Ford on the Road Neighborhood Guide: San Gabriel

The beautiful San Gabriel Mission Playhouse (Courtesy Michael de la Paz)
The San Gabriel Mission Playhouse (Courtesy of Michael de la Paz)

Ford on the Road’s next stop is the stunningSan Gabriel Mission Playhouse for ¡Viva la Tradición! A Tribute to Nati Cano and Los Camperos. The show brings together powerhouse mariachi artists to tell the story of musical pioneer Nati Cano’s life through music and dance. To help you make the most of your visit, we chatted with Colibri Entertainment‘s Susie Garcia about her favorite things to do in San Gabriel!

What’s the best place to grab some grub before the show?

Susie Garcia: Pizza Place CA is located across the street from the Playhouse and it’s delicious. The cioppino has loads of fresh seafood, the bisque is to die for and their pizza is easily the best in the area. They have a gorgeous patio with outdoor seating and a great early bird dinner special – perfect for people who want to get dinner before the performance! Also, you can’t go wrong with any of the Chinese restaurants in the area. I’ve heard wonderful things about Green Zone, which serves all-organic Chinese cuisine.

Love To Go's marvelous latte art and dessert waffles! (Courtesy of Yelp)

Love To Go’s marvelous latte art and dessert waffles (Courtesy of Yelp)

Where’s your favorite place to get dessert?

SG: Love To Go is also not far from the theatre and it’s open until 1 a.m., so it would make a perfect post-show treat. They have an assortment of dessert-style waffles with delicious combinations of ice cream, chocolate, fruit and whipped cream. They also invented the “waffza” which is a waffle dipped in dark chocolate. But I think they’re most famous for their fantastical latte art – they create intricate cartoon drawings and foam sculptures right on top of your drink!

A sea creature at the magical La Laguna Playground. (Courtesy of Yelp)
A sea creature at the magical La Laguna Playground (Courtesy of Yelp)

What’s the best free family activity in the area?

SG: La Laguna Playground is a historical landmark and a real gem. With unique slides and climbing structures that are all made of concrete in the shape of whales, giant snails, sea serpents and dinosaurs, it really appeals to everyone’s imagination, young and old!

What’s your favorite mural or public artwork in the area?

SG: I love the San Gabriel Library Mural. It’s located in the children’s section of the San Gabriel Library and depicts daily life at the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel in the late eighteenth century. The 45-foot-long mural was created by Native American artist Robert Freeman.

The garden grounds at San Gabriel Arcangel Mission (Courtesy of

The garden grounds at San Gabriel Arcángel Mission (Courtesy of

What historical landmark would you recommend checking out? 

SG: The Mission San Gabriel Arcángel is a fascinating place to visit. It’s a fully functioning Roman Catholic mission. It was founded in 1771 and was the fourth of California’s 21 missions. This mission is also where many of the area’s first Mexican settlers were baptized including Pio Pico, the last governor of Alta California.

¡Viva la Tradición!: A Tribute to Nati Cano and Los Camperos plays on Saturday, July 25 at 7:30 PM at San Gabriel Mission Playhouse. Tickets $100 (VIP), $70 (Tier 1), $55 (Tier 2), $40 (Tier 3). VIP tickets include:  Premium seating, VIP reception (at 5:30 PM) and artist meet-and-greet, and post show after party at Don Chente LA.