Top Pasadena Attractions: Best Places to See on a Visit to Pasadena, California

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Visitors to Pasadena, California mostly flock to the city to watch the annual Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl Game, held every New Year’s Day. But there’s more to Pasadena than these two events. The city has enough attractions to entice you to visit any time of the year. These top Pasadena attractions listed here are just some of them.

Brookside Park

Brookside Park, located just outside the Rose Bowl Stadium, is the place where the locals hang out on weekends to play sports or have picnics. It’s the largest public park in Pasadena, covering around 61 acres of green space and famous for its views of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Castle Green

Castle Green | Wikimedia Commons

Historic Castle Green was once the playground of wealthy East Coast denizens traveling to the West Coast to escape the winter cold. It was the place to see and be seen in turn-of-the-century Los Angeles County, as well as the original home of the Tournament of Roses Association and the Valley Hunt Club. Now 117 years old, Castle Green serves as condominium complex and events venue. It retains much of its original décor and furnishings, which are available for public viewing twice a year.

Gamble House

Gamble House | Ken Lund

Movie fans know Gamble House as Doc Emmett Brown’s home in the Back to the Future film trilogy. Architecture savants, on the other hand, consider Gamble House as one of the finest examples of the American Arts and Crafts style of architecture. This house is a woodworking masterpiece and was once the winter home of Procter & Gamble’s David B. Gamble. Today, it is a museum and a National Historic Landmark owned by the City of Pasadena, and definitely one of the top Pasadena attractions.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory | NASA on The Commons

If you’re a space enthusiast, you must include Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in your Pasadena itinerary. One of the top Pasadena attractions, JPL is a major NASA field research center operated jointly with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). JPL is responsible for many of the space missions that expanded our understanding of the solar system. JPL holds public tours of its facilities, though you need to reserve your slot at least three weeks in advance.

Norton Simon Museum

Norton Simon Museum | Wikimedia Commons

The Norton Simon Museum is one of the most important art museums on the West Coast. It’s one of the top Pasadena attractions worth seeing even if you’re not an art enthusiast. The Museum is home to some 11,000 art objects consisting of works by European masters, contemporary works of art, as well as artworks from South and Southeast Asia. Only 800 to 900 of these art objects are on display at any given time. Included in the Museum’s collections are masterpieces by Rembrandt, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Warhol.

Old Pasadena

Old Pasadena refers to the original downtown district of Pasadena. It was once an industrial hub that gave birth to JPL and Caltech, as well as an arts center that brought forth the Pasadena Arts Institute, now known as the Norton Simon Museum. Today, Old Pasadena remains an industrial and artistic hub, as well as the place to go for shopping, dining and entertainment. Colorado Boulevard, which runs through the heart of Old Pasadena, is the main route of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade.

Pasadena Playhouse

Pasadena Playhouse | Wikimedia Commons

The Pasadena Playhouse is a historic and long-standing performance venue, as well as one of the oldest arts establishments in Pasadena. It is the home of the city’s thriving community theater as well as a venue for launching productions prior to touring the rest of California. The Playhouse has witnessed performances by actors who eventually became superstars both on-screen and on-stage, such as Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, and Gene Hackman.

Rose Bowl Stadium

Rose Bowl Stadium | Wikimedia Commons

The Rose Bowl Stadium is famous throughout the US for its namesake, the annual Rose Bowl Game. This football stadium is one of the bonafide top attractions of Pasadena and one of the largest football stadiums in the world. It is also the home of the UCLA Bruins and has seen five Super Bowl games, the most for any stadium in the US. Additionally, the stadium occasionally moonlights as a FIFA and Olympics soccer field.

There is more to Pasadena, California than simply the annual Rose Parade. Check out these top Pasadena attractions to add more depth and fun to your Pasadena holiday.

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Anna is a wandering writer. If she isn't wandering, she's working on other blogs. And if she's not doing that, either she's reading or she's busy with a crafting project.