WHERE TO STAY
Langham Huntington Pasadena, 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena, CA 91106; (626) 568-3900, http://www.pasadena.langhamhotels.com. Twenty-three acres, 380 rooms, each at least 415 square feet. Building dates to 1907. Doubles from $189.
Arroyo Vista Inn, 335 Monterey Road, South Pasadena, CA 91030; (323) 478-7300, http://www.arroyvistainn.com. Nine rooms in a well-appointed hillside 1910 Craftsman house, atop a long, narrow driveway. Not set up for kids. Doubles from $157.
Bissell House, 201 Orange Grove Ave., South Pasadena, CA 91030; (626) 441-3535, http://www.bissellhouse.com Seven bedrooms, with private baths, in an 1887 Victorian mansion. Doubles from $155-$275. Pool. Kid-friendly.
WHAT TO EAT
Green Street Tavern, 69 W. Green St., Pasadena, CA 91105; (626) 229-9961, http://www.greenstreettavern.net. California comfort food with European influence. Lunch and dinner, brunch Saturdays and Sundays. Dinner main dishes $13-$19.
Din Tai Fung, 1108 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA 91007; (626) 574-7068, http://www.dintaifungusa.com. These are the only California outlets of a global dumpling-house chain born in Taiwan. Pork-and-broth-filled dumplings, (xiao long bao), a specialty. Lunch and dinner, no reservations, often a line. Most dishes $5-$9.25. Second location at 1088 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA 91007.
Julienne, 2649 Mission St., San Marino, CA 91108; (626) 441-2290, http://www.juliennetogo.com. French bistro style, pleasant sidewalk dining under arched arcade. Gourmet market inside. Breakfast and lunch. Closed Sundays. Lunch main dishes $12-$19.50. Long menu of food to go from the market.
Red White + Bluezz Jazz Club, 70 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103; (626) 792-4441, http://www.redwhitebluezz.com. Dinner only. Live jazz nightly (no cover charge) and jazz brunch on Sundays. Dinner main dishes about $11-$30.
Lemonade, 146 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101; (626) 304-7700, ww.lemonadela.com. Lunch and dinner, cafeteria style. Opened in 2011 as part of a growing L.A.-area chain. Main dishes up to $11.75.
La Grande Orange (a.k.a. GLO Station Café), 260 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105; (626) 356-4444, http://www.lgostationcafe.com. Lively dining in an old train depot. Dinner main dishes $12-$27. Lunch and dinner daily, reservations accepted. Also, there's an adjoining semi-separate pizza operation known as the Luggage Room Pizzeria, (626) 356-4440, http://www.theluggageroom.com, which also offers lunch and dinner daily, no reservations. Pizza $11-$15.
Auntie Em's, 4616 Eagle Rock Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90041; (323) 255-0800, http://www.auntieemskitchen.com. High-achieving comfort food in kitsch-hipster company. Sidewalk and indoor seating, sometimes a wait on weekend mornings. Lunch main dishes top off at $12.95. 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sundays.
Buster's Ice Cream & Coffee Stop, 1006 Mission St., South Pasadena, CA 91030; (626) 441-0744, http://www.busterscoffee.com. Coffee, ice cream, pastries, sandwiches and salads in a colorful corner storefront, beginning at 6:30 a.m. weekdays, 7 a.m. weekends. Closes between 7 and 9 p.m., depending on the night. Sandwiches usually $6-$6.75.
Heirloom Bakery, 807 Meridian Ave. Suite C, South Pasadena, CA 91030; (626) 441-0042, http://www.toolproject.com/heirloom. Breakfast and lunch, with salads, sandwiches and pizza. Prices up to $8.95.
Zona Rosa Caffe, 15 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101; (626) 793-2334, http://www.zonarosacaffe.com. A boho Latino coffeehouse. Coffee drinks up to $4.20. Live Latin music on Thursday nights in spring and summer.
Green Street Restaurant, 146 S. Shopper's Lane, Pasadena, CA 91101; (626) 577-7170, http://www.greenstreetrestaurant.com. California cuisine. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dinner main dishes $12.95-$24.95.
Little Flower Candy Co., 1422 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105; (626) 304-4800, http://www.littleflowercandyco.com. Sweets, salads and sandwiches up to $9.50.
Bean Town coffeehouse, 45 N. Baldwin Ave., Sierra Madre, CA 91024; (626) 355-1596, http://www.beantowncoffeebar.com. A community fixture with old sofas, exposed brick, vintage signs. Coffees, breakfasts, sandwiches, soups, salads and wraps. Open 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays; 5:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Main dishes all under $8. Coffee drinks top off about $4.
Mother Moo Creamery, 17 Kersting Court, Sierra Madre, CA 91024; (626) 355-9650, http://www.mothermoo.com. Ice cream made fresh daily. One scoop: $3.50.
Wistaria, 44 N. Baldwin Ave., Sierra Madre, CA 91024; (626) 355-3155, http://www.wistariarestaurant.com. Opened in summer 2011. A cosmopolitan minimalist dining room in a quaint little downtown. Dinner main dishes $12.95-$23. Closed Mondays. Dinner Tuesdays-Sundays. Breakfast and lunch Thursdays-Sundays.
The Raymond Restaurant, 1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105; (626) 441-4770, http://www.theraymond.com. Elegant meals in a Craftsman house (1890s home to a caretaker for a hotel that's now long gone) and on its patio. Closed Mondays. Dinner Tuesdays-Sundays. Lunch Fridays-Sundays. Breakfast from 9 a.m. on weekends. Dinner main dishes $27-$40.
WHAT TO SEE
Norton Simon Museum, 411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105; (626) 449-6840, http://www.nortonsimon.org. Small but select showcase for European and Asian art, with a handsome sculpture garden and pond. Usually closed Tuesdays. Open noon to 6 p.m., most days, noon to 9 p.m. on Fridays. Closed Christmas Day and Rose Parade Day (Jan. 2), but open noon-6 p.m. Dec. 27, and noon to 4 p.m. New Year's Day. Adult admission $10. Anyone 18 or under is free.
Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford St., San Marino, CA 91108; (626) 405-2100, http://www.huntington.org. Closed Tuesdays. (Also closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.) Open noon-4:30 p.m. weekdays; 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekends and Monday holidays. Adult admission $15 weekdays, $20 weekends. Children age 5-11, $6.
The Gamble House, 4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena, CA 91103; (626) 793-3334, http://www.gamblehouse.org. Hour-long tours starting at noon until 3 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Adult admission $10-$12.50. children under 12 (must be accompanied) free.
Tournament House and Wrigley Gardens (a.k.a. the Wrigley Mansion), 391 S. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91184; (626) 449-4100, http://www.tournamentofroses.com. Free hour-long interior tours are offered at 2 and 3 p.m. Thursdays from February through August. The rose garden is open to the public, except for Dec. 31-Jan. 2.
One Colorado shopping area, 24 E. Union St., Pasadena, CA 91103; (626) 564-1066, http://www.onecolorado.com. About 35 shops and restaurants behind revitalized facades on Colorado Boulevard between Fair Oaks and DeLacey avenues.
Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103; (626) 792-5101, http://www.armoryarts.org. Exhibitions, classes and studio space. Noon-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays, Admission $5.
Distant Lands, 20 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105; (626) 449-3220, http://www.distantlands.com. Travel gear, travel books, European rail passes.
Vroman's, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91101; (626) 449-5320, http://www.vromansbookstore.com. Founded in 1894, the mother of all independent bookshops in Southern California.
Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101; (626) 356-7529, http://www.pasadenaplayhouse.org. Live theater in a 1925 Spanish Colonial building.
Caltech, 1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91125; (626) 395-6811, http://www.caltech.edu. About 2,200 undergrads and grad students study amid a complex of increasing architectural diversity. For a self-guided tour, check http://www.marcomm.caltech.edu/pdf/Along_the_Olive_Walk.pdf
Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, CA 91103; (626) 577-3100, http://www.rosebowlstadium.com. There are no public tours of the 90,000-seat stadium. For info on the monthly Rose Bowl Flea Market (more than 2,500 vendors; adult admission $8-$20 each; 5 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), check http://www.rgcshows.com. There's a busy 3.4-mile jogging/walking/cycling path around the stadium and neighboring Brookside golf course. From March through October, bicycle racers gather at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays for a 10-lap ride.
Brookside Park, 360 N. Arroyo Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103; (626) 744-4000, http://www.cityofpasadena.net/PublicWorks/Brookside_Park1/. Sixty-two acres, golf course, multiple playgrounds (including a great one behind the aquatic center), five tennis courts, three baseball fields, two soccer areas.
Ten Thousand Villages, 567 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101; (626) 229-9892, http://www.pasadena.tenthousandvillages.com. Open daily. A fair trade retailer for home décor, personal items and gifts.
Lacy Park, 1485 Virginia Road, San Marino, CA 91108; (626) 300-0790, http://www.ci.san-marino.ca.us/lacy.htm. Thirty grassy acres under tall, shady trees with picnic tables. Free on weekdays. On weekends, all non-residents of San Marino age 4 or over pay $4 each. No alcohol or barbecuing. Inner loop trail good for little kids riding bikes. Open 6:30 a.m.-dusk weekdays, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends (until 8 p.m. during Daylight Saving Time).
Santa Anita Park, 285 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia, CA 91007; (626) 574-7223, http://www.santaanita.com. The main racing season runs Dec. 26-April 22 with races Thursdays-Sundays and occasionally on Mondays. But the track also offers Autumn Stakes, which in 2011 meant live races Thursday-Sunday Sept. 30-Nov. 6. For fall or winter racing, adult admission is $5 (general) to $20 (Turf Club). Parking $4-$10 with a general admission ticket (free to children 17 and under with a parent).
E. Waldo Ward & Son, 273 E. Highland Ave., Sierra Madre, CA 91024; (626) 355-1218, http://www.waldoward.com. A four-generation family business, complete with red barn, citrus trees and modest gift shop, that has canned jams and jellies and such since 1891.
L.A. County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA 91007; (626) 821-3222, http://www.arboretum.org. Exotic greenery, roaming peacocks, a little lake, an 1885 cottage and 127 acres of calm. Adult admission $8, children 5-12 $3. Open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily, closed Christmas.
Forest Lawn Memorial Park, 1712 S. Glendale Ave., Glendale, CA 91205; (323) 982-8178, http://www.forestlawn.com. Open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (6 p.m. during Daylight Saving). Mausoleum and church hours 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
Pacific Asia Museum, 46 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101; (626) 449-2742, http://www.pacificasiamuseum.org. Adult admission $9. Children age 11 or under free. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays. Closed Christmas and New Year's Day.
Pasadena Museum of California Art, 490 E. Union St., Pasadena, CA 91101; (626) 568-3665, http://www.pmcaonline.org. Adult admission $7, students and seniors $5. Closed Christmas and New Year's Day.