A Guide to Pasadena’s Playhouse Village

March 05, 2020 | Posted in Arts & Culture

The artsy Playhouse Village is home to the renowned Pasadena Playhouse along with museums, galleries, eateries and a smattering of independent shops.

Pasadena Playhouse Plaque photographed by Jessica Yeh

Historic Arts District

Playhouse Village

The Playhouse Village also serves as a canvas for an eclectic and robust public art collection. Visitors love the splashes of color in the form of painted utility boxes and wall murals that span across the sides of historic buildings. Creatives, writers, performers, and artists all flock to the Playhouse Village to spark their inspiration.

PLACES TO EAT

Urth Caffé (594 E. Colorado Blvd.) and Tender Greens (621 E. Colorado Blvd.) serve budget-friendly wholesome fare. El Portal Restaurant (695 E. Green St.) is solid choice for sit-down Mexican cuisine. Try Tarantino’s Pizzeria (784 E. Green Street) for old school Italian or Settebello (625 E. Green St.) for Naples-style wood-fired pizza. The flavors of Hawaii inspire both the poke bowls at Pokenoya (766 E. Colorado Blvd.) and the upscale fare at Roy’s (641 E. Colorado Blvd.), while Ginger & Spice (451 E. Colorado Blvd.) is a family-run, fast-casual Vietnamese café.

El Portal
Playhouse Village Arcade Alley Sunset

SHOPPING

Canterbury Records (805 E. Colorado Blvd.) was founded in 1956 and continues to carry a vast selection of new and used vinyl spanning all genres. Collectors also frequent The Battery Books & Music (26 S. Los Robles Ave.) to scour their inventory of used books, music and movies. For more than 40 years, Aarnun Gallery-Fine Picture Framing (603 E. Green St.) has been a resource for fine art paintings, prints, photography, and pottery. Mimi et Cie (696 E. Colorado Blvd. #7) carries a refined selection of covetable timepieces and jewelry. Wollhaus Artisan Yarn & Tools (696 E. Colorado Blvd. #2) is a cozy crafter’s paradise. And you can find nearly every style of hat imaginable at World Hats Mart (444 E. Colorado Blvd.).

THINGS TO DO

Catch a performance at the official State Theatre of California, the Pasadena Playhouse (39 S. El Molino Ave.). Laemmle Theatres’ Playhouse 7 (637 E. Colorado Blvd.) art house cinema embodies the ethos of this creative neighborhood. The impressive USC Pacific Asia Museum (46 N. Los Robles Ave.) is one of the few institutions in the country dedicated to the arts and culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands. Founded in the late 1800s, Vromans Bookstore (695 E. Colorado Blvd.) is Southern California’s oldest and largest independent bookseller; they regularly bring in renowned and rising star authors and guest speakers for talks and signing events.

Pasadena Playhouse Sign
Monopole Wine

NIGHTLIFE

The Mixx (433 E. Colorado Blvd.) is a classy restaurant and bar with an ongoing line-up of live music. Monopole Wine (21 S. El Molino Ave.)—equal parts wine shop and wine bar—boasts a dynamic events calendar of tastings, pairings, and musical entertainment. T. Boyle’s Tavern (37 N. Catalina Ave.) is a local sports bar in a hideaway alley. Or if you’re looking a lowkey night, check into The Ice House Comedy Club for a good laugh and a drink (24 N. Mentor Ave.)