A city known for hosting the annual Rose Bowl, Pasadena is a charming town conveniently located in the San Gabriel Valley. If you have 24 hours, and want to venture away from the usual beach towns for a day, here's my take on all things Pasadena, and why it should be on the top of your list of cities to visit in Los Angeles.
Stroll Old Town for the Small Boutiques & Shopping
Old Town is the business district of Pasadena. It's an area that is laced with shopping and restaurant galore, making it one of the best areas to visit in Pasadena. Check out Gold Bug for quirky jewelry and offbeat art. The General Store is a cute little boutique with clothes, sunglasses, shoes and high end personal care products. Loved Mohawk for its minimalist clothing, shoes and home goods. Pretty much, if you head to Old Town, you'll enjoy strolling up and down West Colorado Blvd, enjoying the shopping and food.
Savor the Tastes of this Foodie Paradise
There is no shortage of amazing foodie finds in Pasadena. If you're into dim sum, try Lunasia. It's incredible. The famous and delicious Union is a cosy gastropub serving Italian-influenced farm-to-table fares. For airy healthy eating, go to True Food. They have an amazing outdoor space and with indoor options too and the menu will not disappoint you. We came here for lunch and had their hummus and poke bowl. In the evening, you have to stop by the bustling 21 Choices for some of the best frozen yogurt you'll have in California. It feels a little like Cold Stone with how they custom create your mix on a frozen stone, but definitely a healthier option.
#protip: Street parking is limited in space and to two hours in Old Town, so if you plan to spend the day here, you'll either have to refeed the meter every couple hours or go to a local garage where you can find daily parking rates.
Get Your Culture On
The weather is almost always amazing in Pasadena. But if you have a rainy day, or want to explore an area outside of the walkable downtown, you can hit up the city's institutions. There's no shortage of lectures, art and music events. Check out paintings by Eduardo Carrillo at the Pasadena Museum of California Art or support community music and arts by going to the Pasadena Showcase House of Design. Hear the sound of the stars at The NASA Orbit Pavilion. You can find a full event calendar at visitpasadena.com.
Go for a Hike or Nature Walk
One of my favorite things about Pasadena is just how close you are to the mountains. They are beautifully visible from just about anywhere you go in the city. If you want to spend part of your day immersed in nature, go to Eaton Canyon Natural Area. It's a 190-acre zoological, botanical, and geological nature preserve situated at the base of the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains. Visitors can enjoy its hiking trails, equestrian trails with a staging area, picnic areas, seasonal stream, rocks and minerals. Check out Pasadena Charm's blog for more info on the best hiking trails in the region.
We are explorers.
Thrill Seekers. Foodies.