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Restaurants & Nightlife

Part of what gives Old Town so much energy is its accessibility by foot. During the lunchtime rush or dinner hours, scores of people stroll up and down Colorado Boulevard, which is the main vein for all the action. Using the intersections that let you cross diagonally, duck off Colorado and head north on Raymond Avenue. The minute you open the door to The Luggage Room, the red walls and music rocks you right along with the people. Aside from having the best gourmet pizza in Pasadena, The Luggage Room diners know how to create an atmosphere all their own. Try a gladiator pie made with homemade Italian sausage, or be reckless as you down a padre pizza topped with prosciutto, arugula, bleu cheese and dates.

The party bug is never far from buzzing through Old Town. When dusk hits, locals throng The Blind Donkey on Union Street for more reasons than one. Between the stirring ambiance and interesting drinks, the place screams urban chic straight from the Donkey's lips. To really get your groove on, just follow the crowd to Club 54 on Colorado. If you love swing dancing, Lindy Groove on Euclid Avenue is the lure for your tapping feet. Lindy Groove is located in the Grand Ballroom of the Pasadena Masonic Hall, a historic building dating back to 1926. With the best in jazz DJs, this dance event is held every Thursday, starting at 7:30 pm.

When it's time to wake up for breakfast, bring your appetite and patience to Marston's Restaurant on Walnut Street. Shaped like a little house, Pasadenans are known to stand in line for an hour to elbow into this tiny treasure. Famous for their thick French toast rolled in Corn Flakes, Marston's makes it equally difficult to choose those over the macadamia nut pancakes or the Andouille sausage omelette, which is beyond tasty.

History & Culture

Long before it became famous for the Jet Propulsion Lab and hosting the Tournament of Roses, Pasadena was first occupied by the Hahamogna Native Americans. The tribe later converted and provided labor for the San Gabriel Mission when the Spanish arrived in 1771. After rule passed from Spain to Mexico, the region underwent a secular change in 1833, which later led to California becoming a part of the United States in 1852.

Old Town Pasadena's rich cultural history is evident through the area's many museums. The Pacific Asian Museum, Norton Simon Museum, and Pasadena Museum of California Art all underscore the neighborhood's commitment to keeping its diverse roots visible. The residents form a welcoming melting pot of races and ethnicities, which attracts visitors from all over the world.

The biggest, most popular annual event is the Tournament of Roses college football blow-out and the elaborate Rose Parade down Colorado Boulevard.

Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Guide - Living in Pasadena |


You don't need a car in Old Town Pasadena, though you perhaps might when venturing out of town. The popular neighborhood is dotted with grocery stores, post offices, caf├ęs, apartment rows, City Hall, business enclaves and the public library, all within about a 1-mile radius. Visitors and locals can get everything they need traveling either on foot or by bus. Dozens of Metro buses run along Lake Avenue, Colorado Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue. You can also jump on the handy Gold Line rail system, which originates in East Los Angeles, runs north through downtown Los Angeles and terminates at the Sierra Madre Villa stop in east Pasadena. Taxis and ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft provide easy travel options as well. Peak-time traffic on Lake Avenue or Colorado may slow things up a bit, especially as drivers get close to Interstate 210. From the 210, you can reach a number of freeways, including Interstates 605, 5, 10 and 134, which shoot you in any direction you need to go. Cyclists and bike commuters take full advantage of Old Town's bike-friendly lanes. Parking can get expensive in Pasadena, especially if you violate the city's no-overnight-parking ordinance without a permit.


Once you decide what you're itching for, you can head out in any direction to find it in Old Town. Traveling east on Colorado, the outdoor Paseo Colorado Mall is a popular shopping destination, with inviting benches dotted along a wide stone walkway. DSW draws both women and men with their shoe selection, while Brighton attracts those looking for stylish accessories. Other shops include the Pasadena Antique Mall, Tommy Bahama, and Chico's.

For shoppers with a high-end taste for jewelry, head west on Colorado to Tiffany & Co., and treat yourself to a luxury item, or at least ogle the fine jewelry once you cross the threshold. In the many alleys and corners peppered with obscure shops, discover charming vintage boutiques, such as L3 Boutique on West Colorado Boulevard. Comb the collections and leave with a steal.

When it's time to grocery shop, Ralphs supermarket lies west on Colorado, while Trader Joe's is located on south Lake Avenue. The farmers market at Villa Parke Center makes your day worthwhile as you leave with farm-fresh goodies and interesting crafts from the vendors.Nearby coffee shops include Crown City Cafe, Cafe Latte-Da and Lovebirds Cafe & Bakery. Nearby restaurants include T. Boyles's Tavern, Wow Bento & Roll and Crazy Rock'N Grill.


City parks are conveniently located throughout Old Town Pasadena. Whether you want to take in an eccentric atmosphere at Memorial Park or picnic with your canine at Vina Vieja, the choices aim to please. While each location is unique, the neighborhood takes great pride in making sure children, pets, athletes and seniors find a park in Old Town to claim as their own.

Recreation enthusiasts enjoy Central Park's prime location, right across the street from the Del Mar Gold Line train station at the Lake Station stop. The 9.2-acre property sits in the heart of Old Town and features six horseshoe pits, picnic tables and a walking trail. Parents appreciate the entertaining playground area and convenient restrooms for their children.

When visiting Central Park, don't miss the rose garden and lawn bowling greens near the clubhouse. Be sure to feed the parking meters, especially while you enjoy the Old Pasadena JazzFest in the summer.

For athletic-types, Hamilton Park fills every need. This 6.4-acre gem draws large crowds to the three softball diamonds and lighted tennis courts. Don't worry: basketball players, volleyball lovers, and those ready to ignite a rowdy football or soccer game can dive right in. Hamilton Park makes it easy for the whole family to enjoy an all-day outing with two picnic areas and playground equipment for kids, along with restrooms and drinking fountains. A great location for well-trained pets, bring your dog on a leash, and park trouble-free at no cost. Other parks in the area include Grant PArk, Jefferson Recreation Center and Robinson Stadium.