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Travel Tips: Where to Stay, Eat and Go in Pasadena

September 26, 2018

| Posted in Arts & Culture

Make Your Next Visit to Pasadena a Memorable One By Hitting All the High Notes

Whether you want to stick to a modest budget or aim to go all out on a luxury vacation—and whether you’re taking a quick weekend getaway or have a whole week to fill—these travel tips will help you navigate our charming city in effortless style. From top hotel picks at a variety of price points and a delectable dining short list, to must-see attractions and action-packed neighborhoods, this guide will help you curate a perfect itinerary in the City of Roses.


Many people who visit the Los Angeles region opt to make Pasadena their home base for exploring because of our abundance of reasonably priced, quality hotel rooms that are easily accessible and hassle-free—with or without a car. Many major brand categories are represented, and most rates generally average under $200 per night.

Below are a selection of hotels available for your overnight stay:

The Langham Huntington, Pasadena
A Pasadena landmark for more than 100 years, the hotel captures the grace and elegance of classic Southern California. Located on 23 acres with grand historic ballrooms and gardens, the hotel features world-class dining and an award-winning Chuan Spa. The hotel has 377 guestrooms, including private cottages.

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The Langham Huntington, Pasadena

Hotel Constance
A boutique hotel experience paired with traditional warm hospitality and ultra-fast Wi-Fi. Guest rooms feature custom designed beds, pillow and linens. Dining options include Constance Perry’s and the Blue Room Lounge. In late 2018, guests will experience poolside relaxation, an all-new workout facility, modern clue suites and state-of-the-art meeting spaces.

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Hotel Constance

Hilton Pasadena
Perfectly situated in the heart of Pasadena means you are minutes from L.A. and two blocks from the Pasadena Convention Center and Old Pasadena. A full service hotel with a new $25 million renovation completed in November 2017, boasts luxurious rooms, modern amenities, the new Corner Craft Kitchen + Bar, Wi-Fi, a 24-hour gym and complimentary shuttle service within 2 miles of the hotel.

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Hilton Pasadena

The Westin Pasadena
With 350 guestrooms and 18 suites, The Westin Pasadena completed an $11 million guest room renovation in May 2017. Located in the heard of Pasadena, the hotel offers exceptional service, upscale amenities, and elements of comfort. Rejuvenate in a state-of-the-art workout facility, relax by the outdoor pool or decompress in a Heavenly Bed®.

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The Westin Pasadena

Sheraton Pasadena
The Sheraton Pasadena is the only hotel located just steps away from the Pasadena Convention Center and Civic Auditorium. Experience their new multi-million dollar renovation completed in February 2018. Featuring 311 modernly chic guestrooms, Soleil Restaurant, Charlie’s Coffee Shop & Bar, Sheraton Club, pool and fitness center. The hotel offers complementary Wi-Fi and shuttle service within 3 miles.

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Sheraton Pasadena

Old Pasadena Courtyard by Marriott
A prime Pasadena location, this upscale full-service hotel in the heart of Pasadena features 314 expertly appointed guestrooms and an updated modern lobby, bar and restaurant. The hotel offers an on-site fitness center, pool and Wi-Fi.

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Old Pasadena Courtyard by Marriott

Residence Inn Pasadena
The all-suite Residence Inn by Marriott in the heart of Pasadena offers a comfortable, stylish retreat featuring 144 spacious suites, complimentary Wi-Fi, as well as many other amenities. The hotel is walking distance to historic Old Pasadena and many area attractions.

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Resident Inn Pasadena


Deciding where to eat is probably going to be the biggest challenge of your itinerary planning, given you can only eat so many meals in a day and there are so many excellent options on the menu.

Coffee connoisseurs can’t go wrong starting the morning with a cup of joe and bite to eat at local favorites like Intelligentsia, Copa Vida, Jameson Brown Coffee, Lavender & Honey Espresso Bar or one of the two Jones Coffee Roasters locations. Colette and Russell’s are excellent choices for a heartier breakfast. Ah-mazing breakfast burritos can be picked-up any time of day at Lucky Boy.

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Parkway Grill

Some of the most coveted reservations in town include Alexander’s Steakhouse, Union Pasadena, Parkway Grill and The Raymond 1886—all perfect places to celebrate special occasions, too. Seafood lovers should definitely have Cameron’s Seafood and Prawn Coastal Casual by Mark Peel on the radar.

When you’re craving Asian-inspired flavors, look no further than Bone Kettle, Osawa Shabu Shabu Sushi, President Thai and Lunasia Dim Sum House. Mexican and Latin American flavors are another Pasadena specialty—two of the tastiest modern Mexican restaurants are Mercado and Maestro.

True Food Kitchen in Old Pasadena

Hankerings for quality meats can be satisfied at The Royce at the Langham Huntington, Pasadena, Arroyo Chop House and Gus’s Barbecue. Super fresh and healthy eats are the priority at True Food Kitchen, Real Food Daily and Sage Vegan Bistro.

When it comes to transcendent sweets, Amara Chocolate & Coffee serves up unique Venezuelan-style hot chocolates and desserts. If your sweet tooth is screaming for ice cream, try Bloomfield Creamery, Carmela Ice Cream or Bengees.


Knowing the lay of the land will help you plot and plan. Pasadena can be broken down into four core neighborhoods where the majority of attractions are concentrated. Old Pasadena is a 21-block designated National Historic Landmark area filled with architectural gems, shops and restaurants. The Playhouse District is named for the Pasadena Playhouse—the Official State Theatre of California with a storied performing arts history. It’s a bohemian, artsy enclave with fabulous street art and specialty shops. South Lake is a buzzing, local-favorite 10-block zone dedicated to contemporary boutiques, cafes and wellness. And the Civic Center District nestled between Old Pasadena and the Playhouse District features gorgeous historic architectural highlights that offer incredible photo ops, along with more outdoor shopping and strolling through The Paseo.

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The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanic Garden

No visit to Pasadena is complete without a visit to The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanic Garden, the Norton Simon Museum and the Rose Bowl Stadium—whether you go for the legendary Rose Bowl Flea Market, a concert, a game or a tour. If you’re an architectural buff, take a tour of the Gamble House to learn more about Pasadena’s role in the American Arts & Crafts movement. If pop culture is more your cup of tea, My Valley Pass offers a three-hour guided tour of the many locations featured in major films and television shows throughout the years. And the science and technology-minded must-see is NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech, which offers tours that need to be booked one month in advance.

This is just the short list to get you started planning your Pasadena adventures. Check out our themed itineraries and visitors guide for more inspiration.

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