LA Adventure Specialist - 11:12 26 February 2011

Pasadena

Nestled beneath the San Gabriel Mountains, minutes from downtown L.A. on the Metro Gold Line, Pasadena is both charming and cosmopolitan. The Tournament of Roses and institutions such as NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology make it much more than a typical suburb. Idyllic neighborhoods are filled with Craftsman-style homes. Now It’s actually snowing! It’s unbelievable to experience this, this… Fluffy palmable beauty. Never have I experienced something like this before. Take an LA tour, it’ll get you here fast, in style, and comfortably. Not sure the last time it snowed here, in LA. Nearby are Glendale, Arcadia, Eagle Rock and the San Gabriel Valley.

Old Town

It is a pleasure to stroll through the 12-block district known as Old Pasadena, bounded roughly by Walnut and Green streets, Arroyo Parkway and Pasadena Avenue. The district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and many of its charming buildings date to the turn of the 20th century. Today, they house trendy boutiques and eateries; foresighted city planning has integrated parking structures into the old façades. The flamboyantly designed Castle Green apartments (99 S. Raymond Ave.) were built as a grand resort in 1898.

Orange Grove

Some of Pasadena’s most magnificent historic homes line Orange Grove Boulevard just west of Old Pasadena, and the immediate vicinity offers a legacy of great architecture from masters such as Wallace Neff and Frank Lloyd Wright. The meticulously restored Gamble House is the crowning achievement of architects Greene & Greene, leaders in the Arts & Crafts movement for which Pasadena is famous. The spectacular Wrigley mansion is now the Tournament House, the offices for the Tournament of Roses.

Arcadia

Arcadia, east of Pasadena, is best known for historic Santa Anita Park, one of the world’s premier thoroughbred racing venues. Adjacent to the track is Westfield Santa Anita, a shopping center with department stores, boutiques and restaurants. The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden is known for its free-roaming peafowl. To the north is Sierra Madre, whose cafe- and shop-filled downtown doesn’t have a single stoplight.

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