Explore Pasadena California: Top Attractions & Fun

pasadena california

Welcome to Pasadena, California! Located in Los Angeles County, this vibrant city in the San Gabriel Valley offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Pasadena has something for everyone to enjoy. From exploring charming Old Pasadena to immersing yourself in the arts and crafts architecture at the iconic Gamble House, there’s no shortage of attractions and activities to keep you entertained.

So, where is Pasadena? Pasadena is nestled in the heart of California, just northeast of downtown Los Angeles. It’s a city rich in history and known for its beautiful landscapes, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and history enthusiasts.

The city has a diverse population, with a mix of ethnicities and cultures that contribute to its vibrant atmosphere. Pasadena is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world who come to explore its many attractions.

Whether you’re interested in visiting museums, dining at delicious restaurants, or attending exciting events, Pasadena has it all. From the famous Rose Parade on Colorado Boulevard to the stunning Huntington Library, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in this captivating city.

So, let’s dive into the top attractions and must-visit places in Pasadena, California!

Key Takeaways:

  • Located in Los Angeles County, Pasadena is a charming city in the San Gabriel Valley of California.
  • From exploring historic Old Pasadena to hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.
  • Pasadena offers attractions such as the Gamble House, Rose Bowl, Huntington Library, Pasadena City Hall, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including shopping, dining, exploring museums, and attending events.
  • With its proximity to downtown Los Angeles and stunning natural landscapes, Pasadena is the perfect destination for a memorable getaway.

Walk around beautiful Old Pasadena

Old Town Pasadena, also known as Old Pasadena, is a historic downtown district that offers a charming atmosphere with its turn-of-the-century brick buildings and vibrant shops and eateries.

As you stroll along Colorado Boulevard, the famous route of the Rose Parade, you’ll be immersed in the rich history and lively energy of the area. Explore the unique boutiques and specialty stores, where you can find a wide range of products, from trendy fashion to antique treasures.

Stop by one of the delightful cafes or restaurants and savor a delicious meal or a refreshing drink amidst the picturesque surroundings. Whether you’re in the mood for casual fare or upscale dining, Old Pasadena has numerous options to satisfy your taste buds.

For a leisurely break, visit Memorial Park, a spacious green oasis offering a peaceful respite from the city bustle. Take a moment to relax and soak up the California sunshine before continuing your exploration of Old Pasadena.

Convenient Access and Nearby Attractions

Getting to Old Pasadena is easy, with the Del Mar Station serving as a major transportation hub. The Metro Gold Line connects this station to various parts of the city, making it convenient for visitors to access Old Pasadena without worrying about parking.

While in the area, consider exploring other notable attractions nearby. Just a short walk away is the prestigious Pasadena City College, known for its beautiful campus and renowned educational programs. And if you’re lucky enough to be in town on the first Sunday of the month, don’t miss the vibrant flea market at Pasadena City College, where you can find unique treasures and vintage collectibles.

Old Pasadena is truly a gem that offers a blend of history, shopping, dining, and entertainment. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, a day spent experiencing the charm and vibrancy of this district is sure to be rewarding.

Take a tour of the Gamble House

If you’re a fan of the arts and crafts movement and architectural masterpieces, a visit to the Gamble House in Pasadena is a must. Designed by Charles and Henry Greene, this iconic house serves as a prime example of the arts and crafts architecture style.

Step inside and immerse yourself in the stunning craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into every aspect of the Gamble House. From the intricately carved woodwork to the custom-designed furniture, every element showcases the creativity and skill of the Greene brothers.

Guided tours are available, allowing visitors to explore the house and learn about its rich history. Discover how the Gamble family played a significant role in the development of Pasadena and the cultural heritage of the region.

Located near the Pasadena Museum of History and the Finnish Folk Art Museum, the Gamble House is a destination that appeals to both history enthusiasts and architecture aficionados.

gamble house

The Arts and Crafts Movement

  • The arts and crafts movement emerged in the late 19th century as a reaction against the industrialization and mass production of goods.
  • It emphasized craftsmanship, simplicity, and the beauty of natural materials.
  • Charles and Henry Greene were prominent architects associated with this movement.

The Gamble House: An Architectural Marvel

  • The Gamble House is considered one of Charles and Henry Greene’s greatest achievements.
  • Its harmonious integration with the natural surroundings and innovative use of space make it a true architectural masterpiece.
  • The house has been recognized as a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Whether you’re fascinated by the arts and crafts movement or simply appreciate extraordinary architecture, a visit to the Gamble House will leave you inspired and in awe of this remarkable treasure.

Hunt for Antiques at the Rose Bowl

If you’re a fan of vintage treasures and unique finds, make sure to visit the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena. This iconic stadium is not only renowned for hosting college football playoffs and the Rose Bowl Game, but it also hosts a famous flea market.

The Rose Bowl Flea Market takes place on the second Sunday of each month, and it is a treasure trove for antique enthusiasts. Here, you can browse through a wide selection of vintage clothing, antique furniture, and other one-of-a-kind items. Whether you’re looking to add a touch of nostalgia to your wardrobe or searching for the perfect statement piece for your home, this flea market has it all.

If you can’t make it to the Rose Bowl Flea Market, don’t worry! You can also explore the Pasadena City College Flea Market, which is held on the first Sunday of every month. This market offers an equally impressive collection of vintage items and antiques.

Why Visit the Rose Bowl Flea Market

  • Uncover hidden gems: Discover unique vintage clothing, antique furniture, and collectibles that you won’t find anywhere else.
  • Find one-of-a-kind pieces: Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting to delve into the world of antiques, you’re sure to discover something special.
  • Support local vendors: The Rose Bowl Flea Market and Pasadena City College Flea Market provide a platform for local sellers to showcase their curated collections.
  • Immerse yourself in history: As you browse the stalls, you’ll get a sense of the rich history and stories behind each item.

So, if you’re in search of a unique shopping experience and a chance to uncover hidden treasures, head over to the Rose Bowl Stadium or the Pasadena City College Flea Market. You never know what incredible finds await you!

Enjoy books and botany at the Huntington Library

The Huntington Library, located in nearby San Marino, is a cultural treasure that combines art, literature, and nature. Founded by Henry E. Huntington in the early 20th century, the library is home to an extensive collection of rare books, manuscripts, and historical documents, including the famous Gutenberg Bible.

But the Huntington Library is not just a haven for book lovers. Its outdoor spaces are equally captivating, with stunning gardens that showcase different styles and themes. One of the highlights is the Chinese Garden, a tranquil oasis of lush greenery, pavilions, and beautiful water features. It’s the perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Art enthusiasts will also appreciate the collection of fine art at the library. From the iconic painting “The Blue Boy” to the impressive sculpture garden, there is something to inspire and delight every visitor.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or an art aficionado, the Huntington Library offers a truly immersive experience. Explore the library’s fascinating holdings, wander through the enchanting outdoor spaces, and discover the beauty that lies within.

huntington library

Key Highlights of the Huntington Library

  • Extensive library holdings, including rare books and manuscripts
  • Beautifully designed outdoor spaces, such as the Chinese Garden
  • Impressive art collection, featuring renowned works like “The Blue Boy”
  • Tranquil sculpture garden

Pretend you’re in Pawnee at Pasadena City Hall

Pasadena City Hall is a stunning piece of architectural history that showcases the wealth and beauty of the city. With its Renaissance-inspired details and grand arches, the building is a must-see attraction. Designed by architects John Bakewell and Arthur Brown, Pasadena City Hall was completed in 1927 and stands as a testament to the city’s rich architectural heritage.

Feast your eyes on the intricate carvings and majestic columns that adorn the exterior of City Hall. Step inside to admire the grandeur of the Rotunda, with its ornate ceiling and marble floors. Take a self-guided tour to explore the various rooms and halls, each showcasing unique design elements that reflect the Renaissance style.

But Pasadena City Hall isn’t just a historic landmark; it has also made its mark in popular culture. Fans of the hit TV show Parks and Recreation may recognize Pasadena City Hall as the iconic Pawnee City Hall. The building served as the filming location for numerous scenes throughout the series. So, if you’re a fan of the show, be sure to snap a selfie outside the famous building!

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Pasadena City Hall during your trip to Pasadena. This architectural gem offers a glimpse into the city’s past while capturing the imaginations of fans of Parks and Recreation. Experience the elegance, history, and allure of one of Pasadena’s most iconic landmarks.

What to see at Pasadena City Hall:

  • Exquisite Renaissance-inspired architecture
  • Intricate carvings and grand arches
  • The Rotunda with its ornate ceiling
  • The self-guided tour of the various rooms and halls
  • The filming location of Pawnee City Hall in Parks and Recreation

Visit mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a renowned NASA facility located in Pasadena, California. As a hub for space exploration, JPL plays a crucial role in advancing our understanding of the universe. When you visit JPL, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the groundbreaking work being done by scientists and engineers on the latest missions.

During a guided tour of the facility, you’ll get an up-close look at the cutting-edge equipment used for space exploration. From the Voyager probes, which have traveled further into space than any other human-made object, to the Mars rovers, which have revolutionized our knowledge of the Red Planet, JPL is at the forefront of space exploration.

One of the highlights of visiting JPL is the chance to attend the annual open house. This special event allows the public to step behind the scenes and experience the excitement of mission control firsthand. From interactive exhibits to engaging presentations by scientists, the open house offers a unique insight into the world of space exploration.


Where is Pasadena located?

Pasadena is located in Los Angeles County, California.

What are some attractions in Pasadena?

Some attractions in Pasadena include Old Town Pasadena, the Gamble House, the Rose Bowl Stadium, the Huntington Library, Pasadena City Hall, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

What can I do in Old Town Pasadena?

In Old Town Pasadena, you can stroll along Colorado Boulevard, shop at vibrant shops, dine at charming eateries, and enjoy the historic atmosphere.

What is the Gamble House?

The Gamble House is a historic house in Pasadena designed by Charles and Henry Greene, showcasing the Arts and Crafts architectural style. Visitors can take guided tours of the house.

Can I find antiques at the Rose Bowl?

Yes, the Rose Bowl Stadium hosts a monthly flea market where you can hunt for vintage clothing, antique furniture, and unique finds.

What can I see at the Huntington Library?

The Huntington Library features a mix of art, literature, and nature. You can explore rare books, impressive art pieces, beautiful gardens, and outdoor spaces.

Is Pasadena City Hall famous?

Yes, Pasadena City Hall is known for its architectural history and Renaissance-inspired details. It gained fame as the filming location for Pawnee City Hall in the TV show Parks and Recreation.

Can I visit the Jet Propulsion Laboratory?

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory offers guided tours to the public where you can see scientists working on space exploration projects and learn about missions like the Voyager probes and Mars rovers.