Welcome to South Pasadena
Small town adventures with big-city treasures
Bursting with cozy charm, South Pasadena is a little city brimming with flavor. Its quiet streets are strewn with native California trees and stunning architectural showpieces, welcoming diverse crowds of academics and young families craving the homeliness of a small town with a proud sense of community. Unique local shops and top-quality schools accentuate the town’s independent charisma, an active outdoor lifestyle prevalent with access to lush green parks, hiking trails, and noteworthy entertainment venues. With its striking turn-of-the-century residences, vibrant yet laid-back culture, and proximity to major film studios, South Pasadena stands in as an attractive backdrop to popular Hollywood films, while retaining the lowkey ambiance that distinguishes it as one of California’s most desirable neighborhoods.
What to Love
- Small community-oriented town
- Remarkable amenities
- Classic architecture
- Lots of green space
- Distinguished historical character
South Pasadena boasts small-town charm without being far removed from the cosmopolitan appeal of bigger cities. Mom and pop-run stores speckle its charming business district, a love for locally-made items and food bringing this community of friendly and active neighbors together. Locals will often convene at the weekly farmer’s market or spend sunny afternoons on a satisfying park crawl across the city’s lush expanses. With four main thoroughfares, a Metro L Line, fire department and health center, the ‘City of Trees’ is not only accessible but offers the basic conveniences of day-to-day life.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
The best of South Pasadena’s shopping awaits you at shops like Jeweled Universe a unique boutique offering fine art jewelry, fashion apparel, crystals, and live entertainment, or explore Hotbox Vintage where shoppers are in for the most attractive vintage finds in shoes, bags, scarves and more. Or you can just pop into the charming MARZgifts for eclectic gift collections for all occasions.
Start your day with a steaming caramel cream latte and sandwich at local favorite Kaldi Coffee Shop—an intimate haunt offering guests seasonal brews, soda, and yummy sandwiches with comfy outdoor seating options. Craving barbecue specials in an upbeat space? Look no further than the family-friend Gus’s BBQ. Mike and Anne’s Restaurant is the bustling local standby with New American dishes for breakfast lunch and dinner. Go fancy at the petit Bistro De La Gare serving reigned plates with martini and desserts. For those looking for the perfect tile designs for their home, nothing beats the service at Mission Tile West, offering everything from ceramic tiles to terracotta and stone.
Things to Do
It’s nearly impossible to get bored with the amazing activities to indulge in South Pasadena, from house tours of horror film landmarks like the ‘Halloween’ House and Victorian-style Bissell House, now serving as a popular bed and breakfast, to evening walks with your friends or a picnic at Garfield Park where kids have access to all the fun on a cutesy playground and people can play on tennis courts or enjoy nature in the garden.
Every Thursday evening, vendors and purchasing locals gather on Meridian Avenue for the open-air South Pasadena Farmers Market, where the freshest organic farm produce is put on an enticing display with food trucks and live music, fun interactions and so much more. Decades after the release of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, locals still love to visit the iconic Pee-Wee’s house on Oxley Street perched right next to the locations of the horror film ‘Halloween’. In fact, the Pee Wee’s Big Adventure “Made in South Pasadena Weekend!” has become more or less a local tradition inviting people to bring down their own blankets and chairs for enjoying outdoor film screenings at the SugarMynt Gallery. And of course, you’ve got an adventurous hike along The Arroyo Seco to look forward to on days you feel like putting in a bit of workout.
The South Pasadena Unified School District boasts some of California’s top-rated schools, renowned for their innovative academic programs and outstanding extracurricular activities. Top educational opportunities include: