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Photograph: RBerteig/Flickr

What to see and do along the CicLAvia Pasadena route

Restaurants, bars, shops and other landmarks along the 3.5-mile route

By Michael Juliano

The 3.5-mile route of CicLAvia's latest installment may feel cozy compared to past courses, but, well, so is Pasadena. The pedestrian-friendly city is filled with walkable alleyways and plazas, a beautiful turn-of-the-century downtown and stunning views of the San Gabriel Mountains. As you walk or pedal your way through town, take the time to stop at these noteworthy things to see and do along the CicLAvia Pasadena route.

Looking for more Pasadena recommendations? Check out our favorite restaurants, bars and shops in our full Pasadena guide.

The CicLAvia Pasadena route

Click here for a larger view of the map.

Pssst, hang out with us at the Colorado hub (near Pasadena City College) and pick up one of our spoke cards with discounts on places like the Huntington Librarythe Gamble House and the Terrace at the Langham.

Colorado Boulevard

This is historic Route 66, home of the Rose Parade and "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena." Colorado Boulevard runs through the heart of Pasadena and contains some of its most noteworthy architecture, shops and eateries. You'll find the most to do along this two-mile stretch of the route in Old Town, the Playhouse District and near Pasadena City College.  

If you're hungry    If you're thirsty
• The Pie Hole
• Coolhaus
• Lunasia
• Europane
• Daisy Mint
• Kings Row
• Urth Caffe
• Lucky Baldwins

Cross street: Pasadena Avenue

Photo courtesy One Colorado

One Colorado

Shopping Shopping centers Old Pasadena

Duck into Miller Alley on a trip to Old Pasadena and you'll come across this lovely brick courtyard, which hosts holiday festivals, outdoor movie screenings and concerts. You'll find upscale restaurants and the posh iPic complemented by casual eateries like Escuela Tacqueria and the build-your-own gelato pop shop Stick Station.

Indiana Colony
Photograph: Courtesy Indiana Colony

Indiana Colony

Shopping Markets and fairs Old Pasadena

This food hall housed in a turn-of-the-century brick building is Pasadena's low-key answer to Grand Central Market. While you're there, snack on ice cream sandwiches from Coolhaus, order a slice of pie at the Pie Hole (sans those crazy Arts District waiting times), find a new cleanse at Pressed Juicery, peruse succulents from Gilly Flowers or smell loose leaf teas and spices at Le Souk. The hall is also attached to Old Town's Intelligentsia.

Paseo Colorado
Photograph: Courtesy Paseo Colorado

Paseo Colorado

Shopping Shopping centers Pasadena

Before the resurgence of Old Pasadena, this outdoor shopping mall had a brief run as the city's shopping destination. Though some of its major retail spaces sit empty and its style is starting to feel dated (i.e. it's clearly not the Grove), it's still a great place to catch a movie at the Arclight or check out temporary artwork during the Pasadena Chalk Festival.

Pasadena Playhouse.
Photograph: Courtesy Freed14

Pasadena Playhouse

Things to do Pasadena Playhouse District

Just off Colorado Boulevard on El Molino Avenue, this historic theater's Spanish Colonial Courtyard anchors its namesake district. Stop by Zona Rosa Caffe for a cup of coffee or Monopole for a glass of wine. The plaza (and now its newly constructed neighbor) also hosts food trucks and music every Thursday night during the summer.


Vroman's Bookstore

Shopping Bookstores Pasadena Playhouse District

The largest independent bookshop in Southern California was founded over a century ago and is still going strong. The stock is excellent and the staff very helpful. Keep an eye out for the regular readings and the book signings.

El Portal
Photograph: Courtesy El Portral

Arcade Lane

Shopping Arcades Pasadena Playhouse District

This '20s take on a European arcade may have more stucco than its inspirations, but walk underneath its archway and you'll find a lush alleyway dotted with charming shops and restaurants like Yahaira's Cafe, Takuya and El Portal.

Book Alley
Photograph: Courtesy Book Alley

Book Alley

Shopping Bookstores Pasadena

This independent shop has been building its collection of used books for over 20 years now. You'll find plenty of curiosities inside the store, as well as 50,000 others online.

Cross street: Bonnie Avenue (Colorado Hub)

Raymond Avenue

This lane of historic brick buildings cuts right through the middle of Old Pasadena with plenty of bars and restaurants. The most Metro-accessible part of the route, it runs from Memorial Park (and its namesake station) to Central Park (Del Mar station).

If you're hungry    If you're thirsty
• Slater's 50/50
• Amara Cafe
• Dog Haus
• The Blind Donkey
• Lucky Baldwin's
• Copa Vida

Cross street: Walnut Street (Memorial Park Hub)

Armory Center for the Arts
Photograph: Armory Center for the Arts

Armory Center for the Arts

Art Arts centers Old Pasadena

This National Guard Armory turned art center hosts a wide range of creative classes and exhibitions. The bulk of the art classes are aimed at kids, but adults will also find a few programs—in particular letterpress.

Photograph: Courtesy Neon Retro Arcade

Neon Retro Arcade

Things to do Old Pasadena

Save those rolls of quarters for your laundry, because Neon Retro Arcade has flipped over 40 classic arcade cabinets to free play. You still have to pay for time, but the Pasadena arcade lets you buy unlimited credits for a couple of hours or an entire day. In addition, the space has a handful of pinball machines and contemporary home consoles.

Show your Time Out LA spoke card and receive 20% off hourly admission.


Copa Vida

Restaurants Cafés Old Pasadena

Old Pasadena has its humble share of boutique cafés, but Copa Vida guns for the entire gamut of coffee and tea experiences: A $2-a-cup honor bar during morning rush hour, traditional counter service, an upscale slow bar experience and live music on weekend nights.

Show your Time Out LA spoke card and receive 10% off

Castle Green.
Photograph: Sirjoniv/Flickr

Castle Green

Attractions Historic buildings and sites Old Pasadena

There are plenty of buildings that evoke old Hollywood glamor, but nothing conjures an air of Gilded Age mystery and elegance quite like this former hotel in Pasadena. The original building in the three-part complex was demolished in the ‘30s, but the more impressive Moorish-meets-Victorian central annex still stands behind a curtain of lush gardens.


Dog Haus Biergarten

Restaurants Hamburgers Old Pasadena

Grab a seat on the patio at this bar and hot dog joint, where the menu reads like a drunken cookbook of street dogs and Denny’s breakfasts. Thankfully, the plump, flavorful hot dogs show more tact and restraint than their sloppy inspirations, thanks in part to the sweet, soft Hawaiian bread buns.

Show your Time Out LA spoke card and receive $1 beers (New Belgium Fat Tire or Shift only)

Del Mar Station
Photograph: GTD Aquitaine/Wikimedia

Del Mar Station

Things to do Old Pasadena

This Metro station may very well be the pinnacle of transit projects in LA: free parking below, condos above and light rail-adjacent restaurants at ground level. Stop by Sushi Kimagure, the Stone Company Store and, housed inside the historic Santa Fe Depot, La Grande Orange and the Luggage Room.


Cross street: Del Mar Boulevard (Old Pasadena Hub)

Lake Avenue

Once Pasadena's premiere shopping district, South Lake Avenue is now the city's financial center. Though chains are the majority here, you'll find a few quiet plazas and casual eateries along the tree-lined street—plus Gold Line access to the north.  

If you're hungry    If you're thirsty
• Pokemix/Flour+Tea
• Celestino
• Abricott
• Tokyo Shabu Shabu
• Float
• Tpumps
• Magnolia House

Cross street: Colorado Boulevard

The Commons
Photograph: Michael Juliano

The Commons

Shopping Shopping centers Pasadena

Why is there an English courtyard in the middle of Pasadena? Who knows, but we're not about to complain about having a Lemonade in the neighborhood. An ivy-covered cottage from 1912 (now a Williams-Sonoma) anchors the area, with a fire pit and fountain in the middle. Hit up SECO—and soon Sugarfish—for dinner and drinks, or head across Shoppers Lane to the Counter and Green Street Restaurant.

Spaghetti alla bottarga at Celestino
Photograph: Victor Leung

Celestino Ristorante

Restaurants Italian Pasadena

If you're in the market for uncomplicated but superbly prepared Sicilian food served in an elegant setting, Celestino would like to make your acquaintance.

Show your Time Out LA spoke card and receive a complimentary dessert with the purchase of any entree

Burlington Arcade
Photograph: Michael Juliano

Burlington Arcade

Shopping Arcades Pasadena

One of two British-influenced plazas on South Lake, Burlington Arcade is a nearly spot-on facsimile of its namesake shopping center in London. It's a sleepy shopping arcade, but that quiet is part of its charm. Though Contessa Chocolate Collection and nicknack shop Tiny Universe are typically closed on Sundays, make sure to stop at the fantastic sandwich, coffee and ice cream shop Float.

Magnolia House

Bars Cocktail bars Pasadena

Craft cocktails don’t always have to be password protected and sipped in the dark. Instead, sometimes great drinks are found in a bright and breezy century-old house.

Show your Time Out LA spoke card and receive 15% off the total bill


Cross street: San Pasqual Street (South Lake Hub)


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