Welcome to South Pasadena
Just south of LA’s popular Pasadena suburb you’ll find a 3.4-square-mile town with sturdy historic homes, an eclectic mix of unique boutiques and eateries, and a lively arts scene. South Pasadena was incorporated in 1888, making it one of LA’s original suburbs, and is home to some of California’s most historic sites. It is well-loved for its top schools, Americana traditions, and beautiful real estate.
South Pasadena’s wealth of Craftsman architecture came to be at the turn of the century when the extension of the Pacific Electric Red Cars came into town. Over the years, the city has preserved much of its original charm and character and, with its walkable downtown, it’s a picture of 20th-century small-town life. Unlike many nearby neighborhoods, South Pasadena has very few Spanish-style homes, and its “anywhere-in-America” feel makes it a popular stand-in for Midwestern and Northeastern towns in many film and TV productions, such as Back to the Future, Legally Blonde, Parenthood, Desperate Housewives, and Bruce Almighty.
Despite its strong ties to its past, South Pasadena also has a number of great shops and restaurants, as well as a vibrant art and music scene. Residents come together to enjoy Quarterly Art Crawls, live music performances, and other special events year-round—which all contribute to South Pasadena’s desirability.
What to Love
- Nostalgic feel
- Trendy cafes and shops
- Iconic Craftsman homes
- Scenic streets
- Easy access to Downtown LA
People & Lifestyle
South Pasadena is a diverse, affluent, tight-knit community. It is known for its school district, and great schools attract residents who love to live, work, and play in a community that has it all. With more space, larger homes, and a small-town feel, South Pasadena has become a popular place to settle down just outside of LA.
Since South Pasadena is less than 10 miles from Downtown LA, a substantial portion of the population commutes.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Along Mission Street, you’ll find South Pasadena’s boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and independently-owned stores. One of the communities’ landmarks is Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain
, an old-school pharmacy that opened in 1915 and serves hot dogs, hamburgers, and ice cream sundaes just like back in the day. Bar 1886 at The Raymond
is another historic spot; a bar serving over 600 craft cocktails, it operates out of the converted caretaker’s cottage of the former South Pasadena staple, The Raymond Hotel. Step back in time at The Barkley
, a vintage neighborhood institution that offers live jazz on Sundays, and dig into some barbecue at Gus’ BBQ
On the same street are a number of unique boutiques, ranging from clothing stores to art galleries. Hotbox Vintage
is full of glamorous fashion, accessories, and more, and House of Honey for furniture and home accessories. Videotheque
is one of the last video stores in LA and a resource for film buffs.
South Pasadena is also home to the Rialto Theater
. Built-in 1925 and made famous in La La Land, it is one of the last single-screen theaters in Southern California and is currently under restoration. Los Angeles’ world-class restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and entertainment are also just a short drive away.
Things to Do
South Pasadena’s residents enjoy a range of community traditions, including those around the arts. Every quarter on a Saturday night, the city hosts Art Crawls, where local businesses stay open late and offer special events and activities—a great opportunity for residents and families to get out on the town. South Pasadena also puts on summertime Concerts in the Park in Garfield Park
and the Restoration Concert Series, which benefits the local public library. Every year, the city has a Fourth of July celebration that includes a parade, and every Thursday night, residents get a taste of local produce at the charming farmers market
People come from near and far to take advantage of South Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco Golf Course
, an 18-hole course with a driving range, putting green, miniature golf course, and restaurant and bar. There are many other ways to stay active in and around town, such as visiting the Lower Arroyo Seco Park
, which also has a bike trail and a dog park.
The South Pasadena Unified School District has top-rated public schools that rank among the best in California: