Find hometown charm in leafy Uptown Whittier, California

David Lansing,  – December 27, 2005

Whenever a Los Angeles friend of mine needs to unwind, he hopsin his car and drives to Uptown Whittier. Though only 10 miles eastof L.A.’s Civic Center, the quiet, tree-lined neighborhood remindshim of his leafy little hometown in Missouri. On Friday mornings,moms roll strollers down Bailey Street as they shop for organicasparagus at the weekly farmers’ market, then stop for gelato atMrs. Freeze and maybe watch a matinee at the glamorous art decoWhittier Village Cinemas.

Casita del Pueblo.
An eclectic collection of Mexican folk art, fromhand-beaded jaguar heads to Day of the Dead papier-mâchéicons. WHEN: Open daily. WHERE: 6744 Greenleaf Ave.; 562/693-2844.

Little Old Bookshop.
A gazillion fine used books, stacked floor toceiling, where book lovers browse for hours. WHEN: Open daily. WHERE: 6546 Greenleaf Ave.; 562/698-1934.

Whittier Certified Farmers’ Market.
Two dozen farmers sell fresh produce; this month,look for lemons, avocados, and strawberries. WHEN: 8-1 Fri. WHERE: Bailey St. between Greenleaf Ave. and ComstockAve.

Havana House Cigars & Lounge.
It’s more about the lounge than the cigars at thispopular bar. The house special is the Bay of Pigs, made with beer,Clamato juice, and pepper sauce. WHEN: 2-12 Mon-Fri, 12-12 Sat-Sun. WHERE 7020 Greenleaf Ave.; 562/698-2245.

Whittier Village Cinemas.
A beautiful 1930s movie house showing the latestfilms. When: 11:30 a.m.-midnight daily. HOW MUCH: $8, $6 ages 3-11. WHERE: 7038 Greenleaf Ave.; www.whittiervillagecinemas.comor 562/907-3300.

Uptown Mexican Cafe.
The pico de gallo is fresh, the guacamole chunky,and the carnitas are perfectly charred on the outside but tenderand juicy on the inside. An added bonus: The dazzling WhittierVillage Cinemas is next door, making this a great stop for pre- orpost-movie dining. WHEN: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. HOW MUCH: $. WHERE: 7040 Greenleaf Ave.; 562/945-5877.

Mrs. Freeze.
Homemade gelato, along with specialty treats suchas the Gelanita, a granita fruit slush with gelato on top. WHEN: 2-9 Tue-Fri, 12-9 Sat-Sun. WHERE: 6556 Greenleaf Ave.; 562/698-1881.

Info: From I-605, exit at Whittier Blvd. east and followsigns to Uptown. Whittier UptownAssociation (562/696-2662)

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