Not only is Pasadena a great Los Angeles getaway but a PERFECT place to live and thrive ~ reprinted from VOGUE KRISTIN BRASWELL
Located 10 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena is a quaint city with a charming old town feel and plenty of nooks to explore boutique shops, art, gardens, and a growing culinary scene. Though out-of towners may be familiar with the city for its yearly Rose Bowl, Pasadena is an understated gem for Southern California locals who crave small-town comforts alongside a vibrant, cosmopolitan city. But it’s slowly being discovered by outsiders as a perfect low-key getaway, and it definitely doesn’t hurt that the city enjoys roughly 300 days of sunshine each year. Here’s what to do if you’re thinking of planning a California getaway.
One of the most compelling reasons to head to Pasadena? The stunning Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. The nonprofit institution is an expansive 207-acre property that includes a library and art collection, gardens, tea room, and an additional four places to dine. Get lost in the latest exhibit, then head over to the Chinese Garden for a sumptuous lunch at Freshwater Dumpling and Noodle House.
Art lovers don’t have to stop at the Huntington. Nearby, the Norton Simon Museum features pieces from around the world alongside a gorgeous sculpture garden, as well as a theater showing films and hosting music and dance programs.
While popular Colorado Boulevard has a number of well-known shops, it’s Pasadena’s smaller boutiques that are worth a visit. At closet-size boutique Hotbox Vintage, ostrich feather capes, Hermès, Christian Dior, clutches, and lingerie are all up for grabs.
For a little mani-pedi love, Olive & June offers a minimalist space with peachy tones and personalized customer service. Try the Margot treatment, which includes organic nail products from local California businesses.
Southern California’s temperate weather allows for some of the best farm-to-table dining experiences. Locally sourced produce at its best shines at Union. Head chef Bruce Kalman creates simple Northern Italian cuisine, like braised octopus with Meyer lemon yogurt and a memorable porcini lasagna.
At Alexander’s Steakhouse, traditional steakhouse fare with Japanese influence shines throughout the menu: a Little Gem salad with anchovy miso dressing, a risotto with trout roe and truffle butter. For mains, the wagyu beef selection is the thing that carnivorous dreams are made of.
A visit to Pasadena wouldn’t be complete without Mexican food. El Portal is a local favorite serving Yucatan-inspired dishes like cochinita pibil—tender pork marinated in spices and lime juice, then wrapped in banana leaves.
When it comes to top Pasadena accommodations, The Langham Huntington is the place of choice for both tourists and locals alike. The historic hotel first opened more than 100 years ago and is set on 23 acres of lush gardens. For a quintessential home-away-from-home feel, go with one one of the cottages, each generously sized with views of the property’s gardens and grounds.