Nestled in the heart of Southern California, Whittier is a charming city that often flies under the radar compared to its more well-known neighbors. But don’t be fooled by its low profile – Whittier is brimming with unique attractions, historical sites, and outdoor adventures that make it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic California experience. Whether you’re a local looking for a weekend getaway or a visitor seeking off-the-beaten-path experiences, here’s a comprehensive guide to the top things to do in Whittier, California.
1. Discover the Historic Whittier College Campus: Begin your exploration by stepping onto the picturesque campus of Whittier College. Founded in 1887, the college boasts stunning architecture and lush greenery that provide a serene escape from the bustling city life. Take a leisurely stroll through the grounds, and don’t miss the iconic Hoover Hall, an architectural gem that has graced many a postcard.
2. Explore the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area: Nature enthusiasts will find solace at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area. This expansive park offers a myriad of activities, from picnicking to bird-watching to fishing. The park’s tranquil lakes and meandering trails are perfect for a day of relaxation. For a unique experience, rent a paddleboat or canoe to explore the waterways at your own pace.
3. Delve into Art and History at the Whittier Museum: Gain insight into the city’s past at the Whittier Museum. Through captivating exhibits and artifacts, the museum tells the story of Whittier’s transformation from a small Quaker settlement to a vibrant urban community. It’s a fantastic way to connect with the local culture and heritage.
4. Hike the Turnbull Canyon Trail: Adventure seekers will be delighted by the Turnbull Canyon Trail. Offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, this hiking trail is a favorite among locals. The moderate-to-challenging hike rewards you with stunning vistas at the top, making it an ideal spot to catch a breathtaking sunset over the city.
5. Indulge in Culinary Delights in Uptown Whittier: Uptown Whittier is a haven for foodies, boasting an array of culinary options that cater to diverse tastes. From cozy cafes serving artisanal coffee to trendy eateries dishing up international cuisine, you’ll find a delectable array of flavors to satisfy your cravings.
6. Visit the Pio Pico State Historic Park: History buffs shouldn’t miss the opportunity to explore the Pio Pico State Historic Park. This park is home to the adobe residence of Pío Pico, the last governor of Mexican California. Guided tours provide fascinating insights into California’s rich history during the Mexican-American period.
7. Embrace Creativity at the Whittier Art Gallery: Art enthusiasts will appreciate the vibrant art scene at the Whittier Art Gallery. Showcasing a diverse collection of local artworks, this gallery is a hub for creative expression. Browse through paintings, sculptures, and other forms of art that capture the essence of the community.
8. Attend the Whittier Farmers’ Market: Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the Whittier Farmers’ Market. Held weekly, the market offers fresh produce, artisanal crafts, and a lively atmosphere that reflects the city’s welcoming spirit. It’s an ideal place to connect with locals and savor the flavors of Whittier.
9. Soak in the Charm of Penn Park: For a leisurely day outdoors, head to Penn Park. This well-maintained park offers a playground, picnic areas, and open spaces for relaxation. It’s a favorite spot for families and individuals looking to unwind amidst the city’s natural beauty.
10. Experience Whittier’s Nightlife: As the sun sets, Whittier’s nightlife comes to life. From cozy pubs to stylish cocktail lounges, the city offers a range of options for evening entertainment. Catch live music performances, engage in friendly conversations with locals, and savor the vibrant nightlife that makes Whittier truly unique.
11. Whittier Greenway Trail: For those who enjoy a scenic stroll or a refreshing bike ride, the Whittier Greenway Trail offers a serene escape. This paved trail winds through lush greenery, providing a peaceful route for outdoor enthusiasts to connect with nature while staying active.
12. Candlelight Concerts at the Whittier Public Library: Music lovers will appreciate the Candlelight Concerts series hosted by the Whittier Public Library. These intimate performances feature a variety of musical genres and create a cozy ambiance for an evening of entertainment and cultural enrichment.
13. Murphy Ranch Park: History and hiking come together at Murphy Ranch Park. Explore remnants of an old Nazi sympathizer compound while hiking through the scenic trails. The graffiti-covered ruins and panoramic views make this a unique destination for history buffs and adventurers alike.
14. The Quad at Whittier: For a shopping and dining experience with a local touch, visit The Quad at Whittier. This open-air shopping center features a mix of boutiques, restaurants, and cafes, making it a great spot to shop for unique finds and savor delicious meals.
15. Sculpture Garden at Whittier Public Library: Art enthusiasts will find inspiration in the Sculpture Garden at the Whittier Public Library. This serene outdoor space showcases a collection of sculptures, providing a tranquil setting for reflection and appreciation of artistic expression.
16. Whittier Antique Faire: Antique lovers can hunt for hidden treasures at the Whittier Antique Faire. Held monthly, this event gathers vendors selling vintage goods, collectibles, and unique items that offer a glimpse into the past.
17. Participate in Community Events: Whittier takes pride in its vibrant community spirit, and there are often events that celebrate this unity. From parades and festivals to cultural celebrations, keep an eye on local event listings to join in the festivities and connect with the heart of the city.
18. Whittier Historical Society & Museum: Dive deeper into the city’s history by visiting the Whittier Historical Society & Museum. Explore exhibits that chronicle Whittier’s past through artifacts, photographs, and stories that offer a window into the lives of its residents over the years.
19. Horseback Riding at Penn Park Equestrian Center: Experience a different side of Whittier by embarking on a horseback riding adventure at Penn Park Equestrian Center. Enjoy guided rides through scenic trails, connecting with nature and animals in a memorable way.
20. Attend Performing Arts Shows: Whittier boasts a vibrant performing arts scene, with local theaters and venues hosting a variety of productions throughout the year. From plays and musicals to concerts and dance performances, there’s always something entertaining to watch.
In conclusion, Whittier, California, may not be the first name that comes to mind when considering Southern California destinations, but it’s a hidden gem that rewards curious travelers with its rich history, natural beauty, and cultural diversity. Whether you’re captivated by art, history, outdoor adventures, or simply savoring the local flavors, Whittier offers a well-rounded experience that’s worth exploring. So pack your bags, embark on a journey of discovery, and uncover the myriad treasures that await in this charming city.