The 10 Best Things to Do in Altadena, United States

September 28, 2017 Etsuko Causey

Altadena is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Los Angeles County, California, United States, approximately 14 miles (23 km) from the downtown Los Angeles Civic Center, and directly north of the city of Pasadena, California. The population was 42,777 at the 2010 census, up from 42,610 at the 2000 census.
Restaurants in Altadena

1. The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108-1218 +1 626-405-2100
Excellent
85%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 2 reviews

The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

A popular tourist stop, this 207 acre complex houses a library, art collection and stunning gardens. The library and art gallery contain rare books and one of the most complete collections of 18th century art outside of London.

Reviewed By Arneby - Nacka, Sweden

So yeah, a garden founded by a railway billionaire some 150 years ago. Turned out that the Huntington Gardens were nothing short of fabulous. Almost Singapore Zoo class in parts. And there were colibris in the wild! And a Japanese garden. And a nice food court too.

2. Descanso Gardens

1418 Descanso Dr, La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011-3102 +1 818-949-4200
Excellent
67%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 333 reviews

Descanso Gardens

Located 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, Descanso Gardens is a botanical garden and place of year-round natural beauty, with internationally renowned botanical collections and spectacular seasonal horticultural displays. Accredited by the American Association of Museums as a museum of living collections, Descanso Gardens welcomes 250,000 visitors annually. The principal collections include California native plants and oak woodlands; one of the largest concentration of camellia plants in the Western Hemisphere; a rose garden with specimens from all corners of the globe; and significant presentations of lilacs, maple trees, cherry trees and iris. It has been designated an International Camellia Garden of Excellence by the International Camellia Society.

Reviewed By Eric G - Pasadena

This review pertains to the Enchanted Forest, a holiday-themed, evening walk through the gardens that is offered in November, December and part of January. Tickets must be booked in advance with a timed entry. Although people were parking on the street, there was parking the lot, so I recommend trying that first. It can get cold after dark this time of year in SoCal, so dress accordingly. It takes about 90 minutes to walk through the various areas - the trees and other areas are magnificently lit was different colored, changing LEDs and there are a number of other surprises that are fun for kids and adults. Food and drink (including adult beverages) are available, but the lines can be long and it isn't inexpensive. I'm not sure we will go every year, but the entire family was really happy we went this time. One last tip, since there are lots of people moving all around, it was a bit dusty, so casual wear is appropriate and those people in "dating" attire didn't seem as comfortable.

3. Norton Simon Museum

411 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105-1825 +1 626-449-6840
Excellent
83%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 1 reviews

Norton Simon Museum

The Norton Simon Museum is known around the world as one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled. Over a 30-year period, industrialist Norton Simon (1907–1993) amassed an astonishing collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century and a stellar collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years. Modern and Contemporary Art from Europe and the United States, acquired by the former Pasadena Art Museum, also occupies an important place in the Museum’s collections.

Reviewed By Rolf A - Chicago, Illinois

Not a large collection, but what gems! In two hours you can easily see the best of French 18th and 19th-century painting, some Italian and Dutch and Netherlandish paintings not see in the U.S otherwise. The Hans Memling Christ Giving His Blessing from 1478 is worth the trip from anywhere and then there are two Rembrandts, a superb Diego Rivera, a wonderful Vigee Le Brun portrait of Theresa, not to mention many Degas sculptures and probably the finest collection of Cambodian Angkor Period sculpture in the U.S.

4. Mt Wilson MTB Adventure

2799 Windsor Ave, JPL Parking Lot, Altadena, CA 91001-5237
Excellent
95%
Good
5%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 38 reviews

Mt Wilson MTB Adventure

Mt Wilson MTB Adventures provides amazing mountain bike tours and adventures in the Mt Wilson regional area. Tours are available in full day and half day increments and suitable for all riding abilities.

Reviewed By Isaac W - Los Angeles

Most people think of shuttling as a way of "cheating" so you don't need to climb, but for those of us that love to climb, shuttles are still a vital part of the riding experience. The ability to be dropped off deep in the mountains...MoreThank you. We have been saying for a long time, this shuttle provides access just as much as "gravity assist." Thank you for the kind words.

5. The Huntington Desert Garden

San Marino, CA +1 626-405-2142
Excellent
88%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 124 reviews

The Huntington Desert Garden

Conveniently located, the Huntington includes the largest collection of mature cacti and succulents in North America.

Reviewed By johnnnita - Napa, California, United States

This is a large area as part of the Huntington Gardens. At first, I was going to bypass it to view other gardens there. However, I've now grown to appreciate more the succulents that grow in such environments. They really are beautiful!

6. Mount Lowe Railway trail

Altadena, CA
Excellent
64%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 27 reviews

Mount Lowe Railway trail

Former railroad bed turned popular 10 mile hiking trail.

Reviewed By PrinceConsort - New York City, New York

The Sam Merrill Trail is easy to find...go north on Lake Avenue from Pasadena through Altadena until Lake stops. You are at the trail head. This is a pretty easy walk on a hard packed trail that gets you to the top of Mount Lowe. there was a hotel, tennis courts, etc. and an electric railway that ran until the late 30s. A nice hike if you have a few hours. I am told that it is mobbed on weekends. Parking on the street after 6am...better get there early on a weekend.

7. Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

301 N Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007-2697 +1 626-821-3222
Excellent
68%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 375 reviews

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Reviewed By rduinc - Saint Louis, Missouri

Really enjoyed this nicely laid out garden, broken into segments by plants from the different continents. There is a very wide, asphalt path you follow as you go from one area to the next, making it very easy for families with strollers or anyone who needs assistance moving around.

TIP- if you have a garden membership in your hometown, check to see if they have a reciprocal agreement with this garden. If they do, you get in here for free.

TIP- From downtown LA you can take a metro train to Arcadia, then ride the free Arcadia bus that takes you to the garden, race track, mall, and a few other places. Takes about 90 minutes all told, but the train is only $1.75 so this is very cheap, and at 90 minutes could still be quicker than driving a car.

8. Rose Parade

begins in Green Street, Pasadena, CA +1 610-417-4123
Excellent
87%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 107 reviews

Rose Parade

Reviewed By So_Cal_Illini_81 - Pasadena, California

The Rose Parade is so much better in person instead of watching it on TV. You just can't get a full appreciation for any of the units unless you have the time to see them live. There is more to see on the floats and...MoreThanks for the info, it might be an interesting way to spend New Year's eve

9. The Gamble House

4 Westmoreland Pl, Pasadena, CA 91103-3564 +1 626-793-3334
Excellent
77%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 492 reviews

The Gamble House

This historic landmark, owned and operated by the University of Southern California, is an excellent example of American Arts and Crafts style architecture.

Reviewed By DMUH - Honolulu, Hawaii

All the tours to the Gamble House is escorted. You cannot view the house on your own. The house is interesting. What makes the tour really fun, is the history provided by the tour guide. The "Gamble" is the Proctor & Gamble, Gamble. He and his wife were very committed to nature and the house reflects the care in planning the layout. Caution - you need to "reserve" a slot. The guides are broken into one hour segments. The first day we went (in the afternoon) all slots were taken. So, we made a reservation for the next day. And, then, not all time slots were available ( sold out). I recommend going a couple of days earlier, make the reservation and then return.

2029 N Lake, Altadena, CA 91001 +1 626-798-6236
Excellent
51%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 8 reviews

The Coffee Gallery Backstage

Reviewed By bazi43 - Oakland, California

Want a place to go on a random evening & see live music? This joint has music of all kinds for a small cover charge.

They have open mic night for singers, musicians & poets too! Go on a Friday night to see & hear the latest poetry...

Goodies galore & all the things you'd expect from a coffeehouse.

A real gem!

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