Originally Posted onto TheCultureTrip.com 4/14/16
Pasadena is one of Southern California’s most overlooked day trip cities. Home to the Rose Bowl Stadium as well as the annual Tournament of Roses Parade that stretches up Colorado Boulevard every January 1st, this town is known for its opulence and displays of prosperity, which has granted it the fitting nickname of the “Crown City”.
Here are 10 activities to start off your day with the San Gabriel Mountain’s most beautiful city.
For fans of giant buildings and timeless architecture, the Pasadena City Hall is a must on your stop into the city. Setting the tone for the rest of the town with its grand size, beauty, and not to mention overwhelming cleanness, the City Hall building welcomes visitors to Pasadena with its massive arches, master stone work and majestic domes.
Look familiar but can’t quite put your finger on where you have seen this before? This is the location that doubled for Pawnee’s own City Hall in the NBC television show Parks and Recreation.
100 Garfield Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101 | (626) 744-4000
Pasadena City Hall © HumbleOpinion/Flickr
Braise & Crumble Café
Almost straight out of an Instagram post, the Braise & Crumble Cafe is a hidden gem that is well worth the trip. Menu items like short rib tacos, fried mac ‘n cheese cubes, and gorgonzola potato salad cause this place to haunt even the most sophisticated of palettes to come back for more. Moving into the neighborhood in 2014, this eatery boasts a hip ambiance with a flair for Asian and Southern fusion.
40 N. Mentor Ave. Pasadena, CA 91106 | 626-460-8600
Keeping up with architectural beauties, California Technical Institute is a must see, especially for those still trying to decide which college to attend in the fall. A place where rocket science is actually taught, the layout of the campus is lined with architectural influences ranging all the way Spanish tiles to Renaissance-ian columns and cornices. The campus centrally is located in Pasadena and within walking distance, or short Uber ride away, from Old Town Pasadena and other points of interest.
A fun fact for those that are fans of the CBS sit-com The Big Bang Theory, this university employs the four fictional protagonists of the show. Go Beavers!
1200 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91125 | (626) 395-6811
Colorado Street Bridge
Driving into the city? Why not take the time to take the scenic route! The beautiful Colorado Street Bridge is enjoyable even if you miss your exit to drive on it and stay on the freeway that runs adjacent to it. First opened to public crossing back in 1913, this gloriously lit bridge is a highlight for travelers and lovers alike to stroll across and even take engagement photos on. Watch for oncoming cars though, as this is not a pedestrian only bridge!
S1 P 1502 © California to Chicago/Flickr
With enough points of interest to take up more than half of your day, Old Town Pasadena stretches down Colorado Boulevard and seeps into the streets that run adjacent. Well known eateries, Pasadena exclusives, and tons of high end shopping outlets make this stretch of outdoor entertainment a great area to start your day of exploration in Pasadena. Old Town also has a bar and pub corridor for Pasadena’s +21 audiences to cut loose and relax in.
Union Street, Old Pasadena, Pasadena, California © Ken Lund/Flickr
Norton Simon Museum
Pasadena is an art lover’s city, and one of the hubs that serve as a muse to local artists is the Norton Simon Museum. Previously called the Pasadena Art Institute, this establishment opened its doors as a viewable collection of art back in ’69 and houses works by notables Manet and Rembrandt, and now also serves as home to works by artists Goya and Degas. This venue does however close on the early side of the day, so be sure to move this stop toward the beginning of your Pasadena day trip!
411 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105 | (626) 449-6840
S1 P 1513 © California to Chicago/Flickr
Keeping with the theme of artsy locales, the Huntington Library is an unignorable stop for art and history lovers in the Pasadena area. Doubling as an institute for artistic studying and preservation, this particular study center hosts over 6 million texts and artifacts all dating as far back as the 1400’s! Even non literature lovers can appreciate that.
The Huntington also boasts one of the most scenic botanical gardens this side of Los Angeles, which makes it an ideal wedding proposal spot, so keep an eye out for folks down on bended knee and try not to get caught in the photography crossfire!
1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108 | (626) 405-2100
Kidspace Children’s Museum
For those traveling with kids, or just consider themselves to be a kids at heart, the Kids Space Children’s Museum offers educational and hands on entertainment about the natural world that surrounds them every day. A museum built around the concept of discovery, the Kidspace Children’s Museum holds a wide range of activities including live shows, interactive science experiments, and even science themed obstacle courses!
480 N. Arroyo Blvd. Pasadena, Ca 91103 | (626) 449-9144
Into the live arts? The Pasadena Playhouse is always in session with its beautiful architecture and historical significance to thespians and play-watchers alike. Built in 1924, these stages have given fame and stage education to notables such as Gene Hackman, Raymond Burr, Dustin Hoffman and countless other stars. Housing 686 seats in its main theater, each with a perfect view, the Pasadena Playhouse is a great place to soak in a show and cap off the day in scenic Pasadena.
39 S. El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101 | (626) 356-7529
Theater © Canon in 2D/Flickr
Eaton Canyon Hiking Trails
If staying in museums aren’t for you, then heading outdoors to the hiking trails that branch off of Eaton Canyon should take a notable place on your list of activities for the day. With break offs that can take you up to the Eaton Canyon Water Falls (or water trickles depending on when in the year you visit), the view at the top of the trail head lets you see all of the sprawling layout that is Pasadena, California. Like most of the city, the trails are doggy accessible, so feel free to bring the four legged family members along for the trip.
1750 N Altadena Dr., Altadena, CA 91001 | (626) 574-5200
Eaton Canyon © Al Pavangkanan/Flickr