Even though Pasadena is in the Los Angeles County, it is located 13 miles away from the bustling megalopolis of Los Angeles.
Pasadena is a quiet city with an estimated population of 150,000 inhabitants. A legend says that the same person who lives in Pasadena can ski in Mount Baldy in the morning (about 45 minutes East away by car) and surf in Santa Monica in the afternoon (about 45 minutes West away by car).
Pasadena is renown for hosting two events on New Year's Day. In the morning, the city enjoys the Rose Parade, a procession of gigantic floats decorated with fresh flowers. Later in the day, the Rose Bowl Football Game is held.
In November each year, the popular Doo Dah Parade gently satirizes the Rose Parade.
Gourmet and traditional restaurants are numerous in Pasadena. They are located everywhere in the city with a high part of them in the old part of the town. Pasadena Weekly which is a free news magazine (available in paper in every shop) has elected as best places to eat in L.A a couple of restaurants in Pasadena.
Museums and galleries are abundant in Pasadena. The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens and the Norton Simon Museum are part of the best and must-see museums of Los Angeles. Aside these two iconic places, Pasadena is also home to many cultural institutions like the Pacific Asia Museum, the Gamble House, the Pasadena Museum of California Art and many others.
The Art Center College of Design (ranked among the top 10 colleges for Design in US) offers exhibitions at its Williamson Gallery, as well as frequent displays of student work. Also, anyone interested in art in general can take audit classes (noncredit classes). In the same spirit, the Armory Center for the Arts has an extensive exhibition program as well as serving as a center for art education for all ages.
Theater and Music belong to the spirit of Pasadena. The Pasadena Playhouse and aNoiseWithin have classic, Broadway type and modern plays all the year round. The Pasadena Symphony and the Pasadena POPS offer several concerts the year at the Ambassador Auditorium and the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.
Flea Markets are another ways to venture and discover Pasadena. Every first Sunday of the month, the Pasadena Flea Market offers a comprehensive choice of art, furniture and clothes (free entrance). The Rose Bowl Flea Market happens the second Sunday of every month and if you are lucky, you can find real antiques and old paintings ($9 entrance fee per person).
Nature is part of the landscape of Pasadena, whether you want to spend a day in the city at the Huntington Garden, the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden or the Descanso Gardens. Just a little further and for those who love outdoor hikes, the San Gabriel Mountains offer spectacular sceneries.
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