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California up close: Things to do in Pasadena

In anticipation of our brand new campus opening in Pasadena, California, we are highlighting some of the many ways to take in this picturesque Los Angeles suburb. Pasadena is a city that is rich with history, culture, cuisine, knowledge, and much more. From restaurants to museums, shopping to hiking, there is never a shortage of things to do in sunny Pasadena – here are some of our favorites.

Places to eat

Pasadena is widely known around Los Angeles and Southern California as a “foodie” suburb. Not only does Pasadena boast multiple nationally-renowned culinary schools, but it is also a prime city for successful restaurants that look to open multiple locations. Popular LA-based food destinations with locations in Pasadena include The Pie Hole, Urth Caffe, Salt and Straw Ice Cream, Umami Burger, Zankou Chicken, and many more. Plus, the city has its own vast collection of well-known restaurants. More than 500 eateries call Pasadena home – that’s more restaurants per capita than New York City!

Places to shop

With both incredible restaurants and a variety of accessible shopping options, Pasadena is a perfect residential city. The Paseo, one of Pasadena’s most popular retail destinations, is a beautiful Spanish-style outdoor mall with shops, restaurants, and a luxury movie theater. The Burlington Arcade is like a mini version of the covered passageways of London and Paris, perfect for an afternoon stroll and some casual window-shopping. Pasadena provides a great mix of the chains that we all know in addition to a plethora of small, locally-owned businesses.

Places to learn

Pasadena is well-known for its many museums and gardens, the most famous of which is the Huntington Garden and Library. With over 200 acres of gardens, galleries, museums and cafes, the Huntington is a perfect place to spend an afternoon. It is also heavily featured in film and television because of the diverse landscapes and beautiful grounds. Pasadena is also home to the Norton-Simon Museum, which holds many lesser-known works by artists like Rembrandt, Renoir, Picasso, Monet, and more. With one of the largest collections of Japanese Folk paintings outside of Japan, the Pacific Asia Museum is another popular destination for culture and learning.

Places to hike

A favorite activity of Pasadena locals is hiking, and understandably so! The San Gabriel mountain range is practically right in our backyards. Pasadena has hikes that lead to waterfalls and swimming holes, campgrounds deep in the canyons, lookout points and more. Plus, hikes in other nearby cities include perks such as stunning views of Downtown LA and paths that go behind the famous Hollywood Sign. Travel a bit further, and you can walk along the famous Malibu cliffs or climb the stairs that lead to the Griffith Observatory.

Places that are just plain cool

Dotted around Pasadena you can find a bunch of activities that are unique to this suburb. The Rose Bowl has a massive stadium which acts as both UCLA’s home field and an awesome concert venue. Plus, the park has running and walking trails, golf courses, horse stables, baseball diamonds, and multiple olympic-sized pools. The California Institute of Technology (a world-renowned university right in Pasadena) operates the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is owned by NASA and also located in Pasadena. JPL develops and builds spacecrafts and satellites, most notably the Explorer missions, Viking missions, and Mars Pathfinder missions. Open for public tours and school field trips, we anticipate our students spending a lot of time learning here.

There is certainly no shortage of things to do in Pasadena. Whether you want to get outside, catch a movie, try a new cuisine, or take in some culture, the options for learning and exploring are endless. Plus, with LA and its other suburbs right around the corner, we know our students will be constantly enriched by their new community in southern California.


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