A few minutes north of downtown Los Angeles lies the city of Glendale, California. Glendale has a population of just over 203,000 residents and is at the center of four major freeway systems: I-5 Golden State Freeway, I-210 Foothill Freeway, ST-134 Ventura Freeway, and SR-2 Glendale Freeway. Glendale's freeway-friendly access and its proximity to Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Pasadena, and Burbank make it a favored city for some of the nation's largest corporations to set up their regional and national headquarters.
In 1784, the Spanish army based in Baja California was in possession of a land grant that became known as Rancho San Rafael. Rancho San Rafael, which is in present-day Glendale, was used for grazing livestock and farming. Spanish army Corporal Jose Maria Verdugo took possession of Rancho San Rafael in 1798. Corporal Verdugo's grandson built the Catalina Verdugo Adobe on the property in 1828, which still stands and is the oldest building in Glendale.
Rancho San Rafael would eventually be sold by the descendants of Corporal Verdugo. In 1884, residents who bought parcels of land on the ranch decided to create a town, which they named Glendale. In 1906, Glendale was incorporated. Other parts of Rancho San Rafael became popular neighborhoods within Los Angeles.
Many corporations have found Glendale to be a great place to establish their headquarters. Bob's Big Boy restaurant chain was founded in Glendale in 1936, and Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors ice cream chain was founded in the city in 1945. IHOP, DreamWorks Studios, KABC-7, Public Storage, LegalZoom, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Marvel Animation, and many other corporations have their headquarters in Glendale. Glendale's close ties to Hollywood has made the city a major production center for the entertainment industry.
Glendale is in an urban area, yet the city has 5,000 acres of open space and 286 acres of designated parks. The city has 36 parks, four community centers, six sports facilities, a civic auditorium, and dozens of historic buildings. Many historic places like the Catalina Verdugo Adobe, Doctor's House Museum and Gazebo, and the American Green Cross Monument are open to the public. The Deukmejian Wilderness Park is one of several parks with hiking trails. If you are not interested in hiking, then you can spend time at the city's Chess Park and play a game on one of the 16 concrete chess tables.
You can also visit Forest Lawn, Memorial Park. This cemetery opened in 1906, the same year Glendale was incorporated. A museum is located on the property and features historic and religious artwork. Yahoo Travel recently named Forest Lawn's museum as one of the Top 10 Free Museums in the country. After you spend time viewing the artwork, you can visit the grave sites of Hollywood royalty including Walt Disney, Sammy Davis Jr., W.C. Fields, Clark Gable, Dorothy Dandridge, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, and dozens more.
Glendale is an ethnically and culturally diverse community, and the city's large Armenian population is what makes the city unique. Armenians began immigrating to Glendale in the 1920s and established themselves in the city by opening Armenian-based businesses, schools, and cultural organizations. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Glendale's Armenian community helped to bring family and friends to Glendale to settle into a new life. Today, Glendale has the largest population of Armenians in the world outside of Yerevan, Armenia's capital and largest city.
Glendale has all the amenities you would typically find in a city that is within a heavily populated metropolitan area. The city has shopping centers like the Glendale Galleria, Americana at Brand, Glendale Fashion Center, and Montrose Shopping Park. When you get hungry, be sure to check out some of the Armenian and Mexican bakeries, coffee shops, and restaurants throughout the city.
You will not have to worry too much about the weather when you are exploring Glendale's parks and shopping centers. Glendale has a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild damp winters. This will allow you to enjoy outdoor activities for most of the year.
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