Pasadena’s Cultural Spots Make It the Crown of the Valley

Although the beautiful town of Pasadena, California, may be best known for its annual Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl, my teens have never been particularly excited about those events. Instead, when they think of their many trips to this vibrant town, their minds turn toward the visits we’ve made over the years to some of the cultural institutions around town.

One such place is Kidspace (, an interactive children’s museum for kids up to age 10. Located at 480 North Arroyo Boulevard, the fascinating property features indoor and outdoor exhibit and play areas that teach kids about such topics as food, nature, paleontology, geology and more. It also contains climbing features, as well as an outdoor water play area that young kids love to play in.

We’ve also been to the Norton Simon Museum ( at 411 West Colorado Boulevard. This museum is home to an amazing collection of European, Asian and American art that was amassed by industrialist Norton Simon in his lifetime. It also has an outdoor sculpture garden. These features make it a must-see for moms and dads who are fans of Rembrandt, Degas, Picasso, and others, while such activities as afternoon story time, art workshops, etc., make it appealing to younger visitors. Just make sure you and your kids don’t lean in too close to see the detail in a painting and set off an alarm like I did during our visit.

Another place I recommend you include in your travel plans when visiting Pasadena is the The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens (, which is actually in San Marino, California. Fortunately, it only took about 15-minutes to get there from where we were staying in Pasadena both times we visited. The expansive campus boasts beautifully-landscaped gardens (including a Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden, among others), a Children’s Garden, a conservatory, art galleries, rare books and more.

For more information about other cultural sites in Pasadena or to get up-to-date information about events that will be taking place during your trip, visit

Kidspace Museum--Exterior view of climbing structures
Kidspace Museum in Pasadena
The Huntington in San Marino

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