Museums & Gardens
Pasadena, with its deep roots in history, culture, architecture and science is home to several museums and educational institutes.
The city is a melting pot with awe-inspiring architecture sculpted from decades of tradition as reflected in its historic influences from around the world.
This "three-for-one" experience includes an art gallery, historic literature collection, conservatory, and 127-acres of colorful gardens. The art gallery focuses on European art from the 15th to early-20th century and American art from the 17th to mid-20th century. There are also temporary exhibits that rotate throughout the art gallery. The library collections includes some of the greatest "originals" ever to be penned and printed including the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, architectural drawings by Thomas Jefferson, and more. If your head starts to spin with all of the knowledge, the gardens are free to roam. Not to mention, they're not too bad on the eyes either. Fun fact: The Huntington is also celebrating its centennial year in 2020.
The Norton Simon Museum is a collection of global art pieces that range from the European Renaissance to South and Southeastern Asian artwork spanning from 2,000 years. Notable artists include Picasso, Goya, and Degas. In addition to the exhibits, there are also lectures, film events and performances, adult art classes, and children's activities.
An architectural feat in itself, the USC Pacific Asia Museum is located just a few steps from City Hall. Constructed in 1924, the museum surrounds a delicate garden with Asian and Pacific Islander influences and is one of the few U.S. institutions dedicated solely to Asian/Pacific Islander culture, art, religion, and education. Inside you will find collections with over 15,000 objects that cover 4,000 years of history in regions spanning from Persia to the Pacific Islands. Participate in exhibitions, performances, lectures, classes, workshops, and more.
The Pasadena Museum of History is the only museum and research library dedicated to all things Pasadena including its history, art, and culture. Neighboring the Gamble House and Rose Bowl Stadium, the nonprofit museum even has its own mansion – Fenyes Mansion – on the property, which is also considered a cultural heritage landmark. The architectural gem's original furnishings and art offers visitors an inside glimpse into the life of what Pasadena's Millionaire's Row looked like in the early 1800's.
Not only does the Gamble House exemplify one of Pasadena's greatest craftsman-style architectural structures, it's also famous for its participation in Hollywood. The Gamble House was featured in the "Back to the Future" movie franchise. The interior of the house can also be toured, with a range of different packages available, including a "behind the velvet ropes" tour, that gives insider access to areas of the home that wouldn't normally be open for display.
The Tournament House, also known as Wrigley Mansion, is the permanent headquarters for the Tournament of Roses – the organization behind Pasadena's annual Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game. The mansion was given to the City of Pasadena by the Wrigley family in 1958 – the same Wrigley name behind the gum. The Tournament House offers free tours on Thursdays, February through August, with each tour lasting one-hour. The property spans four and half acres and is covered in floral displays, including 1,500 varieties of roses, camellias, and annuals.
Kidspace Children's Museum is the perfect spot for young minds visiting Pasadena. The exhibits are mainly outdoors, allowing children to learn while staying active. The 40+ hands-on exhibits are designed specifically to encourage children's growth, development, and motor skills while focusing on topics like the environment, science, and artistic expression.
The Southern California Children's Museum is a non-profit museum that is dedicated to play-based learning. Some activities encourage children to explore their creative side through hands-on art projects and sensory exhibits, engage in underwater worlds, or ride along on planes, trains, and automobiles through games and collaborative exercises. They even conduct bilingual story time.