Crossroads of LA

Pasadena, California is nestled between Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains, it is located 10 miles (16 km) from Downtown Los Angeles, visitors can travel between DTLA and Pasadena in 16 minutes via Metro Gold Line, or drive between the two cities in 10 minutes. Pasadena was the second city to incorporate in L.A. County, preceded only by the city of Los Angeles.

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Pictured: one of many public courtyards in Pasadena.

Cultural History and Festivals

Native Americans were the earliest settlers in what we know today as Pasadena; later it became Spain, then Mexico and eventually the United States of America. Around that time the newly constructed transcontinental railroads brought wealthy Americans from the Midwest and the East Coast who were looking for refuge from harsh winters of the east. In the middle of the 20th century the Pasadena Freeway became the first freeway in the Western United States; and in the 21st century the Mars Rover was designed and built at NASA’s Pasadena facility, JPL. The city is chock-full of history and it has made some great contributions to American culture. Locals celebrate their many milestones by organizing festivals, these festivals take place throughout the entire year — travelers thinking about visiting Pasadena should consider taking a trip during one of these famous festivals:

Winter — Tournament of Roses
The Rose Parade is in its 128th year and brings 700,000 spectators from all over the world. It is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular parades in history and it is syndicated to televisions in more than 115 countries. In the three days leading up to the parade, the city puts on a free festival for visitors called Live on GreenMore→

Fall — Craftsman Weekend
Devotees of the Arts & Crafts Movement set up base camp in Pasadena every November for Craftsman Weekend, the largest gathering of its kind on the West Coast. Pasadena is Craftsman mecca, the Greene brothers lived and built some the most famous examples of the movement in the Little Switzerland area of Pasadena, including the Gamble House. Additionally, Pasadena’s Bungalow Heaven Historic District contains a large collection of bungalow homes built in the arts and crafts style. More→

Summer — Make Music Pasadena

Downtown Pasadena turns into the largest free music festival on the West Coast for Make Music Pasadena. Headliners perform on six main stages placed between Old Pasadena and the Playhouse District; local restaurants and business serve as satellite stages featuring more acts. More→

More Pasadena Happenings

Spring Home Tour (Spring)

ArtNight Pasadena (Fall & Winter)

Colorado Street Bridge Party (Summer)

Pasadena Greek Festival (Fall)

Find our full events calendar here→

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Pictured: Norton Simon Museum

Museums of Pasadena

Pasadena is home to an abundance of renowned cultural institutions, many within walking distance of one another. Namely, the Norton Simon Museum exhibits one of the most well-known private collections; Pasadena Museum of California Art shows more contemporary works with exciting exhibitions like Someday is Now; the Huntington Library shows the private collection of the Huntington family; and the USC Pacific Asia Museum is a university museum housed in a mansion inspired by the Chinese Qing Dynasty, dedicated to the arts and culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands. More→

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Pictured: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Millard House aka La Miniatura. Courtesy of

California Architecture

Pasadena is an architecture enthusiast’s dream, there are sixteen historical districts within the city, full of incredible architecture to discover. The Pasadena Visitors Center offers self-guided tour maps; Pasadena HeritageAIA-PF, the Gamble House, and the Wrigley House offer guided tours. More→

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Pictured: Finn + Willow in Old Pasadena.

Shopping in Pasadena

Downtown Pasadena is made up of three unique districts offering shopping, dining and entertainment. Old Pasadena‘s brick alleyways are lined with boutiques like Mohawk General Store, Joie, and Vince. The Pasadena Playhouse District is an artsy neighborhood surrounding California’s state theatre, the Pasadena Playhouse, this is the performing arts hub featuring Boston Court Performing Arts Center, Ice House Comedy Club, as well as coffee shops, and wine bars. The South Lake Avenue District is a European-style tree lined boulevard where people go to pamper themselves at boutiques like Olive & June (nail salon), Drybar (blow dry bar), SoulCycle (yoga-esque cycling studio), and Contessa Chocolate Collection (patisserie). More→

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Pictured: Langham Huntington Pasadena


Pasadena offers different styles of hotels for travelers, the more traditional traveler who prefers fine dining, spa services and glamorous surroundings will stay at the Langham Huntington Pasadena. A modern traveler who prefers the city and hip environs with a touch of history might consider the DusitD2 Hotel Constance. The frequent traveler who wants to earn points when traveling for work and pleasure has several options, Westin Plaza Las FuentesSheraton, Hilton, Residence Inn Marriott, and the Courtyard by MarriottView all hotels→

To learn more about Pasadena, go to or call our visitors center at (800) 307-7977 and ask us to send you our visitors guide.