Old Pasadena
For other places with the same name, see Pasadena (disambiguation).

Pasadena is one of the oldest cities adjoining Los Angeles and is the main population center of the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California.


Pasadena is located at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, just 11 miles northeast of Downtown Los Angeles. Known as the City of Roses, Pasadena is most famous for its New Year's Day Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game. The number of people in the city balloons every year after Christmas as visitors come from all over to decorate and view the floats, as well as to attend arguably the most famous college football bowl game of the year.

Pasadena has become the most exciting place for nightlife in the San Gabriel Valley. With bustling Old Pasadena's 200 boutiques, national retailers, restaurants and clubs in the western section, chic shopping and dining on South Lake and abundant services in the eastern area, Pasadena is really the place to be!

As the birthplace of Julia Child and home to 500 restaurants serving cuisine from around the world, Pasadena is a real find for foodies. Adding to its culinary credentials, one of only 15 Le Cordon Bleu-affiliated culinary schools in the United States resides here. In addition, the first Trader Joe’s neighborhood market opened its doors in Pasadena in 1967. That same store on Arroyo Parkway is still serving customers today.

Pasadena is a cultural oasis with 14 museums and 11 performing arts organizations, including the Pasadena Playhouse and Norton Simon Museum. Pasadena also boasts the world-renowned California Institute of Technology, whose alumni and faculty have garnered 32 Nobel Prizes. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, site of the Mars exploration missions, is also just a 10-minute drive north.

Most visitors to Pasadena will also not want to miss the nearby Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (located in neighboring San Marino) which features a large art collection but is more famous for its 150 acres of botanical gardens that have been used as a backdrop for many Hollywood films.


 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 68 70 72 76 79 84 89 91 89 82 74 67
Nightly lows (°F) 48 49 50 53 57 60 64 65 63 58 51 47
Precipitation (in) 4.5 5.1 3.4 1.4 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.4 1.0 1.5 3.1

   Data from NOAA (1981-2010)

Get in

Colorado Street Bridge

By plane

The closest and most convenient airport is the Burbank/Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, which is just 16 miles from Pasadena. Other nearby airports are in Los Angeles, Ontario, and Orange County.

The best way to get to Pasadena from Burbank/Bob Hope Airport is via SuperShuttle, Prime Time Shuttle or Xpress Shuttle. There are a couple of ways to get to Pasadena from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which is 27 miles from Pasadena. A taxi from LAX will cost approximately $80. SuperShuttle and Prime Time are shared-ride vans which serve the Pasadena area from LAX. Stand under the orange "shared ride vans" sign in the center concrete island outside the airport. Tell a customer service representative that you need a ride to Pasadena. They are easy to identify by their blue jackets (SuperShuttle) or red jackets (Prime Time). If no representative is available, then flag down a blue van (SuperShuttle) or red van (Prime Time) with a "Pasadena" placard in the windshield. Approximate cost is $25 per person. Approximate time to Pasadena is 1 hour.

FlyAway + Gold Line

The cheapest method to get to Pasadena from LAX is to use the Union Station FlyAway bus (which is available 24h a day) and the Metro Gold Line light rail (which is available from 3:40AM to 11:56PM daily). At LAX, stand under the green "FlyAway, Buses and Long-Distance Vans" sign in the center concrete island outside the terminal (the bus stops in each terminal). Board a blue FlyAway bus heading to Union Station; $8 one way (a trip lasting from 45 minutes to 1h30, depending on the traffic). It is a large charter-style bus and is occasionally not labeled. FlyAway buses operate 24 hours a day, every half hour (except from 1AM to 5AM where they run hourly). Note that you may need to pay once the bus arrived in Union Station. In that case, do not forget to pay at the little kiosk near the bus stop.

Once you arrive at Union Station, walk behind the ticket counter and proceed down the stairs. Follow the path and enter Union Station on the left. Walk to the Metro Gold Line (yellow signs), which is located at track 1 in Union Station. Inside the track 1 terminal is an automated kiosk for purchasing tickets. Buy a one-way ticket (as of 2015: $1,75 + $1 if you do not owe a tap card). Consider a day pass if you will be traveling by Metro again in the same day (note that a day pass is economical only if you will be boarding any Metro service at least four times in one day). Proceed up the stairs to the trains. Be sure to board the northbound (Sierra Madre Villa) trains. The Gold Line stops in Pasadena at Filmore, Del Mar, Memorial Park, Lake, Allen, and Sierra Madre Villa stations. The travel time is around 30 minutes (perhaps longer during rush hour).

The entire trip from LAX to Pasadena using FlyAway + Gold Line lasts about 2 hours.

By train

Pasadena is approximately 20 minutes from Union Station in Downtown L.A. via the Metro Gold Line light rail. There are six stops in Pasadena. Filmore is the first stop, Del Mar and Memorial Park stations are located in Old Pasadena on the west end of town, and the final three stops (Lake, Allen, Sierra Madre Villa) are in the median of the 210 Freeway.

By car

From Downtown L.A. or other southern cities take the 110 freeway north until it ends. The 110 freeway ends at the south end of Pasadena. From the east and west Pasadena can be reached via Interstate 210. California Highway 134 East is the most direct way from Glendale and Burbank.

Get around

By train

The Metro Gold Line serves the Arroyo Seco Parkway, Old Pasadena, and East Pasadena. Visitors can take it to connect to other Los Angeles-area rail lines or Amtrak.

By bus

Pasadena is primarily served by the county-wide Metro and the local Pasadena ARTS network. Additional (mostly commuter) service is available from Foothill Transit, Montebello Bus Lines, and LADOT.

Metro's 780 Rapid bus goes from Pasadena to visitor-oriented areas of Hollywood - it's an (often interesting) ride that takes about an hour.

By foot

Pasadena as a whole is large enough to require use of a car or public transit, but it is a very pedestrian-friendly city. Many hotels and motels are located within easy walking distance of major shopping and entertainment areas like Old Pasadena, the Playhouse District and South Lake Avenue.


Chinese Garden at the Huntington Library
Gamble House


Pasadena Municipal Building at dusk

The San Gabriel mountains above Pasadena offer some excellent hiking opportunities. Of specific interest are some of the hikes along the abandoned Mount Lowe Railway in the Angeles National Forest. You can pass the site of the White City, Echo Mountain, the site of an old observatory, and Inspiration Point. Start at the northern end of Lake Avenue. As with any hiking excursion, let someone else know where you are going and when to expect you back again. Stay on the trails and most especially, do not attempt to go to the "second waterfall" in Eaton Canyon. Many people are killed each year attempting to climb up the loose rock slopes. In the summer months, be on the lookout for rattlesnakes and be sure to bring plenty of drinking water.

Old Pasadena and the Playhouse district have a number of theater and movie houses and are a good place to see some of the latest independent or foreign films.

If you are camping out, the most crowded area is on Colorado Blvd. between Orange Grove Blvd. and Lake Ave. To avoid the congestion, try to find a space on Colorado east of Allen Avenue. On average, more than 150,000 people attend the parade, so parking is at a premium. It is suggested that you purchase parking in advance. Colorado Blvd. shuts down to all traffic the night before the parade. The north/south streets shut down at various times the morning of the parade.Keep in mind that the parade starts at 8AM on the west end of town and lasts for two hours. If you're sitting farther east, the parade will begin and end later.

If you go to the beginning of the parade at about 2AM on the morning of the parade, you can see the floats up-close as they stage themselves on South Orange Grove Blvd. It will likely be quite cold, so dress warmly.

Pasadena Civic Auditorium, as decorated for the Emmy Awards in 1993


All Saints Episcopal Church


As the birthplace of Julia Child, Pasadena was destined to be a foodies' paradise. The city is home to more than 500 restaurants, offering cuisine from around the world.



Pasadena has a wide range of hotels to accommodate all budgets. The full-service hotels tend to cluster around downtown Pasadena, which provides ready access to shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Pasadena also has motels in the eastern part of the city, some of which are along the Rose Parade route.



Stay safe

Much of the city of Pasadena is inhabited by students, professors, scientists, and many other kinds of professionals, and is generally very safe. During your visit, you will probably need to take only basic safety precautions. Most amenities for visitors can be found in and around the hotels and shopping districts, including Old Pasadena, Playhouse District and South Lake Avenue. These areas are all located south of the 210 Freeway. As with much of the Los Angeles area, however, there are areas that a visitor should be cautious about entering. In large measure, Northwest Pasadena should be approached with caution, as this is the heart of Pasadena's longstanding, and frequently violent, gang-related activity. Police and emergency services can be reached by calling 911. Pasadena also borders the 660,000-acre Angeles National Forest, a wonderful place to explore if you are prepared. There are many hazards in the forest, however, including rattlesnakes. Also, summer heat can reach into the triple digits Fahrenheit (well above 38 degrees Celsius), so it is *critically* important to take plenty of water with you should you plan to hike in the forest. Stay on established trails and let others know where you are going.

Go next

Drive to the northern end of Lake Avenue for a spectacular view of the San Gabriel Valley.

During Christmas time, see amazing light displays at: 1) the Balian House at about 2000 N. Allen and 2) Hastings Ranch (go north on Michillinda, about one mile past Sierra Madre Blvd. and make a left; about a square-mile of residents in the area decorate their properties!).

Enter the Eaton Canyon Nature Preserve just north of the intersection of Altadena and New York. Great hiking, and during the spring, a pretty good river to hike next to (though with the current years-long drought, assume nothing and inquire before hiking). Go far enough up and you will get to a waterfall that is well known to locals. Do not, however, attempt to climb to the "second waterfall." Believe the posted signs that there is *no* safe trail beyond the first waterfall.

Take the Metro Gold Line south to downtown Los Angeles.

Nearby Alhambra, San Gabriel, and Monterey Park are home to some of the largest Chinese-speaking populations outside China and Taiwan. There you will find authentic restaurants specializing in dim sum, dumplings, roasted duck, and many other regional Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine. A visit to any large Chinese supermarkets in the area might be a treat (or shock) for the uninitiated.

Routes through Pasadena

North Valley La Cañada Flintridge  W  E  Arcadia San Bernardino
END  N  S  South Pasadena Downtown L.A.
North Hollywood Northeast L.A.  W  E  END
Santa Monica South Pasadena  W  E  Arcadia Barstow
Azusa Arcadia  E  S  South Pasadena Downtown L.A.

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