This June, thousands of locals and tourists will descend upon Pasadena to experience LA’s newest music festival, Arroyo Seco Weekend, a two-day event taking place June 23-24 featuring well-known artists Neil Young + Promise of the Real, Jack White, Kings of Leon, Alanis Morissette and more. For those looking to extend their stay, the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau created a reference guide highlighting some of the city’s best places to eat, drink, shop and relax. Additional information can be found on the official Visit Pasadena website at https://www.visitpasadena.com/.
NOTEWORTHY RESTAURANTS & BARS
With over 500 restaurants in Pasadena, and some of the best bars to entertain a crowd, below is a list of places worth exploring.
Maestro is an upscale Mexican restaurant and Mezcaleria located in historic Old Pasadena. It specializes in traditional Mexican dishes by Chef Elena Vega. Details→
Union is a 50-seat restaurant and bar featuring a deeply personal, seasonally Californian interpretation of Northern Italian cuisine by Chef Bruce Kalman (“Top Chef” Season 15). Details→
Chef Mark Peel (Ma Maison, Michael’s, Chez Panisse, Spago, La Brea Bakery and Campanile) created Prawn to deliver high-quality seafood dining that is accessible for all. The distinctive seafood-forward menu includes a Thai Lobster Roll, Paella, Clam Chowder and the famous Seattle Fish Stew. Details→
THE LUGGAGE ROOM
Luggage Room is a pizzeria in Old Pasadena located at Del Mar Station, featuring indoor and outdoor seating. The restaurant is called The Luggage Room because it occupies the former luggage room of Pasadena’s old Santa Fe train depot. The pizzeria houses a wood burning oven where olive wood is burned to enhance the flavors of their pizzas, and ingredients are carefully chosen from farmers markets and local purveyors. Details→
Hidden in the back of the historic Raymond restaurant is the world-renowned cocktail bar that shakes craft cocktails with hand-cut ice, freshly-squeezed juices and a hand selected arsenal of quality spirits. The wine list features a selection of domestic and international wines from both partner and boutique wineries. Details→
PIE ‘N BURGER
This iconic mid-century diner is known for its burger, pies and hand mixed sodas. Details→
This Bavarian Bierhaus offers a beer garden in a historic alleyway. You’ll find the expected German craft beer selection, some unique German-inspired taps and exceptionally great cocktails. Details→
KINGS ROW GASTROPUB
This watering hole offers a great outdoor terrace and large windows that swing open to bring the outdoors in. Choose from a large selection of craft beer, cocktails and tasty pub food. Details→
EQUATOR BY EDWIN MILLS
This is a playful bar at the intersection of Edwin Alley and Mills Place, and features great programming like live jazz on Wednesdays. Details→
For additional suggestions, click here
From vintage threads to California Coastal boutiques, here are the shops you need to know about.
MOHAWK GENERAL STORE (WOMEN)
The only way inside this small but beautiful boutique is through a pedestrian alleyway in Old Pasadena. It is located in the One Colorado quarter of the neighborhood. Come here to find high fashion brands like Dries van Noten, A.P.C. and Shaina Mote. Website→
If Tim Burton curated a store, this would be it. Gold Bug is a shop of curiosities, jewelry and artwork. Think steampunk, goth and sorcery. Website→
HIGH LOW VINTAGE
Green Street Village near the Pasadena Playhouse is home to a radical vintage shop with very unique and well-curated inventory. Website→
SCOTCH AND SODA
For new clothes made the old fashioned way, go to Scotch & Soda in Old Pasadena. While the brand originated in Amsterdam, their line epitomizes the cool California Coastal style. Website→
NORTON SIMON MUSEUM
Andy Warhol’s first West Coast exhibition was shown at this museum, and Morgan Neville featured it in The Cool School, a documentary about LA’s art scene. Details→
Anchoring the southern end of Millionaire’s Row, the Gamble House is a craftsman masterpiece by Pasadena architect, Charles and Henry Greene. Just this year, the Gamble House was the subject of a documentary by Don Hahn, who is responsible for Beauty & the Beast and The Lion King. Details→
PASADENA MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA ART
The PMCA is a contemporary art museum that celebrates California art, architecture and design, plus the museum’s parking structure is covered in street art by Kenny Scharf. Details→
PASADENA MUSEUM OF HISTORY
This museum is dedicated solely to preserving and sharing the history of Pasadena. The museum is a complex with a few buildings on site, two of the structures are homes that serve as exhibitions. Details→
WELLNESS & OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
Some of the best travel memories involve a spiritual experience. Oftentimes, when people retreat to the mountains, there’s something about nature and altitude that clears the noise. The desert is another mecca for the metaphysical-minded, where orphic beauty reveals itself the moment you open your third eye. Below are some recommendations on how to achieve a restful mind, body and soul while staying in Pasadena.
Just Float is a spa that specializes in floatation therapy where you’ll find large private tanks filled with warm water and salt. The tank shields you from outside noise and light, and after five minutes, the lights and ambient music playing inside switch off. With the combination of your natural body temperature and that of the water, including the lack of light and sound, you’ll feel as if you’re floating on air. Website→
Located inside the luxurious Langham, Huntington Pasadena, the treatments at the Chuan Spa are inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine. Upon arrival, guests are asked to fill out a short questionnaire to determine their Wu Xing elements which are then used to suggest spa treatments. Website→
HIKE TO ECHO MOUNTAIN
Pasadena is situated in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, a massive mountain range with several trails varying from moderate to very difficult. The scenic hike to Echo Mountain and Inspiration Point leads you to the ruins of a mountaintop resort from the 1800s—where guests took a trolley to a funicular rail car, and finally the resort. Sadly, in 1905, Echo Mountain Resort eventually went down in flames.
HIKE TO THE BRIDGE TO NOWHERE
For the more advanced hiker, The Bridge to Nowhere is worth looking into. The trail straddles and crosses the San Gabriel River, which provides several opportunities to swim, eventually leading to a random bridge in the middle of a canyon that has no purpose. It was built in the 1920s for a highway that was meant to cross the San Gabriels. During construction, a storm and subsequent flood ruined much of the work and the project was abandoned.
DESERT GARDEN AT THE HUNTINGTON
The Desert Garden is officially the most “instafamous” spot at The Huntington. The gorgeous botanical garden is over 100 years old, featuring elusive desert flora and is one of the largest collections of succulents in the world. Website→
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