Duarte, CA is a little city sandwiched between two big urban areas. Growing up in this small community, I loved having the hustle and bustle of busy downtowns and the small town feel of Duarte. Not far from big cities like Los Angeles and Pasadena, Duarte is nice suburban area where you can stay to be a part of the small community days and venture out to enjoy the convenience of city life. Nothing beats having the best of both worlds so here are the 10 things I’ve never forget about growing up in Duarte, CA.
1. Route 66
This town may be small. You might not have ever heard of this small city, but it was once part of the national highway that spanned the country. Route 66 runs right through the middle of Duarte. It’s a fact that the city is loud and proud about.
2. Summer Concert Series
Every summer, the city puts on four concerts in Duarte Park. Families gather and listen to a variety of music while venture through the multiple booths. Children play and run on the playground and the park while adults can sit back on picnic blankets and listen to music from past eras.
The city has gone through massive changes in the last twenty years. New businesses taking over old shops and new plazas raising up from empty lots, Duarte has become a new destination for development. We even have a new drive-through Starbucks!
4. Huntington Drive
If you want meal options, hop in your car and take a trip down the Historic Route 66, or as it’s called now, Huntington Drive. Down the road, plazas are full of different food from a variety of cultures and regions. Whether you want sushi or a good old-fashioned burger, you can definitely satisfy your cravings somewhere on this street.
5. Le Roy’s
If you want a recommendation for a restaurant on Huntington Drive, go down to Le Roy’s. This family-owned restaurant serves brunch in the adjacent city of Monrovia. It’s the place to go if you want a hearty American breakfast. Their breakfast burrito is the size of their plates and their plates are big! Just be sure to come early on the weekends because there will definitely be a line.
6. Farmers’ Market
Only a short drive outside the borders of Duarte, is the Farmers’ Market in Monrovia. Here you can not only buy all your weekly needs of organic, freshly grown produce while also sampling a variety of food booths and browsing the displays of local crafters. Kids will even have fun here. The petting zoo and many bounce castles will keep kids very occupied and happy. We even have a henna vendor! No matter what age you are, there’s something here that you will enjoy.
7. The Parades
There are more famous, traditional parades in the nearby city, like Rose Parade in Pasadena but Duarte has its own traditions. Like I said before, the city is loud and proud of its Route 66 roots. So much that we even have a parade to celebrate it! This year was our 22nd year with 80 vendors, like the local high school and a vintage car show participating.
8. Banners of Graduate
If you are a graduate of Duarte High School, the city is very proud of you. Every year, banners with the faces of the graduates and the university or college that they have chosen to attend next fall are hung on the lampposts on the street near the high school. Just another way of rewarding the graduates for all their work!
9. City of Hope
In Duarte, a famous cancer treatment center lies within its borders. The City of Hope National Medical Center is one of the best cancer hospitals in the country and it’s also serves as a daily reminder to be grateful for not only your family and life but for your health as others struggle and fight for their own lives.
10. Old Spaghetti Factory
The Old Spaghetti Factory may be a common restaurant but its location in Duarte, CA is special since it’s the oldest building in Duarte. It’s a 1909 school house and incredibly interesting to visit not just for the food but for the decor. Along with the meal, you’ve feel the presence of the building’s history as you’re surrounded by reminiscence of the past in pictures. You could even learn of the spooky, supernatural side of the building’s history if you wish.