Things To Do In Pasadena

Pasadena, often overshadowed by its bustling Los Angeles neighbor, is a gem waiting to be discovered. With its rich cultural heritage, innovative spirit, and stunning natural landscapes, Pasadena offers a diverse array of activities for all types of visitors.

From iconic parades and historic estates to cutting-edge science and lush gardens, let’s explore the myriad attractions that make Pasadena a must-visit destination in Southern California.

1. Experience the Rose Parade

Kicking off the new year with a bang, the Rose Parade is Pasadena’s premier event. This world-famous parade showcases stunning floral floats, spirited marching bands, and high-stepping equestrian units. It’s a celebration of creativity, community, and the New Year that you won’t want to miss.

2. Explore the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

The Huntington is a haven for art lovers, history buffs, and nature enthusiasts alike. Its art collections feature European and American art masterpieces, while the expansive botanical gardens offer a tranquil escape with over a dozen themed gardens spread across 120 acres.

3. Visit the Norton Simon Museum

The Norton Simon Museum houses an impressive collection of European and Asian art spanning seven centuries. Its intimate galleries offer a contemplative environment to admire works by Van Gogh, Picasso, Rembrandt, and many more masters.

4. Wander Through Old Pasadena

Old Pasadena, with its charming brick buildings and bustling sidewalks, offers a delightful blend of shopping, dining, and entertainment. This historic district is perfect for leisurely strolls, with plenty of unique boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and cozy cafés to explore.

5. Attend a Game or Concert at the Rose Bowl Stadium

The iconic Rose Bowl Stadium is not only home to the annual Rose Bowl Game but also hosts major concerts, flea markets, and sporting events throughout the year. Check the stadium’s schedule to catch a live event in this legendary venue.

6. Discover the Pasadena Playhouse

As the State Theater of California, the Pasadena Playhouse presents high-quality theatrical productions ranging from classic plays to new works. It’s a cultural landmark that provides a window into the vibrant local arts scene.

7. Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Eaton Canyon

For outdoor enthusiasts, Eaton Canyon offers hiking trails that lead to a stunning waterfall, native plant gardens, and educational exhibits at the nature center. It’s a beautiful spot for hiking, picnicking, and connecting with nature.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to visit Pasadena?

Pasadena is beautiful year-round, but the best time to visit is from March to May and from September to November when the weather is most pleasant. If you’re interested in the Rose Parade, plan your visit for New Year’s Day.

Is Pasadena family-friendly?

Absolutely! Pasadena offers many attractions and activities suitable for families, including interactive museums, parks, and family-friendly dining options.

How do I get around Pasadena?

Pasadena is accessible by car, and it also boasts a convenient public transportation system, including buses and the Metro Gold Line, which connects the city to downtown Los Angeles and beyond.

Are there any free things to do in Pasadena?

Yes, there are several free activities in Pasadena. Enjoy a walk through Old Pasadena, explore the city’s public art, or hike in Eaton Canyon. Additionally, some museums offer free admission days.

Where can I find the best views in Pasadena?

For stunning views of Pasadena and the San Gabriel Mountains, head to the observation deck at City Hall. Another great spot is the higher elevation trails in Eaton Canyon, offering panoramic vistas of the valley.


Pasadena is a city that seamlessly blends tradition with modernity, offering a rich tapestry of experiences for all who visit. Whether you’re here to immerse yourself in cultural heritage, enjoy the natural beauty, or engage with the community through events and festivals, Pasadena welcomes you with open arms and countless opportunities for exploration and enjoyment.