If you've ever watched the annual Rose Parade, you'll recognize the statuesque vintage buildings of Old Pasadena's main thoroughfare, Colorado. Ever since Pasadena was settled in the late 1800s, the "Old Town" area has served as a diverse commercial center, despite a mid 20th-century lull. Though much of the action happens on Colorado Boulevard between S. Pasadena Avenue and S. Arroyo Parkway, Old Pasadena stretches up to Walnut Street to the North and down to Del Mar Boulevard to the South, encompassing an eclectic spectrum of over 300 ground floor businesses: 200 stores and 100 restaurants approximately.
Not quite on par with places like Chicago's Miracle Mile, Old Pasadena maintains a quaint, understated charm. Although some of Colorado Boulevard's Victorian structures were replaced when the road was widened in 1929, most of its architectural style dates to the first half of the 20th century, and any renovations were carefully supervised to conserve period appeal. Now, inside what were once blacksmith shops and printing presses, visitors can find upscale retailers like Banana Republic, Tiffany & Co., and A/X Armani Exchange.
From high-end to low-brow, Old Pasadena's shops offer wares including furniture, jewelry, antiques, cosmetics, folk art, specialty papers, books, and, of course, fashion, fashion, fashion. Some of its more recognizable residents are H&M, Victoria's Secret, Barnes & Noble, Zara, Origins, Crate & Barrel, Forever 21, Pottery Barn, Bang & Olufsen, Lush Cosmetics, and the Apple Store. Scattered in between are a variety of small boutiques, cafes, trattorias, bakeries, and chocolatiers waiting to be discovered.
In addition to shopping, Old Pasadena hosts a range of temporary art exhibits, an outdoor summer music and film series, and other special events, some of which take place at One Colorado Boulevard, a concentrated city block at the center of it all. Downtown Pasadena is also home to the Norton Simon Museum, formerly known as the Pasadena Art Institute, the Armory Center for the Arts, the Pasadena Museum of Contemporary Art, the Pacific Asia Museum, and the Pasadena Museum of History. Every New Year, the world-famous Rose Parade runs through the center of Old Pasadena and the Rose Bowl Game is held at the nearby Rose Bowl Stadium.
Old Pasadena's Events Calendar includes:
- - January 1st: Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl Game
- - Third Saturday in April: Greening the Earth Day & Amory Family Arts Festival
- - Second Sunday in May: Concorso Ferrari
- - June – August (THU-SUN): Levitt Pavilion Free Summer Concert Series
- - First week of June: Old Pasadena Restaurant Week
- - Third Saturday in June: Make Music Pasadena
- - Weekends in July: Old Pasadena Film Festival
- - Third Tuesday in September: Taste of Old Pasadena
- - Second Weekend in October: Pasadena ArtNight, Pasadena ArtWeekend & ArtPerformance
- - Halloween Weekend: Old Pasadena Halloween Celebration
- - Thanksgiving Weekend: Old Pasadena Holiday Kick-off Celebration
- Metro Stop:
- Metro Gold Line
- Memorial Park Station,125 E. Holly Street
- Del Mar Station, 230 S. Raymond Ave
- Website: www.oldpasadena.org