Top things to do in Pasadena, CA

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Pasadena is located northeast of downtown Los Angeles in the San Gabriel valley. The city is famous for its annual Rose Bowl Parade and football games, museums, art and music venues, tree-lined streets filled with historic architecture, national landmarks, and bustling culinary scene.

If you plan to travel to Southern California, Pasadena is most certainly worth a spot on your itinerary. Read on to know what the best things to do in Pasadena are and make the most of your trip!

Activities in Pasadena

The fun things to do in Pasadena, CA are endless! From arts and culture to enjoying time in nature, there are so many activities you can enjoy in this lovely city.

This 190-acre nature preserve at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains is one of the top Pasadena attractions and is a popular hike for people of all ages and skill levels. Enjoy the wildflowers, bridges, and streams that lead to the 40-foot waterfall.

A haven for art lovers, visiting the Norton Simon Museum is one of the top things to do in Pasadena, CA. The museum features various major artists, including Rodin, Degas, Picasso, Renoir, and Van Gogh.

Tour the Wrigley House and Gardens

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This Italian Renaissance mansion built in 1906 was the residence of the chewing gum mogul, William Wrigley, Jr. Today, you can tour the lovely gardens that span about 4.5 acres with over 1,500 varieties of roses and other flowers for free on select days.

The Huntington Botanical Gardens spans 120 acres of beautiful gardens. There’s an art collection and a research library here as well, and it offers some of the most fun activities in Pasadena for those who are artistically inclined, including occasional art lectures, tours, and painting classes.

A New Year’s Day tradition that has been taking place since 1890, the Tournament of Roses Parade is one of the most popular events in Pasadena. It features floral floats, equestrian units, bands, nonprofits, and tournament entries. Millions of people from around the world watch this annual event on TV or online, but it’s absolutely more fun to watch it in person!

Visit the Pasadena City Hall

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The City Hall is a must-visit for its Spanish Colonial and Italian Renaissance architecture. Visitors come here to climb the corner stair towers, walk around the fountains in the charming courtyard, and take photos.

Old Town Pasadena is not just home to many great restaurants, pubs, and shops, it’s also a great place to explore, with its charming alleys and corners. It is one of the best attractions in Pasadena.

There are lots of hole-in-the-wall restaurants, takeout spots, food trucks, and upscale restaurants in the area that are definitely worth trying. Some of the best restaurants in Pasadena are Amara Café – Spanish Style Churros, The Arbour, Oseyo Shabu Shabu, Dots Café, and Russell’s.

Located east of the City Hall, the six-acre parcel is admired for its distinct courtyards and terraced public gardens that feature decorative paving and tilework, lush plantings, and a variety of pools, water channels, and waterfalls.

Take a Stroll Along the Colorado Street Bridge

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The historic arch bridge with old-fashioned lamps spanning the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, CA was made even more famous by the movie La La Land. It’s over a century old and has sidewalks to go for a scenic stroll. If you’re looking for free activities in Pasadena, CA spending an evening here is one of the best ways you can enjoy an evening in the city.

Entertainment in Pasadena, CA

There are countless venues for different types of entertainment in Pasadena, CA. Here are some of them.

The Ice House has been entertaining its audience with live comedy since 1960 and is the oldest comedy club in the country. Some of the great performers who have taken the stage are Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, and Ellen Degeneres.

Pasadena Playhouse

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This 686-seat theater, the State Theater of California, is popular for its performing arts and for being a training ground for future television and motion picture stars. It has played a crucial role in launching new works and landmark revivals for the American theater. Check out their current roster of shows here.

The home venue of the UCLA Bruins football team since 1982, the Rose Bowl Stadium attracts locals and visitors all year round because of its numerous events, concerts, festivals, drive-in movie, theater, flea market, and July 4th Americafest Firework Display.

Wrapping Up

You’ll never run out of fun things to do in Pasadena. Prepare to fall in love with this place and, if you would like to know about your home options here, I’d be more than happy to help! Feel free to contact me by phone at 626-272-2365 or by email at In the meantime, enjoy your trip to Pasadena!

Frequently Asked Questions

A few of the top attractions first-time visitors must go to are Old Town Pasadena, Rose Bowl, Norton Simon Museum, Gamble House, Huntington Library, and Descanso Gardens.

The Simon Norton Museum is a hidden gem. Despite its size, the museum houses a diverse art collection and has a charming sculpture garden. It’s the perfect escape to go to.

The Huntington Library, an extraordinary institution home to a research library and an art museum with 14 botanical gardens, deserves more accolades than it’s being given. Wander among the gardens and prepare to be transported into another world.

Pasadena offers a diverse range of cultural activities, a sense of community, and simply a good quality of life.