The San Fernando Valley is as American as apple pie. For decades a land of sprawling ranches and dusty farms, this charming collection of communities came of age post World War II. Los Angeles’s endless suburb was developed as an ideal, family-friendly oasis—mid-century tract homes, kitschy cafés, mimetic architecture, and theme bars to visit after a hard day’s work at the aerospace company or the nearby studios. It is also the birthplace of the tiki bar, and home to L.A.’s oldest, the Tonga Hut.
It’s no wonder countless “wholesome” family sitcoms have been filmed in the Valley. Today, you can still see the home used for exterior shots on The Brady Bunch or visit the birthplace of America’s most famous talking horse, Mr. Ed. If you are nostalgic for the pop culture made popular by the Valley—blinged-out cars, BMX bikes, fast food—the Valley Relics Museum holds pieces of that history. Or what about the bar made to look like a giant beer keg, or the pizza place whose salad dressing is said to send women into labor? All these quirky wonders and more are available in the San Fernando Valley, where the mid-century American Dream is alive and well.