Ally Walsh, founder of LA-based brand, Canyon Coffee is a get up and go kinda girl and so was the perfect person to ask about the best places to visit in the LA neighbourhood of Altadena (an area north of Pasadena and about 20 kms from Downtown Los Angeles) where she lives. From the highlight of a tacos breakfast to architecture house visits by way of mountain trails, her local knowledge makes this a genuine go-to guide. 

In your neighbourhood what places, that are part of your daily life, would you recommend as worth a visit?


We moved to Altadena last year and really love it here. I think the highlight is how close we are to the trails and canyons of the San Gabriel Mountains, which we can walk to from our house. In our neighbourhood, we’re right off Lincoln, which has Homestate (breakfast tacos) and Semolina, who make the best pasta and also just started putting out sandwiches 11-2 Thursday through to Saturday. Our favourite nursery and garden shop, Plant Material, is close by, which specializes in native, pollinator friendly and drought-tolerant plants. Amara Kitchen is our favourite brunch spot (and they proudly serve Canyon Coffee!). Side Pie is one of our favourites spots for pizza and wine. And Altadena Beverage is our go-to for amazing wine and other pantry goods.


We also have really been enjoying our proximity to Pasadena, where we regularly visit Lacy Park and the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens with Sonny. And the Norton Simon Museum is also a gem that’s close by.

Connection to nature is important to you and the family. Striking out into a natural habitat - what are your go-to spots for coast and country?


The San Gabriel mountains and are in our backyard, so we feel very fortunate for that. For beaches, we like waking up early and getting out to Topanga or Point Dume. Outside of town, Ojai is a regular day or weekend trip — we love hanging by the pool at The Capri, where Sonny can also crawl around the big grass lawn, getting food at Pinyon and Rory’s Place, and visiting Bart’s Books. When the weather’s right, Joshua Tree for some high desert quiet (don’t miss Luna Sourdough Bakery or breakfast tacos at Red Dog!).


Outside of day trips, we love getting up to Big Sur, and further north to Point Reyes. We made a couple free downloadable guides with tips on those on Canyon Coffee! 

If I wanted to be inspired in LA by art or nature, architecture or design what would you suggest?


There are some great house tours! I think the Eames House in Santa Monica has been our favourite. But also the Neutra houses along the Silver Lake Reservoir. Near us in Pasadena is the Gamble House. We’re always inspired by art museums, too. We like going to LACMA, MOCA, the Getty, and the Getty Villa on the PCH.


For nature, I’d recommend getting into the mountains. Aside from the San Gabriels, we love the Santa Monica Mountains. Temescal Canyon is a good hike to introduce you to them.

If you had to share one insider tip for getting the most out of the city what would that be?


I feel like Los Angeles can be tricky to visit because it’s so large and there’s so much to explore. But it’s a great place to live for this same reason. I’d recommend picking one to two neighbourhoods to stay in when visiting, based on what kind of experience you’re looking to have.


For people who live in or are new to Los Angeles, I think it’s important to look at the city like a tourist sometimes and get out to other parts of town to explore. We like waking up early on the weekends to explore places we haven’t been before — to visit a new coffee shop, or farmers market, or little pocket with new restaurants and shops we’ve been reading about.

What is your all-time favourite holiday destination?


I really do love Paris, and always like including it in any trip to Europe. There’s also a special place in my heart for Sicily. I’d go back to either place in a heartbeat!