Santa Clarita: Things to See and Do

6 Flags Magic Mountain, Santa Clarita, California
Are you visiting Santa Clarita, California for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in the SCV.

When I have a visitor from out of town, the first place they want to see is Six Flags Magic Mountain, but I also take them on a hike or a bike ride along the trails – for a more local, authentic experience.

When I want to escape the crowds/tourists, my favorite place to visit is the Placerita Canyon Nature Center.

If this is a romantic trip, I recommend hiking and picnicking in Towsley Canyon for kissing with a view.

The best place to walk the dog is Central Park. There is ample space and trails, as well as the popular Central Bark dog park, where canine companions can really stretch their legs and play with other pups.

Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit Mountasia Family Fun Center & Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour. Ride go-karts, play video games, float around on bumper boats and indulge in Farrell’s infamous Pig’s Trough – if you dare!

Salt Creek Grill, shrimp salad, Valencia
Fine dining at Salt Creek Grille

Santa Clarita Food:

If you are looking for typical So Cal cuisine, the best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is neighborhood favorite Egg Plantation, located in Old Town Newhall. The popular restaurant serves up delicious food in a quaint café setting. From 101 omelets to specialty espresso beverages and a full bar serving house-made Bloody Mary’s, there is something to tantalize any tastebud at this family-owned eatery. Hipsters and craft beer fans will want to dine at Newhall Refinery Gastropub. They offer a crazy huge list of beers on tap and gourmet food to match. It’s a happening scene, for sure.

Newhall Refinery, beer, California
Craft beer on tap at Newhall Refinery. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown

Looking for cheap eats in Santa Clarita? Stop by Chronic Taco, offering made-to-order Mexican food that is fast, fresh and served at street food prices. The Los Angeles food truck craze also reaches Santa Clarita on a regular basis. Visitors can choose from a variety of options on a daily basis. For late night dining, head to Lazy Dog, Wokano and Solita, all located on the Patios at Westfield Valencia Town Center.

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If fine dining is your preference and price is no option, don’t miss Larsen’s Steak House or Salt Creek Grille. Both offer delicious high-end cuisine, an intimate setting and extensive wine and cocktail menus. I had the Salt Creek house salad to start, followed with caramelized jumbo scallops and fresh baked bread from Los Angeles Bread. Be sure to save room for the chocolate ganache souffle. Actually, everything from Pastry Chef Kristina White-Waggoner is delish!

Known as “Hollywood North,” Santa Clarita is no stranger to the silver screen. On any given day, visitors can spot filming taking place throughout Santa Clarita, from wild westerns to family comedies. Santa Clarita is located in Hollywood’s “thirty-mile zone,” which encourages lots of location filming throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.

When you come to Santa Clarita, take a hike and snap a photo atop Vasquez Rocks, whose jagged peaks have set the backdrop for countless Sci-Fi, Western and classic films. Map your trip at

Santa Clarita’s best vantage points can be found by trail. Hike Towsley Canyon, Haskell Canyon Open Space or East Walker Ranch for breathtaking views of the valley’s natural landscape.

William S. Hart Park, the former estate of western film legend Bill Hart, offers excellent views of the Santa Clarita Valley – especially at sunrise. The park is home to Hart’s 10,000-square foot Spanish Colonial Revival Mansion and ranch, which is roamed by a herd of American Bison gifted to the film star by Walt Disney himself.

William S. Hart Museum
William S. Hart Museum photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown

In Santa Clarita, outdoor lovers will want to horseback ride, hike, bike, skate and walk to their hearts’ content! The City’s 70 miles of trails make it easy for guests to escape the city, enjoy fresh air and soak in the sunshine from virtually any point in the city.

Looking for a little exercise? Walk, jog or bike across the scenic Iron Horse Trailhead beginning at Magic Mountain Parkway. Iron Horse connects with the South Fork Trail, which winds along the Santa Clara River – one of the last free-flowing rivers in California.

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After a day of adventure, take the edge off sore muscles with a trip to The Ivy Day Spa. Massages, wraps, facials and other pampering treatments indulge the senses. Don’t miss the spa’s Grotto Experience, which includes a dead sea clay facial mask, full body exfoliating scrub and a soothing aloe vera, shea butter and coconut oil body mask. Guests relax in the Grotto’s warm, soothing chambers as the treatments work their magic. Finish with a cool PH balancing mist and a warm cup of tea.

Towsley Canyon, Santa Clarita, California
Hike scenic Towsley Canyon

Museum lovers will get a kick out of the William S. Hart Museum, which is a member of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Browse an impressive collection of Western artwork by Charles M. Russell, Frederic Remington and Joe de Young, as well as Native American artifacts, early Hollywood mementos and Hart’s personal tack and saddle collection.

Looking for exciting night life? Head to the City’s most popular evening event – Senses on Main. The free outdoor block party is held every third Thursday of the month from March to October on Main Street in Old Town Newhall. Thousands of people spill onto Main Street for each SENSES event to experience live music, gourmet food trucks, activities and adult beverages.

The website will keep you posted on what’s happening in Santa Clarita.

Newhall, Western Walk of Stars
Santa Clarita’s Western heritage. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown

You can tell a lot about Santa Clarita from visiting the Cowboy Festival, including its rich Western heritage.

In the spring you should attend the annual Cowboy Festival and the Sierra Pelona Valley Wine Festival.

In the summer you should attend Tributefest, ride the brand new Twisted Colossus roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain or float around Six Flags Hurricane Harbor.

Did you know that Santa Clarita is known for being “everywhere USA?” The chameleon city is the backdrop for several diverse television shows, including NCIS and Justified, which claim to take place in Virginia and Kentucky but are actually shot right here in Santa Clarita, California!

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In the Fall: Pound the pavement with the annual Santa Clarita Marathon, a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. Held each November, the race includes a Full Marathon, Half Marathon, a 5k, Kid K and Mayor’s Walk.

Insider Tip: Check out the oft over-looked, but delicious and historic, Halfway House Cafe on your way to climb Vasquez Rocks. Location filming has been happening at this eatery since the 1930’s. You may just recognize it from several current television shows and commercials!

Just outside of Santa Clarita, visit Reyes Winery. This hidden gem features several varietals of ultra-premium wine. After a tasting, enjoy a light lunch with vineyard views at the Agua Dulce Winery.