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Pasadena Unveiled: 26 Must-Experience Adventures & Attractions

The United States state of California is home to Pasadena, at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains in the San Gabriel Valley. Pasadena is an old city, the second oldest in Los Angeles.

You have several possibilities for vacation visits, including parks, museums, theatres, and more here. This article will highlight some of the fun things to do in Pasadena.

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1. Exciting Things to do in Pasadena

1.1. Pasadena Ice Skating Center

The Pasadena Ice Skating Center offers convenient hours throughout the week for daily public skating sessions open to everyone. All skaters are expected to abide by the public session rules printed at the rink, and rink employees watch over each session for your safety and enjoyment.

Students of all ages and skill levels can take advantage of its variety of group lessons. Every lesson is a step-by-step evolution that helps each skater develop as their skating abilities advance.

1.2 USC Pacific Asia Museum

USC Pacific Asia Museum is the only university museum in the US completely focused on the arts and cultures of Asia and the Pacific Islands. Through Asian and Pacific Islander arts, the museum seeks to enhance intercultural understanding.

The USC Pacific Asia Museum has provided services to students, families, adults, and academics through its educational and outreach initiatives since 1971.

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Image Source: pacificasiamuseum

The museum’s collection includes more than 15,000 objects from Asia and the Pacific Islands that date back more than 5,000 years. The Japanese paintings and drawings from the Edo and Meiji eras are prominently shown in the Harari Collection.

1.3 Eaton Canyon Nature Center

Eaton Canyon Nature Center must be on your list of places to visit in Pasadena, CA.

The two steep ridges to the north and south rise out of a series of rough valleys and are situated on the San Gabriel Fault, which was previously a significant portion of the San Andreas Fault.

Due to the cliff-like gorges that were formerly carved out by earthquakes and have since been smoothed out by the west and east forks of the San Gabriel River, Spanish settlers gave them the name “El Precipio.”

Coyotes, a variety of lizards, opossums, mule deer, and other animals live among the white alder and pointed agave in this dry, rocky landscape.

1.4 Colorado Street Bridge

Things to do in Pasadena
by ChrisRodriguez56 / Pixabay Copyrights 2015

When the Colorado Street Bridge was finished in 1913, it was declared the highest concrete bridge in the world, with its towering arches rising 150 feet over the severely cut Arroyo Seco.

Travelers have been wowed by the bridge since. Until that point, horses and carts had to descend the Arroyo Seco’s steep eastern slope, pass a narrow bridge over the creek, and climb the west side via Eagle Rock Pass.

Pasadena and Los Angeles are joined by this bridge. Today, it provides stunning city views to guests and appears in several TV shows and films. The 2016 Oscar-nominated film “LA LA Land” most recently included the Colorado Street Bridge.

1.5 City Hall

City hall
by RJA1988 / Pixabay Copyrights 2019

The City Hall is a stunning landmark from 1927 that displays Spanish and Italian Renaissance influences with its magnificent fountain, red tile roof, and lush flower courtyard. The great dome covers the entrance on the west side; the other three sides have towers at each corner and are three stories high. The east side is a one-story arcade.

For many years, filmmakers have favored shooting at the Pasadena City Hall. The courtyard was utilized to represent a town plaza in Napa Valley in the 1995 film “A Walk in the Clouds.” The structure is also seen in Rob Reiner’s 2005 film “Rumor Has It.”

1.6 Jet Propulsion Laboratory

by BookBabe / Pixabay Copyrights 2015

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), established by Caltech scientists, is the premier facility for examining the solar system and farther-off regions. Earth science, planetary exploration, and space-based astronomy projects are led by scientists and engineers on the Caltech campus and at JPL.

Their telescopes and spacecraft explore the outermost regions of our solar system and find new worlds while keeping a close eye on Earth to gather vital information about its climate and aid in the recovery from natural disasters.

While this is happening, technological advancements from JPL continue to alter Earthly life.

Pay a visit to Jet Propulsion Laboratory on your next trip to Pasadena.

1.7 Gamble House

For David and Mary Gamble’s winter home in 1908, Pasadena architects Greene & Greene created The Gamble House. The Gamble House best illustrates Craftsman-style construction from the early 20th century.

It still has all of its original furniture, designed by the architects. The residence is a noteworthy example of the American Arts and Crafts movement.

Many tourists take tours of the house each year and are in awe of its noteworthy architectural features and fusion of American Craftsman and Asian architectural influences.

1.8 Huntington Library

Huntington Library
by Xiaocong Yan / Unsplash Copyrights 2020

Located near Pasadena, more than 20,000 scholars visit the Huntington Library each year, and many more remote researchers use the library’s virtual services and digital collections.

A team of Library employees is crucial in fostering and enhancing access to the collections, developing fresh opportunities for engagement and discovery, and guaranteeing the long-term preservation of the assets. Do visit it once on your trip to Pasadena.

1.9 Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden

For Charles and Ellamae Storrier Stearns, Kinzuchi Fujii designed the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden. It is the sole pre-World War II example of a Southern California residence’s Japanese-style garden that is still intact.

A 200-foot-long retaining wall on the north and east sides surrounds two irregularly shaped, connected ponds in the middle of the garden. The pond’s edges are made of beach pebbles. The wall supports a 25-foot-tall slope created by removing soil from the ponds.

To build a cascading waterfall with a twelve-foot drop, more than 2,000 granite rocks were carried in. Four granite and wood footbridges span a serpentine gully spanned by the route that circles both ponds. Do explore the garden on your next visit to Pasadena, CA.

1.10 Pasadena Playhouse

Pasadena Playhouse is a historic performing arts center. Each year, various cultural and artistic events, expert performances, and community activities are produced in the 686-seat auditorium.

This official State Theatre of California was founded in 1917. The Playhouse has recently played a significant role in the premiere of groundbreaking revivals and new works for the American stage.

With seasons that include Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning plays The Playhouse has demonstrated a dedication to cultural and artistic diversity.

1.11 Rose Bowl Stadium

Rose Bowl Stadium was designated a national historic landmark and a California Historic Civil Engineering Landmark after the natural grass field’s first season of operation in 1922. More than 92,000 spectators may fit into the Pasadena stadium for athletic or musical events.

Every month, on the final Friday, the stadium offers two regularly planned public tours, allowing visitors to tour areas, including the field, the original locker room from 1922, and the contemporary UCLA visitors’ locker room.

rose bowl
by BookBabe / Pixabay Copyrights 2015

Every month, on the second Sunday, the stadium welcomes the world’s largest flea market, the Rose Bowl Flea Market.

The sellers prepare their stalls with various goods, including jewelry, apparel, and collectibles, ready to sell for the day. In addition to the items found at the flea market, food and beverages can be bought.

1.12 Tournament House and Wrigley Gardens

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, founded by Francis F. Rowland and Charles Frederick Holder, is a nonprofit organization that has sponsored the Rose Bowl since 1902 and the New Year’s Day Roses Parade every year since 1890. Each New Year in Pasadena, the Rose Parade is followed immediately by the Roses Football Game.

The organization’s headquarters facility is referred to as the Tournament House. The edifice, a regal home in the Italian Renaissance style, was formerly owned by chewing gum tycoon William Wrigley, Jr. The property was donated to the City of Pasadena after Mrs.

Wrigley passed away in 1958, on the condition that it serve as the Tournament of Roses’ permanent headquarters.

Wrigley Gardens is in the House, 391 South Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena.

The terraces going up to the front of the Tournament House, two locations on Orange Grove Boulevard, the rose garden, the fountain gardens, and other sites are all included in the Wrigley Gardens. Do visit it once on your trip to Pasadena, CA.

1.13 Ice House Comedy Club

In Pasadena, California, at 24 Mentor Avenue, there is a comedy club called The Ice House Comedy Club. Numerous famous comedians have performed on the Ice House Comedy Club stage since its opening in 1960.

Musicians like Kenny Rodgers and Linda Ronstadt have performed in the cozy 200-seat space. The Ice House has a food service, a complete bar, and audio-visual equipment.

1.14 Angeles National Forest

Angeles national forest
by Jeffrey Keenan / Unsplash Copyrights 2021

Due to its status as the state’s first national forest, Angeles National Forest is listed as California Historical Landmark #717. It has several peaks, trails, campgrounds, an observatory, ski lifts, and a zip line course. Visitors must obtain an Adventure Pass and display it on their vehicle’s windshield before entering the National Forest.

There are several fantastic trails, with difficulty levels ranging from easy to severe. A few highlights are the waterfall-filled Switzer Falls, the breathtakingly beautiful Throop Peak, and the unfinished bridge that gave the Bridge to Nowhere Path its name.

Follow a part of the 28-mile Gabrielino National Recreation Trail for a short day trek to a campground. The trail can also be used for more difficult hikes in the mountains.

1.15 Kidspace Children’s Museum

The Kidspace Children’s Museum, one of the top family attractions in Southern California, is situated in Pasadena, CA. It has more than 40 interactive exhibits and daily participatory events and programs.

Kidspace Children’s Museum aims to develop every child’s potential through kid-driven activities that encourage them to become joyful, engaged learners.

1.16 Arlington Garden

On three acres of Caltrans-owned property, there is a dedicated public garden called Arlington Garden. It is a non-profit corporation and is given custody by the City of Pasadena under a leasing agreement.

This garden provides a haven for local animals in Pasadena in addition to being welcoming to people and pets. All year long, it’s possible to witness a lot of different kinds of birds, bees, and butterflies.

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Arlington Garden closes at dusk, and a security team patrols the area to protect the garden and the neighborhood.

The garden’s goal has changed over time to include fostering urban wildlife habitat and showcasing the application of regenerative gardening methods, including avoiding chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.

1.17 Pasadena Museum of History

The history, art, and culture of Pasadena and the western San Gabriel Valley are exclusively preserved and shared by the Pasadena Museum of History, which also serves as a research library. The museum offers free access to the Research Library & Archives as well as a variety of events, lectures, and school excursions.

The legacy of Museum supporters Eva and Adalbert Fenyes is also on display. The pair invested in real estate-built enterprises and helped Pasadena’s cultural and artistic advancement after moving here in 1896.

A key part of the exhibit’s narrative is their 1906 Beaux Arts residence, which gives visitors an insight into living on Pasadena’s famed Millionaires Row in the early 1900s.

1.18 Neon Retro Arcade

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Image Source: neonretroarcade

Neon Retro Arcade is a classic arcade with all of your favorite 40+ vintage arcade games from the past.

Additionally, Neon Retro Arcade has cozy video gaming stations where you may challenge your pals to the newest next-generation titles. The arcade frequently holds birthday parties and other private events; thus, it can also be used as a venue.

1.19 Lake Avenue

Lake Avenue is home to shops, eateries, and wellness, health, and beauty product providers. Mom-and-pop shops are next to large national chain stores like Macy’s and Williams-Sonoma. Modern barbershops, fitness centers, massage parlors, and nail salons can accommodate your self-care requirements.

A recently remodeled Macy’s is the focal point of The Shops on Lake Avenue. To discover more about the most cutting-edge technology available, including cutting-edge home theatres and home automation, stop by Woody’s Home’s experience center.

Visit the Burlington Arcade to see a 1980 shopping street created as a duplicate of the iconic London mall. At Float Pasadena, you can make your root beer floats; alternatively, you can purchase genuine Japanese kimonos and other lovely products at the Kimono no Kobeya gift store.

1.20 LA County Arboretum

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One hundred twenty-seven acres of beautiful gardens, natural landscapes, historic structures, and instructional areas await plant and outdoor enthusiasts. Visit the Peacock Cafe for grab-and-go options, then relax on the lawn or in the picnic area next to the Arboretum.

You can relax by the waterfall, fountains, ponds, or themed gardens or stroll along the peaceful trails. One of the most popular tourist sites in the country is the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, which offers events including concerts, nature and gardening lessons, and a horticultural library.

1. 21 Memorial Park

Memorial Park is a historically significant park formerly known as Library Park. This is so because Memorial Park was where Pasadena’s first library was located.

The triangular green space, which was established in 1902 together with the neighboring Central Park, is bounded to the east by a railroad built in 1887 and to the west by Raymond Avenue, which was palm-lined at the time the park was built.

This park features a well-kept playground area for kids. Memorial Park stands out in Pasadena for its memorials, family-friendly activities, and free summer concerts at its pavilion.

There are sculptures and pieces of art all across the park, providing tourists with some fun selfie opportunities. Remains of the original public library building can be found in one of the buildings.

1.22 San Gabriel Mountains

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Image Source: depositphotos

On October 10, 2014, President Obama designated the federal property as the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, the eighth national monument overseen by the Forest Service.

Some of the most diversified species in the country may be found in the San Gabriel Mountains, home to the San Andreas Fault and four wilderness areas (Magic Mountain, Pleasant View Ridge, San Gabriel, and Sheep Mountain).

The 8,041-foot-tall Waterman Mountain, covered in trees, is located on the northern boundary of the San Gabriel Wilderness. The well-liked recreation region has numerous minor ski resorts, including Mount Waterman and Buckhorn Ski Club, and is frequently covered in snow from early winter through early spring.

East of Wrightwood, in a canyon, is a little lake called Jackson Lake with a forest surrounding it. The lake, recognized for being an excellent place for fishing, is fueled by snowfall from adjacent mountains and is located atop the San Andreas fault.

1.23 Old Pasadena

The original business hub of Pasadena is known as Old Pasadena. Old Pasadena is often called Old Town Pasadena or just Old Town.

Old Pasadena was the site of the first businesses to be built in the original Indiana Colony. When the mail came in from Los Angeles, the town’s primary supplier and post office were both J. D. Hollingsworth’s general store.

A wild group of vibrant parrots resides in Old Town Pasadena. Numerous species have been discovered in the city’s parks and trees. There are a lot of parrots in Memorial Park, which is where the Levitt Pavilion is located. Most people like seeing brilliant green and red plumes in the sky.

1.24. Chinese Garden

The Chinese Garden at the Huntington is an amazing example of a garden design that integrates horticulture, literature, and culture. Long after Hertrich’s death, it opened in 2008.

Five stone bridges, seven pavilions, and a lake are all features of the Chinese Garden. Both young and old have been attracted to the garden. Young adults can frequently be found sketching, painting, reading, or simply relaxing while taking in the views of the lake.

Visitors follow a winding walk that circles the lake, passes through lovely courtyards, passes by a waterfall and many rockeries, and climbs via a space with small trees on display. The Stargazing Tower, a covered wooden tower with a bird’s-eye view of the whole garden, lies at the top of the trail.

1.25 Desert Garden

Desert Garden
by Lomelino-Alves / Pixabay Copyrights 2017

More than 2,000 succulents and other desert plants are displayed in the Desert Garden. Plants are identified by their scientific name and range in geography. Look closely to see how succulents have evolved to survive drought and protect themselves from predators.

Agave and related genera make up the garden’s most important collections. The lowest part of the garden’s terrain is dominated by Yucca filifera specimens, some of which grow as tall as sixty feet. These yuccas once ringed a reservoir that was later dug up and filled in the early 1900s.

Additionally, two Chilean terrestrial bromeliads, Puya alpestris, and P. chilensis are displayed here. Both of them, the former blue-green and the latter chartreuse, bloom with lovely flowers in the spring.

1.26 Sculpture Garden

The Sculpture Garden is located in Norton Simon Museum. Some of the Museum’s most significant sculptures are in a magnificent environment, including a lush pond ornamented with many species of water lilies, trees, vibrant shrubs, and flowers.

It is one of the busiest areas on the museum property because of the Garden Cafe, outdoor performances, plein air sketching lessons, and family art-making activities.

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Image Source: nortonsimon

The Coral Tree section of the garden is a fantastic point to gaze back at the pond and museum beyond. It is named after the magnificent cockspur coral tree near the pond’s western side.

When the coral tree’s foliage is absent in the winter, its dark, gnarled limbs are remarkable. Its vivid coral-red blooms and bushy green foliage are equally attractive in the summer and autumn.

Final Note

Pasadena, CA, offers many exciting places to explore. I hope this guide has helped you decide which sites to visit when you visit Pasadena, CA, in the future.

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