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The Ultimate LA Family Guide ™

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Americana at Brand opened in 2008 and is owned by Caruso enterprises which all owns the Grove at the Farmer's Market in LA as well as several shopping centers through the Southland. You can reach this shopping center by taking the 134 and exiting at Brand Blvd. It is located near East Colorado St and North Brand Blvd. The hours that most stores and restaurants are open are the following: Monday-Sat. from 10 am - 9 pm and on Sunday from 11 am - 7 pm. As for the parking, there is an attached, above ground lot that charges based on the time spent at the center. We entered the parking structure and, like the parking lot at the Grove, there is an electronic sign displaying the number of available spaces at each level. All cars were directed to the top of the structure for crowd control which I found to be very frustrating because each of the levels had hundreds of free spaces. When I saw what we were being forced to do, and then noted that we would be paying at least $3 (the first hour was free but they start charging after that), we decided to exit and go and park across the street at the Glendale Galleria, an enormous indoor shopping mall directly across the street. Parking in the lot at JCPenney was free and we easily found a space close to the entrance. Since the mall is so close and the parking is free I would recommend everyone listening to do the same as me.

We arrived at 11 am on Sunday and both Americana and the Galleria were crowded. When we entered Americana, I first noticed that the buildings are all very tall. Why, well because in addition to stores, restaurants and a movie theater, Americana also incorporates 100 condos and 238 apartments. There are several employees wearing uniforms handing out maps and brochures when you enter that are called Ambassadors. One of the handouts we got had information about the residences. I believe we could have also been given a free tour or been allowed to walk through on our own, but I was concerned that Madison and Logan would have been less than enthused so we pressed on. We next noticed a small diner called Jewel City Diner. The restaurant has an outdoor seating patio and as likely kid friendly. I made a mental note to come back here for lunch. After the diner we saw a long line of people outside the Cheesecake Factory. Why the long line. Well, I quickly realized that the hot dog and pizza kiosks were not open yet, as were many of the clothing stores. So even though there were a couple other places to eat, Cheesecake is appealing, and not much else was open if you were hungry.

Right after passing the restaurant, we could see the huge fountains and park that sits in the middle of Americana. It was quite a sight and Madison and Logan seemed impressed and overwhelmed. The fountains are similar to the others i have seen at Caruso's properties and are set in unison with the music. I wanted to take a seat on a bench and watch the people and the fountains but it was very crowded and all the seating I could find at Americana was taken. With the success of the Grove (at 18 million visitors last year, it was more popular than Disneyland which had 15 million), it may happen that it could always be hard to find a seat at Americana, or maybe just on the weekends! It isn't hard to figure out why it's so popular though. The architecture, park, fountains and stores are beautiful and the outdoor vibe is much different that a traditional mall atmosphere. We wandered over to the playground equipment but M and L were hesitant to dive in because it was just teeming with kids of all sizes. We spotted a beautiful old-fashioned ice cream truck and that got their attention right away. The employee explained that it was an old Ford car brought in from Pennsylvania. He sold ice cream bars for 99 cents which was a real bargain there. We didn't indulge because it was lunch time but the truck is beautiful and we'll be back, I'm sure.

Here is a partial listing of the stores at Americana: Anthropologie, Barnes and Noble, Free People, H & M, Juicy Couture, J Crew, Khiels, Kate Spade, Michael Stars, Puma, Rite Aid, Tiffany's, True Religion and Urban Outfitters. There is no department store anchor and many of the more commonly known stores, like GAP or Gymboree, are at the Galleria across the street. As for restaurants besides the Cheescake Factory, here is a partial list: Frida Mexican Cafe, BeardPapa, Kyoto Grill Fresh Korean, Granville Cafe, Katsuya, Jamba Juice, Pinkberry and Crepe Maker. There is also an 18 screen Pacific Theaters which includes Morning Mommy Movies.

The mall has events on the weekends including live music on the grass and a Kids Club on Tuesdays from 11 am to 1 pm. Like the Kids Club at the Grove, the entertainment for the kids varies by the week. I have never been to the Kids Club events at the Grove because of the traffic coming from my house to that part of town but I am anxious to try out one of the events at Americana with my kids.

Americana at Brand in Glendale, CA