Pasadena, California

That Which We Call A Rose

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What's it like to live in Pasadena?

Moving to LA, is Pasadena the right spot for me?

I've lived in Arcadia, Alhambra, Beverlywood, Inglewood, Highland Park, East L.A., in Downtown and I settled in Pasadena and have been here for going on six years now.

I don't own a car and have been commuting regularly to K-Town (Wilshire and Vermont) for over a year on the Metro. The Gold > Red/Purple commute takes me about 1 hour.

I got lucky with my apartment and pay 1100 for a two bedroom, with a large kitchen, living room and porch.

I like Old Town but it isn't as "happening" as Hollywood, NoHo or the Arts District(mainly because we have a very limited amount of live music venues). This doesn't mean I don't like it. It has gotten nicer and there are more gastropub and wine bars now than there were even five years ago. If you like sports, we have a couple good sports bars too.

Ultimately, I like Pasadena because you begin to recognize people around town and residents are a bit more permanent which builds a feeling of locality which frankly I haven't found elsewhere.

Also, if you are into the arts or sciences there really isn't a better place to be. My favorite day to be in town is Pasadena Art Night because all the museums are open, have special events going on and there's a free shuttle which makes stops at each all across the city. Similarly, JPL's Open House is definitely worth a visit each year. The one night of the year I try to stay away from Pasadena is NYE because people camp on Colorado Blvd and blast music and light bonfires which keeps me up all night. That said, I like having a good view of the parade.

I hope you decide to move in town and take advantage of all we have to offer :)

Moving to LA, is Pasadena the right spot for me?

in terms of meeting people your age, I am not sure I would recommend Pasadena. A lot of my friends (all same age as you, mid 20's) still living and working in LA are not in Pasadena anymore. There are tons of great neighborhoods to look at in LA that are more central and have more younger people. Pasadena is a bit further and older. I personally hated the nightlife in Pasadena -- its mostly locals and young adults who grew up there who have their same cliques since high-school. The San Marino ppl who go to the nightlife in Pasadena are THE WORST. That being said here are what I consider the "Pros" of Pasadena vs. other LA neighborhoods: more quiet, close to lots of great hiking in Angeles National Forest, I would personally perfer to rent a room in bungalow heaven than an apartment, if condensed city living is stressful then pasadena offers some more space and closer to nature. It's important to remember that Pasadena has a distinct city identity that is separate from other younger/hipper neighborhoods in LA. Maybe if you like Pasadena, it would be a good spot to move to once you got a significant other? It's a pretty good city for being in a relationship but shittier for being single -- you will ALWAYS be hiking your ass to other parts of LA to be social outside of your work commute.

Tell me about life in Pasadena, please.

I'm a 2nd generation Pasadenian and I live in South Pasadena currently. Pasadena's population is about 130,000 people, with a very culturally and ethnically mixed population. Honestly I'm not 100% sure where Muir Heights is, but I do know it's in the northwest section. I'm sorry to report that this area, with some exceptions, tends to be the most crime ridden area of the city. It's light years better than it was 20 years ago, but still has its share of problems. It's nowhere near as bad as the worst parts of Philly, South Central LA, etc but it does have a history of gang violence and such, specifically between African American and Hispanic gangs. Here's a pretty good rule of thumb with regards to where its safe to live: west of Lake, north of Orange Grove and south of Woodbury is what's considered by many to be the worst neighborhood in town. Generally speaking, if you can avoid living here you'll be better off. Of course there are exceptions, but this is just a general rule of thumb.

With all that said, Pasadena in general is a great place to live. It has all the nightlife you could ask for, easy access to Downtown LA, Hollywood, the camp sites and skiing in the mountains, and the ocean. Freeway accessibility is extremely easy here, especially compared to the rest of LA County.

You get less of the Hollywood types on this side of town, and as someone who worked in the industry I can honestly say that it makes a huge difference. The people in Pasadena and its surrounding communities tend to be much more polite, kind and courteous than the folks in the valley and the Westside, and that has everything to do with having to deal with less traffic and less asshole producers and agents.

We also have tons of beautiful Craftsman homes and gorgeous tree lined streets. The one thing Hollywood uses Pasadena for is its beauty and its Midwestern like charm. Pasadena is Los Angeles' original suburb, so you have all kinds of beautiful historical homes and locations from the turn of the century that have been preserved.

The smog has gotten much better. Although you'll still encounter it, it's usually not the oppressive brown cloud it was when I grew up. Be warned, it does get hot here during the summer but what's nice is that it's a dry desert heat so humidity isn't normally a factor.

Anyway, I hope this helps. PM me if you need anymore advice on things.

Tell me about life in Pasadena, please.

I live in Pasadena and love it. There is a strong sense of community, the city is clean, safe, and generally a positive place. I don't know what people are referring to when they talk about impoverished and gang ridden neighborhoods in the city. That may have been an issue 20 years ago, but now there are no more problems than your average city of 130k. I've left my bike unlocked outside of my condo for weeks at a time and have never had an issue. I've wandered home drunk from bars at 2:00 am and feel completely safe.

One thing you'll appreciate is that once you're here, you don't need a car to get anywhere. You can walk everywhere to do errands, or be entertained. There are a ton of great restaurants as the culinary school in down releases its graduates to the city every year. There are 2 great playhouses, and a handful of movie theaters that show everything. Old Town has a lot of shopping. Just remember Colorado Blvd has all the "mall" stores, but Union and Green have all the interesting stores. If reading is your thing, there is a huge independent book store called Vromans. There are a couple of great used bookstores nearby too (Cliffs and another I can remember the name of.)

If you want to get out of town, Downtown, Silverlake, Hollywood, or mountain wilderness are all 15 minutes away. The beach is 35-45 minutes away.

PROS & CONS about living in Pasadena California