Pasadena is a cultural crossroads for the San Gabriel Valley: a city where traditions, heritage, culture and night life intersect.
And every New Year’s Day, the eyes of the world are on the city because of for two premiere events: the annual Tournament of Roses Parade and the “granddaddy” of college football bowl games, the Rose Bowl.
More than 137,000 people live in the City of Roses – one of the city’s many nicknames, along with “Crown City”---while the name “Pasadena” comes from a Native American term meaning “of the valley.”
No single image of Pasadena captures the city’s essence: The beautiful orange dome of the city hall, with its ornate Spanish Colonial Revival Style, looks back at the city’s elegant historic past, but the presence of CalTech and, nearby, the Jet Propulson Laboratory are reminders that envisioning the future is also an important part of the life of the city.
Pasadena sits along the 210 Foothill Freeway with the connection to the 134 Ventura Freeway not far away; winding through the city is the historic 110 Arroyo Seco Parkway. The Los Angeles Metro Gold Line connects the city with downtown Los Angeles. Several medical centers assist residents, including Huntington Memorial Hospital; and the city’s educational resources include Caltech, Pasadena City College, and the Pasadena Unified School District.
Clusters of shops, restaurants and nightspots along Colorado Boulevard and other main city streets – and don’t forget the Rose Bowl flea market!—have turned Pasadena’s downtown into an active, cultural gathering-place. The city’s many artistic and performing arts offerings include the Pasadena Symphony at the Pasadena Civic Center, the Norton Simon Museum (one of many notable museums and galleries), and the Pasadena Playhouse.
Who lives in Pasadena? Many residents today have been lured by the historic, artistic architecture found in many of the city’s neighborhoods. About 800 small craftsman homes occupy the neighborhood known as “Bungalow Heaven,” while Orange Grove Boulevard is the exclusive community for many mansions.
Pop duo Jan and Dean might have sung about the “little old lady from Pasadena” back in the 1960s, but the truth about Pasadena is far more complex: a rich, diverse blend of people and history have turned it into one of the main cultural centers of the San Gabriel Valley.