Pasadena may not be the first city in California you think of visiting, unless you’re headed to the Rose Bowl, but it’s a city worth visiting. With its culture and history mixed in with some fun, tourists quickly learn why it’s referred to as the Crown of the Valley. To encourage you a little more to book that nice hotel room in Pasadena, we’ve listed the places to visit and restaurants to try in this area.
Walk through Old Pasadena
1 W. Colorado Blvd.
Old Pasadena is 22 blocks worth of history, but it’s more than just that. This area has the charisma of being the original commercial center of Pasadena but blends in the new age, making it a traditional but also a vibrant place to visit. You’ll find plenty to do with all the shopping, dining and entertainment venues found on each block. Bring your camera and wear good walking shoes so you can walk up and down Old Pasadena comfortably.
Good to know: Check the Old Pasadena website before visiting to find out what sales and promotions are happening with their stores and restaurants.
Observe masterpieces at the Norton Simon Museum
411 W. Colormdo Blvd.
The Norton Simon Museum hasn’t always been what it is today, but thanks to Norton Simon this grand museum is home to his private collection of European and Asian art and the European and American collections the museum had before. Around 1,000 works of art from the permanent collection of 12,000 objects are put on display throughout the year in the museum’s galleries and Sculpture Garden. There are also two temporary exhibition spaces where other pieces are displayed for certain exhibitions for a period of time. Each month, the Norton Simon Museum offers six to 10 free public programs, and private tours are always available by reservation.
Good to know: Admission is free to everyone on the first Friday of every month from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., but changes to 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. starting in July 2014.
Learn about robots and the solar system at JPL
4800 Oak Grove Dr. La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011
Anyone interested in science, technology or space needs to pay a visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This NASA field center is the leading center for robotic exploration of our solar system, and a center where your mind might just be blown away with all kinds of cool information. But touring this facility isn’t as simple as showing up whenever you want and waltzing through it. Parties of 10 people or less can go on a Visitor Day Tour, which normally happens once a week on a Monday or Wednesday and lasts two hours. The tour and parking are free, but you must submit a roster online of everyone coming three weeks in advance. If someone’s name isn’t on the list, they won’t be allowed in with the rest of your group.
Good to know: Admission requires proper identification (driver’s license, passport or resident visa), and those without proper identification aren’t allowed entry.
25 E. Colorado Blvd.
One of the best and more popular restaurants to eat at in Old Pasadena is Mi Piace. This Italian food spot is open daily and serves its customers breakfast, lunch, dinner and a late night menu, as well as has a happy hour in their lounge. With their wide selection of food dishes plus their more upbeat and trendy décor, tourists and locals can’t get enough of Mi Piace.
Good to know: Happy hour lasts all night on Mondays, and the late night menu isn’t available on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
510 S. Arroyo Parkway
For a delicious meal made with fresh produce, Parkway Grill is your kind of food joint. They planted their own herb and organic vegetable garden behind the restaurant to show just how committed they are to serving their customers fresh produce. The cooking practices reflect classic French techniques but also incorporate an assortment of influences. In the kitchen are a Mesquite burning grill and an Oakwood burning oven, both of which cook food dishes to perfection.
Good to know: Dinner is served daily, but lunch is only served Monday-Friday. The bar is open between lunch and dinner.
Pie ‘N Burger
913 E. California Blvd.
Everyone knows not too many things beat a good burger, but add a slice of pie into the mix and you’ve hit the food jackpot. Pie ‘N Burger has been taking care of customers since 1963, and they are in the same building and using the same recipes since the restaurant first opened, so you know this place is the real deal. Whether you want breakfast, lunch, dinner or just pie, Pie ‘N Burger serves you whichever you’re craving seven days a week.
Good to know: They have regular pies, as well as meringue and fresh fruit pies, but a few of their pies are seasonal. They also have cake if you’re not a big pie fan.
California may have a few bigger-name cities many people travel to every year, but Pasadena is a city more people should take the time to visit. It’s a pleasant city full of tasty foods to eat and great things to do — read about Pasadena’s beautiful golf greens if you care to tee off while in town. Don’t pass up your chance to go to Pasadena whenever the opportunity arises.