This Enchanting And Historic Town In Southern California Is The Perfect Day Trip Destination
Not to be confused with the larger city of Pasadena to the north, the quieter and lesser-known South Pasadena is a little city that feels like a small town and is full of history. This
historic town in Southern California was in 1888 and comprises just three and a half square miles. Despite its size and general lack of recognition, there is much to see and so many things to do, from historic landmarks and beautiful parks to great food and shopping.
The main street of Fair Oaks Avenue, just a few blocks long, as well as Mission Street and El Centro Street which cross it, are full of local businesses, many of which occupy quaint historic buildings. There are some 50 designated local historic landmarks, aside from the many historic residential homes.
Drive around or explore on foot to discover cool architecture, antique and gift shops, diverse cafes and restaurants, bakeries, boutique shops, art galleries, coffee houses, and more.
It is worth spending a little time driving through the residential streets as well, where you will see gorgeous homes with huge manicured yards that seem to be right out of a storybook. You will also come to appreciate why South Pasadena is also called the City of Trees.
There are also city parks, such as
, where you can get out and relax in a green space.
Rialto Theatre originally opened in 1925 for movies and vaudeville, and is one of the last one-screen theaters left in SoCal. Now leased by Mosaic South Pasadena, the theater has been seen in movies such as La La Land, The Rocketeer, and Scream 2. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1023 Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030, USA
It may be worth scheduling your day in town on a Thursday so you can explore the
South Pasadena Farmer’s Market. The open-air market is open all year from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and features a wide variety of local produce, freshly-cooked foods, baked goods, handicrafts, and boutique vendors.
920 Meridian Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030, USA
While this may only be of interest to certain generations, it is a fun thing to see this famous house. This simple neighborhood house on Oxley Street was chosen by director Tim Burton to be Pee-Wee Herman’s home in the 1985 film, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.
Only the front of the home was used and it is a private residence, so you can only view this piece of Hollywood history from out front.
1848 Oxley St, South Pasadena, CA 91030, USA
The first library building, built in 1907 and expanded in 1930, is now the Library Community Room. The library hosts a variety of community and cultural events and activities such as concerts, silent film screenings, a Winter Arts Crawl, talks, and workshops.
1100 Oxley St, South Pasadena, CA 91030, USA
If you visit the library, step across the street to
Kaldi Coffee. The iconic brick building, which was once a bank building, is one of South Pasadena’s Cultural Heritage Landmarks and has been used as a filming spot for TV shows and movies since it opened in 1995. Kaldi serves up wonderful lattes, teas, and seasonal drinks, plus food and pastries.
1019 El Centro St, South Pasadena, CA 91030, USA
One of the intriguing things about South Pasadena is the eclectic mix of the old and historic with the new and innovative.
The Munch Company is a longtime part of the city’s food scene that is now presenting the population with an innovative take on a classic - the sandwich.
You can order an updated classic like a BLT which has toasted quinoa, garlic aioli, and rainbow-colored bread. Or go for something really unique like the TV Dinner sandwich, the Turkey Fig and Brie, or the Ham Apricot and Manchego. Kids can order PB and J or Cheese Melt, or the very pretty Unicorn Sandwich - peanut butter, marshmallow fluff, and sprinkles.
1028 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA 91030, USA
Stop in for one of the absolute
best milkshakes in Southern California at the historic Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain.
Walk into this nostalgic corner shop that opened in 1915 and find yourself in a serious time warp.
1526 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA 91030, USA
South Pasadena often goes under the radar but holds so much charm and history. What do you think? Have you spent time in this town? If you love discovering historic places, check out this
scenic drive that leads to 10 historic sites.
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