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20 Best Things To Do In Pasadena, California

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One of the first cities to be incorporated into Los Angeles County, Pasadena is best known as the site of the Rose Bowl and the various competitions that take place there.

Since its incorporation in 1886, this city has become known for a great number of other places to visit in addition to its historical attractions.

You have a wide variety of options available to you when it comes to spending your vacation time, such as visiting gardens, art galleries, and theatres.

The following is a list of our top 30 recommendations for enjoyable things to do in Pasadena, California.


Things To Do In Pasadena

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Tour of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Los Angeles)

Photo Flickr, Things To Do In Pasadena

It is difficult to imagine something with such a cool name as the “Jet Propulsion Laboratory” not being one of the most popular things to do in Pasadena, California.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory was established in 1936 as a joint venture between two world-famous institutions, the California Institute of Technology and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with the intention of pursuing innovations in the fields of aviation and space travel.

In recent years, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has broadened its scope of expertise to include astronomical research and robotics-related endeavours.

It is responsible for a wide variety of deep space, robotic, and astronomy projects and missions, some of the most notable of which is the curiosity rover, the Mars Science Laboratory, and the NuSTAR X-ray telescope. In addition, it has made numerous other important contributions, such as those listed above.

Oak Grove Drive in Pasadena is where you’ll find NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

The tours demand that you make reservations in advance and offer enlightening and fascinating education from the hands of local guides.

You will have the opportunity to look around the spacecraft assembly plant, the flight operations centers, and the von Karman Visitor Center.

Keep an eye out for the science and technology demonstrations that JPL will be hosting as well!


Historic Old Pasadena

Old Pasadena, Pasadena, California

Photo Flicker, Historic Old Pasadena, Things To Do In Pasadena

It wasn’t always the case that California was such a vibrant, bustling hotspot for activity.

The historic district of Old Pasadena is a tribute to the city’s old desire, which has been maintained in a way that is entertaining and intriguing for the modern world.

Once upon a time, this location was nothing more than a sleepy desert town that took a chill approach to life.

On this historic side of the city, there is an abundance of things that you can do to keep yourself occupied.

This location is filled with color and delight for people of all ages, thanks to its many museums, art galleries, restaurants, and shops.

There are over 200 distinct boutiques and stores, adding a layer of variety.

In addition, throughout the course of the year, this location plays host to a variety of events centered on a wide variety of topics, including wine and food, arts and crafts, historical showcases, and musical performances.

It should come as no surprise that one of the most popular destinations for tourists in this city is the Historic Old Town, which offers a blend of contemporary convenience and old-world charm.


Eaton Canyon Nature Center

Eaton Canyon Nature Center, Things To Do In Pasadena

Photo Flickr, Eaton Canyon Nature Center, Things To Do In Pasadena

The Eaton Canyon Nature Center, which is located in Pasadena, California, is widely regarded as one of the top tourist destinations in the entire state of California. It is also widely regarded as the best place in Pasadena, California, for engaging in activities that are connected to nature and the great outdoors.

It is located at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains, and the center itself covers an area of 7,600 square feet, while the nature preserve that surrounds it covers an impressive 190 acres in total.

If you’re looking for things to do in Pasadena and you also want to get a good amount of walking in, well, you don’t need to look any further!

The visitor’s center at this location is jam-packed with live animals and interactive exhibits, and it also features displays of native plants and habitats, providing guests with an interesting and informative look at the local flora and fauna as well as the surrounding environment.

The natural habitat’s surrounding grounds begin all the way up to the center of the complex.

The environment features areas that are suitable for people of all ages, including equestrian areas, hiking trails, picnic trails, and staging locations.

Walks and tours that are prearranged provide additional opportunities to become familiar with the wide-ranging area.


Tournament House and Wrigley Garden

Wrigley Memorial (Front)

Photo Flickr, Tournament House, and Wrigley Garden , Things To Do In Pasadena

Wrigley chewing gum is so well-known that almost everyone has heard of it.

Invented by the business tycoon William Wrigley Jr. The businessman William Wrigley, who was born in Pennsylvania in the 19th century, was able to purchase a variety of homes in a number of different states thanks to his widespread success across the nation.

Including one that is known as the Tournament House and is located in Pasadena, California.

Currently, the residence serves as the headquarters of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. This organization is in charge of the organization, planning, and execution of the Rose Parade as well as the football games that take place in the Rose Bowl.

It is one of the places to go for beauty and aesthetics, as well as housing a variety of educational resources and exhibits related to the enjoyable attractions, and it is also one of the places.

With its grand features and 21 rooms, each of which is richly panelled the Tournament House has an Italian Renaissance design that makes it both impressive and well-liked.

The ceilings are highly decorative and regal, and the floors are covered with marble inlays.

Outdoors, the Wrigley Gardens are even more amazing than they are inside, with more than 1,500 different types of flowers, including annuals, roses, and camellias, displayed across 4.5 acres of land in a floral display.


Pasadena City Hall

Pasadena City Hall Court Yard

Photo Flickr, Pasadena City Hall , Things To Do In Pasadena

In spite of the fact that it is mainly a government building, Pasadena City Hall remains one of the best tourist attractions in this California city, and it is still one that can be fun to visit, particularly because of the architecture and the history.

The structure was finished in 1927 and was designed in a style that was a combination of Spanish Renaissance and Italian Renaissance, both of which date back to the 16th century.

The City Hall complex encompasses an area of 170,000 square feet and features a tower with six stories, an attractive inner garden, and eye-catching red tiles on the roof.

Within the confines of the structure that is 26 feet tall and 54 feet wide are more than 235 corridors and rooms.

It is so breathtaking that many people pause to take pictures of it.


The Pasadena Symphony and POPS

Cruel Intentions

Photo Flickr, The Pasadena Symphony and POPS, Things To Do In Pasadena

It, is so breathtaking that many people pause to take pictures of it.

Check out what the Pasadena Symphony and the POPS have planned for tonight if you are looking for something entertaining to do.

Those who have a passion for music will likely consider this to be one of the most enjoyable activities available in this city in California.

The performances that are put on by POPs and the local symphony are criminally underrated because they are inexpensive or even free, and they are put on by the community.

The performances of the Symphony take place in a wide variety of venues, including City Hall, All Saints Church, the Los Angeles County Arboretum, and Ambassador Auditorium, amongst others.

Each year, this venue plays host to a wide variety of exhibitions.

Favorite performances include Mozart’s Symphony No. 4, as well as An American in Paris p,erformed on its own.

There are also concert series that takes place over a longer period of time, such as the Singpoli Symphony Classics series, the Moonlight Sonata Gala, and the Sierra Auto POPS Summer Series.

If you want to ensure that you have a seat at the event, make sure to buy your ticket in advance.


Norton Simon Museum

Norton Simon Museum Pasadena CA

Photo Flickr, Norton Simon Museum, Things To Do In Pasadena

Norton Simon, a wealthy industrialist who began collecting art in the early 1900s, acquired the majority of what is now housed at the Norton Simon Museum, making it one of the finest private art collections in the state of California.

The permanent collection contains over 12,000 different works of art, spanning over a century of artistic influence and style. As you browse the collection, you will feel as though you have been transported somewhere other than Pasadena.

Among the world-renowned works of art that are housed here are masterpieces such as “Portrait of a Boy” by Rembrandt van Rikin, “Branchini Madonna” by Giovanni di Paolo, and “Mulberry Tree” by Vincent van Gogh.

Additionally, the Norton Simon Museum hosts revolving exhibits,  classes, lectures, workshops, programs, and guided tours, all of which are led by staff members who are knowledgeable and helpful.

The Norton Simon Museum, which can be found on West Colorado Boulevard, is widely regarded as one of the city’s most appealing points of interest.

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Mount Wilson Observatory

Mount Wilson Observatory

Photo Flickr, Mount Wilson Observatory, Things To Do In Pasadena

The Mount Wilson Observatory, which can be found on the peak of Mount Wilson in the San Gabriel Mountains, is the place to go to take in breathtaking views that encompass all of the most breathtaking panoramas and sights in Pasadena, Los Angeles, and throughout the state of California.

With the assistance of a telescope mirror that was eight feet in height, astronomer Edwin Hubble was able to make the groundbreaking discovery that galaxies other than the Milky Way were receding into space. The observatory has a history that dates back more than a century.

In other words, it was here that humanity first became aware of the expanding nature of the universe!

However, that is not the only well-known experiment that took place in this location.

Albert Michelson, who later won the Nobel Prize for his work, traveled to this location in 1926 and used a reflecting mirror that was waiting for a brilliant beam from an observatory that was 22 miles away to make the first ever measurement of the speed of light.

As of right now, the humble observatory museum at the Mount Wilson Observatory is home to the chair and telescope that were utilized by Hubble in the process of discovering the galaxy.

Additionally, there are a wide variety of images depicting the universe and space on display at the museum.

You can take a stroll outside and walk along the paths that scientific luminaries like Albert Einstein frequently used to get around.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to put yourself in the same position as the all-time greats!


Levitt Pavilion

Levitt Pavilion MacArthur Park

Photo Flickr, Levitt Pavilion, Things To Do In Pasadena

In Memorial Park in Pasadena, California, the Levitt Pavilion is mostly vacant for the majority of the year.

Then, however, during the summer months, it is transformed into one of the city’s free points of interest, becoming a miniature Hollywood Bowl packed with entertaining performances and activities!

This city hosts a music festival every year during the summer that includes fifty concerts that are all free of charge and feature music genres such as jazz, rock, blues, Americana, and more performed by artists who have won Grammy Awards.

The streets are lined with food vendors, and there are shows set up specifically for children to provide entertainment for families.

If you intend to go, you should get there as early as possible in order to secure a seat from which you will have a good view of the performances.


USC Pacific Asia Museum

USC Fisher Museum of Art, University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, California

Photo Flickr, USC Pacific Asia Museum, Things To Do In Pasadena

The USC Pacific Asia Museum is a memorial to all of the Asian immigrants who have made their homes in Pasadena, California, and the surrounding areas since the 1800s, when the gold rush was in full swing.

The USC Pacific Asia Museum was established in 1971 with the aim of facilitating cross-cultural understanding and preserving the artistic traditions and cultural practices of local Asian communities.

The USC Pacific Asia Museum is a great place to learn new things while also having a good time. It is one of the historical tourist attractions in Pasadena.

There are over 15,000 objects on display, many of which were made by immigrants from Asia and the Pacific islands and a significant number of them date back thousands upon thousands of years.

Diverse experiences are made available thanks to a combination of classic and contemporary works, as well as exhibitions, performances, festivals, lectures, and workshops. Classes and workshops are also offered.

The programs at the USC Pacific Asia Museum that involve the arts, such as Chinese calligraphy and haiku writing, as well as their fitness classes for tai chi and yoga, are among the most interesting things that the museum has to offer.

There is also the extremely popular Royal Taste exhibition, which educates visitors on the opulent ways of life that were prevalent in Chinese princely courts.


Pasadena Museum of History

Burghers of Calais

Photo Flickr, Pasadena Museum of History, Things To Do In Pasadena

The Pasadena Museum of History recounts the development of this city in California from its humble beginnings in the middle of the 1870s when it was just a settlement built by pioneers looking for a new way to start their lives, all the way up to the present day.

About half a century later, residents of the area got together to form a historical society with the intention of preserving the local heritage; this society served as the foundation for what is now the most prestigious learning institution in all of Pasadena!

There have been some adjustments made to the Museum of History ever since it first opened its doors.

The History Center is the name commonly given to its most recent incarnation, which is located on the site of a former estate.

Museums, a climate-controlled archive, research libraries, and a museum shop are all housed in the building, which opened in the early 1990s. It features a variety of permanent and temporary exhibits.

You can gain insight into the history of the city by looking at historical clothing, artwork, and documents, and the museum also hosts a variety of lectures, workshops, and guided tours so that you can continue your education.


The Pasadena Playhouse District

St. Andrew Church, Pasadena, California

Photo Flickr, The Pasadena Playhouse District, Things To Do In Pasadena

A trip to the Pasadena Playhouse District should be at the top of your to-do list if you find yourself in California.

The Pasadena Playhouse District is the cultural center of the city. It is jam-packed with fine dining, theatres, art galleries, and all of the fun things to do in Pasadena, particularly if you go there in the evening.

This neighborhood is home to a number of cultural institutions, including the Pasadena Playhouse, the USC Pacific Asia Museum, the Pasadena Museum of California and Art, the Furious Theatre, and the Boston Court Performing Arts Complex, among others.

Because there are so many different venues, you won’t be at a loss for things to do to keep yourself entertained; however, the Playhouse is without a doubt the highlight of the experience.

It was the first theatre in the country to have a capacity of 686 seats and was known for producing and showcasing Shakespeare plays.

Since that time, it has maintained its high standard by carrying out at least 300 performances on an annual basis.


The Gold Bug

Glass-and-feather artwork at Gold Bug

Photo Flickr, The Gold Bug,ce looking for fun things to do in Pasadena, California, and you’re in the right place.

The Gold Bug is one of the best places to go to find weirdness and curiosities that are one of a kind and completely unique.

It is a family-owned and -operated esoteric store that can be found in the historic district of Old Pasadena.

When you visit the Gold Bug, you’ll find a wide range of items, each of which has been designed with a specific goal in mind.

You will find treasures such as original bell jars by Andy Paiko, rare insect displays, original artwork, steampunk collectibles, jewelry made from or inspired by nature, school prints, chandeliers, and Japanese-imported tactile clothing, to name just a few of the items that you can look forward to discovering.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an artist, a fan of the weird, or an alternative to upscale culture; you’re sure to find something that speaks to you here.


The Gamble House

Gamble House

Photo Flickr, The Gamble House, Things To Do In Pasadena

David and Mary Gamble, whose surnames are likely familiar to you as being associated with the well-known Procter & Gamble Company, once called the Gamble House in Pasadena, California, their home.

The property was furnished and designed in 1908, and it still maintains a significant portion of the historical allure and opulence that it displayed back then.

The Gamble House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978, solidifying its status as one of the most popular places of interest for tourists in Pasadena.

It has a dark wooden exterior and a general look that makes it look like a ski lodge, and it is set against a backdrop that is reminiscent of a desert. This makes it stand out against the backdrop.

It’s a fantastic illustration of how this style is used in American architecture.

Four times a week, at noon, visitors can participate in informative one-hour tours that are led by a knowledgeable docent.

Longer specialty tours are also available for those who are interested in learning about the home in greater detail. These tours will walk you through the various intricate details of the home’s architecture as well as its furnishings.


St. Andrew Catholic Church

Catholic Church of St Andrew, St Andrews

Photo Flickr, St. Andrew Catholic Church, Things To Do In Pasadena

You don’t have to travel all the way to Europe to find incredible works by Renaissance masters.

It turns out that the St. Andrew Catholic Church in California is the place in the Golden State where you can find them.

This church has made a name for itself as one of the top options available when it comes to things to do in Pasadena because it is consistently regarded as one of the top venues at which to view such breathtaking work.

The structure of the church, which is 125 years old, is a majestic example of old-world architecture and features a Romanesque spire.

Because it is a public church that is still in use, the church is not always open to visitors; however, when it does welcome visitors, you should make a point to include those times in your itinerary.

The St. Andrew Catholic Church is most well-known for its mural of the Madonna, which is considered to be on par with those found in Rome.

Carlo Wostry, an Italian artist, is responsible for all of the murals that can be found on the walls of the church. These murals are vibrant in both hue and detail.

In point of fact, they are so stunning that Italians at one point felt threatened by their very presence in the country.

The parishioners were so impressed with Wostry’s work that they decided to pool their resources in order to hire him on multiple occasions.

In 1930, after spending more than five years on the project, Wostry had finally completed decorating the St. Andrew Catholic Church with beautiful artwork.

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Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden

Japanese Tea House

Photo Flickr, Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden, Things To Do In Pasadena

The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden is a cut above the rest, even though there are other Japanese gardens located in Pasadena and throughout the state of California.

It is a hidden gem, labeled as one of the rarer locations to see in a neighborhood, and it is one of the only examples in Pasadena of a private garden with this theme that was made before World War II.

It was sometime in the early part of the 20th century when the United States and Japan began developing connections for trade and political purposes. At about the same time, the American interest in the aesthetics of Japan also began.

Charles Storrier and Ellamae Storrier Stearns were a couple who cherished the aesthetic qualities of Japanese design and were an example of this type of couple.

In 1935, they commissioned Kinzuchi Fujii, a landscape designer, to create an exclusive Japanese Garden for them that encompassed more than two acres of land.

The work done by Fujii consisted of a hill with a height of 25 feet and a waterfall.

In addition to that, it featured a tea house that had been fabricated in Japan in accordance with specific building plans before being transported to this country for assembly.

Not long after that, the United States was stricken by the Great Depression, and tensions between that country and Japan increased.

Because of this, there was a gradual decline in interest in Japanese aesthetics, and as a result, this garden was one of the very last of its kind to be constructed.

Unfortunately, Fujii was detained in an internment camp in 1942, and from that point on, he was unable to visit the garden.

The Stearns’ estate was sold after they passed away, and the condition of the garden began to deteriorate gradually in the 1970s. In 1981, a fire completely destroyed the tea house that had been there since the Stearns’ time.

Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden is now accessible to the general public thanks to the fact that the previous gardener of the Stearns estate was eventually recruited by the current owners to assist in revitalizing the space.

Today, there is also a new and significant addition that can be found here: a tree that represents peace and is descended from a camellia that survived the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.


Huntington Library and Gardens

Japanese Garden, Huntington Library, CA 9-08 - IN EXPLORE

Photo Flickr, Huntington Library and Gardens, Things To Do In Pasadena

Henry E. Huntington, a treasurer, and railroad magnate established The Huntington Library and Gardens in Pasadena in 1919 with the intention of bringing together gardens, books, and art. The Huntington is a historical attraction in the city.

The establishment’s raison d’être is that of a center for the study and instruction of subjects related to its collections.

The grounds are decorated with works of art from the 18th and 19th centuries created in the United States, Great Britain, and France and displayed in a collection of artwork that has been partitioned into three separate galleries.

The Huntington Library is home to a wide variety of unique book collections, in addition to other types of materials.

The outdoor botanical gardens cover an area of 120 acres and feature a rotating cast of unique plants and displays at any given time.

The Chinese Garden, the Desert Garden, the Japanese Garden, and the Rose Garden each offer visitors a unique ambiance and a diverse selection of beautiful flowers to admire.

Do you require a break to eat or rest?

This location in Pasadena, California will take care of all your needs!

There are four restaurants to choose from, the most popular of which is the Rose Garden Tea Room, while The Cafe is a wonderful place for families to enjoy a meal at a restaurant that serves simple fare.

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Colorado Street Bridge

Colorado Street Bridge

Photo Flickr, Colorado Street Bridge , Things To Do In Pasadena

The Colorado Street Bridge is a location in California that is known for its dignity. It was constructed roughly a century ago.

Since 1913, over one hundred people have taken their own lives at this Beaux-Arts structure, which was once located along the old Route 66.

At one point, the situation became so dire that the city of Pasadena was forced to establish a permanent police patrol.

During the Great Depression, as might have been anticipated, the highest death toll was recorded.

In 1989, fences with a height of 8 feet were installed with the purpose of preventing suicides.

Despite this, it continues to be a place where troubled people gather, and many people believe that the bridge is haunted.

A number of foolish stunts, some of which were unsuccessful, have been performed in this area, including one in which daredevil pilots attempted to fly beneath it.

The Colorado Street Bridge is one of the things to see in the city because of its architecture, despite the fact that its past is filled with tragedy and melancholy.

It extends for a distance of 1,500 feet and rises up to a height of 150 feet above the Arroyo Seco.

Those who stroll along its walkways will be rewarded with stunning panoramas in both the north and the south simultaneously.


Pasadena City College Flea Market

Waterbury Flea Market

Photo Flickr, Pasadena City College Flea Market, Things To Do In Pasadena

Visit the Pasadena City College Flea Market this coming weekend if you are curious about how people in the local area of California might spend the morning of the weekend.

The PCC Flea Market is open on the first Sunday of every month from 8:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the evening, and it features vendors selling items at low prices as well as parking that is inexpensive.

There are more than 500 stalls at the PCC Flea Market, making it one of the largest in the Southland. These stalls sell a wide variety of goods, including books, toys, food, tools, clothing, and antiques.

Since it first opened its doors in 1977, the market has generated sufficient revenue to fund the awarding of $30,000 worth of scholarships on an annual basis.

It gives students employment opportunities and contributes to the campus’s overall financial fundraising and support for a variety of programs.

One of the best ways to familiarise oneself with the culture of the area is by paying a visit to the PCC Flea Market.


Kidspace Children’s Museum

Disney Junior's "Pirate and Princess: Power of Doing Good" Los Angeles tour stopped outside of Pasadena’s Kidspace Children’s Museum, Friday August 15.

Photo Flickr, Kidspace Children’s Museum, Things To Do In Pasadena

If you are traveling with children, you should definitely make a stop at the Kidspace Children’s Museum while you are in the Pasadena, California area.

This museum was established in 1979 at Caltech, and it is filled to the brim with activities, exciting events, interactive exhibits, informal demonstrations, and informal educational lessons that are certain to excite and delight visitors.

There is a good reason why the Kidspace Children’s Museum receives over 200,000 visitors each and every year: the museum is fantastic!

It does a wonderful job of stimulating children’s creativity and encouraging them to use their imaginations.

The Stone Hollow Amphitheater, the Kidspace Critters area, which is filled with the Arroyo Adventure Garden, bugs, and reptiles, the Imagination Workshop, which is used for learning about the mechanical workings of various items, and the Robert & Mary Galvin Physics Forest, which is located outside, are some of the most popular places to visit here.

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