Although bordered on the west and north by freeways, Whittier is harder to get to by car than most of the Gateway Cities. This gives parts of the city a secluded feel, but what residents gain in peace and quiet they pay for in long commutes.
From Downtown L.A. take the Pomona Freeway (60) east. Merge onto the San Gabriel River Freeway (605) south and exit at Whittier Boulevard. Turn left at the off ramp onto Whittier Boulevard. (Exiting at Beverly Boulevard East is faster, but it's more confusing.)
Whittier can be reached by Montebello Bus Lines 10, 40 and 50 from the West, Metro Line 270, Foothill Transit lines 274 and 285 from the North, and Metro Lines 120 and 270 from the South.
To get to Uptown Whittier, the city's historic business district, turn left onto Hadley Street and then right onto Greenleaf Avenue. The majority of Uptown's small businesses are on Greenleaf between Hadley and Mar Vista Streets, but you'll find other shops and restaurants a few blocks east and west of Greenleaf.
If locally owned small businesses aren't your thing, continue to head south on Greenleaf and turn left onto Whittier Boulevard. At the corner of Whittier Boulevard and Painter Avenue, you'll find The Quad, a formerly indoor mall. After years of being a ghost town, it was completely redone after the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake. It's now like every other strip mall in suburbia, which means there's plenty of parking and chain restaurants.
Still haven't had your fill of cookie-cutter corporate America? Continue southeast on Whittier Boulevard until you come to the Whittwood Town Center. Formerly called the Whittwood Mall, this outdoor strip mall was originally an outdoor strip mall. Following the trend of the time, they enclosed it in the late '70s. The roofed part of the mall ran from the eastern entrance of Sears (formerly the Broadway) to the western entrance of JC Penney. Where Target now stands used to be more parking, a gym, and a tire shop. After years of empty storefronts, a plan was hatched to — (are you sensing a trend here?) — tear down the indoor part of the mall.
Bus lines 270, Montebello 10 and Montebello 50 serve uptown Whittier. Line 270 continues south on Santa Fe Springs Road, while Lines 10 and 50 continue south on Painter Avenue.
- 1 The Jonathan Bailey House, 13421 E. Camilla St (East of Painter Avenue. Exit Beverly Blvd East, right on Painter Ave, left on Camilla), ☏ . Su 1–3:30PM. Built in 1860, the Jonathan Bailey House was the first residence in Whittier and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- 2 Pio Pico State Historic Park, 6003 Pioneer Blvd (At the Whittier Boulevard exit of the 605 Freeway), ☏ . Su 1–3:30PM. An old adobe that was the former residence of Pio Pico, one of the last Mexican governors of California
- 3 Rocky Cola Cafe, 6757 Greenleaf Ave, ☏ . The parade scene in the final episode of The Wonder Years was filmed at the corner of Greenleaf Avenue and Philadelphia Street. Kevin (Fred Savage) is standing under the awning of Rocky Cola Cafe. He crosses Philadelphia to meet Paul (Josh Saviano) as a parade goes by. Parades actually do go down Greenleaf, but they're usually Christmas parades.
- 4 National Bank of Whittier Building, 13002 Philadelphia St. Across the street from Rocky Cola Cafe. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was home to Richard Nixon's first law office.
- 5 Whittier Museum, 6755 Newlin Ave (Exit Whittier Blvd, left on Whittier Blvd, left on Philadelphia Street, at corner of Newlin and Philadelphia), ☏ . Operated by the Whittier Historical Society. It contains exhibits on the early history of Whittier, and contains archives on Whittier history.
- 6 Whittier High School, 12417 E. Philadelphia St. Remember Back to the Future? Well, the high-school scenes of Hill Valley H.S. in 1955 and 1985, including the exteriors for the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, were filmed at Whittier High School. The interior shots for the band audition was filmed at the McCambridge Recreation Center in Burbank and the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance was filmed at the United Methodist Church in Hollywood in Back to the Future. WHS' Vic Lopez Auditorium hosts not only Whittier High's drama department, but also concerts of the Rio Hondo Symphony and other community events.
- 1 Turnbull Canyon Road, Beverly Blvd. & Beverly Hills Dr.. Turnbull Canyon Road is your typical mountain road. If you grew up in Whittier in the '80s, your older brother took you on rides on this winding, (relatively) desolate boulevard on weekends. He further scared you by claiming that skinheads and Satanists met here on Fridays nights--just about the time you hit that first turn. Suburban legends aside, it can be scary to drive on, especially at night in the rain. To get here from Uptown, take Hadley Street east, turn left onto Painter Avenue, and turn right onto Beverly Boulevard. Beverly turns into Turnbull Canyon Road. The true test of local-area back roads is whether you're able, after driving the length of Turnbull Canyon, to return to Whittier without making a U-turn, taking the freeway, or using Hacienda Boulevard.
Hiking and bikingEdit
- 2 Puente Hills. There are many miles of hiking trails in the Puente Hills, including the Skyline Trail, the Sycamore Canyon Trail, and the Worsham Canyon trail. These can be accessed from Turnball Canyon Road at Skyline or Beverly Hills Drive, Greenleaf Avenue, Workman Mill at Strong, the end of Philadelphia Street, and Penn Street at Canyon Crest Drive, though each of these access points has little or no parking.
- 3 Whittier Greenway Trail, 12500 Whittier Blvd. The Whittier Greenway Trail stretches along former Union Pacific railroad right-of-way. It begins at Pioneer Blvd between Orange and Floral Drives, passes through Palm Park, and crosses over Whittier Boulevard on a historic railroad bridge before ending up at Lambert Road and Mills Avenue. There are exhibits on Whittier history along several points of the route
- 1 Uptown Whittier, ☏ . Uptown Whittier is the traditional shopping district of Whittier. It contains many restaurants and specialty stores, such as the candy shop Village Sweets and the soap shop Pour Le Bain. Most of the businesses are located on Greenleaf Avenue between Hadley and Mar Vista Streets, and on Philadelphia Street between Pickering and Painter Avenues.
- 2 Whittwood Town Center, 15526 Whittier Blvd, ☏ . Whittier's regional shopping mall
- 3 Blue Hills Nursery, 16440 Whittier Blvd., ☏ . Who knew that Southern California's DIY green-thumb mecca was located in Whittier? Knowledgeable gardeners, that's who. The staff here know everything there is to know about, well, gardening. Bring in a leaf from any plant, and they'll identify it. Seriously.
- 4 Half Off Books, 6708 Greenleaf Ave., ☏ . Once home to a few independent bookstores, Greenleaf now only boasts Half Off Books. But what a boast it is. Recently expanded, this wonderfully spacious and affordable bookstore carries new and used titles. There are separate mystery and kids' sections, and the floorboards are really squeaky.
- 5 King Richard's Antique Mall, 12301 Whittier Blvd, ☏ . King Richard's Antique Mall is an antique mall located at Whittier and Penn Streets in a former citrus packing house. It is one of the largest antique malls in California.
- 1 Dattilo, 6746 Greenleaf Ave., ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Italian food the way mom used to make. OK, maybe the way your cousin's next-door neighbor's aunt Maria used to make. What it lacks in authenticity it makes up for in charm.
- 2 Mimo's Cafe, 6735 Greenleaf Ave., ☏ . A great place to grab a sandwich, cup of soup, or ice-cream cone. Sit at one of the outdoor tables and do some surprisingly good people-watching, especially at night. Count the number of the times the same group of high school sophomores walking by, and you'll understand why Whittier teenagers are so bored.
- 3 Rick's Drive In & Out, 7254 Greenleaf Ave., ☏ . According to its local TV commercials, "In Whittier, everybody eats at Rick's." Maybe not everybody, but a sizable portion of Whittier's senior citizens. If you're in the mood for burgers, hot dogs, and fries, come here. And the coffee's good too.
- 4 Rocky Cola Cafe, 6757 Greenleaf Ave, ☏ . Whittier's predominant soda jerk joint.
- 5 Crepes and Grapes, 6560 Greenleaf Ave., ☏ , ✉ CrepesGrapes@Me.Com. French restaurant, specializing in crepes
- 6 Red Oak, 7051 Greenleaf Ave, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Opens 11:30AM. Specializes in ribs and Santa Maria tri-tip
- 7 New Canton, 13015 Philadelphia St, ☏ . A Chinese restaurant
- 8 The Rusty Monk, 6749 Greenleaf Ave, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A recently-opened Belgian gastropub
- 9 Thai Table, 10509 Santa Gertrudes Ave., ☏ , fax: . A hidden gem on the outskirts of the Whittwood Town Center. The menu is fairly large, the service is prompt, and there are many vegetarian and even vegan options.
- 10 Rosarito Taco Grill, 16220 Whittier Blvd, ☏ . A great little Mexican restaurant hidden inside a small plaza. Great place for burritos or their potato tacos.
- 11 Orchards Fresh Foods, 16426 Whittier Blvd, ☏ . A great little market and restaurant just of Whittier Blvd., next to a nursery. They have freshly cut meat and make excellent sandwiches.
- 1 Radisson Hotel - Whittier, 7320 Greenleaf Ave (Uptown Whittier), ☏ .
- 2 Lambert Inn - Whittier, 13318 Lambert Rd, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Offering an AAA 2-Diamond garden hotel. There are jacuzzi suites and free Wi-Fi.
- 3 Motel 6 Los Angeles - Whittier, 8221 South Pioneer Blvd, ☏ , fax: .
- 4 Vagabond Inn Whittier, 14125 E. Whittier Blvd., ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 1PM, check-out: noon.
- 5 Best Whittier Inn, 14226 Whittier Blvd, ☏ .