Several months ago, I visited the town of Pasadena. Its right on the skirts of the San Fernando Valley and the San Gabriel Valley. The downtown area, where I was this trip, has a great old town vibe. With a city hall that looks rivals most state capitals, a huge park(that has a summertime theater), and a couple of great gastropubs and bars, including Congregation Ale House, Haven and a Stone company store, there is something to do for everybody.
If you are coming from Downtown LA, you can easily hop onto the Metro Gold Line. Then you can sit and relax instead of sitting in the traffic. By freeway, it's directly off of the 210 and the 134 freeways. Pretty convenient.