Locals and visitors alike think of this area of Pasadena as the heart of the city. Known as Old Town, or Old Town Pasadena, this is the areas downtown district with plenty of top-notch restaurants, shopping, and it’s also where the famous Rose Parade heads on New Year’s day. Stroll along the street, and make sure to visit some of the best spots, including One Colorado where you’ll find shops like Anthropologie, Dots Cupcakes, Il Fornaio, Kate Spade, Mohawk General Store, Patagonia, Sugarfina, Sushi Roku, Prawn and more. Or, head to the Indiana Colony marketplace where you can bite into ice cream sandwiches at Coolhaus, have a coffee at Intelligentsia, or a slice of pie at the Pie Hole!
Eaton Canyon Falls
Head to Pasadena’s top nature park where you’ll find great walking and hiking trails, as well as waterfall hikes.
The Gamble House
What’s so special about the Gamble House? Designed by brothers Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene and completed in 1909, it was built originally for David G. Gamble of the Proctor & Gamble company. Now listed as a National Historic Landmark, it is a glimpse into L.A.’s past, and is a terrific example of American arts and crafts style architecture. Take a docent tour, which will focus on features of the home you may not see at first glance.
Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
Spend a day at one of Los Angeles’ true gems. The Huntington Library contains over 6 million books, photos, and manuscripts in the field of American and British history. Then, there’s the art that is indescribable. Held within two separate buildings, there are always current and changing art exhibitions to enjoy. When you’re done in doors, head outside to enjoy the plush landscapes of the botanical gardens.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Want to learn more about space? You’re in the perfect area. Pasadena is home to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a NASA facility that aides in carrying out missions to space. Owned by NASA and managed by the California Institute of Technology, its main mission is to construct and operate robotic spacecraft. Some of their massive achievements have included the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the mission to the dwarf planet Ceres, as well as the mission for the Curiosity rover!
The Rose Bowl Stadium
The Rose Bowl is arguably the most famous attraction in Pasadena. Home to UCLA Football games, concerts, as well as the football game played after the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day and more, this National Historic Landmark was built in 1922 against the San Gabriel Mountains and is the 17th largest stadium in the world! There’s a great golf course around the stadium, and once a month (2nd Sunday of the month) there’s a great flea market.
The Ice House
Looking for a laugh? This Pasadena spot has been part of Los Angeles’ comedy scene since the 60’s! And, while you may not find some of today’s top acts playing here with much frequency, there’s a charm to it that makes it worth a visit.
Built in the 1920’s, the Pasadena Playhouse is one of those L.A. landmarks that has charm. See a play or a musical inside the main space, or head out into the Spanish Colonial courtyard where events are held throughout the year.
Pasadena City Hall
Pasadena is one of Los Angeles’ oldest cities. As much, there are beautiful old buildings to revel in. Pasadena City Hall is one such building that upholds the beautiful architecture of Los Angeles’ past. Built in 1927, the 206 foot tall building features arches and domes and is arguably the centerpiece of the city.
Brookside Park is situated just south of The Rose Bowl and offers up 62 acres of green space to enjoy against the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains. Go for a run, have a picnic, go biking, or play a round of golf. Right outside of the Rose Bowl is Brookside Golf & Country Club, where you can play a round of golf at one of Los Angeles’ top public courses. It won’t set you back a large amount either. The golf fees are very reasonable.