Arcadia is an affluent community in Los Angeles County, California, United States, and located approximately 13 miles (21 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley and at
the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. It is the site of the Santa Anita Park racetrack and home to the
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. It is an upper-middle class community, which
had a population of 56,364 at the 2010 census, up from 53,248 at the 2000 census. The city is named after Arcadia, Greece. In 2010, Bloomberg Businessweek named Arcadia as one of the “Best Places to Raise Your Kids: 2010” for the second year in a row.
Arcadia is known for beautiful neighborhoods, warm character and a “community of homes” atmosphere. The City places great emphasis on preserving “green space” and its commitment to the environment is evidenced by the large population of healthy trees you will find around town. Arcadia has been designated a Tree City USA for seventeen consecutive years.
Arcadians take pride in their well-established traditions and high standards. The Arcadia Unified School District is one of the most highly thought of in the State; high quality medical services are available locally; and an excellent assortment of recreation and leisure activities are offered for all ages.
Arcadia has a broad commercial base with businesses ranging from the very small to the very large. Westfield Santa Anita is a popular regional mall; downtown Arcadia has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years; south, west and north Arcadia all have thriving businesses; and many consider Santa Anita Race Track to be the finest facility of its type in the country.
With respect for its heritage, appreciation of the present, and excitement about the future, Arcadia remains true to its motto of “Community of Homes” by maintaining a good balance of quality economic development that mixes harmoniously with its primarily residential nature. Arcadians take great pride in their community and the qualities associated with the City are not taken for granted. It is not by accident that Arcadia is referred to as a jewel among southern California communities. While strolling through the grounds, it is very likely that you will have the unique experience of getting up close and personal with Arcadia’s official bird, the peacock.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.1 square miles (29 km²). 10.9 square miles (28 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km²) of it (1.87%) is water.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Arcadia had a population of 56,364. The racial makeup of Arcadia was 18,191 (32.3%) White, 681 (1.2%) African American, 186 (0.3%) Native American, 33,353 (59.2%) Asian, 16 (0.0290909%) Pacific Islander, 2,352 (4.2%) from other races , and 1,585 (2.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6,799 persons (12.1%).
There were 20,686 housing units at an average density of 1,858.0 per square mile (717.4/km²), of which 12,371 (63.1%) were owner-occupied, and 7,221 (36.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.1%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.7%. 37,000 people (65.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 18,502 people (32.8%) lived in rental housing units.
The median income for a household in the city was $97,024, and the median income for a family in the city was $131,370. Males had a median income of $71,668 versus $59,372 for females. The per capita income for the city was $37,973. About 2.7% of families and 3.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.3% of those under age 18 and 8.5% of those age 65 or over.
For primary and secondary education the city is served by the Arcadia Unified School District. Reading scores for the AUSD are 76.6% higher than the state average and math scores are 67.9% higher than the state average. It is estimated that 88% of Arcadia students are at public schools and 12% in private and/or parochial institutions.
Arcadia Unified School Districthas one highly ranked and prestigious high school, Arcadia High School. It is among the few public high schools in California to receive a distinguished Great Schools Rating of 10 out of 10. There are three middle schools, and six elementary schools, two which are winners in the United States Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Schools program. Approximately five percent of California schools are awarded this honor each year following a rigorous selection process. Eligibility is based on federal and state criteria including the No Child Left Behind program, Academic Performance Index (API), and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). The requirements are many and strict, and are based on such areas as a strong curriculum, solid library media services, professional teachers, and counseling programs at all grade levels. In 2010,BusinessWeek ranked Arcadia as the best place to raise children in the state of California for the second year in a row by, citing the city’s excellent school system as one of the factors in addition to the city’s low crime rate.
- Baldwin Stocker Elementary 422 West Lemon Ave. Arcadia K–5 604 students
- Camino Grove Elementary 700 Camino Grove Ave. Arcadia K–5 682
- Highland Oaks Elementary 10 Virginia Dr. Arcadia K–5 628
- Holly Avenue Elementary 360 West Duarte Rd. Arcadia K–5 623
- Longley Way Elementary 2601 Longley Way Arcadia K–5 485
- Reid (Hugo) Elementary 1000 Hugo Reid Dr. Arcadia K–5 620
- Dana (Richard Henry) Middle 1401 South First Ave. Arcadia 6–8 782
- First Avenue Middle 301 South First Ave. Arcadia 6–8 839
- Foothills Middle 171 East Sycamore Ave. Arcadia 6–8 836
- Arcadia High School 180 Campus Dr. Arcadia 9–12 3,657
Academic Performance Index (A.P.I.) measures the academic performance and growth of schools on a variety of academic measures.Arcadia H.S. scored 890, making it the highest performing large high school in California. In 2010, Arcadia High had 29 National Merit Award Finalists.
Located at 300 W. Huntington Drive, Methodist Hospital sits on 22 acres (89,000 m2) of land. The 460-bed hospital opened in Arcadia in 1957, after moving from downtown Los Angeles. Methodist was the state’s first community hospital to have a psychiatric unit. Its nursery school was one of the first corporate daycare facilities in the U.S. It was an Official Hospital of the 1984 Olympic Games.
To keep up with the changing needs of the community, several upgrades have been made to the original facility. In 1998, the Berger Tower was completed, adding 169 beds. Methodist underwent a major renovation and expansion in 2006, and in the fall of 2011, a new five-story patient tower and new emergency department are scheduled for completion.
The famous U.S. Route 66, immortalized in song and literature, passes through Arcadia, on Huntington Drive in Downtown Arcadia, before turning off onto Colorado Place and then Colorado Street. After intersecting the 210 freeway, Route 66 runs parallel to and south of the freeway, cutting across the middle section of Arcadia.
The city is mentioned by Jack Kerouac in his novel On the Road: Sal, the protagonist, is put off by “preppy” teens when he stops for food at a local drive-in restaurant with a young Mexican woman. The vignette demonstrates the culture clash between the “Beatnik” way of life and that of 1950s conservative America.
In a motel located in Arcadia across the street north-east from Santa Anita Racetrack, author Hunter S. Thompson wrote much of his novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in the 1970s. In Michael Cunningham’s novel The Hours, Laura Brown mentions that she heard of a man who died in nearby Arcadia.
The McDonald brothers, who later began the McDonald’s hamburger restaurant chain, opened their first restaurant, The Airdrome, near Monrovia Airport, on the Arcadia/Monrovia border in 1937. The restaurant was located on historic route 66, now Huntington Drive, but later moved to San Bernardino, California in 1940.
In the comic strip Pearls Before Swine, Pastis`s mother lives in Arcadia.
The city is mentioned in the twenty-first episode of ABC’s FlashFoward, which is set in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles County Arboreum is located on Baldwin Ave.
Many films on location (including Tarzan and the Bing Crosby On the Road movies), television shows, most notably Fantasy Island were filmed in Arcadia. A popular visiting site is the house with the bell tower, where Tattoo rang the bell, is the Queen Anne Cottage, located in the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia.The plane, “arriving” with the guests, was filmed in the lagoon behind the Queen Anne Cottage.Occasionally, outdoor scenes and commercials are filmed at the Arboretum have been filmed on the grounds of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.
The Santa Anita Park Racetrack. is another popular filming locations. The 2003 true story film Seabiscuit was filmed and takes place at the Santa Anita race track. A commercial for Claritin allergy medicine, a Lexus commercial, and three episodes of Grey’s Anatomy have used it as a location (“Walk on Water,” “Drowning on Dry Land,” and “Some Kind of Miracle”).
The film Matilda was shot here in 1996.
In the film “War of the Worlds”, the aliens land in nearby Chantry Flat.
A scene from “Step Brothers” was shot at the nearby Derby restaurant.
Scenes from “Mission Impossible 3” were shot at Methodist Hospital.
In the movie Cloverfield the scene in which the survivors walk inside Bloomingdale’s was actually filmed inside a Robinsons-May store under reconstruction inside the Westfield Santa Anita in Arcadia. Eagle Eye was also filmed in this location.
Scenes from “Kicking and Screaming” were shot at Foothill Middle School and in Arcadia homes.
The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is located in Arcadia across from the Santa Anita mall and racetrack. It is a popular attraction, especially for the flock of peafowl that inhabit the grounds and neighborhood near the arboretum. The peafowl are a remainder of the former Baldwin ranch. The peafowl were originally introduced to help Baldwin control the snakes and snails on his farm but they have since gone wild. They are considered an attraction to some residents and a nuisance to others due to their loud cries and the droppings they leave on residents’ properties. The Arcadia Festival of Bands is a popular local yearly event.
Some notable Arcadians:
- Michael Anthony of the band Van Halen graduated from Arcadia High School in 1972
- Phil Hendrie radio personality, grew up in Arcadia and graduated from Arcadia High School in 1970
- Jet Li International Martial Arts Movie Star, former resident along with his wife, former Miss China
- Johnny Lindell, former Major League Baseball player
- Mirai Nagasu Olympic Figure Skater
- Wil Wheaton Actor in Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Genie, Feral child