When I first arrived in Pasadena and realized how small it is compared to other cities I felt a little disappointed. I could not figure out how I was going to spend a month here with nothing to do. But a few weeks later Pasadena proved me wrong. Fortunately I have some good friends who lived here for a long time and they knew the right spots and since then Pasadena became one of my favorite cities that offered a lot.
Pasadena has a horse racing track called Santa Anita Park and it is considered to be America’s most beautiful horseracing track. The 320-acre site features lavish landscaping, distinctive architecture and dramatic views of the San Gabriel Mountains. The legendary horse Seabiscuit was stabled at Santa Anita, so, much of the recent feature film Seabiscuit was shot at this location. The track offers autumn and winter/spring racing seasons each year. Santa Anita Park is located at 285 Huntington Drive in Arcadia, about 15 minutes from downtown Pasadena. For information, call (626) 574-7223.
The Arroyo Seco is Pasadena’s largest recreational area. There, visitors will find Brookside Park, the Rose Bowl Stadium, Jackie Robinson Ballpark, the new Kidspace Children’s Museum, and the AAF Rose Bowl Aquatic Center. The Lower Arroyo Seco park area, which is farther south, is dedicated to hiking, horseback riding and nature study. Once a thriving wetland with running streams, lush vegetation and abundant wildlife, it was severely damaged over the years by human encroachment. The City of Pasadena has rejuvenated the area through the construction of new stream channels and the planting of indigenous plant life, returning it to a natural habitat.
The Rose Bowl was originally built in the Arroyo Seco in 1922 by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association for a total cost of $272,000. In addition to the annual Rose Bowl game, the stadium is the home field for the UCLA Bruins football team, which recently entered into a 20 year lease with the stadium. On the second Sunday of each month the Rose Bowl Swap Meet, one of the largest in the country, is held in the parking lot around the stadium. The Rose Bowl has also been the site for many major concerts, five Super Bowls and both men’s and women’s World Cup Soccer finals. The Rose Bowl is located in the Arroyo Seco at 1001 Rose Bowl Drive and tours are available during the week. For information and times, call (626) 577-3100.
Just north of the Rose Bowl in the Arroyo Seco, golfers are drawn to Brookside Golf Course, a 216 acre complex owned by the City of Pasadena and operated by American Golf. It consists of two 18-hole championship courses, and a putting green, driving range, restaurant, clubhouse and pro shop, all located at 1133 North Rosemont Avenue. For information or tee times, call (626) 796-0177.
On the east side of Pasadena, nature lovers will enjoy visiting Eaton Canyon Nature Center, which provides an opportunity to learn more about the wildlife and ecology of this region. Docent naturalists conduct organized nature walks. The Visitors Center is located at 1750 N. Altadena Drive. For more information, call (626) 398-5420.
Also located in Eaton Canyon in northeast Pasadena is the Eaton Canyon Golf Course, located at 1150 North Sierra Madre Villa Avenue. It is a 9-hole public course owned by Los Angeles County and operated by DC Golf. The course offers the full range of golf facilities and amenities including a putting green, driving range, pro shop, clubhouse, restaurant and lounge. For information or tee times, call (626) 794-6773.
Golfers will also enjoy Altadena Golf Course, which is another county-owned, 9-hole public golf course located at 1456 East Mendocino, northwest of Pasadena in neighboring Altadena. It is also operated by DC Golf and features a clubhouse, pro shop, restaurant, putting green and driving range. For information or tee times, call (626) 797-3821.
The Arroyo Seco Golf Course is a lovely, tree-lined 18-hole, Par 3 golf course, which includes a pro shop, restaurant, and driving, putting, and chipping ranges. The course is located on the southern edge of Pasadena at 1055 Lohman Lane in South Pasadena. For information and tee times, call (323) 255-1506.
La Canada Flintridge Golf Course is a private golf course with a beautiful restaurant and clubhouse located in the Greater Pasadena area. Information about the club can be obtained by calling (818) 790-0611.