Watch CBS News

Best Activities & Things To Do In Pasadena

Situated north-east of downtown L.A., Pasadena is a major cultural hub of Los Angeles and is known historically as L.A's first upscale suburb. Featuring beautiful homes, exciting cultural attractions and events like the Rose Parade, great shopping areas and top restaurants, there's plenty to do in Pasadena.
Get Cultural At The Norton Simon Museum
Norton Simon  - Verified Jarone
(credit: Norton Simon Art Foundation)

Norton Simon Museum
411 W Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 449-6840
Admission: Adults: $12, Seniors: $9, Children: Free

Situated in the heart of Pasadena, The Norton Simon Museum is home to some of the greatest private art anywhere. Culturally significant art from masters like Raphael, Rembrandt, Degas, Manet, Van Gogh and Picasso are featured on the walls of this museum along with an outstanding collection of South and Southeast Asian sculptures. Located in a striking mid-century modern building one block from Old Pasadena, the Museum also features a sculpture garden, designed to evoke Monet's garden at Giverny and houses important 19th- and 20th-century sculptures.

Discover Old Town Pasadena
Old Town Pasadena
(credit: Andrew Z./yelp)

Old Town Pasadena
1 Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 356-9725

Comprised of over 20 square blocks of shops, restaurants and culturally significant buildings, Old Town Pasadena could keep anyone busy for days on end. The entire area is registered on the National Register of Historic Places, so you'll be taking a stroll among beautiful old buildings and architecturally rich areas. Whether you want to just take a walk, or shop and eat, there's something for everyone. Shops include a Neon Retro Arcade with a curated collection of video games and pinball machines, as well as Clothes Heaven for high quality fashionable items, and Gold Bug for fine jewelry. Other shops include Bellacures, Blick Art Materials, Blo-Out Lounge, a Burke Williams Spa, Design Within Reach, Free People, Foot Locker, Gap, Joie, Mohawk General Store, Patagonia, a Tesla Motors store, and a Z Gallerie. Hungry? No problem. Old Town Pasadena offers up top notch eateries like Lette Macarons, Coolhaus for tasty ice cream, Intelligentsia for terrific coffee, 1810 Argentinean Restaurant, Barney's Beanery for pub food and beer, a Cafe Bizou for quality French food, and a Juice Served Here.

Go Flea Market Shopping
rose bowl flea market
(credit: Kit Leong/shutterstock)

Rose Bowl Flea Market
Rose Bowl
Rose Bowl Stadium
1001 Rose Bowl Dr
Pasadena, CA 91103
(323) 560-7469

Held on the second Sunday of every month, The Rose Bowl Flea Market is one of Southern California's premiere markets to find just about anything you're looking for. Looking for some vintage furniture? Or a bike? How about some clothing? They have so much here that it can be overwhelming! Hundreds of vendors show up to sell their wares, so make sure to get there early! Regular admission ($9) starts at 9am for the general public (children admitted free). You can also get in an hour early at 8am for $12 too and get an early start. But, to get ahead of most people, spend a little extra ($20 per person) and you'll get in at 5am!

Visit Pasadena's Top Bookstore
Vroman's Bookstore
(credit: Steven G./yelp)

Vroman's Bookstore
695 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 449-5320

Situated in the heart of Pasadena, Vroman's Bookstore is known as Southern California's oldest and largest bookstore. Located in its original spot on Colorado Boulevard, the two story bookstore is a nod to the past. Find books of all kind, attend events and also shop great gifts.

See A UCLA Football Game
Crosstown Rivalry: USC vs. UCLA
UCLA (12) Jayon Brown (LB) intercepts a pass in the endzone and runs the ball for a gain during an NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins on November 19, 2016, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Rose Bowl Stadium
1001 Rose Bowl Dr
Pasadena, CA 91103

Although the UCLA Bruins' campus is in Westwood, and the team practices in the same city, the real games are played roughly 25 miles away at the world famous Rose Bowl Stadium. Built in 1922, The Rose Bowl Stadium is one of the best stadiums to see a game. See UCLA take on their cross-town rivals USC, or other teams throughout the winter months. Next to the stadium is plenty of grass to tailgate on as well. Grab some friends, some beer and some great food and tailgate before you catch the action!

Attend The Annual Rose Bowl Parade
125th Tournament Of Roses Parade
The 2013 Rose Bowl Game Inductees Hall of Fame float on the parade route during the 125th Rose Parade on January 1, 2014 in Pasadena, California. (credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Tournament of Roses
Rose Bowl Parade
Pasadena, CA

Held on New Year's Day each year, The Rose Parade, also known as the Tournament of Roses features about 50 flower covered floats, marching bands, and horse units which flood the streets of the city each year as thousands look on. Televised on TV, and seen by millions of people all over the world, the Parade has put the city of Pasadena on the map for many. If you're a local, you can also volunteer to help build the floats. These moving pieces of artwork are simply spectacular and are even more impressive if seen in person.

Attend The Annual Rose Bowl Parade
JPL NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab
(credit: Chr. Offenberg/shutterstock)

NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab
4800 Oak Grove Dr
Pasadena, CA 91109
(818) 354-4321

Southern California is known for many things, but one of the most notable is for being the headquarters of NASA's leading center for exploration of the solar system. At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), learn about their latest missions, space, and much more as you take a tour.

See An Outdoor Movie!
Centennial Square at Pasadena City Hall
(credit: Sharon S./yelp)

Eat | See | Hear
100 Garfield Ave
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 744-7311

Eat | See | Hear, one of Los Angeles' most popular outdoor movie series takes over parks, landmarks and other venues during the summer months. Bringing not only a movie under the stars, but great live music, delicious food from food trucks and more, the acclaimed outdoor movie series makes its way to locations in Pasadena like Centennial Square at Pasadena City Hall and the famed Rose Bowl Stadium.

For a full schedule and lineup of events and offerings, visit our guide to Eat | See | Hear.

Visit The Historic Gamble House
The Gamble House. - VERIFIED Ramon
(Credit: Alex Vertikoff)

Gamble House
4 Westmoreland Pl
Pasadena, CA 91103

Remember Doc Brown's home from the famed "Back To The Future" film series? This is the historic Gamble House in Pasadena (pictured). The house is a prime example of early 1900's American arts and crafts style architecture. The house, which was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1978, is owned by the City of Pasadena and features furnishings which were designed by architects Charles and Henry Greene in 1908 for David and Mary Gamble of the Procter & Gamble Company. One-hour docent-led tours are available to the public from Thursday to Sunday. Tours begin at 11:30am on Thursday and Friday, and at 12pm on Saturday's and Sunday's.

Take A Stroll On The Famous Colorado Bridge
colorado bridge pasadena
(credit: Philip Pilosian/shutterstock)

Colorado Bridge
504-, 532 W Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91105

The Colorado Bridge is one of Pasadena's most recognizable landmarks. Built in 1912, this historic concrete arch bridge spans the Arroyo Seco and has been featured in many movies, including 2016's smash hit "La La Land" with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Take a stroll on the bridge which spans 1,486 feet and offers up notable distinctive Beaux Arts arches, lights and more.

Grab A Bite
Alexanders Steakhouse - VERIFIED Jarone
(credit: Alexander's Steakhouse)

Pasadena's Best Restaurants
Multiple Locations

Pasadena offers some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles County. From Alexander's Steakhouse and The Royce with top-notch steaks and sides, to Pie 'n Burger with their tasty burgers of all kind and pies, and more, there are plenty of choices in this peaceful L.A. neighborhood.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.