Architectural Treasures

Pasadena Architectural Treasures

With 16 historical districts packed into 23 square miles, Pasadena has a wealth of incredible architecture to discover. Take a crash course in architectural style by visiting the city’s cultural and academic institutions, where you’ll see everything from Beaux Arts to Northern Chinese Imperialist. When dining or shopping, you’ll find yourself in a noteworthy structure guaranteed to enhance the experience.
Designed by Pasadena architects Charles and Henry Greene, the Gamble House is considered to be one of the finest examples of architecture from the early 20th century Arts & Crafts Movement. The home was built in 1908  for David and Mary Gamble (Procter and Gamble soap  and toothpaste fame). The house, a National Historic Landmark, is open for public tours.
Old Pasadena is a National Register Historic District and one of the best examples of downtown revitalization in the United States. The area’s cobblestone courtyards, quaint  alleyways and ornate  architecture date back to the 1880s. Tours can be arranged via Pasadena Heritage.
Tour the historic halls of the one of the world’s most widely recognized institutions for the study of science and engineering. Architectural tours of the campus, which was built in 1891, are available through Caltech.
Use the “Explore Pasadena Architecture” brochure for these tours.  The brochure features 10 neighborhoods with a rare concentration of landmark homes and buildings. The tours range from 1.2 – 4 miles in length and may be explored  on foot, by bicycle or car. Pick up copies of the brochure in the Visitors Center or download it here.
Tour 4: Oak Knoll
Once the site of a sheep ranch owned by Henry Huntington, Oak Knoll was developed into large estates in the early 1900s. The rolling oak-covered area is now home to The Langham Huntington  Hotel and an array of impressive estates.
Tour 6: Civic Center & Playhouse District
Planned in the 1920s, the richly detailed buildings, broad  boulevards and park-like settings are firmly rooted in a civic axis. Commanding structures include the historic Central Library, Pasadena City Hall with its red-tile dome, and the revered Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
Tour 10: Lombardy Road
Returning from European  study, the aspiring gentlemen architects of the time created fanciful reconstructions of their half- remembered visions of rural Spain and Italy. This route passes the California Institute of Technology whose  faculty has won 32 Nobel Prizes.  End the tour at The Huntington  Library, Art Collections,  and Botanical Gardens  with lunch in the Tea Room.
Download a PDF version of this itinerary here.