I know, I know. Shocking that my favorite Los Angeles sports venue is not Dodger Stadium. It should be pretty obvious that I love baseball and I have been spending a lot of time near the Dodgers' home field lately, but when I think of my all-time favorite place to spend the day (and I mean all day), Santa Anita Race Track has my heart.
Nestled up against the San Gabriel foothills, the Santa Anita Race Track is a spectacular sight. Despite being in the midst of the great depression, the race track opened in 1934 to keep Southern Californians entertained. Many racing legends have been made here and you can still see celebrity trainers and jockeys on a daily basis.
But the aesthetics of the buildings are my favorite part. Green and yellow and properly Floridian, you truly feel like you are on a fancy vacation as soon as you walk through those gates. Additionally, the inside is over the top with tropical birds, golden chandeliers, and palm fronds wallpaper. Part indoor and part outdoor, the experience has something for everyone. There are shady benches next to sculptures and fountains and play areas for the kiddos in the center of the track (by way of underground tunnel, of course).
My best suggestion for spending time here?
Either come get breakfast early in the morning at Clocker's Corner where you can get table service while watching the ponies during their morning workouts. Or, arrive an hour or so before the first race and wander the grounds. Grab the "best turkey sandwich ever" in the clubhouse and choose your daily double.