Head North For Family Fun in Montrose

Quiet Montrose, west of La Cañada-Flintridge, offers family shopping, tasty treats for kids, great bookstores, and places to connect with nature.

by Erin Mahoney Harris

Head North For Family Fun In MontroseThe quiet community of Montrose is nestled near the intersection of the 210 and 2 freeways, just west of La Cañada-Flintridge. It’s farther north than some Angelenos are used to venturing, but well worth a weekend day trip, particularly on Sunday mornings when the popular Harvest Market and Marketplace takes over the city’s main drag, Honolulu Avenue.

Locals love Paradis (2323 Honolulu Ave.; 818-248-1004; www.paradis-icecream.com) for its made-fresh-daily ice cream, made strictly from whole-food ingredients. The company hails from Denmark and its Montrose location is one of only two shops currently operating stateside.

The Harvest Market and Marketplace from 9a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays on the 2200 block of Honolulu is so much more than a shopping affair. Pony rides, bounce houses and plenty of prepared foods and treats complement the array of fruit and veggie stalls, making it a lively community meeting spot.

Head North For Family Fun In MontroseWith its hand-painted murals, cozy reading nooks and expertly chosen selection of children’s and YA books (many signed by the authors), Once Upon a Time Bookstore (2207 Honolulu Ave.; 818-248-9668; www.shoponceuponatime.com) represents everything a children’s bookstore should be. Come by to enjoy an author reading, join a book group, or while away the afternoon.

Every Montrose-area parent I spoke with had good things to say about Tom’s Toys (2281 Honolulu Ave.; 818-249-2178). The large store is positively packed with every game, toy and puzzle you can imagine, and the indoor coin-operated Batmobile and helicopter rides provide even more fun for little ones.

Head North For Family Fun In MontroseJust a stone’s throw from Montrose in tony La Cañada-Flintridge is Descanso Gardens (1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge; 818-949-4200; www.descansogardens.org). An afternoon spent wandering its flower gardens and shady glades can be magical, and kids will delight in the Enchanted Railroad that runs Tuesday and Friday mornings, and all day during weekends.

Mayors Discovery Park (1800 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada-Flintridge) is a haven for parents with very young children. Quiet and uncrowded, the completely enclosed green space has a big sandbox, a pretty sea life-themed water feature, and grassy hills for frolicking.

Erin Mahoney Harris is a mom of two and frequent contributor to L.A. Parent.

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