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The Best Local hangouts in Pasadena

With easy access to the 110 and LA Metro lines, Pasadena offers easy access to the beach, Downtown Los Angeles, and everything in-between. But when you’re looking to keep things close to home, Pasadena boasts plenty of amazing local gems to keep you more than satisfied. From inviting local bars, to upscale dining, live music and charming boutiques, here are a few of our favorite spots in Pasadena:


Dog Haus Biergarten

On a diet? Not anymore. Doghaus serves a quirky selection of insanely delicious dogs, sausages and burgers that are definitely not for the faint of heart. But that’s not to say they’re just out to clog arteries. Because while pretty much everything they serve is big, messy and whimsical, it all also manages to be composed, well thought-out and surprisingly balanced at the same time. Pair one of their “Sooo Cali” dogs (wild arugula, spicy basil aioli, crispy onions, avocado, tomato) with a selection from their impressive list of crisp craft brews and you’ll be more than good to go.


Perfect for date night or a midday snack, this Spanish tapas spot has become a Pasadena staple since opening in 2012. Featuring a tastefully understated décor, a beautiful patio, a small yet remarkable wine list and a refreshingly bold menu that offers delightful modern twists on the traditional Spanish small plate, you really can’t go wrong at Ración.


1886 Bar at The Raymond

Tucked in the back of The Raymond restaurant in South Pasadena, 1886 describes itself as “an institution in the Los Angeles craft cocktail scene.” And while we are always skeptical of buying into such self-promotional hyperbole, in this case we’re inclined to agree. From your classic Manhattans, Martinis, and Whiskey Sours, to crafty new creations like their Honey-Nut Old Fashioned and selection of thirteen—yes thirteen—different variations on the Pimm’s Cup, you know that every drink at 1886 is made the utmost care and finest ingredients around.

The Blind Donkey

Offering a cozy casual atmosphere, an excellent beer list and an absolutely mind-blowing whiskey list, the Blind Donkey is a destination for people who want a top quality cocktail without all the pomp and circumstance of your modern craft cocktail establishment. Pull up a stool, wrap your fingers around a perfectly made Old-Fashioned and call it a night.


The Pasadena Playhouse

From Union to Greene St. between Los Robles Ave. and Catalina, you’ll find the cultural heart of Pasadena known as the Playhouse District. Featuring art walks and summer concerts, wine tastings and film screenings, this lively strip is constantly abuzz with vibrant life. And it’s all anchored by the historic Pasadena Playhouse, where you’ll find a rotating calendar of Tony Award winning musicals and Pulitzer Prize-winning plays housed in a gorgeous Spanish Colonial theater.

Rose Bowl Flea Market

OK this place is hardly a hidden gem, but when talking about the best spots in Pasadena, you simply cannot leave out the Rose Bowl Flea. It’s an LA institution, a digger’s paradise, an overwhelming display of bargain (and not-so-bargain) shopping excess. And it’s one of our favorite places, not just in Pasadena, not just in LA, but on planet Earth. Hosted in the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium on the second Sunday of every month, whatever you’re hunting for, you can find it here—I mean it is a massive 90,000 seat football stadium after all.

Obviously this list only scratches the surface, and Pasadena has plenty more to offer. From peaceful hikes to Eaton Canyon Falls to boutique shopping along Colorado Blvd. to a stimulating day at the Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens, you can find all the culture, relaxation and recreation you could ask for right here in California’s beautiful City of Roses. Enjoy!

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