Visit Pasadena Story Ideas
The allure of Pasadena lies beyond its picture-perfect weather and botanical paradise. With iconic historic landmarks such as the Rose Bowl Stadium, architectural treasures like The Gamble House, renowned vintage and independent shopping excursions, an incredible art and culture scene, and a diverse culinary landscape filled with welcoming eateries and restaurants, Pasadena is full of stories waiting to be uncovered.
Fall In Love In Pasadena
Pasadena is a romantic destination filled with enchanting streets, historic buildings, and charming eateries.
Pasadena is full of things to do, which makes it the perfect place to spend quality time with your partner. Stroll through the gardens, explore the unique shops, experience new restaurants together, or attend a big, fun event. Create a relationship bucket list of enriching things to do in Pasadena. Check out all the museums, explore the architecture, see the public art, and celebrate each other with a romance package at a centrally located hotel in this walkable city.
New & Notable
The Castle Green is turning 125. The Pasadena Museum of History, the Octavia E. Butler Magnet School, Pasadena City College, and the cheeseburger all turn 100 in Pasadena.
2024 FLower of the Year
It's the year of the Peony, and with all the botanical gardens throughout Pasadena, you're bound to find some blooms in the spring. Check out The Huntington's Liu Fang Yuan (Chinese Garden) in April for your viewing pleasures. There's also a perfectly powdery pink children's clothing store called Peony Couture in the ornate Burlington Arcade, which teleports you to the UK.
The Pasadena Boba Trail
Visit Pasadena has launched the Pasadena Boba Trail, highlighting 30 (and counting) spectacular boba shops in an interactive map alongside Pasadena’s Route 66 destinations and must-see attractions. In honor of National Bubble Tea Day on April 30, the Pasadena Boba Trail spotlights the immersion of culture from the surrounding San Gabriel Valley’s Asian American culinary inspirations. To further highlight the culture of boba, a sipping drink best enjoyed with friends, new friends, and loved ones, the Pasadena Boba Trail’s two-day travel guide recommends things-to-do along Route 66, such as exploring the USC Pacific Asia Museum, taking an architectural tour, shopping at LA’s oldest record store, and enjoying all the diverse culinary offerings in Pasadena.
New Hotels & Accommodations
Hotel Dena debuted in 2023, nominated in the 2024 Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards. Located adjacent to the Pasadena Convention Center, this Tribute Portfolio Hotel brings out the bold creator in all of us. Here's the press release.
Pasadena is awaiting the opening of a 194-room new-build AC Hotel in the vibrant Playhouse Village neighborhood. Construction began in the summer of 2023.
The Pasadena Playhouse Earns A 2023 Regional Theater Tony Award
The Tony Awards® Administration Committee has announced that based on the recommendation by the American Theatre Critics Association, Pasadena Playhouse will be the recipient of the 2023 Regional Theatre Tony Award. The honor is accompanied by a grant of $25,000, made possible by City National Bank’s generous support. Now one of the oldest theater complexes in the country, the Pasadena Playhouse historic theater will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2025.
Pasadena is a foodie town tucked away in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. The food is diverse and demonstrate a melting pot of Southern Californian food with global influences. With over 600 restaurants in Pasadena (more per capita than New York), the pedestrian-friendly town regularly sees new restaurants, eateries, and cafes from renowned chefs from the robust Southern California region as well as around the world.
Bucket List Foodie Places
Try Pez Coastal Kitchen, a seafood-focused restaurant inspired by Mediterranean and European cuisine, has opened in an Old Pasadena building that was built in 1896. Get yourself a reservation at Bar Chelou, which offers eclectic, globally inspired bistro fare in a convivial space - you won’t regret it. It’s been recognized by Eater as one of the best twelve restaurants in America in 2023. Located next to the historic Pasadena Playhouse, it serves modern French cuisine with global influences. Erewhon also opened in Pasadena in 2023 and it truly is stocked with an impressive ready-to-eat and hot bar section, perfect for picnics in Pasadena’s parks and charming outdoor areas. For our vegan and restrictive diet friends, taste your way through the Top Vegan & Plant-based Hotspots, and make sure to try the donuts at Hello, You’re Welcome.
Osawa Pasadena is a highly rated restaurant from the chef that invented the tuna tartare. Enjoy sushi, shabu, and Japanese comfort food. Dos Besos is a restaurant that delivers the food of Valencia, Spain with a Californian twist. Enjoy paellas in a historic building in Old Pasadena. Mijares is the oldest restaurant in LA, at over 100 years old. Pie n' Burger is a Pasadena mainstay, especially since this is the town where the cheeseburger was founded - at The Rite Spot.
Food Originates Here
Julia Childs was born in Pasadena and the famed LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold lived here. The first ever Panda restaurant was the Panda Inn in Pasadena, founded 50 years ago. It's getting a renovation, so we're all waiting to see what will be unveiled. The cheeseburger was discovered in Pasadena at the Rite Spot, nearly 100 years ago (2024). There's a cheeseburger week every January. The Kabuki Restaurant franchise began here in Pasadena in 1991 at the original Foothill Blvd location. Mrs. See's of See's Candies began the empire here in Pasadena, in the home near downtown Pasadena where she lived with her sons.
The Other Old Hollywood
Pasadena is a historic place where many Hollywood origin stories began. The Pasadena Playhouse is the State Playhouse of California, and at one point, it was referred to as the star factory. In recent years, The Playhouse has become instrumental in launching new works and landmark revivals for the American theatre. The Playhouse has displayed a commitment to cultural and theatrical diversity, which is reflected in seasons featuring Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning plays. Ice House Comedy Club is the oldest comedy club in the nation and it just reopened in February 2023 under new ownership. With Johnny Buss, co-owner of the Lakers, the historic Ice House experienced a beautiful renovation with two brand new stages, a VIP room, and a lineup of spectacular comics. Tim Allen was discovered here, among many others. Experience the iconic filming locations in Pasadena with self guided neighborhood walks or with My Valley Pass.
History & Heritage
As LA’s second-oldest city, Pasadena offers rich history and heritage spread across 126 historic points of interest and 18 historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places.
The big Route 66 centennial is well on its way, and Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard, which is famously known for being the Rose Parade Route, is a part of the original Route 66. Along the route, visitors can enjoy the modern experiences in historic Old Pasadena, explore the architectural beauty of the Civic Center District, and the theatrical fixings and public art of the Playhouse Village District. The Colorado Street Bridge was a part of the first Route 66, and the hidden gem photo op for this historic structure is at Desiderio Neighborhood Park. The route was later moved to the Arroyo Seco Parkway, which is often referred to as the Pasadena Highway by locals. As one of the oldest freeways in California, the drive can feel narrow and winding, but traverses through the historic Arroyo Seco to connect downtown Los Angeles with Pasadena. The highway drops you off onto a surface road that runs up to Colorado Boulevard, and along the way, the first Trader Joe's location stands strong as a neighborhood market til this day. The Pasadena Museum of History is a great source for journalists seeking historic archives and city information, as is Pasadena Heritage. For additional route suggestions and historic landmark recommendations, please contact the publicity office.
Ghost Signs and Neon Signs
The old school signage found around the city is one of the biggest favorites for Route 66 travelers. They are preserved mementos of another time. Other ghost signs include the Pasadena Theatre (in One Colorado), Crown City Mattress Works, and more. Neon signs can be found at Champion Laundry, Cameron's Seafood Market, Saga Motor Hotel (mentioned above), and Orange Grove Shopping Center.
Shopping: Modern Meets Vintage
Every trip to Pasadena is met with a healthy dose of window shopping, retail therapy, strolling and sightseeing. In every neighborhood, the distinct collections of shops, restaurants, and coffee shops bring a charming sense of character to the district. Set against the backdrop of historic buildings and treasured landmarks, visitors will enjoy exploring the small, locally owned boutiques, consignment shops, souvenir shops, galleries, and vintage experiences throughout Pasadena's neighborhoods. Old Pasadena is the main artery of the city's shopping, loaded with brick-lined alleyways and unique finds. The South Lake Shopping District is anchored by the Macys, which dresses the Rose Court for the Tournament of Roses each year. Explore the shops along East Washington, where there's Octavia's Bookshelf, tac-tile mountain, and the ever popular Millie's Café.