Greater Pasadena News
Pasadena's finest museums7 Aug 2014 9:30 AM
Pasadena is a place of great culture. If you live in some of the luxury real estate lining the location, you're surely already well aware of that fact. There are great places to eat on every corner, fantastic attractions you can visit every day, and informed people ready to have lively discussions on any street.
Yet - perhaps due to the proliferation of such places in nearby Los Angeles and Long Beach - many of Pasadena's museums and other cultural attractions are often given the short shrift. You probably even hear of many locals traveling to those two aforementioned places to visit museums - before they even visit any of the places residing in their own backyard! To prove that Pasadena is a formidable cultural hub, we've written about a few of its finest museums. If you live nearby and haven't visited any of these yet, then you're doing yourself, and your town, a major disservice.
The Norton Simon Museum
The Norton Simon is undoubtedly the most comprehensive museum that Pasadena has to offer. The sheer breadth of the exhibits on display here are breathtaking: at this very moment, you could see an exhibit detailing photographic portraits, or one that investigates the Buddhist art of the Himalayas, among many others. And we'd be remiss not to mention the many great works that reside here permanently, including some by masters like Picasso, Warhol and Degas.
Then there are the public services that the museum provides: there are drawing classes, family art nights, attractions aimed specifically at educating teenagers about history, and much more. You don't need to go to LA for a big-time museum - the Norton Simon provides Pasadena residents with much more than anyone can take in during a single visit.
The Gamble House
Do you maintain some architectural interests? Then you can't afford to skip the Gamble House, often cited as "an outstanding example of American Arts and Crafts style architecture." The House - which is now maintained by the city as a historic landmark - reveals exquisite craftsmanship rarely seen in modern works. And if you can, be sure to take the "Behind the Velvet Ropes" tour, which reveals parts of the home not usually accessible to visitors. This may not be a museum by-definition, but it serves the same purpose: it reveals beautiful works of art sure to enrich the minds of all who are lucky enough to visit.
The Pasadena Museum of History
Maybe you want to learn about Pasadena while you're living there - and if so, the Pasadena Museum of History should be your first stop. This museum plays host to numerous revolving exhibits sure to educate you about your surroundings. For example, the building is currently playing host to the "Crown City Jubilee" exhibit, which reveals and studies many of the Pasadena organizations and institutions celebrating significant landmarks this year.
Pasadena's Historic District
This one's not exactly a museum - but it's still a must-see cultural attraction. The Old Pasadena Historic District is made up of roughly 22 blocks of land, which serve as the home to numerous restored buildings - some of which are well more than a century old. There are many walking tours that you can take throughout the district, but even a quick stroll by yourself is sure to serve you well. There are few sights - in museums or elsewhere - that can measure up to the beauty on display in this district.
As you can see, culturally speaking, Pasadena is much more than just "a short drive from Los Angeles" - it's a hub in its own right, filled with exciting landmarks all locals should visit.