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Pasadena: The Ultimate Southern California Escape you’ve been Dreaming of

Pasadena City Hall

Pasadena City Hall

If you find yourself camping at Thousand Trails Soledad Canyon this summer, plan to take a drive and visit Pasadena for the day. Less than an hour’s drive, this beautiful California city has all kinds of things of interest. For starters, there’s the Tournament of Roses House, also known as the Wrigley House and Gardens. If you’re not familiar with Pasadena, you certainly have heard of the classic college football tournament, the Rose Bowl, traditionally played on January 1 of every year and also preceded by a spectacular event known as the Tournament of Roses Parade.

The reason the home is known as the Tournament House is that it was donated in memory of Ada Wrigley, of the chewing gum Wrigleys, to the city of Pasadena in 1958 when Ada passed. It was to serve as the headquarters to plan all the events involved in the Rose Bowl. Visitors here can tour the gardens which are home to 1500 varieties of roses, plus camelias and other annuals spread over 4 ½ acres. There is also a room inside the mansion dedicated to all things Rose Bowl with history and facts about every game played. The architecture of this Italian Renaissance-style estate built in 1906 is another reason to visit this landmark attraction.

Tournament House – Pasadena, CA

The Rose Bowl stadium can also be toured (on the last Friday of every month – check out for details) and also plays host to musical and sporting events, foodie events, and on the second Sunday of every month, one of the best and most-well known flea markets is held here featuring over 2,500 vendors. The stadium is a National Historic Landmark.

Lovers of architecture and the Arts & Crafts style will not want to miss the Gamble House, a stunning American Craftsman-style home built in 1908 by the famed brothers/architects Greene and Greene for the Gamble family. There are several tours available and home tours are on Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays. Advance reservations are strongly suggested ( Another architectural must see is the Pasadena City Hall, built in 1927 in the Italian Renaissance style with Spanish influences. For a self-guided architectural walking tour map, go to

Norton Simon Museum – Pasadena, CA

There are several museums worth the time, including the stunning Norton Simon Museum. From works by the European Old Masters to contemporary American artists, the museum has a wide range within its vast collections. An interesting temporary exhibit, on display through August 14, explores how artists responded to and shaped food culture in Europe from 1500-1900. If you want to learn all about Pasadena, visit the Pasadena Museum of History. All the exhibits, artifacts, and documents are dedicated to the history of Pasadena and the surrounding San Gabriel Valley. The plus here is that the museum is housed in the Fenyes Estate, a Pasadena Cultural Landmark which is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also one of the few mansions left along the city’s famed Millionaire’s Row. For something different, check out the Bunny Museum in nearby Altadena. Housing over 45,000 items dedicated to bunnies in the world of art, advertising, fashion, film, and more.

If you’re looking for outdoor fun and fitness, we’ve got some ideas. How about climbing roughly 1,000 stairs throughout the beautiful neighborhoods of Pasadena? While there is a book written about the hidden staircases in the area, the best way to find them is via an online post by the Weekend Sherpa. It’s a great way to see Pasadena and its architecture. Another outdoor option would be to explore the hiking trails in Eaton Canyon Natural Area and Nature Center. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens can be great for an outdoor stroll through the more than 16 themed gardens over its 130 acres.


Would you camp here? 📍Thousand Trails Soledad Canyon in Acton, CA. #thousandtrails #rvlifestyle #camping #californiacamping

♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

Old Pasadena is the city’s downtown business district with shopping, and dining opportunities. Check out One Colorado which is an outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment area in Old Pasadena. While in the area don’t miss the afore-mentioned City Hall – movie fans may recognize this beauty that has appeared in films and television (most notably it served as the façade for the Pawnee City Hall in Parks & Recreation and the dictator’s palace in Charlie Chaplin’s film, The Great Dictator.)

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