Pasadena is a college football lovers haven. The annual Rose Bowl, known as “The Granddaddy of Them All,” is played at the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena each New Year’s Day. It has been a football tradition since 1916. Before the tournament, the historic Rose Parade, which features flower-covered floats, marching bands and equestrians, takes over the city. Both events are part of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association's "America's New Year Celebration."
All of this is very exciting, but there’s more to Pasadena than the Rose Bowl — it’s also the setting of the “Big Bang Theory.” But, perhaps even more importantly, it’s a nice and convenient place to live. Located just 20 minutes outside of Los Angeles (don’t be surprised if you see a celebrity or two in town), this upscale community is a convenient location for those who work in L.A., but want a bit of a quieter home life. Pasadena has public transportation options to get to and from downtown L.A., but in true L.A. style, 90 percent of residents commute by car.
Home options span the gamut from small and adorable Craftsman houses and modern condos and apartments to Mediterranean-style mansions. But these houses don’t come cheap. The median sales price in Pasadena is a whopping $829,500 and median rent per month is $3,200. A successful lot, Pasadena residents should not have too hard a time making their rent or mortgage payments as the median household income is $72,587 and about 57 percent are college educated. The city is split almost 50/50 between home buyers and renters.
When it comes to nightlife and dining out, Old Pasadena is the spot. This tree-lined neighborhood is home to trendy restaurants, sidewalk cafes and shopping and stunning Victorian and art deco buildings. Happy hour is big in this town: More than 40 of Old Pasadena's bars and restaurants offer specials that start as early as 3 p.m.
If you’re into something a little quirky, you'll want to check out the Doo Dah parade. It’s kind of the antithesis to the elegant and dignified Rose Parade; in fact, it’s known as the “twisted sister” of the Rose Parade. The Doo Dah parade is a celebration of all things weird; people dress up in eccentric costumes and parade down East Pasadena in decorated cars and funky floats. Another Pasadena oddity is the Fork in the Road sculpture, which is actually a huge fork that sticks out of the ground.
Other things to do in Pasadena: Arroyo Seco Park has playgrounds, picnic tables and sports fields, art lovers will want to check out the Norton Simon Museum and the San Gabriel Mission is a historic Catholic mission with gardens and a museum.