Old Pasadena Tours
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Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this graceful valley swath beside the San Gabriel Mountains was first developed in the 1880s by railroad barons and hoteliers to lure winter-weary Easterners out west. Today Old Pasadena—sometimes known as Old Town Pasadena—is best known for its museums and the annual Rose Parade and Rose Bowl college football game.
Old Pasadena today includes a popular commercial district known for a mostly upscale mix of restaurants and chain stores. Small-group walking tours of the area, with a focus on the city’s diverse restaurants, are available. Along the main shopping streets, Orange Grove and Fair Oaks boulevards, you’ll find examples of art deco architecture from the 1920s, carefully restored during the district's urban revival in the 1980s.
Old Pasadena is home to two excellent museums: the Norton Simon Museum, which houses the eclectic art collection of industrialist Norton Simon, and the Pasadena Museum of California Art, where each exhibition focuses on a single facet of the state. The Spanish Colonial Revival–style Pasadena Playhouse has a mosaic-inlaid dome, perfect acoustics, and a rotating stage. The co-founder of Procter & Gamble built the Gamble House, a 1908 arts and crafts mansion that’s completely joinery-built, without a single nail. An Old Pasadena treasure, Vroman's is the largest and oldest independently run bookstore in Southern California.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Old Pasadena offers a relaxing day trip option for those visiting LA.
- Remember to wear good walking shoes if you plan to explore the city by foot.
- On the second Sunday of each month, Pasadena’s Rose Bowl stadium hosts a popular flea market where vendors sell vintage clothing, antique furniture, and an assortment of goods.
How to Get There
From downtown Los Angeles, Old Pasadena is about a 20-minute drive (depending on traffic) north on Interstate 110. You can also take the Metro light rail via the gold line from Union Station in downtown LA to Pasadena.
When to Get There
The city of Pasadena is probably best known for the Tournament of Roses Parade, which takes place every New Year’s Day along Colorado Boulevard, and college football’s famed Rose Bowl game. Ticket packages are available if you want to visit during that popular time. Otherwise, expect the largest crowds on the weekends, when both tourists and locals are out and about. It can also be hard to find parking then.
Even if you’re not in town during Tournament of Roses time, you can still explore its history at the Tournament House. Guided tours of this Southern California landmark, which is the former home of chewing-gum mogul William Wrigley Jr., are free and take place every Thursday from February through August. Inside, learn about past Rose Bowl games, and on the outside, visit the surrounding Wrigley Gardens, which feature a floral display of roses, camellias, and annuals.
Address: 1 West Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 91105, USA
8 Tours and Activities to Experience Old Pasadena
Embark on a 3-hour Private Christmas Markets Tour in Los Angeles visiting festive Glendale Galleria and charming Old Pasadena. Check out the most decorated places in two historic neighborhoods of Los Angeles: Glendale and Old Pasadena for incredible photo ops and festive mood. Kick-off your fabulous adventure in Laduree at Glendale Galleria, the most whimsical French macaron bakery in the world and indulge in complimentary coffee accompanied with scrumptious pastry.
Embark on a 3-hour Christmas Tour exploring charming Old Pasadena with Afternoon Christmas Tea. Check out the most decorated places in this historic neighborhood of Los Angeles with fantastic photo ops and holiday mood. Kick-off your fabulous adventure at Blue Bottle coffee shop. See Pasadena City Hall, Mack & Jackie Robinson Memorial, snap astonishing photos at One Colorado. Enjoy elegant and classy Christmas Tea Ceremony with seasonal menu (included).
Pasadena has all the ingredients of a perfect city: a rich history, fascinating museums and attractions, a vibrant food scene and lots of places to have fun. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, featuring grand historic buildings and tranquil green spaces and gardens. Shopping in Pasadena is just the best. You have your pick of best-loved national brands and unique boutiques along with some great flea markets. This self-guided tour of Santa Monica takes you to 10 must-see places, each of which is extremely instagrammable so be ready for numerous photo ops along the way! It's a self guided tour. You can start and finish any time you like. Learn about LA’s history and culture at your own comfortable pace. During this self-guided tour, you will learn fun facts, stories and insights about historical sites in Pasadena as well as explore the most instagrammable places.
Taking safety measures
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Join your private local guide and set off for an adventure into vintage Pasadena. This private photo tour takes you back in time with fairy-tale architecture surrounding hidden gems and squares. Our photo adventure is a rich mix of must-see historic sites, jaw-dropping vistas and raw, untamed energy. • Wander through the architectural gems • Soak in the amazing vintage atmosphere of Old Pasadena • Rub elbows with locals on a relaxing stroll connecting sidewalk cafes, floodlit monuments and luxury boutiques • Check out some of the most Instagrammable spots in Los Angeles • Enjoy personalized attention and a tailored itinerary • 50 professionally captured and edited photos
Price varies by group size
Price varies by group size
On this unique photo walk you will not only see most beautiful iconic places of Los Angeles, you’ll create your own LA Story! Your photographer will capture the precious moments and you will get memorable pictures that will tell your story, portray you as a personality, show your wanders in La La Land. Exclusively for this photo walk, you can choose the location, the topic, colors and the mood for the photoshoot – whether it is a fine-tuned classic Melrose avenue, or the lush scenery of Santa Monica, or glitz and glamor of Rodeo Drive, urban vibes of Downtown, or charming historic streets of Pasadena with its old vintage ambience. Free coffee/tea in the best coffeeshop is included. You’ll indulge in a signature drink in the hottest coffee/tea place in LA: whether it is an exotic tea blend like Morning Rain, or a signature coffee blend with warmth of brandy and notes of allspice.
To tell the story of your Los Angeles vacation on social media, don't share the same old selfies on Instagram—book this private photo tour, complete with professionally-edited images. Explore one of six neighborhoods, and capture the colorful details that make LA so stunning—from palm trees to street art—and come home with the perfect shareable content. When you're done, be ready to post 20 retouched photos, and about 100 original shots, included in the price.
Pasadena - initially the 'Indiana Colony' - has its roots as an agricultural citrus-growing community, and is now famous worldwide as the home of some of the best-known New Year's Day celebrations. Beyond the festivals, flowers, and tree-lined streets, prepare to learn more about the Crown City at the base of the foothills, fascinating every day of the year.
Through castles and courtyards, mortuaries and theatres, darkened alleyways and shuttered shopping malls, come walk with us and discover the sordid side of the City of Roses. Meet the phantoms who haunt its alleys, underground tunnels, corridors, and back rooms. Unexplained mysteries and dirty dealings pepper Pasadena's past, but we'll expose them on a nighttime wander through the Playhouse District and Old Pasadena!
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Old Pasadena?
The best ways to experience Old Pasadena are:
- Christmas Market in Los Angeles and Charming Old Pasadena - on Private Tour
- Private Christmas Tour with Christmas Afternoon Tea Ceremony in Old Pasadena
- Private Self-Guided Tour of Pasadena in Los Angeles
- Private Los Angeles Photoshoot in Vintage Pasadena with a Personal Photographer
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