What to do and see in Pasadena, United States: The Best Places and Tips

August 25, 2017 Hector Krause

Most famous for hosting the annual New Year's Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl, Pasadena is more than just a football town. Its extravagant City Hall boasts a beautiful Baroque dome, a courtyard garden and relaxing fountain. On South Orange Boulevard, known as Millionaires' Row, there are landmarked mansions to rival the most opulent homes of Beverly Hills. That chattering in the air is probably the local population of naturalized Red-crowned Amazon parrots.
Restaurants in Pasadena

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. Norton Simon Museum

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

3. The Huntington Desert Garden

San Marino, CA +1 626-405-2142
Excellent
88%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
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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!

4. Rose Parade

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

5. The Gamble House

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

6. California Institute of Technology

1200 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91125-0001 +1 626-395-6811
Excellent
74%
Good
24%
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4.5 based on 120 reviews

California Institute of Technology

Reviewed By Howard S - Ottawa, Canada

Beautiful grounds and architecture. Small campus and very walk-able. Lots of history in the hallways. Definitely worth the visit if you have an interest in space sciences or if you are just looking for interesting way to spend an afternoon in nice surroundings.

7. Jet Propulsion Laboratory

4800 Oak Grove Dr, Pasadena, CA 91109-8001 +1 818-354-4321
Excellent
79%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 140 reviews

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Reviewed By Peter0749 - Melbourne, Australia

As others have said this is great insight into space exploration and anyone with the slightest interest should make the effort. The tour presents a brief history of JPL's role in space exploration and includes visits to the Vehicle Assembly Building and Mission Control (or Geek central as our guide suggested). The tour is suitable for all ages and our guide Brian was a great communicator who showed real passion for the work of JPL.

8. City of Pasadena City Hall

100 N Garfield Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101-1726
Excellent
64%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
3%
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4.5 based on 205 reviews

City of Pasadena City Hall

Reviewed By Cavydad - Camarillo, California

Sheldon and Penny live next to the Pasadena City Hall. Background scenes and references are made during the Big Bang Theory. Mission Impossible filmed many episodes at City Hall due to its unique architecture, Fun place to wander. More than a bureaucratic hang out.

9. Colorado Boulevard

Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105 +1 626-795-9311
Excellent
46%
Good
42%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
1%
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 217 reviews

Colorado Boulevard

The site of the Rose Parade in Pasadena.

Reviewed By ProfessorCharles - Virginia

Lots of fine places to eat, and you'll get a sense of the architectural heritage of this great California city. Lots to take in form the chic city center to the outlying areas with dollar stores and tattoo parlours. Take as much time as you need; it's all fascinating.

10. Eaton Canyon

1750 N Altadena Dr, Pasadena, CA 91107-1046 +1 626-398-5420
Excellent
47%
Good
42%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 145 reviews

Eaton Canyon

Reviewed By BobandJosie - Reading, United Kingdom

We had an early evening stroll along the lower section of the canyon trail on a very hot and sunny day. Boy was the scrub parched. Views of the higher canyon walls impressive. Came across both a small lizard .... and also a small snake basking on the path in the late sunshine.

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