Pasadena is a vibrant Southern California city nestled between the San Gabriel Mountains known for its sophistication, diversity, and culture. Located just north of Los Angeles, and at the door step of the breathtaking waterfalls and rolling hills of the Angeles National forest, Pasadena is often considered the cultural capital of Southern California.
Home to a handful of the most prestigious institutions in the country and host to the first, oldest, and most famous Collegiate Football Bowl game in the nation, Pasadena is a throwback to a California overtaken by time.
Pasadena offers upscale retail, nightclubs, café’s, and resorts while maintaining ties to its rich heritage and eclectic roots.
The original inhabitants of the land now famous for the Rose Bowl were the Hahamognas Tribe of Native Americans, who survived by hunting the abundant local game found in the nearby canyons and mountains.
On September 8, 1771, Spanish adventurers settled in the area and established the San Gabriel Mission, which subsequently converted and integrated many of the indigenous peoples.
This mission was the fourth in California, and grew in a prosperity characterized by vast orchards, vineyards, and grazing lands.
In 1833, California rule passed from Spain to Mexico, at which point the extensive mission lands were doled out to individuals and thereafter largely passed amongst distinguished families to friends and heirs.
In 1850, California was admitted as a state to the Union, and in 1886, Pasadena officially incorporated as a city. This led to an improvement in infrastructure, including sewers, paved streets, and electricity.
On January 1, 1890, the Valley Hunt club commenced a mid-winter festival that would later become sponsored by the Tournament of Roses Association in 1898. This festival consisted of a procession of horses adorned with roses, a stark contrast to the rest of the nation, which was often buried in snow at the same time.
During this celebration of the “Mediterranean of the West,” games such as tug-of-war, chariot races, jousting, and polo all took place under the warm California sun.
In 1891, Amos Throop founded Throop University, which later became the California Institute of Technology.
The early 1900’s saw Pasadena become a tourist center and winter resort for cultured and wealthy citizens, leading to expansion and improvement in all areas.
In the first decade of the 20th Century, Pasadena’s population grew by over two-hundred percent! Eventually, the city itself grew through a series of annexations and became renowned for its splendid architecture.
Through much of the 1920’s, Pasadena continued to expand. The city again reorganized its government in 1921, becoming a Board of Directors with a City Manager. The Pasadena City Junior College District was created in 1924, and the Grace Nicholson Gallery in 1926, which later became the Pasadena Art Institute and is now the Pacific Asia Museum.
Following the Great Depression, growth slowed in Pasadena and tourism declined. Despite this, however, a study conducted in 1939 by Columbia University found Pasadena the best city to live in!
World War II paved the way for Pasadena’s industrialization. During the war, hotels became command headquarters, while research centers Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory spearheaded development of precise scientific instruments.
Following the war, Pasadena became an attractive place to live for people working in the industrial center of Los Angeles aided by the completion in 1940 of the Arroyo Seco Parkway. This was the first freeway in the west and provided a fast and direct way to commute.
This influx of new residents paved the way to expansion of shopping centers in the 1950’s, and fueled a widespread cultural growth through the following decades.
In 1969 the Pasadena Art Museum of Modern Art opened, which is now the Norton Simon Museum of Art. Freeways continued to spread, connecting Pasadena to the rest of the country through an intricate and efficient system of well maintained arterial roadways.
In the 1970’s, the Pasadena Redevelopment Agency directed a period of intense economic revitalization wherein several large corporations relocated their headquarters to Pasadena.
Pasadena is currently one of the largest cities in Los Angeles County, and is heralded for being a cultural and business mecca without choking on the various complications of urbanization such as pollution or overcrowding.
Pasadena is a big city with small town charm, open clean air, and natural California beauty!
Pasadena is an area peppered with striking state parks and recreation spots typified by glorious weather and marvelous natural scenery. Gaze at the grandeur of the nearby San Gabriel Mountains, or soak in an adrenaline rush by rafting down the rapids of the Arroyo Seco!
Pasadena Parks & Recreation Department
117 East Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91109
Phone: (626) 744-3846
Arroyo Seco Park (Herman Park) – Beautiful trails weave through open orchards in this peaceful paradise. Offering horse back riding, hiking trails, archery, and a network of bridges and cobbled pathways ideal for dog walking or sightseeing, this sprawling wonderland is a favorite amongst Pasadenans!
5566 Via Marisol, Los Angeles, CA 90042
Phone: (323) 255-0370
Pacific Asia Museum – This robust collection of Chinese, Japanese, and Pacific Asian art features contemporary pieces contrasting different cultures, a Chinese garden, silk pieces, and extensive ceramic works.
46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA
Phone: (626) 449-2742 â
Pasadena Civic Auditorium – This historic 3,029 seat auditorium is one of the most revered and prestigious performance centers in the country. Built in 1931, this venue has hosted Broadway musicals, world class ballets and symphonies, and has been the site of major events such as the Emmy Awards and the 2007 Miss Teen USA pageant.
300 East Green Street, Pasadena, CA
Phone: (626) 449-7360 â
Pasadena Museum of California Art – Hosts exhibitions of California originated modern art and design. Eclectic and often provocative array of showcases include contemporary, traditional, modern, and impressionistic pieces as well as architecture.
490 East Union Street, Pasadena, CA
Phone: (626) 568-3665