It’s August in the San Gabriel Valley, and we all know what that means. Here are some of our favorite ways to escape the heat without sitting home and cranking up the AC.
Train to the Beach
Perhaps you’ve noticed that the 210 has been backed up for three weeks straight, so this is not a great time for a low-stress road trip to the beach. Instead, consider a day trip by train to San Clemente — it’s a lot easier than you might think. Pack up your beach bag, hop on the (air-conditioned) Gold Line to Union Station, and catch the 9:40 a.m. Amtrak to San Clemente. Trains stop right in front of the pier, and all your beach needs — bathrooms, outdoor showers, hot-dog stands, ocean-view pier bar — will be met. The water’s warm, the waves are great at T Street just south of the pier, and there’s a new walking path along the coast that’s fantastic.
Bus to the Beach
This summer my teenage daughter and her friends have been regular riders on the county-sponsored, excellent-value Altadena Summer Beach Bus, and it’s a great deal. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays through Labor Day (and including Labor Day), it leaves from the corner of Lincoln and Ventura in Altadena at 9:15 a.m., makes five more stops in Altadena, then heads straight to Santa Monica Beach. At 3:30 p.m., it makes the trip back. The fare is just $3, the buses are comfortable, and the trip is easy. One warning: Get to the Santa Monica pick-up spot by 3:20, because the driver’s been known to leave early.
Okay, so summer’s not the greatest time for thoughtful movies, but those that are out there at at the Laemmle Playhouse 7, which is comfortable, well air-conditioned, blessed with good popcorn and adjacent to Vroman’s for pre- or post-movie shopping. Consider a double feature; I can highly recommend (500) Days of Summer, and while I haven’t seen the Hurt Locker yet, it comes recommended by people I trust. With any luck, Julie & Julia and Adam will be showing there soon.
So what if you haven’t skated since high school? The rink is well maintained and convenient to the Paseo, and for just $7 (plus $3 if you need to rent skates) you can spend four hours in a downright chilly place. If you get tired of skating, just sit in the frigid stands and read your book. Go to the Pasadena Ice Skating Center for details.
It’s too hot in the gardens right now, but it’s a great time to explore the cool, calm Library and Art Galleries. After a renovation, the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art are now open; don’t miss the current show of photographs of the Colorado River, or, in the Library, the exhibit on Samuel Johnson. huntington.org