Explore the Joy of AAPI Culture
Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage
Pasadena is your gateway to one of the biggest hubs of Asian Pacific American culture - the San Gabriel Valley. AAPI heritage is celebrated here all year long, with frequent reminders of the delicious, beautiful, and enriching contributions that these communities have made to our city and beyond.
Taste of AAPI
Indulge in the authentic flavors of AAPI culture through the abundance of culinary experiences in Pasadena. The area is rich in multigeneration and multiethnic AAPI diversity, allowing visitors to experience various subcultures through food.
Celebrate AAPI Authors at Vroman's Bookstore
Vroman’s Bookstore was founded in 1894 by Adam Clark Vroman, a man who loved books and loved giving back to his community. For many years, Vroman’s was the largest bookstore west of the Mississippi, and it continues to be the oldest and largest independent bookstore in Southern California. During World War II, Vroman’s donated and delivered books to Japanese Americans interned at nearby camps, returning on several occasions despite being fired upon by camp guards. Enjoy the upcoming AAPI Author events at Vroman's Bookstore.
AAPI Contributions: Pasadena's Botanical Gardens
Pasadena is blessed with fertile soil, favorable climate, and many botanical gardens. During the end of the 19th century, there was a widespread fascination with Asian culture and garden design. Enjoy the contributions of AAPI gardeners and botanists in Pasadena's living, and everchanging, botanical museums.
Storrier Sterns Japanese Garden
The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden was created by Kinzuchi Fujii between 1935 – 1940 for Charles and Ellamae Storrier Stearns. It is also the only intact example of a major Japanese-style garden created before World War II for a residence in Southern California. A variety of events are curated monthly, including sound baths, evening access, tea ceremonies and more.
Japanese Garden at The Huntington
The Japanese Garden is one of the oldest gardens at The Huntington, started over a century ago. Stroll through the koi-filled ponds, the moon bridge built by Japanese craftsman Toichiro Kawai, the impressive bonsai collection, the Zen garden, the Japanese House built in Japan around 1904, and ceremonial tea house that was built in Kyoto and donated to The Huntington.
Chinese Garden at The Huntington
Liu Fang Yuan 流芳園 is one of the finest classical-style Chinese gardens outside of China. Designed through an international collaboration with designers and artisans in Suzhou and American construction workers, this garden is filled with plants of literary or cultural significance. Enjoy soloist musicians in the garden every Wednesday.
Japanese Garden at Descanso Gardens
Enjoy the stroll garden, the stream-and-pond garden, the tea garden, and the raked-gravel garden (karesansui), often called (incorrectly) a Zen garden. Designed by Eijiro Nunokawa, the garden's teahouse was operated by Japanese American restauranteurs who commissioned architect Kenneth Masao Nishimoto to build a giftshop that emulates a Japanese farmhouse.
AAPI Museum Exhibitions & Events
From cultural institutions and ornate landmark buildings to exhibitions and performances, enjoy the rich cultures and vital histories of AAPI heritage in Pasadena.
USC Pacific Asia Museum
Global Asias: Contemorary Asian and Asian American Art
Now - June 25, 2023
Combined, the works in Global Asias suggest the plurality and fluidity of “Asia” as cultural construct and creative practice. Organized by the Palmer Museum of Art in association with the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, Global Asias was guest curated by Dr. Chang Tan, Assistant Professor of Art History and Architecture.
USC Pacific Asia Museum
Now - September 3, 2023
See the student-led pop-up exhibition inspired by the program, “Dismantling Orientalism: This is Not a True Story.” Featuring digital media pieces, portraits, posters, production stills, and scripts, this exhibition highlights artists and works of art that remind us of the strides made toward humanizing the representation of Asian and Asian American stories.
Norton Simon Museum
South and Southeast Asian Paintings and Sculpture
The Norton Simon Museum houses a world-renowned collection of art from South and Southeast Asia that includes examples of the rich sculptural and painting traditions that developed in this region over the course of more than 2,000 years.
SHIKI: The Four Seasons in Japanese Art
Now - May 21, 2023
This exhibition from the Scripps College collection in Claremont explores the aesthetic values of Japan that reach beyond philosophical ideas about art and beauty, where seasonal motifs found their way into everyday life, embellishing clothing, accessories, and other objects used daily. Enjoy poetry, artifacts, printed works, and traditional art forms.
Nathan Wang Presents: "Shanghai's World Emporium"
May 20 & 21, 2023
This new musical set in Shanghai, 1937, explores immigration stories with original music, developed by Chinese American composer Nathan Wang in the Chinese Garden. Xing Xing Department Store launches Shanghai into the modern age while its employees and customers attempt to maintain normalcy, despite the ominous threat of war with Japan. But one calamitous day in August changes their lives, and China, forever.
Music in the Chinese Garden
A different solo musician performs each week, playing unamplified melodies on classical instruments including the dizi 笛子, pipa 琵琶, and erhu二胡. Let the music transport you to another time and place as you stroll through one of the most magical landscapes in Southern California. Generous support for this music series is provided by the Justin Vajna Memorial Fund for Educational Programs in the Chinese Garden.
Chinese Brush Painting: Dragon Boat Festival
May 20, 2023
Join Chinese brush painting instructor Peifang Liang for a family event. This hands-on workshop is inspired by the Dragon Boat Festival, an annual Chinese celebration in which brightly colored, dragon-shaped boats are raced in rivers across China. Learn about this exciting holiday while using traditional Chinese brush painting materials to create a masterpiece of your own!
Armory Center for the Arts
Exposure: Native Art & Political Ecology
Now - June 11, 2023
Storrier Sterns Japanese Garden
Pasadena Festival of Tea
May 14, 2023
The three-session festival will feature six local tea vendors representing Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and contemporary fermented and herbal tea traditions. Guests will receive a custom-made tasting cup at check-in, and the tea specialists will offer samplings of their teas, along with expert knowledge and advice. Additional experiences available with limited seats, including tea service, demonstrations, and more.
City of Pasadena Celebrates AAPI Heritage Month
The City of Pasadena celebrates AAPI Heritage Month throughout the month of May with community events at Pasadena's public libraries and parks. Programs and events include cultural and educational activities, workshops, and take-home craft projects—all of which aim to promote understanding, appreciation and respect for the AAPI community and their contributions to the city of Pasadena.
Art and Speaker Presentation
Jackie Robinson Community Center
May 4, 2023 | 4-6:30 p.m.
Celebrate AAPI month with the City of Pasadena. Create an AAPI fresh flower craft project and learn about the Chinese American experience from a historic perspective, with dynamic speaker and Pasadena native Kaz Doi. Registration is required for the free event.
City of Pasadena AAPI Month Celebrations
Learn about the Executive Order 9066 with Dr. Susan H. Kamei, enjoy a story and teatime with arts and crafts, create your own miniature Zen garden, create Japanese floral arrangements with a workshop on Ikebana with instructor Jessica Tang, and more.