Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Pasadena, TX

  • Published 2022/09/10

Pasadena was founded in 1893 and named after Pasadena, California, thanks to their similarities in the form of lush vegetation and natural sites.

The city sits southeast of Harris County, bordered by Deer Park and Jacinto City.

During its early years, Pasadena carried its agricultural roots as the focal point of its economy.

It wasn’t until the 1930s that the city began transitioning into an industrial economy as an effect of the war in Europe.

Today, you’ll still see much of Pasadena as an area that takes pride in its simple culture, but you’ll also notice a lot of developments that helped the city thrive.

Check out the best things to do in Pasadena, Texas!

Explore the Wilderness at Armand Bayou Nature Center

Sunrise at Armand Bayou Nature Center

Annine Berg /

Take a step back from the busy streets, and find yourself nestled in the arms of mother nature when you visit Armand Bayou Nature Center on Bay Area Boulevard.

This nature preserve in Pasadena takes tourists on various outdoor activities that adults and kids will surely enjoy.

Embark on guided kayak tours and pontoon boat cruises, and see everything good about Pasadena.

Lake at Armand Bayou Nature Center

Annine Berg /

Educational tours and workshops are also available at Armand Bayou Nature Center for those who want to immerse themselves in the preserve’s beauty.

Find the best subject for your painting, or become the next award-winning nature photographer when enrolling in some available classes.

You can also try out the family dip-netting activity and learn about the animals living underneath the surface.

Attend the Annual Pasadena Strawberry Festival

May is arguably one of the most-awaited months for the people of Pasadena, as it’s that time of the year when the streets bleed red and the sweet smell of strawberries fills every household.

The annual Pasadena Strawberry Festival is a four-day celebration filled with games, contests, and events that will surely make your stay in the city worthwhile.

As the Strawberry Capital of the South, Pasadena hosts several strawberry-related activities during the festival—strawberry float parades, cake sales, strawberry eating contests, cook-offs, and more.

So if you want to join the fun at the Pasadena Strawberry Festival, make sure to swing by the Pasadena Convention Center and Municipal Fairgrounds on Red Bluff Road.

You’ll also get to see unique attractions, such as the Berry Haunted House, the Kid Zone in Campbell Hall, and the car and truck show.

Check Out Displays at the Pasadena Heritage Park and Museum

Drop by Main Street and learn everything there is to know about the city’s humble beginnings at the Pasadena Heritage Park and Museum.

The museum tells the story of how the area began as a small agricultural outpost by showing visitors hints of Pasadena’s old lifestyle.

As you explore the museum, you’ll see why the city is recognized as the birth of free Texas.

Get up close and personal with dozens of antiques and memorabilia, as well as century-old stories that tell how the city turned into one of the most thriving areas in the state.

While at the Pasadena Heritage Park and Museum, don’t forget to check out main attractions like the historic Pomeroy House and Strawberry House.

Buy Tickets to the Pasadena Livestock Show & Rodeo

If you’re planning to visit Pasadena sometime in September, then you’re in luck because you’ll get to attend one of the most-awaited events of the year.

The Pasadena Livestock Show & Rodeo celebrates the community’s agricultural roots dating back to the 1940s.

Of course, these agricultural practices wouldn’t be complete without the many cowboys and cowgirls who helped Pasadena thrive during its early years.

So if you want to know what Pasadena is all about, purchase your tickets and make your way to the Pasadena Convention Center and Municipal Fairgrounds.

Keep an eye out for the Rodeo Parade that will pass through the Pasadena streets before you put on your boots and join the kick-off dance at Campbell Hall.

Then, get front-row seats to the Pasadena Livestock Show & Rodeo’s main event, the Barrel Racing Qualifier.

Let Your Kids Bounce around at Jumping World

There might come a time when you’ll want to spend some quality time without your kids, exploring the Pasadena streets without tugging your toddlers along.

When that time comes, Pasadena’s very own Jumping World along Spencer Highway will be the best place to leave your kids.

This trampoline park has a little bit of something for everybody, including adults, so even you can spend a couple of good minutes bouncing around the area.

Jump as high as you can, and practice your flips by the tumbling lanes like a true gymnast, or you can dive into the foam pit with your little ones.

Unleash your competitive side at Jumping World by playing games like basketball, dodgeball, and more—all while bouncing on the trampolines!

Participate in the Pasadena 4th Fest

Pasadena is no stranger to throwing amazing celebrations, so if you ever find yourself in the city during one of the most important holidays in the country, there’s nothing to worry about.

The Pasadena 4th Fest is one of the biggest celebrations of the year, and the community never holds back when it comes to flaunting the national spirit.

Celebrate the Fourth of July expecting a fun-filled day that will surely leave you wanting more.

Typically held at the Pasadena Convention Center and Fairgrounds, the Pasadena 4th Fest involves a series of performances, great food, drinks, and much more.

Fourth of July celebrations in Pasadena are unlike any other; the city likes to incorporate some of its cultural practices into its festivities, such as athletic events and tractor rides, to nod to its agricultural roots.

Of course, the night wouldn’t be complete without the grand fireworks display, so be sure to stick around to see the myriad of colors explode in the night sky.

Beat the Heat at Strawberry Water Park

The heat can be pretty unbearable during summertime in Pasadena, but it’s a good thing you can beat it at Strawberry Water Park on Parkside Drive.

Strawberry Water Park may not translate to pink waters and red slides, but it’s still a great place to stay cool and spend quality time with your family.

Rent a cabana that’s good enough for a whole day, and you’re sure to enjoy all the amenities the Pasadena water park offers.

Take your kids down the water slides and other play structures, or you can head towards the lazy river and float away.

Strawberry Water Park also has a lap pool where you can practice your strokes and a poolside basketball court.

Spend a Day at Burke Crenshaw Park

Nothing beats spending a relaxing day with your favorite book and drink and sitting under the cool shade of lush green trees while in Pasadena.

You’ll be able to do just that at Burke Crenshaw Park along Burke Road.

Enjoy the comfortable silence and the city’s serene atmosphere as you walk along the park and get much-needed time away from the busy city life.

You can even have a picnic in front of the lake or go fishing for rainbow trout and catfish.

Other facilities in Burke Crenshaw Park include exercise stations, baseball fields, walking trails, playgrounds, and swings.

Book Tee Time at Pasadena Municipal Golf Course

Are you looking to get some swings in while in Pasadena?

Head over to Pasadena Municipal Golf Course and book your tee time.

Situated on Duffer Lane, the golf course covers 160 acres of land with 18 holes.

Enjoy the fantastic fairway views as you ride the golf cart to the next hole.

Those who want to learn the sport can also take up classes with Pasadena Municipal Golf Course’s professional instructors.

Have a Family Night Out at iT’Z Family Food & Fun

When in Pasadena, iT’Z Family Food & Fun is one of the best places where you can enjoy a night out with your family.

This attraction is located along Fairmont Parkway and is considered one of the premier entertainment destinations across the country.

Indulge in a variety of great food and huge pizza slices before taking on some of the entertainment center’s most popular attractions.

Bust out your hook-curve by the bowling lanes, or ride an electric car with your friends while bumping and bashing in every inch of the way.

At iT’Z Family Food & Fun, you’ll also have a blast playing a game of laser tag, conquering the laser maze, or trying out the classic video and arcade games.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Relive History at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site

The monument at San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site

Kit Leong /

Drives for a few minutes outside Pasadena going to La Porte, and you’ll see one of the many historic places Texas has to offer—the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site.

It sits in La Porte, 15 minutes outside Pasadena, and is a great tourist destination for history buffs.

Get a good look at the Houston Ship Channel and Battleship Texas from the top of the monument.

Landscape of San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site

Steve Rowell, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Through a detailed tour, you’ll learn about one of the most epic battles in American history and see how the San Jacinto victory affected the culture and heritage of Texans.

You might even hear the booming of the canyons from a distance as part of the Texas family tradition if you’re planning to visit the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site sometime in April.

History wall at San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site

Jim Evans, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Watch the Sunset at El Jardin Beach Park

There’s no better place to catch the sunset than by the sands of a nearby beach.

Lucky for you, El Jardin Beach Park is just 25 minutes from Pasadena.

Catch that picture-perfect moment when the bright orange sun sinks to the horizon, and the sky begins to change into a cooler shade of blue.

Aside from watching the sunset, you can also enjoy a simple picnic at El Jardin Beach Park and admire the natural wonders surrounding the city of Pasadena.

Go for a swim in the clear waters, or try your luck and cast a line to catch some fish swimming around.

Drive to NASA’s Johnson Space Center

Exterior of NASA’s Johnson Space Center

Tricia Daniel /

Just a few miles outside Pasadena is the city of Houston, where you’ll find NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

It’ll only take about 25 minutes to travel from Pasadena to Houston, so you’ll still have plenty of time to explore other attractions in the city.

Interior of NASA’s Johnson Space Center

Oleg Anisimov /

Space Center Houston, the official visitor center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, will take you through the wonders of space exploration.

Astronaut suit displayed in NASA’s Johnson Space Center

Oleg Anisimov /

See how future astronauts are trained and swing by Independence Plaza, where you’ll see a full-scale replica of the NASA 905 aircraft.

Visiting Space Center Houston at night is just as good as checking it out during the day, thanks to its spaced-themed lights event that anyone will surely enjoy.

A space shuttle in NASA’s Johnson Space Center

Wangkun Jia /

Traverse Sims Bayou Greenway

There are a lot of scenic walking trails around Pasadena, but if you happen to finish exploring them all, you might want to traverse Sims Bayou Greenway.

Located in Houston, only 20 minutes outside Pasadena, the greenway offers tourists a calming and relaxing experience when walking or biking along its trails.

During your trip, you may even find the perfect view to catch the Houston skyline, which is a great way to end your trip.

Explore 10-foot-wide concrete bike and walking trails during your trip.

Sims Bayou Greenway also encompasses a 20-mile stretch from Blue Ridge County Park to Milby Park.

Explore the Lone Star Flight Museum

Exterior of Lone Star Flight Museum

Mark Taylor Cunningham /

Drive from Pasadena to Houston, and you’ll reach the Lone Star Flight Museum, a must-see attraction for aircraft fanatics.

Situated along Aerospace Avenue, the museum is home to some of the most impressive exhibits and hangars you’ll ever see.

It’ll only take 20 minutes to drive from Pasadena to Houston, and exploring the Lone Star Flight Museum will be something you won’t regret.

An aircraft in Lone Star Flight Museum

Tom Durr /

Enjoy roaming around and checking out over 25 hands-on exhibits, and swing by the Flight Academy to learn everything there is to know about flying.

During your visit, you’ll be guided through four interactive sessions: the Design and Engineering Lab, Science of Flight, Briefing Room, and the most-anticipated Ground Training.

Aircrafts in Lone Star Flight Museum

Tom Durr /

Final Thoughts

The best things to do in Pasadena, Texas are simple yet worthwhile.

While enjoying the scenic sights, you’ll also be treated to some of the city’s most beloved landmarks and spaces that tell a lot about its rich history.

So what are you waiting for?

Book your trip today!

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