California Dreamin’ 3-3-1 Series – Pasadena

For me, Pasadena, CA, is one of the great California Dreamin’ getaways. It’s perfect for a long weekend or a short breather from life.

3 Places to go

So tough to narrow it down to 3…

Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

HuntingtonPrivate, non-profit – This outdoor/indoor 120 acres park has an e800px-Desert_Garden_cacti_at_Huntington_Libraryxpansive garden, several museums, and yes, a fantastic library. This is a lovely place to stroll, have lunch, take pictures and learn. It was started in 1919 by Henry E. Huntington, a man who made his fortune in railroads, utilities and real estate. 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108, 10:30-4:30 (closed on Tuesday), free the first Thursday of every month with advance tickets, 626) 405-2100,

Norton Simon Gallery

NortonA small, but well worth the time museum. Degas paintings and sculptures are the highlight. Features include Asian Art, European Art, Modern & Contemporary, Prints & Photographs. There are changing exhibitions from famous international museums. Doable in 2 hrs.

411 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105, open 12:00-5:00, (check online for weekend hours) Closed Tuesday. (626) 449-6849,

Gamble House

GambleA craftsman home designed by Charles and Henry Greene for David Gamble from Proctor & Gamble in 1908. This design masterpiece features intricate metalwork, inlay designs, gorgeous stained glass and master woodcarvings. Interesting fact – this house served as Doc’s garage in the Back to the Future movies.

4 Westmoreland Pl, Pasadena, CA 91103, 10:00-5:00, Thursday-Sunday – last tour starts at 3:00, (626) 793-3334,

Honorable Mention

Gotta put this one inRose Parade Floats – Post Parade -if you go during the New Year… visiting the parade floats the day after the parade is a perfect time. You get to see all the winners up close and for so much less cost, meander around two long streets (over two miles) of floats and street fare. This is so great for picture taking and people watching. Starts at 1:00 on Jan 1.

3 Places to Eat

The Kitchen Italian Café and Pizzeria


California restaurants can be pricey, but this little gem is reasonable and tastes like mama’s. I recommend splitting a salad and a Stromboli. The desserts are yummy as well. We usually ask about the dessert of the day or check out the gelato shop, Piccomolo Gelato, close by – (20 E Colorado Blvd # 101). The Kitchen – 78 W. Union Street, Pasadena, California 91103, in Old Town Pasadena. One block North of Colorado Boulevard, one block West of Fair Oaks Avenue, and just across the street from Saks Fifth Avenue. Open 11:00 -9:00, later on the weekends. 626-796-9802,

Marston’s Restaurant

MarstonsFor breakfast or lunch, Marston’s is awesome! Everything tastes fresh and delicious. They are known for their fabulous French toast, but have awesome pancakes and omelets as well. Roger and I have been known to split meals at Marston’s as the portions are plenty.

151 E Walnut St, Pasadena, CA 91103, 7:00am – 11:00am, 11:30am – 2:30pm, (626) 796-2459,


SaladngThis trendy Thai restaurant is busy with all kinds of interesting people eating very interesting tasty cuisine that leaves them wanting more. Typically, several dishes are ordered for the table and everyone tries a bit of everything. I’m not big on spicy and I was ok. Loved all the melding of flavors and spices. 363 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105, Open 10:00am – 10:00 pm (626) 793-8123

Honorable Mention

Dinner – Choza Mama, Peruvian food, 96 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105

Breakfast -Russell’s on Fair Oaks, a tradition since 1930 is a traditional breakfast spot with bacon, eggs, pancakes, all the usual. 30 N Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103

1 Place to Stay

WestinWestin Pasadena – This is a beautiful hotel with a perfect location, right downtown within walking distance of great restaurants and shopping .The rates are surprisingly affordable. 191 N Los Robles Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101, (626) 792-2727

Time to-

Book a cheap flight to LAX, rent a car for less than $100, go north on Hwy 110, and boom, you’re there. Pasadena has a lot to offer: sightseeing, shopping, golfing, bicycling, flea markets, great antique malls and loads of restaurants.


1 Comment

  • Tim Brinkley says:

    Wow! My wife and I are celebrating our seventh anniversary together in August. A trip to Pasadena, CA sounds like the perfect place for us to visit. My wife is an artist who loves to explore art museums and take nature walks. I personally enjoy eating pizza. Thanks for your suggestions on places to go, places to eat, and a very affordable place to stay.

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