What better way to get a true taste of Santa Clarita than to visit one of its longest standing institutions? Kick off your day at The Way Station Coffee Shop whose chefs have been slinging coffee and hash browns ever since its founding in 1971. Best loved for its large portions and affordable prices, Way Station will give you the feeling of stepping back in time when breakfast was all about community, conversation and savoring every last bite. And there’s no doubt you will be doing exactly that with menu staples the likes of chicken fried steak, thick-sliced ham and pancakes literally the size of a plate. Oh and don’t forget about the gravy!
After such a hearty breakfast, you’re going to want an equally hearty activity to work it all off. Fortunately, a day’s worth of fun awaits at the nearby William S. Hart Museum & Park. From making friends with the resident barnyard animals to communing with nature on the park’s scenic trails, there is something to keep the whole family entertained all morning long. While you’re hiking, be sure to keep a look out for the herd of American bison that also call the park home. Walk up to the beautiful Spanish Colonial mansion and join a free guided tour led by docents every half hour. Here, you will learn all about silent film star and cowboy icon William S. Hart as well as the impressive collection of Western artwork and mementos on display in the museum.
Before heading off, walk over to Heritage Junction Historical Park where you will learn all about Newhall’s colorful history. If visiting on the weekend, you’ll have the opportunity to walk through the Saugus Train Station Museum and learn about life in the Wild West and that time President Theodore Roosevelt visited in 1903!
Every good adventure needs a strong cup of coffee to keep things moving along. And for a tasting tour of Santa Clarita, that means a stop at Mugshot Coffeehouse is in order. Mugshot is a relative newcomer to the city’s caffeine landscape, but they have already garnered a strong following with their lineup of delicious house-made syrups. They have the familiar staples, like caramel and Valrhona chocolate mocha, but the coffeehouse also boasts a number of unique and, yes, delicious flavor combinations, including organic French lavender, maple spice and bourbon infused vanilla. For those with a bit of a sweet tooth, one drink definitely worth a try is the Crème Brulee, which is a cappuccino finished with a layer of brulee sugar on top. For more traditional tastes, they also have classic espresso drinks, pour overs, cold brews and Aeropress brews.
A familiar stop for both visitors and locals alike, Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewing Company has been sating appetites since 1997. Their ever-evolving menu includes restaurant specialties and eclectic new fare so every visit is a new adventure. A popular new addition is Wolf Creek’s Brewer’s Table which features a variety of signature dishes, from beer braised short ribs to ale battered fish tacos, which were developed to pair perfectly with the brewery’s own collection of craft beers. Brewed right here in town, they are a must-try for anyone searching for a taste of Santa Clarita! Finally, a trip to Wolf Creek is not complete without tasting one of their many mouthwatering desserts. Each and every one is created specifically for Wolf Creek daily by the restaurant’s on-site pastry chef and the attention to detail shows. You’ll have a hard enough time choosing between chocolate layer cake and carrot cake, let alone their rotating selection of cheesecakes!
Considered the “crown jewel” of Santa Clarita, Central Park will be the perfect place to explore after lunch. The 130 acre park has everything needed for a fun afternoon outdoors, including baseball diamonds, playing fields, a regional cross country course and even a dog park! Visit the city’s first community garden before heading out on one of the park’s beautiful trails. The park’s 3.1 mile cross country loop is a great option both for casual walkers and those looking to break a sweat while the Central Park Trail, which connects Central Park to Newhall Ranch Road, promises gorgeous views all along the way.
Any food tour of Santa Clarita requires a stop at Newhall Refinery! Since its opening in 2013, it has come to embody farm to table cooking with seasonal menus that focus on fresh, quality ingredients. Everything, from the pretzels and burgers to the 72-hour braised pig, is created in house, ensuring every bite is packed with flavor and freshness. Newhall Refinery also makes it a point to use natural, sustainable products. Poultry is delivered from Mary’s Free Range Chickens, a family-owned and operated farm out of southern California, while all of the Refinery’s meats are all natural premium beef. This is all to say that the food is darn good and you’ll likely have trouble deciding just what to order, especially when sides like Drunk Mac-n-Cheese, which is infused with Jameson Whiskey and features sourdough parmesan breadcrumbs, and seared Brussel sprouts with Nueskes bacon and Fresno chili jump out at you.
After dinner, step out the door and you’ll find yourself right in the middle of Old Town Newhall. Now would be a good time to pull up your Newhall Walking Tour App and discover the area’s hidden history. Along with many of the historic sites and filming locations nearby, you’ll also learn about Newhall’s Walk of Western Stars which honors the legends of Western film, television and radio personalities, including Roy Rogers, William S. Hart and Gene Autry.
Before calling it quits on your culinary tour of Santa Clarita, make a little room for dessert. There are plenty of local options when it comes to cookies and cupcakes, but if a creamy, delicious milkshake is what you seek, head over to local favorite, Bricks. Offering both regular and two-flavor shakes, you’ll have a hard time deciding between classics, like vanilla and strawberry, and their more unique flavors, like candied walnut, caramel sea salt and rice crispy. If you’re still feeling a bit peckish, Bricks also offers doughnut holes served with mascarpone cheese and berry compote and puff pastry s’mores with Nutella, marshmallow and candied walnut. You can’t go wrong!