Pasadena is often referred to as a twin city to Los Angeles. The seventh largest city in California, it has been a thriving community since its founding in the mid 1800s. It has a rich and colorful history, which began as a land grant settlement for the Spanish, then became a setting for health-related and hunting resorts. When the famous Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad arrived in the late 1800s, Pasadena became a favorite winter holiday destination for Easterners, and truly began to flourish. The look and feel of the bustling development from 1900 to 1930 is still evident today. The gorgeous turn-of-the-century and Craftsman architecture, old growth trees, sweeping grounds and mansions of Orange Grove Boulevard, Old Town Pasadena, and fabulous City Hall and Library are all reminiscent of it’s rich past and the pride of the community. Within its borders lie prominent geographical features, key to the development of three main sections of the city: Altadena, at the foot of the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains; Arroyo Seco at the center of the city, home to the Rose Bowl and Aquatic and Tennis Center as well as Old Town Pasadena; and residential South Pasadena, which borders the affluent neighborhood of San Marino. A signature of Pasadena is the influence of the Craftsman school of architecture, most notably preserved in a landmark district called Bungalow Heaven, which holds some of the best examples of the style. The Gamble House (Built by the Greene Brothers for David Gamble, of Proctor and Gamble) is one of the most recognized buildings in all of Los Angeles and attracts many visitors. As you travel down Orange Grove Boulevard, the mansions reflect a Who’s Who of American industry: Wrigley (of chewing gum fame), Busch (of Anheuser Busch), and Bissel (the carpet magnate), to name a few.
Culture abounds in Pasadena, and the level of community participation and attendance is a point of pride. Most notable is the world-famous annual Rose Bowl game and New Year’s Rose Parade, whose floats, made entirely of fresh flower petals and organic materials, were originally designed to show the world the bountiful year-round blooming of California. Throughout the year, the Rose Bowl hosts a flea market that draws treasure hunters in droves. The Doo-Dah parade, held in May, has gained a wide audience and notoriety as a hilarious parody of the Rose Parade. Music, film and theater are enjoyed throughout the year in a variety of venues, including the Pasadena Playhouse, the Pasadena Philharmonic, outdoor movie nights at One Colorado, and outdoor music at Paseo Colorado.
At the apex of two main boulevards, Colorado and Orange Grove, is the Norton Simon museum, known for one of the finest collections of Impressionists, Modern Art and sculpture gardens in the world. The Huntington Library in San Marino, with its extraordinary collection of rare books and manuscripts and glorious botanical gardens, is a destination for travelers and residents alike.
Pasadena is served by its own public school district and is home to many fine private schools as well. It is renowned for prestigious universities and technical schools like Caltech (producing 32 Nobel Prize Laureates) and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Transportation and links to the rest of LA are convenient and plentiful. The first-ever freeway in California, the 110, connects directly to downtown LA; the Foothill and Ventura freeways stretch west to the San Fernando Valley, and the Long Beach freeway leads to the southern beach communities. The Gold Line metro terminates in Pasadena, and there are municipal bus lines as well.