Pasadena is one of the few Los Angeles County cities that manages to be expansive and populous but also quaint and charming. With its row of restaurants that sort of string off of Colorado Boulevard and “Old Town Pasadena” and its numerous shops, one could likely spend the whole day (and a whole check) in Pasadena.
Most people begin their day with breakfast. However, I am not one for something heavy first thing in the morning. Although I absolutely need my morning coffee. I usually head over to Amara Chocolate and Coffee for Latin-American inspired drinks and treats. Most of their coffees and drinking chocolates are slightly spiced to reflect their origin as ancient medicinal drinks. Now, however, it’s a good pick-me up after a longer night. Also, I can’t go to Amara and forego the churros. Though not the most authentic-tasting, in my opinion, they are light and way to easy to dunk into your drink!
After a light breakfast, I’d suggest you walk across the street to the Neon Retro Arcade where you can pay $10 an hour or $25 per day of unlimited play. As the name suggests, this location is host to a variety of retro arcade games. (It is worth mentioning that Groupon often has a deal going for this place!)
After spending a couple hours trying to beat your childhood high-scores, it’s time to head over to the Urth Caffe, one of my favorite spots for a light lunch. It’s known for its vegetarian and vegan cuisine. But don’t get scared by the vegetable-sounding words. It is truly simple and delicious food. I like ordering their tomato bisque with a salad. So hearty and so yummy!
After lunch is when I feel fancy, I’ll stroll through Tiffany’s my brow held high, and sniff around at Crate and Barrel…never buying anything of course. But it’s fun to pretend to have the money not to care.
After you are laden down with your imaginary bags of pretend conquests, the attention comes to dinner. Which for me, is the most important meal of the day. It’s my time to unwind and enjoy that glass of wine. That said, I highly recommend Bodega Wine Bar–especially during the week. On Wednesday they feature a special where all bottles of wine are only $20. So grab a friend and enjoy their decadent small bites with a bottle of Cab.
Or, if wine’s not your thing, I’d suggest stopping by True Food Kitchen. The wait can get a little long on the weekend but it is well worth it. The food is authentic and delicious (because of/despite being plant-based—depending on how you see it). The cocktails are refreshing in multiple ways: not only are they thirst-quenching on some level but they are also new. I discover cocktails here that I don’t find anywhere else–and yes, it is a restaurant, not a bar. If possible, sit outside under the canopy of lights that are strung from the trees. With an environment that lovely, you will not want rush off an leave.
Pasadena, California, offers a variety of things to do throughout the day. However, it should be emphasized that the city is known for its cuisine and shopping. However, with attractions such as the Norton Simon Museum, JPL, and the Huntington Library, there will be other posts to come to address a more “active” day in Pasadena. With this post, I hope you received some good suggestions on where to dine and play while in the city.