You say you’ve been to Los Angeles innumerable times and you’re looking to avoid the regular tourist traps in hopes of discovering something different? Well, you need to travel only about five miles northeast of downtown to be right in the heart of one of my favorite places in the whole metroplex of LA. It’s Pasadena.
You may have heard of Pasadena because it’s been the home for the annual Rose Bowl parade or from the show Big Bang Theory. Yes, that’s where Sheldon, Penny, Howard, Raj, Amy, Bernadette and Stuart hang out. They work and and live in this charming little town just a few minutes away from the epicenter of Los Angeles. And while it is just a short 15-minute drive from Wilshire Boulevard, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and the La Brea Tar Pits, even natives think of it as a world away. “You live in Pasadena?,” some will say.”No, I can’t make it to your event. It’s too far.” That’s what I always hear from locals when my friend James invites us to his home in Pasadena.
Truth is, it’s not that far — and it is such a charming place.
By way of contrast, the center of Old Pasadena is a shopping and dining district known for its Victorian and art deco buildings. The city is also host to one of the best small scale museums in the US, Norton Simon Museum, houses notable European and Asian art, plus a sculpture garden. The Rose Bowl is a sports stadium known for hosting the Rose Bowl Game, a perennial college football clash usually held on January 1. You can also drop by Pasadena City Hall and enjoy its amazing architecture and stroll around its grounds. The Huntington Library (technically in neighboring San Marino) has sumptuous Gardens and a great rare book library and art to boot.
I love driving around the neighborhood to see so many amazing homes in different types of architecture from Craftsman to Art Deco to California to Mediterranean to Modern. They’re all different, of course, yet somehow all together they provide the atmosphere that can only be Southern Californian. It’s definitely worth a visit.
Enjoy new highlights of travel photographer Edwin Santiago’s journeys each week.
Last modified: July 11, 2017