Nucleus offers a wide range of artfully designed products not offered anywhere else. They offer a unique selection of paintings, music, cards, t-shirts, and plush dolls. I really like their novelty t-shirts, of which some are very comical. It's very easy to find a unique gift here and the employees are more than happy to help you. Be wary of parking though as you'll most likely have to park in the 4th Street Parking Structure which isn't a very friendly walk. The owner is a very knowledgeable guy and has an appreciation of the arts. Everything is a bit on the pricey side though.
One of the few arcades not located within a theme park or Dave and Busters, Arcade World offers a wide variety of machines, ranging from DDR to Strikers 1942. They don't have the ticket venues where one exchanges tickets for prizes though. They charge no admission and thankfully don't use tokens. The prices of the machines are very typical and average. On the more popular games, such as Street Fighter and House of the Dead may have long waits. But about 3 minutes down the 60 Freeway is Golfland, where they offer a nickle arcade.
The atmosphere of the store brings one back to the old roaring Fifties where Soda Fountains were very prevalent. Inside, they sell lots of Fifties memorabilia and candy. Also located in there is the best Soda Fountain in the San Gabriel valley. The nostalgic products demand nostalgic (pricey) prices and the soda fountain is a bit expensive but well worth it. They have a variety of malts, sundays, shakes, and specialties. It's about $3 for two scoops of ice cream, $4 for a shake or Sunday, and about $7 for a delux ice cream dish with 3 scoops and lot's of toppings. Bring lot's of friends to help you finish since their portions are huge! Parking can be very hard to find though.
Probably the only decent place to find guitar strings in Alhambra, Marini music is very convenient. Their prices are pretty good but since their store is extremely small, they lack the selection of larger chain stores such as Guitar Center. They do have a rather wide selection of guitars, trombones, violins, violas, flutes, etc. They also have accessories such as cases, picks, music books, and sheet music. But they seem very experienced and passionate about music and offer excellent customer service. Parking isn't very good as it's located right behind Alhambra High School.
Vromans has the selection of similar establishments such as Barnes and Noble and Borders but with a more personalized touch. They offer many books in obscure categories and also have a large selection of toys, including Brios. Often, they have authors come in for book signings. Most book prices are MSRP and they are able to special order books. Their customer service is very friendly and knowledgeable, who never hesitate to recommend a good book to you. Parking is average as the lot isn't very big, but you will probably find a space if you're willing to take a short walk.
They are probably the only business in the area that sells the Brio wooden trains, which my son and I absolutely love. Along with that, they have an excellent selection of children's books, a wide variety of non-violent toys, and excellent customer service. They are willing to order any book or toy that they don't have in stock. They don't offer any of the newer and albiet waste-of-time electronic toys or action figures. Parking is excellent. Prices are MSRP. Often, they have themed days (such as a Harry Potter slumber party) which are a lot of fun!
Not very big and not a wide variety of cards. They do offer just about every deck and booster pack in print but they aren't very cheap. They also offer a lot of the rarer cards at premium prices. But since they're one of the only Sports Card places in Alhambra, I guess you have no other choice. They do have a particularly nice selection of action figurines from various games and movies. They also have a few video games and board games. Of course, you're off ordering from the internet. Parking isn't that bad as you can use the Mervyn's parking lot. Customer is pretty much nonexistant.
Alhambra Bowling Center isn't as nice as larger bowling chains but since they're the only lanes in Alhambra, one has no choice. The place is usually empty during the day but can get pretty crowded at night. Tuesdays offers very cheap bowling at $2.50 a lane plus shoe rental. The place seems a bit ancient as the quality of the shoes, the balls, and the lanes is mediocre. They do have a disco ball with flourescent lighting that gets turned on during Friday and Saturday nights. The food there isn't that great, but it's edible. Inside, there's also a rather expensive and limited bowling shop. There are plenty of parking spaces though.
Being that it's a lot closer to my house than Home Depot, it's very convient to go here. They offer just about everything at pretty decent prices. However they do not have the wide variety of merchandise that Home Depot has. They have all your usual hardware supplies, including wood, paint, drills, table saws, hammers, nails, etc. The customer is pretty typical of a hardware store, but the specialists know what they're doing. They also contract out work if you need labor for your job. Expect maybe 2-3 different brands of the same item at most. Parking is very horrible since it's located near a very busy intersection.
These guys do an excellent job of cleaning your car and are pretty fast (they take less than half an hour). Their prices are pretty much average for a carwashing place and aren't anything special. On busy days however, the waits can be longer than half an hour but they usually have many people on hand to hand dry your car. For an extra and albiet outrageous charge, they offer to wax and buff your car, which I'd recommend against as it's a lot cheaper to do it yourself. They also offer vacuuming and interior detailing as well. They also sell a variety of car cleaning products inside but aren't very cheap.