot to take in at the Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens. During a visit to this popular attraction, you’ll learn about regional history, admire beautiful art, and relax in a stunning and peaceful garden.
The property once belonged to Henry Huntington. Today, the 600-acre ranch holds a wealth of information waiting to be discovered by residents and visitors alike.
The on-site library has more than six million items, including classic literary treasures such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Audubon’s Birds of America, early editions of some of Shakespeare’s writings, and many important works about the American West.
The three on-site art galleries showcase works by French and American artists. Some of these pieces date back to the late 1600s.
The 120 acres of botanical gardens feature a Japanese garden, a rose garden, and a vast collection of camellias. An education centre and conservatory are also on-site.
14. Dine at the Exquisite Luminarias Restaurant
Situated on top of a hill above Monterey Park is a one-of-kind eatery with dreamlike surroundings and exquisite culinary experiences.
For several decades, Luminarias Restaurant has been the go-to spot in the area for a gourmet, upscale dining experience that takes you from Monterey Park to Mexico City without the travel.
Dine on prize-winning, authentic Latin and Mexican cuisine while taking in the stunning views of the San Gabriel Valley. Coktel de Camaron, Baja Ceviche Clasico, Coronita, Birria and Chile Relleno are just some of the delicious options you’ll find on the menu.
15. Get a History Lesson at the Ramona Museum of California History
Located in nearby San Gabriel, the Ramona Museum of California History has been showcasing items of important significance to the long and fascinating history of the state.
As you browse the exhibits, some of the items you’ll see include clothing and grooming products from the mid-1800s, artefacts related to the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, and old photos.