The sunny Pasadena situated in the bosom of the San Gabriel Mountains makes up for one of the best tourist spots in California for people of all ages. Its location makes it more attractive as it just a 10-mile drive from one of the greatest cities of California- Los Angeles. Tourists usually treat this as a pleasant weekend getaway if you want to hike a little or admire some art. But, the Tournament of Roses and the parade are what brings most of the footfall. Let us have a look at the top 15 things to do in Pasadena if you want to run away from work and relax for two-three days!
Take a Walk Around Downtown Pasadena
Downtown Pasadena is a place that speaks of history. All the buildings around downtown Pasadena reflect history and are significant. Though the buildings date back to the 19th century, the restaurants and branded shops are lined up to represent the modern 21st century.
What was once the center of trade and commerce of Pasadena, now lies fully decorated to be a tourist attraction. With its name enlisted on the National Register of Historic Places, Downtown Pasadena has a lot of spots for you to check out. Colorado Boulevard is one of the best places to check out while downtown.
There are shopping malls, food trucks, restaurants to visit if you are done with historic sightseeing. Want to click some views for your feed? Head over to the Colorado Street Bridge to snap some picturesque shots for your social media.
The Playhouse District is quite close to downtown Pasadena. So, if you are up for it, you can cover two attractions simultaneously. There is also a street designed for book lovers here in the heart of downtown!
Take a look around the Rose Bowl Stadium
Tournament of Roses is one of the main attractions of Pasadena. Hundreds of people flock to this Californian city during the time of the tournament. And, it is specifically hard to book a hotel or get a ticket if you have not taken preparations before.
This college football game that is held on the first day of every year is of huge importance to the people around. But, the stadium where it takes place is something to look at too. The Rose Parade also takes place here which you can check out if you are in town around that time. The marching bands, cheerleaders, supporters, decorations- everything makes this parade a sight to be truly enjoyed.
The stadium is now declared as an iconic landmark of Pasadena. It was constructed around 1922 and now holds several UCLA games as well as celebrations during the 4th of July.
Admire the art collection of the Huntington Library and Gardens
Henry E. Huntington was a man of culture. Heavily invested in arts, gardens, and books he founded the estate that now houses the representatives of all three of his loves!
An estate that sprawls across an area of 207 acres has everything you can ever imagine having under the same roof. In 1919, the man constructed the estate of his dreams, and now the public gets to admire it every day. The art collection is vast as well as gorgeous represent several pieces from American, French, and British art.
While talking around the Huntington Garden, we cannot say enough about the beauty for it is beyond every word of ours. During winters the roses of different colors bloom in the rose garden which makes the garden prettier than a painting.
The California garden is open to the public throughout the year having more than 50,000 native species of the Mediterranean region. Overall you can find 16 gardens having various flowers and themes along with a lake adding more to the beauty. The library has more than 9 million collections that will make your day!
Gaze at the artefacts of the Norton Simon Museum
Want to look at how a private art collection looks like? Worry not, here at the Norton Simon Museum you have fulfilled your heart’s wish. The industrialist put his heart’s desire into building an art collection. It turned out to be so phenomenal that it has now been turned into a museum of the arts.
Apart from having the main museum that displays the exceptional permanent collection, there is also a sculpture garden that has some of the best talents from all over the world. There are also a lot of workshops hosted by the museum authorities, so if you are an up and coming artist, you can sharpen your skills.
Enjoy the architecture of the Gamble House
David and Mary Gamble built the house of their dreams back in 1908 that later came to be known as the Gamble House. Charles and Henry Greene were the infamous architects who helped the owner of the Procter & Gamble Company to pursue their dreams. It was enlisted as a National Historic Landmark couple of years later in 1978.
If you are into beautiful buildings or are an architect looking for a piece of inspiration then the gamble house is a must for you all. There are a lot of private and special tours hosted where you can visit the house and look at its intricate details from Thursday to Sunday for an hour.
Visit the iconic City Hall
One of the biggest icons of the town of Pasadena, the City Hall has been standing straight since 1927 and is a massive piece of architecture. It has got great historical significance.
Built on an area of a vast 170,000 square feet, the City Hall is one of the best examples of Italian architectural excellence. A lantern sits on the top of the building representing the influence of the renaissance arts in architecture. There are more than 235 huge rooms inside with innumerable passageways running and connecting the rooms. Private tours are available which you can book and explore this massive government building.
Enjoy the scenes of Eaton Canyon Nature Center
Offering panoramic views of the San Gabriel Mountains, the Eaton Canyon Nature Center is one of the most visited tourist spots in Pasadena. It is not situated in the city center, but a short drive towards the north-eastern outskirts of Pasadena will bring you to this natural beauty.
There are a lot of trails that lead through the San Gabriel Mountains, and all of these starts in the Eaton Canyon Nature Center. Nature lovers and hikers are attracted the most to this exotic location. Stretching across 7,600 square-foot, Eaton Canyon Nature Center has something for everyone. You can hike, explore the center, or sit down for a picnic.
But, we’d urge you to have a look as there are many native plant and animal species. Also, there are a lot of rocks available here, so geologists seem to love this place.
Dine at the Raymond 1886
Want to step back in time and have dinner at a diner? Well, Raymond 1886 is everything but a diner! Located in the premium location of the well renowned Raymond Hotel that dates back to almost the 19th century, Raymond 1886 offers quite a unique dining experience.
Every food blogger makes a trip to this hotel while on their vacation in Pasadena. It is known to serve Hollywood personalities like Charlie Chaplin. The ribs and pork of this place are a must-try. Even if you aren’t a history buff, just check out the place for some of its amazing dishes. You are bound to fall in love with the ambiance and menu!
Explore Descanso Gardens
Want to take a walk among beautiful flowers far away from the chaotic city? Well, here in Descanso Garden, you don’t even have to go far away from the city. On the edge of Pasadena lies this tranquil garden which is not even 20 miles from Los Angeles.
If you are tired of city life, do come to visit this peaceful place. It is one of the major tourist attractions of both Los Angeles and Pasadena.
Descanso Garden is blessed with Japanese cherry blossom trees lined up along its paths. Other beauties include rose and camellia flowers. If you are done admiring the beauty of the garden, take a quick turn to visit the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It is managed by the authorities of NASA and is ideal for someone invested in space.
Catch a musical at the Pasadena Symphony and POPS
If you are looking for some entertainment on a pleasant Californian evening, then the Pasadena Symphony and POPS are at your service. Offering some of the best musical performances in the California area, the Pasadena Symphony and POPS also has several programs for you to take part in!
The Pasadena Symphony and POPS have performed several concerts too on brilliant pieces on Mozart Symphony No 40 and many more. They always have a schedule prepared ahead for a year. You could check it out before visiting and buy tickets if you want.
Learn at the USC Pacific Asia Museum
One of the major tourist attractions of Pasadena- USC Pacific Asia Museum is all about the Californian culture. It opened its gates back in 1971 and has been trying to teach the people about art and culture since then.
The permanent collection houses almost 17000 pieces that mainly reflects the contemporary as well as classical forms of art. You can find folk paintings from Japan, ceramics of China, Asian Buddha sculptures, and many more. You can even attend special classes that teach calligraphy, yoga, haiku, and tai chi. They also organize events and festivals all year round.
Take a glimpse of the wild Angeles National Forest
The only place in Pasadena that provides dramatic wilderness and exotic natural beauty is the San Gabriel Mountains. If you want a few days away from the city hustle, San Gabriel Mountains is the perfect relaxation spot for you. The Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountain acts as the centerpiece of greenery in Pasadena. It encompasses a vast area of 700,000 acres. There is a large option of hiking trails to choose from.
Want to camp in a forest? Buckhorn Campground is one of the most favored camping spots. Also, it offers some skiing spots when the snow covers the ground in the winter.
Revisit the old days at the Pasadena Museum of History
No place can teach you about the local history better than the Pasadena Museum of History. The museum undergoes renovations frequently so the objects change. Even if you have been here once before, there are plenty of reasons to revisit!
You can find old Californian paintings, documents, clothes, and relics here in the museum. Locals contribute to this museum so you will also get a lot of volunteers who will be willing to show you around.
Learn about the culture at the Pasadena Playhouse district
Want to visit the center of culture in the heart of Pasadena? Say no more and head over to the Pasadena Playhouse District! Located quite near to the downtown area, you can almost walk to the Pasadena Playhouse district if you want. Looking for some luxurious dining? Explore and you will find some of the finest dining opportunities in California. The museums are also located in this area for which the rea is known as the cultural center. There are also a lot of theaters where you can catch a show.
Check out the historic Pasadena Convention Center
Now from the Playhouse District, we will travel straight to the Civic Center District. In this district, we will also find the City Hall as well as the Central Library. The main attraction of the Pasadena Convention Center is its campus filled with tourist spots. You can find the Auditorium here along with an Ice Skating Center. If you have never tried your hand at ice-skating, now is the golden opportunity for you!
As you can see Pasadena is quite an alluring place with the San Gabriel Mountains located in the background. A trip to Pasadena will surely provide you with some major nature and art scenes. Not interested enough? Just run around downtown, shopping, and stuffing your face with some of the delicious Californian dishes!