33 Best Things to Do in Pasadena, California – From a Local

Looking for things to do in Pasadena, California? Plan a day trip or spend a weekend or longer in the city of Roses.

Sitting at dinner one day, enjoying a beautiful meal on a lovely patio in Pasadena’s many excellent restaurants, we suddenly realized… we didn’t have to leave Pasadena if we didn’t want to.

When we go out to enjoy a day in Pasadena, we sometimes feel like we’re on vacation.

Let us explain.

Pasadena is a fascinating city with a rich history – it was incorporated in 1886. It is a city full of rich history, charming neighborhoods, and old historic buildings with preserved architecture. It is a city with sites, attractions, and family-friendly events and activities that happen year-round.

We have our own convention center, performing arts theater, movie theaters, ballet company, ice skating center, flea markets, antique shops, museums, botanical gardens, parks, hiking trails, a yearly nationally broadcasted Rose Parade, and a stadium – hello, Rose Bowl!

Pasadena is also known for its foodie scene. There are tons of options, from mom-and-pop restaurants, pubs, food trucks, and hole-in-the-wall spots to Michelin-guide restaurants serving unique dishes. No matter what you’re into, we guarantee you’ll find something delicious in Pasadena.

The beach is the only thing we miss here, but it’s not a deal breaker. We have a waterfall; take hike Eaton Canyon Falls trail. We also have an aquatic center with community pool times. 

Pasadena is surrounded by other cool cities in the San Gabriel Valley, like Altadena, Sierra Madre, San Marino, La Cañada, Arcadia, Monrovia, and Alhambra. And we are 20 minutes from Downtown Los Angeles on a good day. It’s a great place to stay if you want to explore this part of LA County.

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Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we earn a commission at no extra cost. Please refer to our full disclosure for details.

This article shares the best things to do in Pasadena, California. Is it everything? No, because that would make this list a little unmanageable, and we don’t want to overwhelm you with choices. 

We visited Pasadena for years before we made the official move, taking advantage of all it offers. It only took me several years of living here to finally post about the best things to do in Pasadena. 

Here are a few fun facts about Pasadena:

  • Pasadena is home to the Rose Bowl.
  • The Rose Parade is one of the biggest Pasadena attractions in Pasadena on New Year’s Day (sometimes the day after).
  • Many movies and TV Shows are filmed or set in Pasadena (Father of the Bride, Big Bang Theory, and more).
  • Julia Child was born and raised here.
  • Trader Joe’s founded and opened its first store here.
  • The cheeseburger was invented in Pasadena.
  • Van Halen emigrated to and lived in Pasadena. His band took off from here.

Table of Contents

Things to Do in Pasadena, CA

Explore Historic Old Town Pasadena

What are the things to do in Old Pasadena? You can spend the day shopping, exploring its nooks, or eating your way through “Old Pas”.

1. Explore Old Pasadena

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Most visitors to Pasadena always end up in old Pasadena at some point or another, or at least pass through it. It’s the city’s heart. It spans 22 blocks and houses over 300 businesses, providing endless options for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Begin your walk on Colorado Boulevard, the historic Route 66 home of the Rose Parade. Discover shops, restaurants, and bars in turn-of-the-century brick buildings. Explore the historic alleys off of Colorado Boulevard for an authentic experience of Old Pasadena.

And with its charming alleys and corners, it’s fun to get lost while exploring. You never know what unique shop, street art, historical find, or lovely restaurant is around the corner.

Make sure to look upwards and even down along the sidewalk and in front of buildings. You’ll find some incredible architectural and historical details preserved around town.

The downside of Old Pasadena is the parking. Expect to pay if you park on the street or in one of the city’s garages, which can cost up to $10.

Street parking is cheaper as you can pay per hour if you don’t plan to be there all day, and that’s if you can find a spot. Make sure to have the Passport Parking app downloaded on your phone and ready to pay.

Top Foodie Pick: Check out Russell’s for the best breakfast and brunch in Old Pasadena. Make reservations for the best pasta at Union or amazing French-inspired cuisine at Perle. a local favorite in Pasadena.

2. Check out One Colorado

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Notice the historical ghost sign on the white structure of Olune’s Pasadena Theatre. These are the kind of details that are easily missed.

Check out the lovely courtyard at One Colorado, which is slightly hidden. Just walk down the alley by Sephora or Miller Alley you’ll find a great outdoor space. When events are not taking place, the space is free to come and sit with a friend and a cup of coffee.

At One Colorado, you can dine al fresco at restaurants like Sage Vegan Bistro or Il Fornaio or attend one of the many events throughout the year, such as silent disco, live music, outdoor movies, games, and more.

Don’t forget to stop by one of the prettiest cafes, Coffee and Plants, for an iced matcha.

3. Walk Down Green Street

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Strolling down Green Street

We love to walk down Green Street because of the blue lights around the trees, making it a charming stroll at night. People are dining outdoors or taking an evening stroll as they make their way around Old Pasadena.

Some of our favorite restaurants are on Green St, like Entre Nous and Agnes.

4. Find Big Bang Theory Way

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Big Bang Theory fans may know that the hit TV show was set in Pasadena. For the shows 200th episode, the city celebrated by naming a street, technically an alley in Pasadena, as Big Bang Theory Way. In addition, they dedicated February 25th as Big Bang Theory Day.

Fun Fact: Real-life locations in Pasadena were used in the show; check out more on that in this article by LAist.com.

5. See a Movie at iPic Theater

This luxury movie theater is a must-do if you haven’t treated yourself to soft leather lie-back seats and delicious dinner service for a movie night. We were pleasantly surprised at how comfortable the seats were. I loved the blankets handed out so you could get cozy in your seat for the movie. Be aware that you may fall asleep.

It is pricey, but you should first sign up for their free Silver membership, as that automatically gives you a discount on their regular-priced tickets. Book movie tickets and select seats in advance as they sell out fast.

Food and beverages are extra on top of admission.

6. Play Classic Arcade Games at the NEON Retro Arcade


Located in Old Town Pasadena, the Neon Retro Arcade is a vintage arcade with more than 40 arcades and pinball machines. For anyone closer to my age, this fun Pasadena spot will take you back to your childhood. Play Tetris, Donkey Kong, PacMan, and many more.

This is a great spot to bring your family for some innocent fun. Plan a family day or night. Enjoy an hour or two at Neon Retro Arcade, then get some ice cream at Wanderlust Creamery.

  • The cost is $15 for one hour or $25 for all-day gaming
  • Reservations are available.

Neon Retro Arcade | 28 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena | Google Map It

7. Stop by Amara’s Cafe for Spanish Style Churros

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Amara Cafe Spanish Style churros are made to order.

If you’re a foodie lover and love churros, do yourself a favor and stop by Amara’s Cafe on Raymond Ave for some legit Spanish-style churros. Take them to go as you continue to explore Old Pasadena, or sit down and enjoy them with their delicious hot chocolate or coffee. Dipping sauces are also available.

Their South American breakfast is also as delicious as it sounds. Their breakfast arepas and cachapas had me at first bite.

Amara’s Cafe | 55 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena | Google Map It

8. Visit Pasadena City Hall

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Visiting Pasadena City Hall on a beautiful day.

If you’re in Old Pasadena, you don’t want to miss seeing Pasadena City Hall. While we do have beautiful architecture all around Pasadena, this beauty is a vital landmark in Pasadena. It was completed in 1927 and is where our city government offices reside.

We recommend visiting during the week when it’s not crowded with weddings and other occasions. Although, you never know what you’ll run into here when visiting. It has been known to be featured in a couple of films and TV shows in the past, most recently Apple TV’s drama series Truth Be Told.

Wander inside and visit the beautiful courtyard. It can be very peaceful and a great spot to meet a friend for a chat.

And at night, it is just as beautiful to see.

Our favorite time is Christmas when they have the tree lit up inside. Christmas in Pasadena is pretty special.

Pasadena City Hall | Garfield Ave, Pasadena (Google Map It)

9. Visit Plaza de Las Fuentes

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You can cross through city hall, past the fountain, and the back entrance. Across the street, on the other side of S Euclid, you’ll find Plaza de Las Fuentes.

The literal translation is Plaza of Fountains. Here you’ll find a beautifully designed courtyard with fountains of pools, beautiful tiled artwork, and the perfect spot to spend a quiet afternoon.

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This is the view from California Pizza Kitchen’s outdoor dining area.
Tip: Dine in the outdoor area of California Pizza Kitchen for a fantastic view of Plaza de Las Fuentes and city hall. 

Plaza de Las Fuentes | 135 N Los Robles Ave, Pasadena | Google Map It

10. Spend the Afternoon at the Simon Norton Museum

pond and garden at the norton simon museum

The Norton Simon Museum was previously known as the Pasadena Art Institute. It has a vast European, Asian, modern, and contemporary art collection.

The Simon Norton Museum is a Pasadena gem. It’s small, but it’s packed with a diverse art collection.

One of the best things to do in Pasadena is its charming sculpture garden. From the museum’s exterior, you would never think a beautiful garden surrounded it. On a beautiful day, it’s the perfect escape.

Stay up to date with the current and upcoming exhibitions.

  • The museum is currently closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
  • Open from 12 pm to 5 pm.

Simon Norton Museum | 411 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena | Google Map It

What to do in Pasadena, CA?

Pasadena is a lively and diverse city with much more beyond its historic center. Visitors can explore the beautiful architecture of the city’s many neighborhoods, such as the Craftsman-style homes in Bungalow Heaven, or take a tour at Gamble House.

The city is also home to the Rose Bowl and the Rose Parade.

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking in the nearby San Gabriel Mountains or exploring one of the area’s many botanical gardens.

Let’s explore the other things to do in Pasadena.

11. The Rose Bowl

the rose bowl sign in pasadena

The Rose Bowl Stadium is a famous and historic American football stadium in Pasadena, California. It has been the home venue of the UCLA Bruins football team since 1982.

This National Historic Landmark hosts the annual Rose Bowl Game on New Year’s Day. It starts right after the Rose Parade. The Rose Bowl stadium and its grounds are used for many events throughout the year, which locals and visitors attend to.

  • Concerts
  • Festivals
  • Flea Market
  • July 4th Amerifest Firework Display
  • Stay up to date with events at the Rose Bowl.
  • Rose Bowl Stadium public tours are available on the last Friday of every month.

As locals, we like to go to the Rose Bowl to get our steps in at the Rose Bowl loop, a great activity for the entire family.

The Rose Bowl | 1001 Rose Bowl Dr, Pasadena | Google Map It

12. Rose Bowl Flea Market

The iconic Rose Bowl Flea Market is one of the best things to do in Pasadena. This huge outdoor market occurs on the second Sunday of every month – so mark your calendars!

It’s a great place to find unique treasures. You can find anything from vintage clothes to antique furniture at this market. If you’re looking for a special gift for someone, this is where you’ll find it.

The Rose Bowl Flea Market is worth checking out. This is a fun day out in Pasadena. Start your day here early. Especially if it’s going to be a hot day, wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be walking a lot.

  • At this time, tickets are sold online only
  • For more info on The Rose Bowl Flea Market: click here

13. Start Planning to Attend The Rose Parade

One of the top things to do in Pasadena is attend the Rose Parade. This New Year’s Day celebration has been a local pride and joy for over a century.

This is a great family-friendly event. For locals and visitors from afar to celebrate, some begin festivities on New Year’s Eve. Drive down Colorado Boulevard the morning of New Year’s Eve, and you’ll see people camping out to hold their spots overnight. Many traditions take place during these hours.

Confession: We do live right off the route. We can hear the festivities from our home as the New Year is rung. We even wake up on New Year’s morning to hear the sounds of the parade. However, we have yet to attend the parade.

What kind of local does that make me? An introvert who prefers to watch it peacefully from her warm, cozy living room. What can we say? Crowds aren’t for everyone.

14. Post-Parade Float Showcase

This leads me to the post-parade events.

If you can’t make it to the parade, you can enjoy the fun after it by seeing the parade floats. The floats are showcased for two days. If you can’t make it on Jan 1st, plan for Jan 2nd. It is fun and a great family activity that could be a yearly tradition.

Buy Rose Parade Tickets Here | Buy Post Parade Tickets Here.

15. Pasadena Farmer’s Market

There are two official Pasadena Farmer markets. There used to be one in Old Town on Saturday mornings, but that has closed. If you’re in the neighborhood during one of the scheduled days, this is a great place to stop up on local veggies and treats.

Victory Park

  • Every Saturday
  • 8 am to 12 pm

Villa Park Center

  • Every Tuesday
  • 8:30 am to 12:30 pm

16. Support Vroman’s Bookstore


This Pasadena favorite on Colorado Blvd is a beloved spot. Throughout the pandemic, this bookshop was closed for in-person shopping, and we feared it would close down. If you’re in the area and in the market for some books, please stop by and support one of our local bookstores.

Many events and author signings take place at Vroman’s. Check here to see if one of your favorite authors will appear soon.

Vroman’s Bookstore | 695 E Colorado Blvd | Google Map It

17. See a Play or Show at Pasadena Playhouse

Pasadena Playhouse is a historic performing arts theater in Pasadena, California that opened in 1925. Every year, the Pasadena Playhouse hosts a variety of concerts, events, and shows. With 686 seats, it’s the perfect size for a cozy and intimate experience.

If you’re looking for a great night out in Pasadena, check out what’s playing at the Pasadena Playhouse: tickets & events.

Pasadena Playhouse | 39 S El Molino Ave, Pasadena | Google Map It

18. The Huntington Library

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Japanese Garden at the Huntington Library Botanical Gardens

The Huntington Library is another great reason to visit Pasadena. This extraordinary institution is a research library and an art museum with botanical gardens. Fourteen gardens, to be exact.

You can spend the day here absorbing everything in their galleries and then wandering into their 14 gardens to be transported into another world.

The Huntington Library is a beautiful place to visit at any time of year. However, if you are wondering when it would be best to visit, we recommend going in the Spring and Summer when everything is in bloom.

  • Open from 10 am to 5 pm.
  • Closed only on Tuesdays.
  • Reservations are required for weekends only and Monday holidays.
  • You can make weekday reservations in advance for faster check-in.
  • Free tickets are available on the last Thursday of every month. Check their website for info.

The Huntington Library | 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino | Google Map It

19. Go shopping at The Shops on Lake Avenue

Looking to do some more shopping? Visit the shops on South Lake Avenue. You’ll find large retailers, boutiques, small shops, and a ton of great eateries here.

Don’t miss Pasadena Commons. A charming nook off of Lake Ave with some fantastic dining like Dan Modern Chinese, Mercado, Philz Coffe, and more.

The Shops on Lake | 345 S Lake Ave, Pasadena | Google Map It

20. Discover the Boutique Shops at The Burlington Arcade

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Burlington Arcade in Pasadena

We’d call this a hidden gem in Pasadena. You don’t know until you’re strolling down Lake Avenue and come across the “secret nook.” This is exactly how we discovered it a few years after living here.

There isn’t much to do here besides visiting the little boutique shops or stopping by Float for a delicious rootbeer float and sandwich. Walking through feels like you’re transported abroad for a few minutes. However, I thought I’d include this for anyone who appreciates beautiful architecture and a London red telephone booth.

Top Foodie Pick: Check out this charming and delicious shop, Float.

The Burlington Arcade | 380 S Lake Ave, Pasadena | Google Map It

Don’t Miss: Where to Find Delicious Burgers in Pasadena

21. Go hiking at Eaton Canyon Trail

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This popular local trail is moderate and leads to a pretty waterfall. The Eaton Canyon Falls trail is about 4 miles round trip. Depending on which day you go, expect it to be heavy traffic.

This is the one trail we thoroughly enjoy because we can get through it and not feel that we will not make it. The scenery is great, and the beat is you’ll reach a waterfall. On a good day after a rainy season, it’s a glorious sight.

It is dog-friendly, but be advised that you may see wildlife while hiking. Eaton Canyon is a natural and wildlife-preserved area.

Eaton Canyon Nature Center | 1750 N Altadena Dr, Pasadena | Google Map It

22. Stroll Descanso Gardens

Lilacs in the Spring at Descanso Gardens

Located not far in the neighboring town of La Canada Flintridge, the Descanso Gardens is a botanical garden open all year round. With 150 acres to explore, it is a great family-friendly activity that everyone will enjoy.

Every year we look forward to attending a few of their most loved events:

  • Fall and Halloween: Carved
  • Holiday Event: Enchanted Forest of Lights
  • Advanced tickets are required for non-members.
  • Open Monday – Friday from 9 am to 8 pm. Saturday and Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm.
  • On the first day of the month, FREE tickets are available for advanced reservations for the first Tuesday of every month. See more info here.

Descanso Gardens | 1418 Descanso Dr, La Cañada Flintridge | Google Map It

23. Take the Kiddos to the Kidspace Children’s Museum

outside of kidspace childrns museum

The Kidspace Children’s Museum is one of my niece’s favorites. Not only because it’s a wonderful interactive museum for children, but it also has two great parks right across from it: Brookside Park and Rose Bowl Children’s Playground. You can imagine my in-laws would start at the park and end at the museum or vice versa.

This museum usually has many hands-on and active activities for children. Your child will have fun, make discoveries, and experience a few adventures like riding a tricycle through Tike Tracks, walking a rope bridge, and more. Everyone will leave happy, and the children will fall asleep on the car ride home.

Tip: Bring a change of clothes and a towel for the kiddos.

  • Advanced reservations are required.

Top Foodie Pick: Hit up the Luggage Room Pizzeria.

Kidspace Children’s Museum | 480 N Arroyo Blvd, Pasadena | Google Map It

24. Visit The Gamble House

The Gamble House is a historic house museum preserved to showcase the architectural design of the American Craftsman. It is one of many craftsman homes designed by brothers Charles and Henry Greene in Pasadena.

If you’re an architectural lover, this one-hour tour of this historic home may interest you.

Fun fact: The Gamble was featured as Doc Brown's house in Back to the Future. 

Top Foodie Pick: Eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the local fave La Grande Orange Cafe.

The Gamble House | 4 Westmoreland Pl, Pasadena | Google Map It

– Don’t Miss: 8 Must-Visit Museums in Pasadena

25. Check out The Colorado Street Bridge

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The Colorado Street Bridge is one of my favorite architectural landmarks in Pasadena. Every time I drive back to Pasadena, I can’t help but admire it from the 210 freeway.

Sadly, it doesn’t have the greatest history throughout the years, which I will not get into here. However, it is worth a look or a drive over this beautiful bridge.

26. Desiderio Neighborhood Park

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Perfect view of the bridge

To get a safe and beautiful view of Colorado Street Bridge, visit Desiderio Neighborhood Park. This is one of my favorite parks in Pasadena because of the view of the bridge. You could visit, have a picnic or take a stroll through this small park as you admire the bridge’s arches and architectural details.

The park is located in Lower Arroyo. There is a playground, a few picnic tables, and a public restroom.

Desiderio Neighborhood Park | 10 N Arroyo Blvd, Pasadena | Google Map It

27. Go Ice Skating at the Pasadena Ice Skating Center

After being closed for some time due to the pandemic, the Pasadena Ice Skating Center is now open.

While this ice skating rink is used for lessons, ice hockey, and other events, you can find on their schedule that they are open for public skating. You can also rent the rink for groups and parties.

Pasadena Ice Skating Center | 300 E Green St, Pasadena | Google Map It

28. Find Nostalgia at Fair Oaks Pharmacy Soda Fountain

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This old-school soda shop is located in South Pasadena, and it is one of our favorite spots to take first-time visitors because it is filled with so much nostalgia. While it is still a working pharmacy, its old-fashioned soda fountain counter is a blast from the past.

Bring the kiddos for ice cream. Check out all the classic toys, candies, and gifts.

And yes, this is still a working pharmacy.

  • Currently closed on the weekends.
  • Open weekday afternoons only.

Fair Oaks Pharmacy | 1526 Mission St, South Pasadena | Google Map It

29. Ice House Comedy Club

Located on Mentor Ave, Ice House Comedy Club is a great date night or night out with friends. What more could you ask for a couple of drinks and some laughs?

This comedy venue has been around since the 1960s. It is one of the first and oldest comedy clubs in America. It was recently updated and is now open to the public.

The Ice House | 24 N Mentor Ave, Pasadena | Google Map It

30. Enjoy a Ballet Performance by the Pasadena Civic Ballet

Not until recently did we know that Pasadena has its own ballet company, the Pasadena Civic Ballet. I saw their Instagram feed and adored their Wizard of Oz promotional spots around Old Town. Since then, I’ve been a fan.

If you’re a fan of ballet performances, check to see what upcoming events they have. It can be a great date or family night out. This talented group shouldn’t be missed.

31. Check Out The Paseo

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The Paseo is an outdoor mall in Pasadena with shops and restaurants. It can be a great place to start when looking for something to do in the city. This is where we first started our trips in Pasadena. We’d come here to see a movie at the Arclight, which unfortunately closed down recently (it’s missed).

The Antique Mall here is cool to visit. Great Maple is great for drinks and a sinful lunch. Yardhouse has a yummy late-night menu with a variety of beers.

The Paseo | 280 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena | Google Map It

32. See a Movie at Landmark Pasadena Playhouse

Landmark purchased Laemmle’s Playhouse 7. This neighborhood theater received a full makeover and recently reopened as Landmark Pasadena Playhouse theater.

You can now watch the latest films and independent movies at the Landmark Pasadena Playhouse in spacious and comfortable lounger seats that recline. It’s a 7-screen theater; however, the auditoriums are not huge but small and cozy.

We suggest booking tickets in advance if you plan to see a movie on the weekend.

Note: Parking is behind the theater and Vroman’s off Union St and N Oak Ave.

Laemmle’s Playhouse | 673 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena | Google Map It

33. Take a Pasadena Walking Tour

Want to learn more about Pasadena? Book a guided walking tour with Pasadena Walking Tours. Every week they have 1-2 different tours exploring Pasadena and also another tour exploring the haunted side of Pasadena. Sometimes there is even a tour available for South Pasadena.

Check their calendar for more info on dates and times: click here.

  • Cost: $25 pp
  • Tours are 2 hours

Where to Stay in Pasadena

Planning a little local getaway to Pasadena? Landing in LAX, but planning to stay outside the city of Los Angeles? What’s wonderful about Pasadena is that its own city in the center of everything.

The Langham

The Langham is a luxury resort hotel right by the San Gabriel Mountains. If you’re looking for a relaxing couple of days away, this hotel is for you. This iconic hotel has gorgeous rooms, a spa, a pool, and 23 acres of lush grounds that make you feel like you’re on vacation.

Personally, we have not stayed here yet. It is our goal to do a staycation here soon. But when our cousin was making a stopover in LA on his way to his honeymoon in Hawaii, we recommended The Langham. He and his wife raved about their short stay.

It’s probably one of the most beautiful Pasadena hotels we’ve been in. We love that it’s little ways away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Pasadena.

The Langham | 1401 S Oak Knoll Ave, Pasadena | Google Map It
Book a Hotel Room

Marriott Courtyard Old Town Pasadena

Prefer to be in the heart of it all?

The Marriott Courtyard is in the heart of downtown Pasadena. It’s a great hotel if you prefer to keep restaurants and shops within walking distance.

If you’re not planning on renting a car, you can easily take an Uber here to some of the attractions above.

Marriott Courtyard | 180 North Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena | Google Map It
Book a Hotel Room

Looking for other hotel options? Check out our Top Places to Stay in Pasadena.


Where is Pasadena located in California?

Pasadena is located in the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles County, California. It is about 11 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

How far is Pasadena from Los Angeles?

Depending – because this is LA- it’s around 20-30 minutes from the city of Los Angeles to Pasadena or vice versa. Alternatively, you can take the Metro Gold Line train from Union Station in Los Angeles to Pasadena, which also takes 20-30 minutes.

What is Pasadena famous for?

While Pasadena is well known for several things, it is most notably known for the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game on New Year’s Day.

Is Pasadena worth visiting?

Yes. Pasadena is a city full of history, fun things to do, beautiful architecture, and amazing restaurants. It’s a city that worth exploring and spending time in.

What are the top attractions to visit in Pasadena?

A few top attractions in Pasadena are Old Town Pasadena, Rose Bowl, Norton Simon Museum, Gamble House, Huntington Library, and Descanso Gardens.

When is the best time of year in Pasadena?

It’s always a great time to visit Pasadena. One of our favorite times of year is the holidays. After living in the South Bay area of Los Angeles for almost ten years, it never felt like Christmas. Not unless we visited the Grove. Once we moved to Pasadena and experienced our first Christmas here, it was the first time we truly felt the holiday spirit since moving from New York.

And then Spring in Pasadena is another beautiful time of year to visit. Everything is in bloom again in the Spring. As you drive along the Colorado Street bridge, the city’s signature pink trumpet trees will surely win over your heart.

We hope you found something that piqued your interest in this list of what to do in Pasadena.

What plans will you be making? What are you looking forward to the most?

This is just a small part of what this great city offers. Make sure to bookmark it for future reference.

pinterest marketing image | things to do in pasadena californiaPin

Kathy Ava

Meet Kathy Ava, a food, travel, and cruise writer based in Los Angeles/Pasadena, and the owner and main writer of Tasty Itinerary. With over 20 years of experience planning trips and logistics at her full-time job and for herself, she's become a pro at crafting unforgettable tasty itineraries. She's always on the hunt for delicious, fun travel destinations and cruise itineraries. She firmly believes that life is short and we must make the most of it, so always say yes to dessert.

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  1. I’m actually thinking of making a trip to LA this summer, so I might need to add Pasadena to my itinerary as well 😉 I knew movies were filmed there, but I didn’t specifically know that Father of the Bride had been filmed there–that’s so cool; I love that film! The Descanso Gardens and Vroman’s sound so lovely, so I’ll definitely need to see those places in the future.

    1. Macey, you will love Pasadena, especially Vroman’s, and also our beautiful gardens. If you like, DM me (or you can Google) the Father of the Bride address. It is also one of my favorite movies.

  2. I’m hoping to visit LA again in the near future. Definitely will keep this list in mind! Btw loved the movie father of the bride. Was one of the first movies hubby and I watched together ❤️

    1. Thank you so much for reading! Pasadena is definitely one of the cool places in Los Angeles to visit. Hope you get to come. Aw, I love the Father of the Bride movie too and so sweet that you guys have memories attached to it.

  3. Thanks for your informative post. We’re an Aussie family heading over to USA, Mexico and Canada and have planned a week there to experience the Christmas season.

    1. Hi Carolyn! Appreciate your sweet comment. NYC is my favorite destination in the USA at Christmastime, but Pasadena does do a great job with the Rose Parade around the corner. Make sure to check out my Christmas in Los Angeles article for other ideas on how to celebrate Christmas if you’re in the area. If you’re staying in Pasadena, check out our neighboring city of Monrovia as they also have plenty of holiday activities during Christmas. Your trip sounds like an amazing family holiday. Wishing you smooth planning and lots of fun! Happy planning!