Los Angeles is made up of different pockets of neighbourhoods; there’s surfers paradise at Santa Monica Pier, a tight schedule getters found around the Hollywood Hills, and also the night owls in West Hollywood. For any slice of suburban bliss, rent an automobile and take a short drive north to Pasadena – Los Angeles’ ninth largest city.
Pasadena has got the air of Bel Air (note: wide streets, million dollar mansions and picture-perfect gardens), however with a small-town serenity. Pasadena captures the essence of beauty and elegance with its historic architecture, world-class art museums, acres of botanical gardens, landmark theatres and three distinct districts offering a varied collection of dining, shopping and entertainment.
Pasadena Guide: Where you can Stay
For a Five Star Stay: The Langham Huntingdon
What to anticipate: The Langham Huntingdon is stunningly beautiful; surrounded by manicured gardens and mountains within the distance, you’d be forgiven in thinking you had been staying the night inside a European hideaway. The self contained hotel is a peaceful bolthole located minutes from Downtown, and has all of the amenities of the high-end leisure club. Your accommodation has 379 guest rooms, 38 classic suites, 8 private cottages, and 1 two-bedroom, two-story penthouse suite.
The Rooms: The Superior Room is timelessly elegant: think full Italian marble bathrooms, all the modern amenities, and also the Langham’s Signature Blissful Bed. If you really want to be private, however, your accommodation hosts a collection of cottages. The Wisteria Cottage located close to the Japanese Garden features a stylish cone-shaped ceiling, spacious living room, small dining area and separate master suite, and a private patio. Dreamy, really.
Where: 1401 S Oak Knoll Ave, Pasadena, CA 91106, USA
Pasadena Guide: Where to Eat
For Pasta: Union Restaurant
The Lowdown: If you’re ever in LA, but aren’t likely to spend an evening in Pasadena, visit Union restaurant for what is very perhaps the best pasta around. The carb creations at Union are next stage – every dish an explosive mix of farm fresh ingredients and homemade pasta. What the kitchen team are banging out night after night is pure magic. It’s not just the meals that makes dining at Union an incredible experience – it’s also the friendly staff, extensive wine list and modest decor.
Eat and Drink: The dishes listed here are a cacophony of tastes – such as the house-made stracciatella with roasted garlic and crostini – proving once again that you simply don’t need to fuss around with ingredients unnecessarily. The Bucatini Cacio e Pepe, topped with a 63 degree egg, reinforces this method: a superb, off-the-charts dish. Creamy. Decadent. Delicious. The Spaghetti Alla Chitarra with san marzano tomato, garlic and fresno chile is really a contemporary twist on the classic via the picturesque Abruzzo. Something to consider for any lighter meal, albeit believe it or not gratifying.
Where: Union Restaurant37 E. Union Street, Pasadena, California 91103
For Seafood: Prawn
The Lowdown: Formally of Chez Panisse, Spago, La Brea Bakery and Campanile fame, Chef Mark Peel is behind Prawn, an all-day spot dedicated to delivering high-quality seafood having to break the financial institution. The seafood-inclined menu features from rolls, to salads and boat fresh oysters. And if fish isn’t your thing, fear not: Prawn also bang out chicken dishes, and plenty of veggie bites too.
Eat and Drink: Mark Peel’s famous Seattle fish stew is a real taste of the sea and features shrimp, squid, clams, mussels and salmon in lobster broth, with bacon rouille served over rice. Just like a stomach busting fish soup. Only better. Other lunch favourites include the build you own grain bowls, pimped track of chicken, tofu or grilled veggies. The lobster mac n’ cheese may be the ultimate comfort food dish – elevated to new dizzy heights.
Where: Grand Central Market, 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Pasadena Guide: Things to Do
For a Film Education: My Valley Pass Movie Tour
The Lowdown: Pasadena is among Hollywood's hidden playgrounds, and has welcomed A-Listers and big screen hero to film major office success stories for example Saving Mr Banks, the best film Lindsey Lohan has starred in, The Parent Trap, and Back to the near future.
What to Expect: The two-hour tour provides insight on Pasadena's film history, fun information about movies and more. With more than 30 locations crammed in to the tour – take in the Harvard-esque corridors in Legally Blonde, stand it Fenyes Mansion, which was the setting for Beyonce’s Formation video and drive past the homes seen in Mad Men.
Where: Buy tickets online
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
The Lowdown: Prepare for each one of your senses to feel alive with a visit to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. The Huntington encompasses five main areas: a library, art collection, gardens, research and education. Allocate a day, as the Botanical Gardens covers a staggering 120 acres of the 207-acre grounds – and it is probably the most sought-after gardens in Los Angeles. We are able to see why.
What to anticipate: There’s so much going on in the Huntington, but some of the highlights include the Desert Garden, one of the largest outdoor collections of mature cacti and succulents on the planet, japan Garden, with a traditional Japanese house, a moon bridge, a walled Zen garden, and bonsai courts, and Seifu-an, a ceremonial teahouse and garden, and also the Liu Fang Yuan 流芳園, your garden of Flowing Fragrance, featuring a 1.5-acre lake, a complex of pavilions, a teahouse and tea shop, stone bridges, and waterfalls set against a wooded backdrop of mature oaks and pines.
Where: 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108, USA