Take a Local Weekend Getaway to Pasadena

Pasadena boasts the status of being the ninth-largest city in Los Angeles County and one of the most important cultural centers of the San Gabriel Valley, renowned for hosting the Tournament of Roses parade and annual Rose Bowl football game. Additionally, many cultural and scientific institutions call Pasadena home, including The California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena City College, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, The USC Pacific Asia Museum and more.

With so much to see and do in this L.A. garden spot, such as Old Town Pasadena which spans 21 blocks in the downtown district and boasts retail shops and a myriad of restaurants, nightclubs, outdoor cafes, pubs and comedy clubs, Pasadena is about as good as it gets for a quick weekend jaunt. If you have been looking to get away from the real local scene in Woodland Hills for a few days yet remain in the vicinity, a getaway to Pasadena may just be your ticket.

The following are our suggestions for some of the best places to stay, eat, drink and more in Pasadena.

Places to Stay

The Langham Huntington has been a famed Pasadena landmark for more than 100 years, providing memories for millions of guests in a tradition of luxury and elegance. The property originally opened in 1907 as The Hotel Wentworth, eventually being purchased by railroad tycoon Henry Huntington in 1911 who renamed it The Huntington Hotel, all before going on to become The Langham in 2008. Located in beautiful Pasadena, this getaway is nestled against the stunning San Gabriel Mountains and is in close proximity to downtown L.A. and many local attractions such as Universal Studios, Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Often called “the perfect escape from the bustling city,” The Langham Huntington offers total serenity in an iconic Southern California landmark. Located at 1401 S. Oak Knoll Avenue.

The Astro Pasadena Hotel is ideally located minutes from Los Angeles with accommodations that offer a unique stay for an affordable price. Fully renovated in 2016 and restored to its original architecture with a modern touch, the resort boasts a freshly chic décor, 25 guest rooms as well as three suites and ideal lodgings for families, couples and business travelers alike. Each of the lavishly-appointed rooms feature 55-inch LED TVs, premium bedding, refrigerators, microwaves and quality furnishings, with complimentary parking and Wi-Fi available. The Astro Pasadena is located at 2818 E. Colorado Boulevard.

The Westin Pasadena offers everything you need in a weekend getaway resort – from a sleek WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio with stunning mountain views and a self-service Business Center with high-speed Internet access to a heated outdoor pool, concierge services and an in-room spa. Regardless of your schedule, the Westin’s staff is available for assistance day and night at the 24-hour front desk to ensure your every need is anticipated and that you feel well-nourished, well-rested and well-cared for throughout your stay. Some 350 beautiful guest rooms are broken down amongst 69 traditional types, 120 Superior rooms, 106 Deluxe rooms, 16 Patio & Balcony rooms, 28 Executive rooms, seven Junior suites, two Rose suites and two Premier suites. The Westin Pasadena is located at 191 N. Los Robles Avenue.

Places to Eat & Drink

Braise & Crumble Café specializes in slow-braised meats, pulled pork, short ribs, fried chicken, chili, stews and fruit pies, in addition to renowned pulled pork tacos and assorted desserts. Established in 2014, Braise & Crumble is lorded over in the kitchen by Chef Tyler Wu, classically trained at The Cordon Bleu, and Chef Shannon Hart – both boasting Chinese and Southern roots and a passion to fuse both cultures in order to create new comfort food favorites. The mission here is to realize “the flavors of Sunday with a twist,” and introduce Los Angelinos to a place where ancient Chinese culinary secrets and Southern comfort meet. Braise & Crumble Café is located at 40 N. Mentor Avenue.

Alexander’s Steakhouse has been referred to as a “fine dining interpretation of the classic American Steakhouse with hints of Japanese influence laced into the menu,” and features Certified Angus Beef, corn-fed from the Midwest. The lavishly-appointed restaurant boasts its own dry-aging room in order to regularly present 28-day dry-aged steaks for unparalleled flavor; in addition to American beef, Alexander’s also serves imported wagyu, the steakhouse’s owners taking pride in serving the finest and most luxurious ingredients available…regardless of cut. Alexander’s Steakhouse in Pasadena is located at 111 N. Los Robles Avenue.

Houston’s Restaurant works closely with local farmers and purveyors to ensure the produce, meat, fish and chicken it serves are of the highest standard, its chefs having access to their own personal herb garden to guarantee the freshest greens on L.A.’s famed culinary scene. Established in 1997, Houston’s features everything from warm baked bread to fresh sushi including Crunchy Shrimp and Macadamia Rolls, and everything in-between such as French Dip Au Jus, Roasted Prime Rib and Apple Walnut Cobbler. As part of a collection of family owned and operated restaurants, Houston’s in Pasadena believes in genuine hospitality, simple dishes served exceptionally prepared and attentive service – all of which have been the guiding principles behind the staff’s efforts. Houston’s is located at 320 S. Arroyo Parkway.

Union is lorded over in the kitchen by Chef Bruce Kalman and Marie Petulla, who partnered to open a 50-seat restaurant and bar featuring a deeply personal, seasonally Californian interpretation of Northern Italian cuisine. The result was an intimate neighborhood eatery that brings the farmer and guest together to celebrate the simplicity of ingredients and the delight of a meal with good friends. Union’s menu runs the gamut from delectable pasta creations and fresh salads to incredible main dishes such as Santa Barbara Halibut, Roasted Duck Breast, Forest Mushroom Risotto and Porchetta. The restaurant is located at 37 E. Union Street.

Things to Do

Old Town Pasadena, established in 1886, is a great place to pass some time, with 22 historic blocks featuring 200 shops and boutiques and 100 restaurants and cafes…all walkable and nestled in an authentic downtown district. With Pasadena being the second-oldest city in California, Old Pasadena remains the original heart of the city; some 125 years ago, the people of Pasadena gathered at the “four corners,” the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue, for shopping, dining, social gatherings and entertainment – and some things just don’t change. Old Town Pasadena can be experienced by dropping by 1 Colorado Boulevard.

Eaton Canyon Natural Area is a 190-acre zoological, botanical and geological nature preserve intricately nestled at the base of the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains, where visitors can enjoy hiking trails, equestrian trails with a staging area, picnic areas, a seasonal stream with rocks and minerals, various natural habitats, native plants and wildlife. To unleash your “outdoorsman” or “outdoorswoman” within, give Eaton Canyon – open daily from sunrise to sunset – a try at 1750 N. Altadena Drive in Pasadena.

The Norton Simon Museum is known around the world as one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled. Over a 30-year period, 20th-century industrialist Norton Simon amassed an astonishing collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th-century in addition to a jaw-dropping collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years. Further, the Museum houses more than 12,000 objects, nearly 1,000 of which are on view in the galleries and gardens, with three temporary exhibition galleries featuring rotating installations of artworks not on permanent display. The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena is located at 411 W. Colorado Boulevard.

The Pasadena Museum of California Art remains dedicated to the exhibition of Californian art and design, representing California’s rich mixture of cultures and impressive geography. PMCA exhibitions and educational programs explore the cultural dynamics and influences unique to California, each of which have shaped and defined art across all media. What’s more, PMCA has treated Los Angelinos to works by California greats, and it is that local pride that makes it such a great place to visit in Pasadena. From its shows and staff to its location, the Museum is constantly seeking to get people excited and in-the-know about why Southern California is so coveted. The Museum is located at 490 E. Union Street.

As you can plainly see from this encompassing roundup, Pasadena is more than capable of representing quite the effective weekend getaway spot. When the traffic and fast pace of Woodland Hills becomes a bit overwhelming (which it can), consider a couple of days in culture and beauty-rich Pasadena.