Between wilderness and city, Altadena has an independent spirit and tight-knit community. The area is located 14 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles and is situated directly north of Pasadena. The name “Alta Dena” comes this geographical location, with the Spanish “Alta” meaning “upper” and “dena” from Pasadena. The other three sides of Altadena are bounded by beautiful wilderness (the Arroyo Seco, Angeles National Forest, and Eaton Canyon).
In the 1890s through the 1920s, Altadena land was bought by ranchers who grew grapes, oranges, and walnuts. Overtime, midwestern business magnates began to flood in and build their grand winter and retirement homes along Mariposa Street.
Following World War II, Altadena’s land filled up fast and the population reached 40,000 by the 1940s.
Today Altadena has a population of over 42,000.
Residents enjoy Altadena’s incredible hiking trails, quaint feel, and seclusion above Pasadena and all Los Angeles has to offer.
Altadena has a multitude of shops and services along its portion of Lake Avenue. The area is loved for its contemporary thrift and consignment stores like reFinery Boutique and Full Circle Thrift. Also along Lake are a number of great restaurants, coffee shops, and local businesses.
Nearby Pasadena has unparalleled shopping options. Old Town Pasadena has 21 blocks of upscale retail shops housed in original art deco buildings. It boasts over 200 different specialty boutiques and exclusive national retailers.
Also, close-by are the Shops on Lake Avenue, which includes a variety of unique stores and shops, quaint patios, and spots for casual and fine dining. The Paseo Colorado is another popular option. This 3-block open-air mall features high-end shopping, a movie theatre, restaurants, and community events for families.
With a picture-perfect location in the hills overlooking Pasadena, Altadena provides a great retreat from busy Los Angeles life.
Because of its desirable position toward the top of the foothills, Altadena has many beautiful hiking trails. I love the Eaton Canyon Falls Trail, a beautiful 3.5 mile hike to a 40-foot waterfall with incredible views of the San Gabriel Mountains and Santa Monica Mountains.
Altadena families also like to gather together at Farnsworth Park, a large county park that has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The land used to be a nursery but was converted to a county park by General Charles S. Farnsworth. Park amenities include picnic grounds, play areas, a clubhouse and an amphitheater.
The Altadena Town and Country Club is a great place for local members to socialize at family-friendly events, over gourmet dining, and within the club’s fitness areas which feature a pool and tennis courts.
The Altadena community is fantastic. Each winter, residents show their Christmas spirit with an old holiday tradition they call Christmas Tree Lane: a .7 mile stretch of Santa Rosa Avenue illuminated by thousands of Christmas lights for people to enjoy.
And being neighbor to Pasadena, Altadena has world-class shopping, art institutions, and restaurants all in its backyard.
Being directly next to Pasadena, Altadena is a part of the Pasadena Unified School District. This district takes pride in its devotion to fostering a challenging and supportive learning environment at all levels. It encompasses 76 square miles and includes Pasadena, Altadena, and Sierra Madre. The schools enroll over 17,000 students within 28 schools and programs. These include 17 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, one K-8 school, two 6-12th schools, 2 high schools, one continuation high school, and one alternative education program.
Some of the district’s best schools serve the Altadena community. The wonderful Altadena Elementary School is an arts-focused magnet school with a French dual-language immersion program. Also serving Altadena are nearby schools including Ben Franklin Elementary School, Jackson Magnet Elementary School, Webster Elementary School, Aveson Charter Schools, Odyssey Charter School, Eliot Arts Magnet Academy, John Muir High School, Pasadena High School, John Marshall Fundamental and Blair High School.
Altadena is also close to many great private schools. These include Sahag-Mesrob Armenian Christian School, St. Elizabeth Catholic School, Saint Mark’s, Pasadena Waldorf School, and Fair Oaks Academy.