La Cañada Flintridge is a city in Los Angeles County, California, with a population of 20,246 in 2010. It is located in the Crescenta Valley and far western end of the San Gabriel Valley, to the northwest of Pasadena. It is the home of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
During the Spanish and Mexican eras, the area was known as Rancho La Cañada. Before the city's incorporation in 1976, it consisted of two distinct communities, La Cañada and Flintridge. La Cañada comes from the Spanish word cañada (pronounced "canyada"), meaning canyon, gorge, or ravine; Flintridge was named after its developer, United States Senator Frank P. Flint.
Flintridge comprises the southern part of the city, covering the northern flank of the San Rafael Hills, but more generally including most areas south of Foothill Blvd. The eastern part, even north of Foothill Blvd., was also originally considered Flintridge and is still home to the Flintridge Riding Club and Flintridge Preparatory School.
Reference to the entire city is often shortened to just "La Cañada" or seldom to just "Flintridge". The full city name specifically does not have a hyphen in it, to illustrate unity between the two communities that became one.
In a 2015 issue of Forbes, La Cañada Flintridge ranked as the 121st most expensive U.S. city.
The city is situated in the Crescenta Valley and far western end of the San Gabriel Valley. It is nestled between the San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles National Forest on the north, and in the San Rafael Hills on the south. Most of the city drains southeastward toward Pasadena to Arroyo Seco, but the western part of the city (generally west of Alta Canyada Road) drains southward toward Glendale via Verdugo Canyon. Both drainages join the Los Angeles River north of downtown Los Angeles. It is built of the Angeles Crest, the San Rafeles, and the canyon in the middle
La Cañada Flintridge varies in elevation from about 970 feet (295 m) just below Devil's Gate Dam in the Arroyo Seco to about 2400 feet (730 m) at the highest neighborhood, along the mountain front east of Pickens Canyon, at the upper end of Ocean View Blvd. The city limits extend into the San Gabriel Mountains and reach 3440 feet (1050 m) along Mount Lukens Road, which follows the crest line well above the developed city.
The climate of La Cañada Flintridge is typical of a Southern California inland valley, with mild winters and hot summers. Spring often has hazy days, in contrast to the more persistently clear weather of fall. On average, the warmest month is August with high temperatures in the low to mid 90s and lows in the low 70s. December and January are the coolest months with typical highs in the low to mid 60s and lows in the low 40s. Rainfall occurs mostly during winter, averaging about 21 inches annually. Rainfall is rare in summer. The moderating influence of the ocean (22 miles, 35 km, away) is limited due to the city's location inland from the intervening Santa Monica Mountains, the Verdugo Mountains and the San Rafael Hills. Consequently, summers are generally hotter and winters often cooler than in coastal parts of metropolitan Los Angeles if winds are calm or blowing gently offshore. Occasional strong offshore winds, known as the Santa Ana winds, can bring particularly hot air in summer and fall as air from the desert plateaus crosses the mountains and descends, thus warming further by adiabatic heating. Summer and early fall temperatures are substantially cooler if the prevailing wind is persistently onshore. Occasionally during a winter storm, the upper elevations of the city may see trace amounts of snow. The small ski resorts Mountain High, Mount Baldy, and Mount Waterman are located about 30 miles (48 km) to the northeast.
The 2010 United States Census reported that La Cañada Flintridge had a population of 20,246. The population density was 2,341.8 people per square mile (904.2/km²). The racial makeup of La Cañada Flintridge was 13,959 (68.9%) White (64.7% Non-Hispanic White), 109 (0.5%) African American, 24 (0.1%) Native American, 5,214 (25.8%) Asian, 5 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 245 (1.2%) from other races, and 690 (3.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,267 persons (6.3%).
The Census reported that 20,219 people (99.9% of the population) lived in households, 21 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 6 (0%) were institutionalized.
There were 6,849 households, out of which 2,873 (41.9%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 5,029 (73.4%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 525 (7.7%) had a female householder with no husband present, 214 (3.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 103 (1.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 36 (0.5%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 924 households (13.5%) were made up of individuals and 559 (8.2%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.95. There were 5,768 families (84.2% of all households); the average family size was 3.24.
The population was spread out with 5,315 people (26.3%) under the age of 18, 1,363 people (6.7%) aged 18 to 24, 3,157 people (15.6%) aged 25 to 44, 7,224 people (35.7%) aged 45 to 64, and 3,187 people (15.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45.9 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.1 males.
There were 7,089 housing units at an average density of 820.0 per square mile (316.6/km²), of which 6,120 (89.4%) were owner-occupied, and 729 (10.6%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.4%. 18,052 people (89.2% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 2,167 people (10.7%) lived in rental housing units.
According to the 2010 United States Census, La Cañada Flintridge had a median household income of $156,952, with 1.8% of the population living below the federal poverty line.
As of the census of 2000, there were 20,318 people, 6,823 households, and 5,690 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,348.9 inhabitants per square mile (906.9/km²). There were 6,989 housing units at an average density of 808.0 per square mile (312.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 65.53% White, 0.36% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 31.57% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.01% from other races, and 3.31% from two or more races. 4.80% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 6,823 households out of which 44.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 73.7% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.6% were non-families. 14.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.95 and the average family size was 3.27.
In the city, the population was spread out with 29.8% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 20.9% from 25 to 44, 30.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.
According to a 2008 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $140,474, and the median income for a family was $157,511. This makes La Cañada Flintridge the 17th most affluent city in the United States, according to CNN Money. Males had a median income of $92,760 versus $57,321 for females. The per capita income for the city was $52,838. About 3.6% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.8% of those under age 18 and 5.1% of those age 65 or over.
The La Cañada Unified School District serves most of the city and is ranked as one of the top school districts in the state. On September 13, 2010, the California Department of Education announced that 2010 California Standards Tests (CSTs) results indicate that the La Cañada Unified School District earned the second highest Academic Performance Index (API) score in the state. The API reflects a district's performance level, based on the results of statewide testing. The district has three public elementary schools that serve grades K-6: La Cañada Elementary, Palm Crest Elementary, and Paradise Canyon Elementary School. The public high school, La Cañada High School, which also serves as a middle school (grades 7–8), is a 1993 and 2004 Blue Ribbon School.
A small western portion of the city is served by the Glendale Unified School District, with La Cañada Flintridge students attending Mountain Avenue Elementary School, Rosemont Middle School, Clark Magnet High School and Crescenta Valley High School.
Elementary schools are Crestview Preparatory (K-6), The Learning Castle (Kindergarten-3rd Grade), La Canada Preparatory (4th–8th), and St. Bede (K-8).
La Cañada is served by two weekly newspapers: La Cañada Valley Sun, owned by Times Community News, a division of the Los Angeles Times; and La Cañada Outlook, owned by La Cañada News, Inc. Both newspapers publish on Thursdays.
La Cañada Flintridge is governed by its city council, which has five members, each elected to overlapping four-year terms. Each year, the council selects one of its members to serve as mayor and another to serve as mayor pro-tem for terms of one year. The elections were held on March of odd-numbered years until 2017. Beginning in 2020, the elections are held during the California Primary elections. The council is aided by five commissions and two committees, each with its own area of responsibility. In addition, the council appoints the city manager, city attorney, city treasurer, and all members of its advisory bodies. It also serves as the governing board for the public improvement corporation, the redevelopment agency, the LCF Local Financing Authority, and Sanitation Districts No. 28 and No. 34.
La Cañada Flintridge's City Hall was located on 1327 Foothill Boulevard from December 1976 to March 2019. In that same month, the new City Hall address is One Civic Center Drive, which is located in the La Cañada Flintridge Town Center, where the former Sport Chalet headquarters were located.
The current members of the city council are:
- Mayor Jonathan C. Curtis
- Mayor Pro Tem Michael T. Davitt
- Council Member David A. Spence (deceased, May 16, 2017)
- Council Member Leonard Pieroni
- Council Member Teresa Walker
The City Council meets on the first and third Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of La Cañada Flintridge City Hall. The City Council elections were held on Tuesday after the first Monday in March of odd-numbered years, but effective on March 2020, the City Council elections will be held along with California's presidential, U.S. House and California State Senate and Assembly Primary election.
La Cañada Flintridge has historically been a Republican Party stronghold. However, in 2004, Democratic Party registered voters increased by 18%, while decline-to-state voters increased by 31%, and registered Republicans declined by 9.3%. In the 2008 US Presidential Election, Democrat Barack Obama received 10 more votes than Republican John McCain. In the 2012 US Presidential Election, most La Cañada Flintridge voters supported Republican Mitt Romney over Democrat Barack Obama. In the 2016 US Presidential Election, approximately three out of every five voters supported Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican Donald Trump.
Fire and EMS Service
The Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) operates fire stations 19 and 82 in the city. Fire stations in Altadena and La Crescenta-Montrose also serve the city. Emergency transportation is done by Care Ambulance Service.
Points of interest
- NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is located on the Eastern end of La Canada (though its mailing address is in Pasadena). It is the primary United States research and development center for the robotic exploration of the solar system.
- The first Frisbee golf course is located in the Hahamongna Watershed Park (formerly Oak Grove Park), outside of La Cañada Flintridge and across the street from La Cañada High School.
- Descanso Gardens hosts the largest collection of camellia species in North America.
- The La Cañada Town Center opened on Aug 21, 2008. The $60 million shopping center development at the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Angeles Crest Highway includes a remodeled Taylor's Steakhouse, a Panera Bread, a HomeGoods store, and other retailers and eateries. Sport Chalets flagship store and corporate office were the anchor tenants until their closure in April 2016. Sport Chalet flagship store is now replaced by Target and the corporate office is now the new city hall.
- La Cañada Congregational Church, formerly Church of the Lighted Window, is the city's oldest church.
- Lanterman House, museum and local historical archives is one of the early (1915) homes of the area.
Angeles Crest Highway
La Cañada Flintridge is the southern terminus of the Angeles Crest Highway. It begins at the intersection with Foothill Boulevard and follows a two-mile, 5% grade before entering the San Gabriel Mountains.
On September 5, 2008, a big rig carrying 78,000 pounds of onions lost its brakes on the Angeles Crest Highway. To avoid a collision with the Hill Street Café at the intersection with Foothill Boulevard, the rig turned towards a small driveway, sideswiped the Café, crashed into a wall, a garbage bin, a tree and six vehicles before coming to rest in the parking lot. James Bines, 43, of Florida, and his passenger Willy Robinson had been hauling a full load of onions through the high desert area in the 18-wheeler. They traveled over the Angeles Crest Highway because, Bines said, he had received directions from his global positioning system that the highway, State Route 2, was the most direct route from there to Los Angeles.
On April 1, 2009, a similar incident occurred at roughly the same location. A car carrier transporting six cars southbound on the Angeles Crest Highway lost its brakes and, despite three runaway vehicle escape medians in the center islands, caused multiple vehicle accidents that resulted in two fatalities and 12 injuries, three of them critical. Angel Jorge Posca, 58, and his 12-year-old daughter Angelina, both of Palmdale, had just exited the eastbound Foothill Freeway at the Angeles Crest Highway in their red Ford Escort and were starting to turn north on the highway to return to Palmdale when the semi-truck struck their vehicle.
- Frances Arnold, Nobel prize winner in Chemistry, 2018
- Angela Bassett, actress
- Chris Buck, animator, film director, screenwriter, voice actor
- Adam Carolla, comedian, radio personality, television host, actor, podcaster and director
- Kevin Costner, actor, producer, director, singer
- Miley Cyrus, actress, singer, and songwriter
- Rafael Furcal, MLB (Braves, Dodgers and Cardinals) baseball player
- Mark Geragos, criminal defense lawyer
- Frank Thomas, motion picture animator with Disney
- Ollie Johnston, motion picture animator with Disney 
- David Lipsky (golfer), professional golfer
- Victor McLaglen, actor
- Haley Joel Osment, actor
- Dennis Prager, conservative author, columnist, and radio talk show host.
- Steve Priest, musician
- Michael Tucci, actor, longtime teacher at the city's St. Francis High School
- Vince Vaughn, actor, producer, screenwriter