Holiday fun in Sierra Madre

Experience old-school Christmas charms in this friendly town near Pasadena

Alison Singh Gee

Lunch with a view: Gaze out the French windows at the San Gabriel Mountains while sipping a Barolo and feasting on risotto cakes or apple-and-brie panini at Ugo’s Café, a tiny eatery that feels as if it were airlifted from the streets of Tuscany and plunked into downtown Sierra Madre. Don’t miss the housemade tiramisu. A charming spot for dinner too. $; 74 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.; 626/836-5700.

Top it off with a holiday brew: Find Belgian Christmas ales on tap and a festive crowd of regulars at Lucky Baldwins Delirium Pub. The classic English fare—bangers and mash, fish and chips—instantly transports you to a Notting Hill high street. $; 21 Kersting Ct.; 626/355-1140.

More over-the-top holiday fun on your way home

In Altadena: Stroll underneath 154 majestic cedars trussed up with lights along Christmas Tree Lane. The dazzling display is the oldest large-scale light show in America. Dec 11–Jan 2, Jan 6–7; Santa Rosa Ave. between Woodbury Rd. and Altadena Dr.

In Pasadena: The 1907 Langham Huntington Hotel has a display of handcrafted Christmas tableaux (Nov 29–Jan 3); an all-chocolate Sunday tea (Nov 28–Dec 26; $59) with a fountain for dipping fruit and cookies; and a Teddy Bear Tea (Dec 10–18; $50) for families, with a holiday-themed marionette show.

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