Santa Clarita, officially the City of Santa Clarita, is the third largest city in Los Angeles County, California, United States and the eighteenth largest in the state of California. The city has annexed a number of unincorporated areas, contributing to the large population increase. It is located about 35 miles (56 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and occupies most of the Santa Clarita Valley. It is a notable example of a U.S. edge city or boomburb. Santa Clarita was ranked by Money magazine in 2006 as 18th of the top 100 places to live. Santa Clarita is often associated with the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park, though the park is located just outside the city limits, and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), located in Valencia.
The City of Santa Clarita’s leadership has placed a priority on offering recreational facilities and programs since incorporation. Many youth-friendly activities and diversions exist in order to steer the city’s children away from crime and gang activity. The city has established many neighborhood parks and maintains a comprehensive recreation program. There is a recreation center in Canyon Country that includes an aquatic park with wading, diving, and Olympic swimming pools along with a bicycle/skatepark, community swimming pools in both Newhall and Canyon Country and a community center in downtown Newhall. The city’s largest park is located in Saugus and is known as Central Park. There are seventeen parks scattered in various neighborhoods throughout the city. Many have lighted tennis and basketball courts, baseball and soccer fields. There are over 3,000 acres (12 km2) of open space and 32 miles (51 km) of off-street trails within its boundaries.
Due to increases in filming /production days during the last few years, Santa Clarita has been given the nickname ‘Hollywood North’. From the first decade of the 20th century to the present day, the Santa Clarita Valley has been a favorite location for producers of films, television shows, and commercials. Even before the first permanent movie set was erected in 1922, the area’s topography was exploited for its versatility as the prototypical Western setting. As the “A” Western of the 1910s, ’20s and ’30s gave way to the “B” Western of the 1940s and ’50s, the Santa Clarita Valley continued to play its role, most notably at Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio in Placerita Canyon and, later, at The Walt Disney Company’s nearby Golden Oak Ranch.
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