Why go now: There's more to it than its well-known mall. This historic L.A. suburb goes from wildflower hikes and bike rides by day, to wine bars, jazz, and dinner and a show by night.
The look: A mix of Craftsman and Spanish-colonial revival homes at the base of the Verdugo Mountains.
Main drag: Brand Boulevard, with bookstores, cafes, and a surprising number of evening-wear shops.
Back then: The late 1800s were all about ranching and orchards, but the railroad's arrival brought urbanization.
Culture cred now: Glendale Arts has upped the ante on performances and shows booked here.
Get a taste of Glendale's Armenian roots: One in four in town is of Armenian descent. Dig into an alfresco meal of luleh kebab, a skewer of spiced ground beef, at Raffi's Place ($$; 211 E. Broadway; 818/240-7411). Bring friends--portions are colossal.
Glendale's Walk of Fame: The Forest Lawn cemetery is the final resting place for a slew of celebs, including Humphrey Bogart, Sammy Davis Jr., and most recently Michael Jackson.
The money lunch spot: Porto's Bakery ($; 315 N. Brand Blvd.; 818/956-5996) has the best Cuban sandos in town.
DAY: Hit the trails: Deukmejian Wilderness Park was charred in the 2009 Station Fire, but it's back--along with the giant 200-year-old McFall Oak protected by firefighters. An easy 2-mile hike along the freshly restored Dunsmore canyon trail gives knockout views of Crescenta Valley below. Wild Canterbury bells, California poppies, yellow monkey flowers, and lupines are in bloom. 3429 Markridge Rd.; www.ci.glendale.ca.us/parks
NIGHT: Catch a show: The 1925 Alex Theatre, a vaudeville house back in the day, later became a single-screen theater, but is now back to its live performace glory and booked with big-time performances: symphonies, mustical theater, ballet, and dance, along with occasional TV shows like American Idol and special film screenings. Look for L.A. Ballet's Giselle on May 21. 216 N. Brand Blvd.; alextheatre.org