“The San Gabriel Mountains back the city of Pasadena, approximately 10 miles northeast of Los Angeles. It's a city of history and beautiful weather, and perhaps best known for its January 1st Tournament of Roses, as well as the college football Rose Bowl. This esteemed collegiate event takes place at Rose Bowl Stadium and literally takes over the streets every year."
But the palm trees and beautiful weather of Pasadena remain well after the game and throughout the rest of the year, as do Pasadena’s outdoor attractions, including a growing collection of public gardens that lend the city its nickname, the City of Roses.
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Alongside its blooming attractions, Pasadena also offers a plethora of cultural appeal. The 22-block national historic district known as Old Pasadena is an excellent place to sample the city’s historic nature, and other tourist attractions, like house tours and the Norton Simon Museum, round out a day or weekend trip to Pasadena.
Best time to visit Pasadena
May 21st to October 21st
The average temperature in Pasadena is very variable. The humidity means that temperatures are cold for half the year, but pleasant throughout the year. There is very little chance of snow or rain.The hottest months to visit Pasadena are July, August and September. Below are the average monthly temperatures. The hottest time of the year is usually early July. Temperatures average around 85.1degF (29.5degC), with night temperatures seldom falling below 66.5degF (19.2degC).
Places to visit in Pasadena
Explore this picturesque, palm-lined city and find the best places to visit with our list of the top things to do in Pasadena.
Old Pasadena #1
“Old Pasadena is the historic downtown district of the city, reflecting its past with well-preserved 19th– and 20th-century architecture and buildings. This shopping and dining district also reflects the current community, with hundreds of boutique storefronts and local eateries.”
This once bustling center of the economy went into serious decline throughout the 1960s and 70s. A major revitalization transformed the district into the center of attraction it is today. It’s now on the National Register of Historic Places and encompasses 22 blocks.
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The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens #2
"This sprawling estate once belonged to the railroad tycoon, Henry Huntington. Today, this world-class collection of gardens, cultural institutions, and artwork is now a public space for the community to enjoy."
The estate encompasses 207 acres of beautifully manicured lawns. And every inch caters to art, garden, architecture lovers, and the casual observer. The trail map provided by the admission kiosks is a handy item to study and take along with any visit.
|Website:||The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens|
Rose Bowl Stadium #3
Every New Year's day, a national spotlight shines on Pasadena and the Tournament of Roses college football game. This esteemed bowl game overtakes the city with visiting fans and a whole host of outdoor activities, including the iconic Rose Parade.
The Rose Bowl Stadium, centered within the sprawling Brookside Park and Golf Course, is a national historic landmark built in 1922. Modern renovations have made this centerpiece attraction memorable for fans and visitors.
|Website:||Rose Bowl Stadium|
Norton Simon Museum #4
The Norton Simon Museum has a long-standing reputation for world-class art. It features nearly 12,000 works within its private collection, with an emphasis on European and American painting and sculpture, as well as South and Southeast Asia artworks. The museum also features a constant rotation of nationally touring exhibitions.
"Highlights of the Norton Simon collection include works by Picasso, Rembrandt, Goya, and Vuillard, including interpretive information about how these famous pieces ended up in Southern California."
|Website:||Norton Simon Museum|
The Gamble House #5
This historic residence and stunning piece of architecture was constructed in 1908 at the behest of David and Mary Gamble, second-generation members of the Procter and Gamble Company. This exquisite estate is now owned by the city of Pasadena.
The city offers various tours to see the intricate detail built into this historic bungalow, including a popular one-hour, docent-led tour which explores the interior of the home. Special “Behind the Velvet Rope” tours are also available, which allow visitors to study the Arts and Crafts-style details of the architecture with a flashlight in hand.
|Website:||The Gamble House|
Descanso Gardens #6
It’s hard to believe that the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles is less than 20 miles away when exploring Descanso Gardens at the northwest edge of Pasadena. Nine different meticulously landscaped spaces easily transport visitors to a place of natural beauty, including the tranquil atmosphere found beneath the blossoming cherry trees of the Japanese Garden.
"Descanso also offers much more than just gardens. Weekly programs and special events pack the garden's event calendar, including various activities like haiku workshops and pumpkin carving festivals."
Members of the gardens receive free admission, while the general public is required to buy an entry ticket. Members also get special access during “member-only” hours. Check the official website for current operating hours and membership information.
Eaton Canyon Nature Center #7
The Eaton Canyon Nature Center provides insight and trailheads for the San Gabriel Mountains, on the northeast edge of the city. The 7,600-square-foot Nature Center is filled with a fascinating collection of exhibits, live animals, and information about Eaton Canyon, including numerous taxidermic animals and birds.
Just outside the front door of the Nature Center, visitors can explore Eaton Canyon via numerous trailheads. By far one of the most popular, Eaton Canyon Falls is a family-friendly, four-mile, which is known to draw quite the crowd. The trail is open year-round, but for the biggest flow, plan on checking out the falls in the late winter or spring.
|Website:||Eaton Canyon Nature Center|
FAQ: Places to visit in Pasadena
What is Pasadena most known for?
Pasadena is located at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, just 11 miles northeast of Downtown Los Angeles. Known as the Crown City, Pasadena is most famous for its New Year’s Day Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game.
How far is Pasadena from the beach?
Yes, the driving distance between Pasadena to Ocean Beach is 124 miles. It takes approximately 2h 12m to drive from Pasadena to Ocean Beach.