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31 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 in the city of Roses. With all attractions in Pasadena from museums, gardens, restaurants, and family-friendly events and activities, there is something for everyone.

Pasadena, California is one of the oldest cities in Los Angeles County. It was incorporated in 1886. Pasadena is most notably known for the Rose Parade that’s been taking place on New Year’s Day (sometimes on the day after) since 1890. It’s also known for the Rose Ball Game which is played later on the same day.

With a city full of history, beautiful neighborhoods, and old historic buildings, there is plenty to do in Pasadena.

Pasadena is also surrounded by the neighboring cities of Altadena, Sierra Madre, San Marino, La Cañada, Arcadia, Monrovia, Alahambra, and others in the San Gabriel Valley. Making the city a great home base to explore this part of Los Angeles County.

What to do in Pasadena, California?

In Pasadena -or closely nearby- you’ll find great shopping from brand names, antique stores, Rose Bowl Flea Market, and thrift shops.

You can choose between which museums to visit and what gardens to stroll through for the day.

Find great eats, bars, and pubs, and dine out at some of the most delicious spots.

Go hiking. Or spend time admiring some of Pasadena’s historic and preserved architecture.

As Pasadena locals, we are here to tell you that there are plenty of things to do in Pasadena. It’s part of the reason we moved here several years ago. Far before us residing here, we’d take weekend day trips or weeknight trips from Los Angeles proper to enjoy what Pasadena has to offer.

Then we decided to move here.

We have a friend whose family is originally from Pasadena, who told us for years that Pasadena would be our home (this was way before we started hanging out here). She said it suited our lifestyle and personality. Boy, was she right!

So, it recently came to our attention that we’d mention Pasadena spots here and there. Whether on this website or social media, but never truly written about the city we truly appreciate and made a home in. It’s about time.

The other day we were sitting at dinner at one of the many amazing restaurants in Pasadena, and hubby said, “We don’t need to leave Pasadena if we don’t want to.”

And, it’s true! We were sitting at the back patio of the dining establishment, having a beautiful time with excellent food, and we felt like we were on vacation. The only thing we are missing here is a beach. But we do have a waterfall we can hike to at Eaton Canyon.

featured blog image | things to do in pasadena

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Where is Pasadena located in California? How far is Pasadena from Los Angeles?

Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County in San Gabriel Valley. The city is just a 20-minute ride from Downtown Los Angeles.

What is Pasadena famous for?

While Pasadena is well known for a number of 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 to visit in Pasadena are Old Town Pasadena, Rose Bowl, Norton Simon Museum, Gamble House, Huntington Library, and Descanso Gardens.

Keep reading for a list of things to do from Pasadena.

Please note, that I do not claim to be a Pasadena expert. This post is solely written from our perspective and experiences as any other post on this website.

A few fun facts about Pasadena:

  • Pasadena is home to the Rose Bowl.
  • The Rose Parade takes place in Pasadena every New Year’s Day.
  • Many movies and TV Shows are filmed or are 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.

Book a Hotel in Pasadena –

Things to Do in Pasadena, CA

1. Explore Old Town Pasadena

old town pasadena at dusk

If you’re in Pasadena for a quick visit, you will probably end up at Old Town Pasadena. It’s home to a ton of great restaurants, pubs, and small to high-end shops… perfect for a day (or night) out.

And with its charming alleys and corners, it’s fun to get lost as you do some exploring. You never know what unique shop or charming restaurant is around the corner.

Make sure to look upwards -and in some cases down- and don’t miss the wonderful architectural details and historical buildings around town.

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. At One Colorado, you can dine al fresco at one of the restaurants or join in on one of the many events they have throughout the year, like silent disco, live music, games, and more.

blue lights on trees lined next to sidewalk
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. A few of our favorite restaurants are on Green Street, like Entre Nous.

The downside of Old Pasadena… parking. Expect to pay if you park on the street or in one of the city’s garages. Street parking is cheaper as you can pay per hour – if you can find a spot. Make sure to have the Passport Parking app on your phone ready to pay. Parking in a garage in Old Pasadena can cost up to an $8 flat rate.

Top Foodie Pick: Check out Russell’s, a local favorite in Pasadena. They have the best breakfast and brunch in Old Pasadena.

2. Find Big Bang Theory Way

big bang theory way sign and alley strung up with lights

Any Big Bang Theory fans may know that the hit TV show was set in Pasadena. For its 200th episode, the city celebrated by naming a street, I mean, 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

3. See a Movie at iPic Theater

This luxury movie theater is a must-see if you haven’t treated yourself to soft leather lie-back seats and delicious dinner service to see a movie. 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.

4. 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, and then go for some ice cream.

  • 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)

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

spanish churros with dipping sauce
Amara Cafe Madrid Style churros are made to order and served with dipping sauces.

Have you ever had legit Spanish-style churros? At Amara’s cafe, you can order the most incredible churros you’ll have outside of Spain and their delicious hot chocolate to take on your stroll through Old Pasadena.

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

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

6. Visit Pasadena City Hall

pasadena city hall
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 been featured in a couple of films and TV shows in the past.

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, 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)

7. Visit Plaza de Las Fuentes

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.

pool of water leading to the view of pasadena city hall
a statue of a green fish in a fountain with colorful tiled artwork in the background
narrow pooled fountain with tiled artwork, lines leading to the view of pasadena city hall

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.

outdoor dining setting with string lights and yellow umbrellas with view of pasadena city hall
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)

8. Spend the Afternoon at the Simon Norton Museum

pond and garden at the norton simon museum

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

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

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

9. Pasadena Farmer’s Market

There are two official Pasadena Farmers 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
  • 8:30am to 12:30pm

10. Start Planning to Attend The Rose Parade

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

This is a great family-friendly event. For locals and visitors that come from afar to celebrate and some begin festivities on New Year’s Eve. Drive down Colorado Boulevard the morning of New Year’s Eve and you’ll start to 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 the sounds of the Parade… however, we have yet to attend the parade.

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

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 end up being a yearly tradition.

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

11. The Rose Bowl

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
  • Drive-in Movie Theater
  • Flea Market
  • July 4th Amerifest Firework Display
  • Stay up to date with events at the Rose Bowl

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

Rose Bowl Stadium tours are available on the last Friday of every month, click here for more info.

The Rose Bowl | 1001 Rose Bowl Dr, Pasadena, CA 91103 (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 takes place 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 flea market also has food vendors and specialty items you won’t find at the regular supermarket. The market is also a great place to find deals on food, and there are always plenty of food vendors available.

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, also, 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. Support Vroman’s Bookstore

This Pasadena favorite on Colorado Blvd is a beloved spot.

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

Unfortunately, this bookshop was closed in-person shopping throughout the pandemic and we were afraid it would close down. If you’re in the area and in the market for some books, please stop by and support our local bookstore.

Vroman’s Bookstore | 695 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA (Google Map It)

14. See a Play or Show at Pasadena Playhouse

Pasadena Playhouse is a historic theater in Pasadena, California, that has been around since 1917. This performing art center has produced many plays, shows, and events.

Just a few years ago, Al Pacino starred and played Tennessee Williams in “God Looked Away”.

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

Make a night of it in Pasadena with dinner and show.

Pasadena Playhouse | 39 S El Molino Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101 (Google Map It)

15. The Huntington Library

Whispering willing draping over the pond surrounded by grass and a wooden bridge going over the pond
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 the best time to visit, I 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)

Top Parks and Gardens in Pasadena

Discover the beauty of nature in Pasadena. Here is a list of the top parks and gardens in the city, perfect for a relaxing day out. From peaceful gardens to sprawling parks, you’ll find your ideal spot.

16. 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, and small shops, but also a ton of great little 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, CA 91101 (Google Map It)

17. Discover the Boutique Shops at The Burlington Arcade

beautiful arcade in pasade
Burlington Arcade in Pasadena

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

There isn’t much to do here besides visiting the little boutique shops and walking through to feel like you’re transported to London for a few minutes. However, I thought I’d include this for anyone that appreciates beautiful architecture and a London red telephone booth.

neon sign of float, sandwiches, pop, coffee
Night shot of the Float neon sign at Burlington Arcade

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

The Burlington Arcade | 380 S Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101 (Google Map It)

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

18. Go hiking at Eaton Canyon Trail

eaton canyon trail sign with the mountains behind it

This popular local trail is easy and leads to a pretty waterfall. The trail is 3.5 miles and depending on which day you go, expect it to be heavy traffic.

This is the one trail I thoroughly enjoy because I can get through it and not feel at any point that I will not make it. The scenery is great; the best part is you’ll get to a waterfall. It’s small but nice.

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

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

19. Stroll Descanso Gardens

Lilacs in the Spring at Descano 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 each month, FREE tickets are available for advanced reservations for a Tuesday of each month. See more info here.

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

Delicious Places to Eat in Pasadena, CA

One of the best parts of Pasadena is all the delicious spots to eat. Check out some of our favorite places to eat from restaurants to take-out.

20. Enjoy the Norton Simon Museum

sculpture overlooking a pond and an ourdoor seating area
Outdoor garden and sculpture at the Norton Simon Museum

Love a good art museum?

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

Take a break from the art inside and explore the sculpture garden. There is a beautiful pond surrounded by lush greenery, flowers, and pathways. Walk around and see all the beautiful sculptures throughout. Follow the map they provide, and don’t miss any of the sculptures.

Stay up to date with the current and upcoming exhibitions.

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

Top Foodie Pick: Check out our favorite Greek spot in Pasadena, Cafe Santorini

Norton Simon Museum | 411 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena (Google Map It) | Purchase Tickets Here

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

outside of kidspace childrns museum

The Kidspace Children 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) | Purchase Tickets Here

22. 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.

  • One-hour tours are now available. Book your tour in advance here.

Top Foodie Pick: Eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner at 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

23. Check out The Colorado Street Bridge

bridge with large arches

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.

24. Desiderio Neighborhood Park

woman sitting at picnic table in a park admiring a bridge
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)

Top Things to do in Los Angeles, CA

What to do in Los Angeles? Come and walk amongst the stars on Hollywood Blvd. See the spectacular views of Los Angeles from the Griffith Observatory. Eat your heart out at Grand Central Market. Visit the Original Farmer’s Market. See the best attractions in LA to plan a memorable visit.

25. 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, 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 [Located beside the Sheraton] (Google Map It)

26. Find Nostalgia at Fair Oaks Pharmacy Soda Fountain

exterior of fair oaks pharmacy and soda fountain

This old-school soda shop is located in South Pasadena and it is one of my favorite spots to take first-time visitors. You’ll be nostalgic when you enter and see their old fashion soda fountain counter.

Bring the kiddos for ice cream. Walk around and check out all the classic toys, candies, and gifts.

This is a great place to visit during the holidays. The spirit of Christmas is alive. Many Christmas trees and decorations adorn the shop with nostalgic and unique ornaments.

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, CA 91030 (Google Map It)

27. 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. Supposedly, it is one of the first and oldest comedy clubs in America.

Ice House Pasadena has been closed due to the pandemic. According to their website, they are still planning a grand reopening. I’ll be ready to support them when they reopen. Keep an eye out for their reopening date.

The Ice House | 24 N Mentor Ave, Pasadena

28. 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.

29. Hit up The Paseo

outdoor shopping center

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.

Many events like the Chalk Festival takes place here at the Paseo.

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

– Don’t Miss: Great Spots for Lunch in Pasadena

30. Watch an Independent Film at Laemmle’s Playhouse 7

Update July 2022: Laemmel’s Playhouse 7 has been purchased by Landmark. This neighborhood theater has been shut down to be renovated and reopened as a Landmark theater.

Laemmle’s Theater in the Playhouse District is a small, clean, and classy theater that plays the most recent independent and foreign films. Sometimes there are movies you won’t find in the big theaters. Plan your night with a movie and some fresh popcorn.

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

31. 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, pool, and 23 acres of lush grounds that will 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 the fact 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.

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.

Superb Pasadena Restaurants You Need to Try

Pasadena, California, is known to have one of the best food scenes in Los Angeles. New cafes, eateries, and restaurants in Pasadena are opening monthly. We’ve gathered a list of superb Pasadena restaurants you should have on your radar when exploring Los Angeles.

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?

I plan to continue updating this list. This is just a small part of what this great city has to offer. Make sure to bookmark it for future reference.

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Carolyn Smalley

Saturday 16th of April 2022

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.


Sunday 17th of April 2022

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!


Monday 14th of June 2021

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 ❤️


Tuesday 15th of June 2021

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.

Macey @ Brine & Books

Monday 7th of June 2021

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.


Monday 7th of June 2021

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.