Most of Canyon Country's restaurants tend to cluster along Soledad Canyon Road and Sierra Highway. While the neighborhood features many recognizable name-brand restaurants, you can also find some unique eateries for casual meals.
If you love Italian food, don't miss Piccola Trattoria, which many locals consider a hidden treasure in Canyon Country. Light, fresh calamari as an appetizer, lasagna or lobster ravioli as a main dish and any of the scrumptious desserts will leave you feeling full and happy. Excellent service and a solid wine list top off your lovely meal here.
When you need a quick meal, stop by Everest on Soledad Canyon Road for Greek salad and deep-fried yumminess in the form of onion rings, chili cheese fries and fried zucchini. The helpful staff fill your order exactly the way you want it, and salad dressings and chili are all homemade. If you need to grab breakfast on the go, keep Everest in mind for the perfectly balanced breakfast burrito.
For breakfast, brunch or authentic Mexican food, swing by Ay Caramba on Via Princessa. Whether you order the chilaquiles, chili relleno, chorizo breakfast burrito or the carnitas, you'll be happy you came. If you like things extra spicy, ask for the habanero salsa. Don't pass up on the heavenly Nutella banana chimichanga as the perfect end to a great meal.
Nightlife in Canyon Country ranges from dive bars to hookah lounges. Swing by The Drifters Cocktail Lounge on Soledad Canyon Road for live music, karaoke nights and big screen TVs playing the game. Cafe O Hookah Lounge lets you relax and smoke in comfort, and it's open later than almost any other bar in town. True beer lovers in the neighborhood head to the Bier Academy on Soledad Canyon for the friendly and welcoming vibe, the great beer selection and the food that's a cut above a typical bar menu.
Canyon Country was part of one of the great Spanish ranchos of the 1800s and passed into the hands of Henry Newhall in 1890. Originally the community that grew up in the area was known as Solemint, a name formed by combining Soledad and Mint Canyons. The Newhall Land Company began focused development of the region in the 1960s and '70s, during which time the neighborhood's name was changed to Canyon Country. In 1987, Canyon Country merged with Newhall, Saugus and Valencia to form the city of Santa Clarita.
Several early film actors owned ranches in Canyon Country, including William S. Hart, whose ranch is now a park and museum preserving the area's history. Gene Autry's former ranch, now the Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studios, hosts the Cowboy Festival every spring and still gets used for filming.
Although most residents in the Santa Clarita Valley use their own cars for basic transportation, many who have to commute into Los Angeles or the San Fernando Valley take advantage of the convenient public transportation. Santa Clarita Transit provides bus service to connect Canyon Country to Newhall, with commuter buses heading to North Hollywood, Woodland Hills, UCLA, Century City and downtown Los Angeles. In addition, L.A.'s Metrolink connects Canyon Country residents north to the Antelope Valley and south to Burbank, Glendale and downtown Los Angeles. If you need a ride to get you door-to-door, call a taxi, Uber, a limo service or an airport shuttle for service.
If you do choose to drive around the Santa Clarita Valley, you'll find plenty of free parking waiting for you in most areas. State Route 14 runs north to the Antelope Valley, while Interstate 5, just to the west of Canyon Country, provides a gateway to the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles to the south and the San Joaquin Valley to the north.
Many cyclists enjoy the recreational trails throughout the Santa Clarita Valley, though the hills and canyons can be challenging for the casual rider. The bike trail running along the river connects Canyon Country to shopping, employment and entertainment. While the neighborhood accommodates recreational walking well, destinations tend to be too spread out for commuting by foot to be practical.
The cost of living in Canyon Country runs slightly lower than that of Los Angeles, coming in 4 percent lower. You can rent the average one-bedroom apartment for $1300 per month, and if you want to stop for a beer on your way home, expect to shell out $5 to $7 for a cold one on tap. Your gas prices, however, run a bit higher here, as they do throughout the Los Angeles area, at 14 percent above the national average.
Residents of Canyon Country who have major shopping to do tend to head to the Westfield Valencia shopping mall, anchored by Macy's, Sears and JC Penney, and featuring outdoor koi ponds and many name-brand restaurants. Also nearby are big box stores along Golden Valley Road including Target, Kohl's, Costco, and Bed Bath and Beyond.
A little closer to home, locals can find unique shops such as Tackle Express, which makes it easy for lovers of the outdoors to take advantage of the nearby lakes by selling everything you need in the way of baits and tackle for both fresh and salt water. The helpful staff will even tell you where the fish are biting.
Dilemma Clothing on Soledad Canyon Road is dedicated to making the women who come through its doors feel and look beautiful. Choose from a wide selection of jeans, leggings, jackets, jewelry and scarves, and accept the owner's help to put a whole outfit together.
Canyon Country locals tend to head to Costco or Sam's Club for their basic grocery shopping, with Sierra Grocery also available to supply more unusual ingredients for Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. The nearest farmers market takes place Sunday morning at College of the Canyons in Valencia, providing farm-fresh, locally grown produce, free-range eggs, local cheeses and baked goods.
Surrounded by the Santa Susana Mountains, all of Santa Clarita, including Canyon Country, provides residents with easy access to wilderness as well as to well-planned and maintained parks throughout the suburbs.
Head to Placerita Canyon State Park to visit the Oak of the Golden Dream, the site of California's original gold strike in the 1840s. The nature center here presents a variety of programs every week, including nature walks, live animal presentations, birdwatching walks, meditation walks and wildflower walks. Take a serious hike up the Waterfall Trail, or arrange for a weekend camping trip for a small fee.
Todd Longshore Park in Canyon Country serves as a perfect place to take your dog for a walk or let your kids play in the playground. The Santa Clarita Skate Park provides skaters of all kinds free access to ramps, rails, half-pipes and dry pools. If your kids are little, bring them early on Saturday mornings when they have the park all to themselves. Every spring, the Skate Park is home to the Summer Meltdown, an arts and music festival designed to raise awareness about autism as well as funds to fight it. Come to hear great bands and enjoy food from trendy food trucks, knowing that your dollars are going for a good cause.