Old Pasadena is the city’s most well-known district. Spanning 22 blocks of historic streets and alleyways, this bustling urban center features 200 name brand retailers, trendy boutiques, art galleries, vintage clothing stores, top-rated restaurants, and clubs.
Old Pasadena is a shopper’s dream. This district offers 130 popular retailers, including Tiffany & Co., H & M, Forever 21, Banana Republic, and Abercrombie & Fitch. Nestled in the heart of Old Pasadena, One Colorado is a creative square where 19th century architecture meets superlative shopping, alfresco dining, live music, and art events. The array of vendors includes national retailers like Gap, as well as exclusive, independent boutiques and stores. Shop at Elisa B., Kate Spade, In Soho, Juicy Couture, The Soap Kitchen, and Dot’s Cupcakes.
With 500 restaurants, many of them located in Old Pasadena, the city is a foodie’s paradise. Restaurants in Old Pasadena run the gamut of food categories and international cuisines. Many eateries offer outdoor dining, enabling diners to enjoy the temperate Southern California weather. Savor authentic Mediterranean cuisine served atop a beautiful roof top patio at Café Santorini, sample Spanish fare at Bar Celona, or try the delectable northern Italian dishes at Tre Venezie.
MELTING POT FOOD TOURS
Melting Pot Food Tours offers a culinary walking tour of Old Pasadena. Come experience the charming history, architecture and folklore of Old Pasadena while feasting upon culinary delights from neighborhood eateries. The fascinating stories behind the foods, and this historic district that was once only a sunny land of orange groves, are guaranteed to entertain and delight. Colorful alleys and secret thru-ways spice up the path as spectacular ethnic eateries and sweet havens are sought out for tastings.
NORTON SIMON MUSEUM
Enjoy an incredible viewing experience of artistic masterpieces that spans the ages at the Norton Simon Museum, located one block from Old Pasadena’s west end. The museum offers collections of Renaissance to 20th century European art from artists such as Raphael, Botticelli, Rubens, Rembrandt and Goya. Particularly celebrated are the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings by Renoir, Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, and Picasso. The stellar collection of South and Southeast Asian art spans 2,000 years. Also available is a sculpture garden featuring works by Rodin and a Monet-inspired landscape. After light refreshments in the garden, visit the gift shop for the perfect Pasadena memento.
When night falls, Pasadena comes alive. With 11 performing arts organizations, the options are limitless. Enjoy an award-winning play at the Pasadena Playhouse, a performance by the revered Pasadena Symphony, a cutting-edge production at Boston Court Performing Arts Center, or a concert by the Grammy-winning Southwest Chamber Music. During the summer months take advantage of free concerts at the Levitt Pavilion and the California Philharmonic Orchestra’s exciting outdoor concert series. All of these organizations and more offer group rates. The city is also home to a famous comedy club, a variety of popular dance spots, and sizzling jazz hideaways.
THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY, ART COLLECTIONS, AND BOTANICAL GARDENS
Located on the 207-acre estate of the late railroad baron Henry Huntington and his wife, Arabella, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is regarded as one of the world’s foremost cultural centers.
Treasures of the Library include a Gutenberg Bible, a manuscript of Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales,” Benjamin Franklin’s handwritten autobiography, and the double-elephant folio edition of Audubon’s “Birds of America.”
The Art Collections are distinguished by their four separate locations. Housed in what was the home of the Huntington’s, The Huntington Gallery contains Gainsborough’s “The Blue Boy” and Lawrence’s “Pinkie,” as well as other
17th and 18th century masterpieces. The Erburu Gallery showcases the institution’s growing collection of American Art. The Virginia Steele Scott Gallery specializes in American paintings from the 1730s to the 1930s, and Renaissance paintings of 18th Century French artists are featured in the Arabella Huntington Collection. The Boone Gallery is dedicated to changing exhibitions.
The Botanical Gardens feature 14,000 varieties of plants on over 150 acres. Gardens include the Rose Garden, Herb Garden, Japanese Garden, Desert Garden, Zen Garden, Australian Garden and Children’s Garden. The Garden of Flowing Fragrance, or Liu Fang Yuan, is an authentic Chinese garden that refects traditional Suzhou-style scholar gardens.
THE GAMBLE HOUSE
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 owned by the City of Pasadena and operated by the University of Southern California. It is open for public tours.
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