Have you ever been to Old Town Monrovia? It is the heart of Monrovia, a city of about 37,000 residents located in the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles County. While most people may be familiar with Old Pasadena, few talk about the one in Monrovia. This is a shame because Old Town Monrovia is a very attractive, comfortable, and charming place for pedestrians.Revitalized from its once dilapidated state in the 1970s, today the area is an attraction for both locals and visitors. While I have always been most drawn to big cities, I must admit that I find Old Town Monrovia’s small town charm and ambience refreshing and delightful. Apparently, I am not the only one. Out of curiosity, I looked up Yelp and found that the district has a rating of 4.5 stars (out of 5) and has received a lot of positive feedback.
Old Town Vision Plan (Vision 2015) is a planning document which analyzes the current state of the district and details various steps to maintain its status as the “best historic business district in the San Gabriel Valley.” It is obvious that the City of Monrovia and its partners have been doing a great job implementing the Vision Plan which covers the following elements:
- Land Use Planning;
- Place Making/Image; and
Just by walking down Myrtle Avenue which is the center of Old Town, it is easy to notice all the thoughtful and effective details that have been incorporated to make the area as special as it is. For example, the signs along the street make it very clear that you are in Old Town Monrovia and direct you to the many shops and restaurants in the area. (Please refer to this guide for a list of all the shops, restaurants, and services located in Old Town.) Also noteworthy are the banners on the street lights/lamps. When I last visited, the banner on each lamp showed the names of recent graduates from Monrovia High School and the colleges that they would be attending in the fall. I was also there when the Friday Night Family Festival was happening. This is a 20-year tradition along Myrtle Avenue and is an event that brings the community together. It features a certified Farmers’ Market, craft vendors, outdoor dining, live music, and various activities for kids including pony rides.