While the city of Los Angeles has many wonderful things to explore, it may be daunting for newcomers. Pasadena, however, is a bite-size city with plenty to do, and it's only 20 minutes from campus. Theaters, museums, parades, ice skating, dining, and shopping are encompassed in a metropolitan atmosphere. Here is a sample of what to explore in Pasadena.
The Pasadena Playhouse is a professional theater showing a variety of entertainment. Prices vary, ranging from $35-$60. The Pasadena Civic Center hosts various events, including Mamma Mia and Blast. For less expensive live theater ($16 for students), the Knightsbridge Theatre performs classic plays written by Shakespeare, Dickens, and others. At the Laemmle Playhouse 7, independent and foreign movies are shown.
The Norton Simon Museum boasts a permanent collection of South Asian art, works from the 14th-20th century, sculpture garden, and featured exhibitions. The museum is open Wednesday through Monday, 12-6 p.m., and Friday, 12-9 p.m.; closed Tuesday. Admission is free with student ID. For a greater delve into Asian art, the Pacific Asia Museum exhibits art from all of Asia and the Pacific Islands. The museum is open Wednesday though Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Friday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday. Admission is $3 for students. The Armory Center for the Arts has several galleries with contemporary exhibits. Hours vary according to gallery location. Admission is free.
Living up to its name, the Rose Parade is a spectacle of floats rolling down Colorado Boulevard, dressed entirely in floral and other materials. The parade occurs in the early morning of January 1. The Doo Dah Parade, a spoof on the Rose Parade, has also become famous even beyond Pasadena streets. Occurring in November, this parade attracts the bizarre, and is sure to be a wild display.
On the Ice
If you're craving winter in Southern California, head to the Pasadena Ice Skating Center. The grand chandeliers on the ceiling are reminiscent of ballroom days, creating a unique atmosphere, mixed with video games and vending machines. Public skate times vary, but Wednesday night is “Cheapskate” from 7:30-9:30 p.m., when ice and skate rental is only $7.
Shopping and Dining
Paseo Colorado is just east of Old Town Pasadena on Colorado Boulevard. The recently restored outdoor mall features a movie theater, dining (P. F. Chang's [Chinese], Rubio's Baja Grill [Mexican fast food], etc.) and shopping (Quicksilver Boardrider's Club, Macy's, The Museum Company, etc.).
Old Town Pasadena offers a quaint atmosphere, with similar amenities as Paseo Colorado. Twenty-One Choices, a frozen yogurt shop, is an APU favorite. The Cheesecake Factory (Italian), Buca di Beppo (Italian), Radhika's (Indian), Sol y Azul (Mexican), and more offer full meals. Take a peak at Urban Outfitters (clothing), Penny Lane (music), and Distant Lands Travel Bookstore and Outfitters.
Directions to Old Town Pasadena:
By car: 210 east, exit Lake Avenue, left on Lake Avenue, right on Colorado Boulevard. By bus: Foothill Transit bus number 187 from Citrus or Alosta Avenues, heading east. Exit the bus at Fair Oaks Avenue.