It's Los Angeles County's paradox. Downtown Burbank manages to hold tight to a small-town-feel despite being surrounded by the second largest metropolis in the United States. Nestled at the base of the Verdugo Mountains, northeast of downtown Los Angeles and on the flip side of Hollywood, downtown Burbank is the Mecca for Southern California residents and tourists looking for a slower pace. With State Route 134 passing through its west side and Interstate Highway 5 running through its east, getting to Burbank is easy and worth the trip.
Downtown Burbank (official website) provides visitors a wide variety of shopping, dining and entertainment. Not to mention city-wide free parking and free Wi-Fi Internet access. Any time of year, whether it's a holiday or not, there's something cool happening in Burbank.
For those who like to get out and stroll on Saturday mornings, the parking lot behind City Hall, at the corner of Third and Orange Grove, is transformed into a farmers market. Every Saturday, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., vendors sell fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers.
No stranger to the entertainment industry, Burbank is home to NBC, ABC, Disney and Warner Brothers. While NBC and Warner Brothers host studio tours all year long, providing guests behind-the-scenes peeks, Snow White's seven dwarves are found holding up Disney Studios off of Alameda Avenue.
For the artist in all of us, twice a year, downtown Burbank teams up with West Coast Artists to host a weekend-long Fine Arts Festival, filling San Fernando Boulevard with paintings, sculptures, photographs, chalk artists and jewelry. An open-air market, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Music lovers are in for a treat at Burbank's Starlight Bowl. The city's own version the Hollywood Bowl, the Starlight Bowl is located in the city's hills and hosts a wide range of musical artists each summer, typically on Sunday evenings. Providing entertainment with an amazing view the outdoor venue is perfect for summer picnics while taking in a concert. The Starlight Bowl is also the place to be on July 4th when the city sets off spectacular fireworks after a patriotic show.
Remembering that most of us are on tight budgets nowadays, downtown Burbank free music and dancing takes over the AMC Walkway for several evenings each summer. Generally starting around 6 p.m. these events are found where Palm Avenue meets San Fernando Boulevard. This is also where the AMC 16-screen and IMAX movie theater is found.
As the temperatures cool and the days shorten, Burbank hosts Taste of Downtown Burbank to benefit its local YMCA. San Fernando Boulevard is closed from Magnolia to Orange Grove to let the city's local restaurateurs set up booths serving their very best fare. Visitors leisurely wander from booth to booth while sampling bites of whatever looks enticing.
Downtown Burbank is also sure to do the big holidays right. For Halloween ghosts, goblins, witches and vampires are invited come to downtown Burbank for trick-or-treating. Burbank merchants located on San Fernando Boulevard, between Magnolia and Angelino, provide treats for the little ones. Geared towards the kiddos, this event is always free but starts early, typically at 4:00 p.m. and going just to 7:00 p.m. Downtown Burbank's largest holiday festival starts in December and goes for 12 days. The city celebrates with its own tree lighting ceremony and various other events to commemorate the winter holiday season for all ages.