Founded in 1874, Pasadena is a 23-square-mile suburb of Los Angeles that sits at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, in the San Fernando Valley. The Chippewa Native Americans named the area “Crown of the Valley” and, in 1771, the land here became part of the San Gabriel Mission.
Today, the population is approximately 134,800, many of whom are employed in the local NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, the California Institute of Technology, and the biotechnology, engineering, or environmental protection industries.
By car—really the only practical manner of transportation here—it is reached either via I-110 north from downtown Los Angeles, Hwy 2 north from Hollywood, or Hwy 134 east through Glendale from Beverly Hills.
Each New Year’s Day, crowds flock to the city’s most famous landmark, the Rose Bowl, for the Tournament of Roses, which is followed by a collegiate football game—a tradition since 1890.
Nearby is the aquatic center, built with money left over from the 1984 Olympics, where visitors can watch Olympic hopefuls train. Old Town is a 14-block area combining traditional American smalltown charm and tacky strip malls. Pasadena offers a free shuttle bus between Old Town and the Lake Avenue shopping area.
Pasadena’s collection of clean, quiet residential areas, including La Canada, San Marino, and South Pasadena, attract Los Angeles residents looking for some respite from the big city.
These areas are full of historic homes and grand old mansions, graceful tree-lined avenues, and roses, giving visitors a sense of the less frenetic lifestyle of yesteryear.
Many examples of the California Craftsman architectural style, in which the many elements were handmade by artisans, are open to the public. Other attractions abound, including the Norton Simon Museum of Art, the Huntington Museum and Library, the Pasadena Historical Museum, the Huntington Botanical Gardens, the Pasadena Playhouse, and the Pasadena Civic Auditorium—site of the annual Emmy Awards ceremony.
Lodging and dining options exist at all price levels.