Tucked in the northeast corner of its namesake valley, the city of San Fernando is a treasure trove of Early California architectural delights. Spanish Colonial Revival buildings fill downtown, but between the Golden State Freeway and San Fernando Road along Brand Boulevard (and side streets) are many original bungalow and Arts & Crafts-style homes. For Mid-Century Modern residences, see the neighborhood bordered by Glenoaks on the north, Library Street on the south, and in between Lazard and Harding streets.
Even if it is technically in Mission Hills, Mission San Fernando Rey de España is an area jewel. Some of its original 1797 architecture is intact, although the 1971 Sylmar earthquake necessitated rebuilding the chapel (15151 San Fernando Mission Blvd.,  361-0186). The adjacent Mission Cemetery is the final resting place of Bob Hope, Ritchie Valens and Chuck Connors, among other luminaries (1160 Stanwood Ave.,  361 7387).
Old meets new
The Lopez Adobe in downtown San Fernando is one of the oldest non-native private residences in the valley. It is registered as a national, state and county historical site (1100 Pico St.,  365-7810). The stretch of San Fernando Road near Brand Boulevard is referred to as the San Fernando Mall. Lined with jewelry stores, wedding apparel shops, bakeries and other matrimonial-related businesses, the mall serves as wedding headquarters.
Where to eat
Judging from the constant line out the door, Carrillo's Tortilleria is the most popular dining spot in town (1242 Pico St.,  365-3176, www.carrillos). Tamales and handmade tortillas are favorites; Sunday is menudo day. The House of Brews -- as in coffee -- serves its menu of wraps, sandwiches and salads to 9 p.m. (231 N. Maclay Ave.,  365-8788, www.hobsf.com). James Restaurant's large portions of hearty American fare and comfy booths make this a family favorite for breakfast, lunch and dinner (739 Truman St.,  361-1850).