Pasadena is known for its annual Rose Bowl football game, the Tournament of Roses Parade, and its collection of architecture designated as California Historical Landmarks and listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Two of the most recognizable craftsman-style homes are the Ultimate Bungalows, designed by the architect firm Greene & Greene.

Millard House

Millard House, also known as La Miniatura, is the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. At the time, Wright wanted to expand his reputation beyond a Prairie house architect. He experimented with concrete blocks, which he considered “the cheapest and ugliest thing in the building world.” Believing buildings should complement their surroundings, he remarked that the house “belonged to the ground on which it stood.”

The Thomson Residence

The Thomson Residence is a 1957 post and beam structure in the Poppy Peak Historic District in the San Rafael Hills of Pasadena. This two-story glass and wood home sits on a 7,882 lot that captures the surrounding city and mountain views. Built by Buff, Straub, and Hensman, the home received the Preservation Award from the City of Pasadena for its museum-quality restoration during 2011-2012.

The Clark House

The Clark House is a modernist masterpiece. The home was built in 1957 by famed architect Richard Neutra. It rests on a site that affords unobstructed views of the San Gabriel Mountains, Arroyo, and the Rose Bowl.

The design-build firm Marmol Radziner was recently tasked with restoring the home. They did an excellent job fixing the original structure, breathing life into the landscape planting and pool terrace, and revamping the interior.

Entrance of the Rose Bowl stadium

Local Grub & Things To Do

Here are a few of the local faves from the historic places, national landmarks, and local eateries.

Rose Bowl

Built in 1922, the Rose Bowl ranks as the 17th largest stadium in the world. While it’s best known for hosting the annual American football Rose Bowl Game, it’s also the home stadium for my alma mater’s football team, the UCLA Bruins. The venue has also hosted several soccer events, including the 1994 FIFA World Cup Final, the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, the 1984 Olympic Gold Medal Match, and numerous CONCACAF and United States Soccer Federation matches.

But the most important event happens on the second Sunday of every month. The Rose Bowl Flea Market is among the best places to score mid-century modern furniture, décor, and rare finds.

Norton Simon Museum

Industrialist Norton Simon sought a space to house his massive collection of “European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century and a stellar collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years.”

Around the same time, the museum formerly known as the Pasadena Art Institute and the Pasadena Art Museum was facing financial hardship. They approached Simon for help. In exchange for using 75% of the gallery’s space to house his collection, Simon agreed to take over the gallery’s financial obligations. And, of course, he wanted his name on the building.

Among the most celebrated works he collected are Branchini Madonna, 1427, by Giovanni di Paolo; Madonna and Child with Book, c. 1502-03, by Raphael; Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose, 1633, by Francisco de Zurbarán; Portrait of a Boy, c. 1655-60, by Rembrandt van Rijn; Mulberry Tree, 1889, by Vincent van Gogh; Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, 1878-81, by Edgar Degas; and Woman with a Book, 1932, by Pablo Picasso. Highlights from the Asian collection include the bronze sculptures Buddha Shakyamuni, c. 550, India: Bihar, Gupta period, and Shiva as King of Dance, c. 1000, India: Tamil Nadu; and the gilt bronze Indra, 13th century, Nepal.”

Bungalow Heaven

This 16-block area has more than a thousand historic bungalow-style homes. The neighborhood has earned the bragging rights to many impressive titles through the years. In 1989, the area became Pasadena’s first historic Landmark District. In 2008, the United States Department of the Interior listed the district in the National Register of Historic Places. Bungalow Heaven was listed in the California Register of Historical Resources. In 2009, the American Planning Association named Bungalow Heaven Landmark District one of America’s ten great places. Pretty impressive, right?

Sushi Roku

Using olive oils, chili peppers, and caviar, Sushi Roku rocks tradition and delights your palette. Located in Old Town Pasadena, this joint serves an array of salads, hot and cold specialty appetizers, and a wide selection of hot entrees, all in a modern, zen-style setting.

iPic Theaters

iPic Theaters provides the most luxurious movie-going experience in Los Angeles. Yes, your movie tickets cost more, but it’s worth it: plush, oversized leather recliner, seat-side server service at your beck and call with wine, beer on tap, and dinner all come to you. Complimentary popcorn, blankets, and pillows are also included.

On The Map

Pasadena is located in the Verdugos region of Los Angeles County. Just 15 minutes from Downtown LA, the neighborhood is surrounded by Altadena, Angeles Crest, Arcadia, Eagle Rock, East Pasadena, East San Gabriel, Glendale, Highland Park, La Cañada Flintridge, San Marino, San Pasqual, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, and the Tujunga Canyons. Pasadena’s zip codes include 91101, 91103, 91104, 91105, 91106, 91107, 91030, and 91031.