10 Things to do in Pasadena, CA for First time Visitors

What are some fun things to do when you’re in Pasadena, California and you’ve never been there before? It doesn’t matter if you like to do things outdoors or if you prefer to stay inside, there are plenty of things to do to keep you busy. Below is a list of several different things that you might consider. You might even consider this as a top 10 list for the best things you can do in town. You might not get through the whole list, but you can almost bet that if you take some of the things from this list and go do them, you’ll have a great day and you’ll get a better feel for what Pasadena is really all about.

1.  Huntington Library

If you like anything that’s educational, this is like a one stop shop for you. On the exterior, you see beautiful gardens with a small pond and plenty of space to walk around in a quiet area where you can just think. Also on the grounds, you can enjoy art galleries and numerous collections of rare books. It really is a unique complex and it’s not one that you’re likely to find anywhere else in the country.

2.  Rose Bowl

There’s no doubt that you’ve heard of the Rose Bowl, the contest between two college football teams that is contested each and every year. What you might not know is that when that game isn’t going on, there’s a flea market at the stadium each and every month. If you love the opportunity to pick through things in order to find collectibles or refurbish something, this is one of the best flea markets that you’re ever likely to run across.

3.  Descanso Gardens

This is a great little area that feature some Botanical Gardens and backs up to a natural forest. If you’re hungry, you can even grab lunch at a cafe that’s located right there on site.

4.  Norton Simon Museum

If you’re in the mood to visit a museum, you might want to give this one a try. It specializes in Asian and European art and even features a special section for sculptures. It’s also located in one of the more unique buildings in the area, so if you’re looking for something to do that’s a little out of the ordinary, this might be a good option.

5. The Gamble House

This house was built in 1908 and from an architectural standpoint, it’s one of the most significant homes in the area. Today, the home is open for public tours. If you love architecture, or you’re just looking for something you need to do, this is an experience you won’t soon forget.

6.  San Gabriel Mission

This Catholic Mission started in 1771. These days, you can participate in a self-guided tour and even take advantage of a gift shop that is located there on the grounds.

7.  Old Pasadena

Some people call this Old Town. It refers to the original downtown district for the City of Pasadena, which is mostly comprised of historic buildings and eclectic shops and cafes these days.

8. Pasadena City Hall

This is arguably one of the most impressive looking buildings in the entire city. It’s a massive structure that shines almost like a beacon whenever the sun hits it. Built in 1927, there’s plenty of history that surrounds the building. If you’re interested in architecture, old buildings or city government, you can’t really make a trip to Pasadena without visiting this location.

9.  Colorado Street Bridge

This is actually a concrete arch located at the Arroyo Seco. It’s a great place to enjoy the outdoors and there’s even an area where you can sit down at an outdoor cafe in order to cool off, grab some lunch or simply enjoy some people watching, if that’s something that interests you.

10. Monrovia Canyon Park

This is a great little place that sits on a full 80 acres. There’s even a waterfall on site and if you’d like, there are cabins where you can stay there for a few days. The park has a nature center and all kinds of hiking trails where you can simply get out there and be at one with nature. It’s easily one of the most beautiful places in the entire city, maybe even in the whole state of California.


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