Finally! This one has been a long time coming. Andrew and I LOVE Pasadena and wanted to round up some of our favorite spots to eat, drink, and explore. In our opinion, there’s just something special about the city. It’s quaint but lively and there are so many hidden gems! Hope you love this guide to one of our favorite places.
Pizza/Italian – Union (This is our favorite restaurant and the spaghetti alla chitarra is life changing), Setebello, Luggage Room, Gale’s, U Street Pizza
Date Night Spot – Agnes, The Arbour, The George, Saso, La Grande Orange, Entre Nous, Bodegón No.69, Bistro 45, Bacchus’ Kitchen, Cafe Santorini, Nick’s, True Food Kitchen, Craft by Smoke & Fire
Mexican – Chiquita Bonita, Mercado, Maestro, Tacos El Pollo, Tacos 1986, El Portal, HomeState
Steakhouse – Arroyo Chop House, Parkway Grill, Houston’s (try the artichoke dip, Hawaiian ribeye, thai steak salad and key lime pie), Smitty’s, The Royce, Alexander’s, Fleming’s (for happy hour)
Asian – Daisy Mint (chicken satay and yellow chicken curry), Osawa, Bone Kettle, Sushi Enya, Sushi Roku, Panda Inn (currently closed due to remodeling), Tibet Nepal House, Sugarfish
Brunch – Russell’s, Millie’s, The Raymond, Julienne (creme brûlée french toast is a must), Great Maple, Andy’s Coffee Shop
Breakfast Burrito – Lucky Boy, Top’s, Burrito Express
Ice Cream – Handel’s, Oakobing, Carmela, After’s, Salt & Straw, Bloomfield Creamery
Quick Lunch Spots – Pasadena Sandwich Company, Mediterranean Cafe, Mendocino Farms, Urban Plates, Urbane Cafe, Cava, Union Street Sandwich Company, Raffi’s Catering, Howlin’ Ray’s, Porta Via, The Stand
Bakery – Little Flower, Lincoln, Old Sasoon, Seed, Fantasy Frostings (the BEST – we got our wedding cake here), SusieCakes, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Tartine
Want To Try – Kaviar Sushi Bar, Marina, Fishwives
BARS & BREWS
Cocktails – White Horse Lounge, 1886 Bar at The Raymond, Magnolia House, The Tap Room, The Speakeasy
Whiskey Bar – The Blind Donkey
Wine Bar – Everson Royce, The Cellar, We Olive
Rooftop Bar – Granville
Best Beer – Lucky Baldwin’s, Congregation Ale House, Dog Haus, Stone Brewing
Classic Bars – King’s Row, Edwin Mills, Rocco’s Tavern, Barney’s Beanery, Der Wolf
Lavender & Honey – Such a cute spot, I LIVE for their Brown Sugar Latte and Andrew loves their French Lavender Breve.
Republik – Has great specialty coffee drinks AND has wine tastings on Thursdays!
Other Great Options– Jameson Brown, Copa Vida, Float, Coffee and Plants (very instagramable and they have a blue latte), Intelligentsia, Rosebud, Philz, Amara
WHERE TO STAY
The Langham Huntington – This place has been around for over 100 years and is in such a beautiful neighborhood. It has roaring 20’s vibes and is a relatively affordable price for a 5 star resort.
Westin – I love the pool here because it’s perched up on the 4th floor overlooking City Hall.
Le Meridien – Although this is right next door to Pasadena in Arcadia, it just opened up and looks great! It’s located across from the Santa Anita Race Track and near the LA County Arboretum (which is definitely worth checking out).
WHAT TO EXPLORE
Huntington Library/Botanical Gardens – The grounds here are so beautiful and serene.
Rose Bowl – Whether its a game, concert, or the flea market, the Rose Bowl is always a great time!
Lower Arroyo Seco Trail – This is our favorite place to go for a run in the city.
City Hall – Anytime we’ve shown people around Pasadena for the first time, they’re always very surprised with City Hall. It’s gorgeous and is a popular place for photos.
Old Town (Colorado Blvd.) – The most popular and upbeat area to go walk around and window shop.
Paseo – This outdoor mall is another great area to go window shopping. I used to work at the BCBG in Paseo yearsss ago which is now Great Maple.
California Institute of Technology – Cal Tech is well known for being one of the best academic institutions in the world (even Albert Einstein was a visiting scientist here!) and has ties to NASA (see JPL below). It ALSO has a gorgeous campus to stroll through and is located in a great area of the city not far from the Huntington Library/Gardens.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory – JPL has produced spacecrafts that have visited every planet (and the sun)! If you ever get a chance to go to their annual open house, it’s totally worth it checking out.
Eaton Canyon – If you’re into hiking and (small) waterfalls, this is for you. It’s a relatively flat and easy 4.5 mile out and back hike with a waterfall.
The Rose – We went to this music venue to watch Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes live with my parents. It was actually a TON of fun! Highly recommend looking into it for a throwback night – music, dancing, drinks and food.
More Fun Things – Rose Parade, Christmas Corner, Old Pasadena Pharmacy