Pasadena, CA

Pasadena is close to Los Angeles but is a wonderful place to visit. We have found it is a great place to stay and gives easy access to Los Angeles. It is an easy shot down the 110 to get to downtown and we generally found the traffic not to be too bad even at rush hour although there were exceptions.

Huntington Library, Art Collection and Gardens

You could easily spend all day here. It is around 600 acres. The gardens are magnificent and has a wide variety of plants in different areas from desert to tropical to temperate. There is an impressive Japanese garden which has been used as a setting in a number of films. They are part way through a multi year process of creating a Chinese style garden. There is also an Australian area, hothouses and don’t miss the orchid display. It is to die for. Plus, there is an herb garden and a rose garden. I would recommend taking a tour to get a really good feel for it.

Don’t skip the library because it sounds boring. They have a lot of interesting things on display including some very old and very beautiful books to important documents and more. If you are interested in science they have a wonderful set of displays.

And then there is the art collection. It is in what was the Huntington’s house or should I say mansion. Even without the art, the building is worth seeing. Besides the paintings there are also sculptures, antique furniture and porcelain

There is the Bungalow Heaven if you are into architecture. Otherwise I wouldn’t bother. It is an area with a large number of Craftsmen style  bungalows from the 1900-30 time frame. Old by California standards.

Old Pasadena

This is just a fun area. There is an interesting mix of architecture, but even more so the mix of shops. And then there are the restaurants which will be the topic of another blog post. It is just hopping and buzzing with life. There always seems to be activity.

Tournament of Roses

I would love to see the Rose Bowl Parade at some point. Unlike the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade you don’t have to worry about freezing your tail off or getting rained on unless they are having some unusual weather. It was first held in 1890.

We missed the Tournament House and Wrigley gardens. That would also be interesting to see. The house was owned by William Wrigley of chewing gum fame and is supposedly quite impressive. He donated it to the city and it is now the headquarters for running the parade.

More things to see

We also missed the Norton Simon Museum, the Pasadena Museum of History and the Finnish Folk Art Museum, all of which look worth a visit.

Gamble House

No, not a place to gamble. It was owned by the Gamble’s of Procter & Gamble. It is in the Arts & Crafts style and is magnificent. If you like wood work, you have to see this house. The craftsmanship and variety of woods will just make you drool. It was just beautiful to behold. Pay attention for all the little details.

San Gabriel Valley

It is not far from Pasadena. If you want more gardens, there is the Arboretum of Los Angeles County with 127 acres and 30,000 plants. Several Tarzan  movies were filmed here as well as a scene from the African Queen and Terminator 2 and Wayne’s World.

One of the oldest buildings in southern California is the San Gabriel Mission dating from 1779.