Author: Emmanuel

Top Places To Refresh & Rejuvenate In South Pasadena

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When you want to rejuvenate and refresh, South Pasadena is one of the best places to do so. As a small, community-minded area, the people and businesses are charming and inviting. And in today’s modern society, everyone can use a little break and restart. Give yourself some solo time and put the electronics away, disconnect from the world, and get in tune with your mind and body. The following spots are the perfect ways to refresh in South Pasadena:

1202 Salon & Spa

The 1202 Salon & Spa is one of the most highly-rated spas in the area. Everyone knows that one of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to get a nice hair cut or massage–preferably in the same place, by the same trustworthy people. Switch up your style or trim the style the love. The employees put a tremendous amount of time and energy into perfecting hair design, and customers are leaving very satisfied.

The Spa Menu includes several types of skin care packages. For $90,you can enjoy the Seasonal Professional Care package. This includes a rejuvenating and pampering treatment that uses natural, active seasonal ingredients to improve the skin. For the same price, you can get a Custom Facial, which includes an analysis, skin preparation, extractions, massage, and nourishment to restore balance and vitality in the skin.

If you really want to go the extra mile, there are several high-end treatments to choose from, like the “intraceuticals oxygen infusion facial,” which is an advanced treatment that uses a custom combination of pressurized oxygen and multi-weight hyaluronic acid to increase hydration levels and produce an instant, visible lift. Alternatively, there’s the “Vi peel,” which improves the tone, texture and clarity of your skin, and helps eliminate age-spots, freckles, and hyperpigmentation.

New Life Acupuncture & Herb Center

Acupuncture is a holistic medical treatment that promotes natural healing. During the treatment, trained practitioners insert ultra thin needles into targeted areas of the body to alleviate pain and mental stress . It’s a common misconception that this process is painful. But the procedure, which originated in China, has been around for over 2,500 years, and is highly effective.

Treatments are almost completely pain-free, and have been known to produce a slew of benefits, including relief from chronic pain throughout the body (such as back pain and muscle spasms), and can help with anxiety and depression. They can also provide a cure for back pain, migraines, and digestive issues. And lastly, acupuncture has even been linked to an increase in fertility, and can also help people quit smoking.

Currently, 100% of nearly 50 Yelp reviews for New Life Acupuncture & Herb Center are five stars. A five star rating across the board is a reflection of the treatments and customer service. Your first visit will last anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes, and during this time, you’ll explain to your specialist what you hope to gain out of the experience. They’ll take a detailed look at your health history and perform a physical exam before coming up with a unique treatment plan that’s tailored to you.

RejuvaYou Medical Spas

The whole premise behind RejuvaYou is to rejuvenate the skin. Each service is based on not just the physical betterment of your skin, but its long-term health, too. The RejuvaYou team has spent many years researching the latest technologies and treatments, and works to tailor each treatment to your unique skin type and health regimen.

This medical spa has also seen its share of fame. The Kardashian family filmed a segment of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” here, where they received a “Triniti Skin Series” rejuvenation treatment (which offers non-surgical relief from blemishes, laxity, and wrinkles). The business has also been featured on Entertainment Tonight and in Forbes magazine.

What makes this spa different from others is that it’s a true medical spa, with an emphasis on surgical and various non-invasive medical procedures. This means that there are several doctors and resident nurses on hand. Services available include Triniti Skin Series, CoolSculpting, MELASMA treatment, BOTOX, various medical facials and peels, and much more.

Freestyle Fitness

As you know, fitness can boost both your physical and mental health. Fitness has been known to reduce stress, and even be just as effective as an antidepressant in helping relieve anxiety and depression, thanks to all the endorphins you release when you exercise.

At Freestyle Fitness, no matter what your physical or mental health mission is, you can achieve it. The business is highly rated for their fantastic team of trainers, who work hard to create a well-structured, fun session for everyone. They work with all types of exercise levels, whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or haven’t been to the gym in years. Overall, the Center aims to create a community of people, all working towards the betterment of themselves. If you’re interested, you can try your first class free.

Awareness Center

According to their website, “The Awareness Center is a sacred community.  It is a home for your heart to relax and your spirit to simply be.  It is our expression of a world where people feel ‘at home’ in all areas of life.”

The Awareness Center teaches guests to get in tune with their mind, body, and spirit. There are classes, trainings, events, and workshops, all of which promote peace and tranquility. If you’re looking for some rejuvenation, Awareness Center is one of the best places to find it.

The Center specializes in Kundalini Yoga, which is one of the most comprehensive types of yoga because it combines asana (physical postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, and prayer. Aside from various levels of Kundalini Yoga, there are plenty of classes for you to choose from, including a Healing Breathe Class, 30-minute meditations, and a restorative yoga workshop. Certain classes, like the Aquarian Sadhana, are free on specific days. Check out their calendar to see a list of dates, descriptions, and prices of various classes.

Mission Street Yoga

Mission Street Yoga was started by a group of modern Yogis who all had busy schedules and wanted a place where they could restore balance and happiness. Yoga is is one of the few natural tools that allows its practitioners to create a sense of empowerment and peace. People of all yoga levels are welcome, and certainly encouraged–during class, the instructors teach newcomers how to use the mat and adjust to different poses. And like some of the better businesses, the first class here is free.

SP Asian Spa Therapy

The SP Asian Spa Therapy is one of South Pasadena’s best. The space appears hidden from the outside, but is a charming oasis once you find it. Unlike some run-of-the-mill spas, it provides tailored care. One Yelp reviewer, who went to SP Asian Spa Therapy after she’d suffered from a stiff neck for a week, says of their services:

“Whereas I paid a bunch of money to feel dizzy at the end of my Massage Envy session and bruised at the end of my Shiatsu of Zen session, the SP Asian Therapy and Spa massage left me feeling relaxed, with much more comfort and mobility in my neck and shoulders than when I had first walked in. I left feeling like I had taken a muscle relaxer!”

Best Event Spaces For Birthday Parties In South Pasadena

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South Pasadena is a great place to be a kid. There are plenty of parks and year-round activities to keep your little ones busy and having fun. After all, there are so many great places for awesome family activities. From the stimulating “Discovery Areas” over at the Kidz Club Summer Camp, to the hundreds of speciality dinosaur toys at the world famous Dinosaur Farm toy store, there’s plenty to do here.

If it’s your child’s birthday, there are just as many options. Planning any birthday party can be troublesome, especially when you have limited space at home. These birthday party event spaces can make your planning much smoother, and give your child and their guests an awesome party experience:

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Kid’s Jewelry Heist

The Kid’s Jewelry Heist is one of the most unique children’s experiences is Los Angeles, and it’s well worth looking into for birthday parties. This original and interactive jewelry-making parlor is located inside the world-renowned Dinosaur Farm Toy Store. Here, guests can sort through treasure chests and troves of jewelry pieces and find all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colors. Then, they’ll piece them together to create their own custom-made, unique piece of jewelry.

According to their website, “There is quite a fresh selection of sparkly beads, gemstones, antique colorful chains, silks, leathers & a wondrous supply of sought after charms from our treasure chamber drawers.” Need help? An enthusiastic design team is there to help every child create something they’re absolutely ecstatic about. To date, Kid’s Jewelry Heist has hosted over 1,000 birthday parties in South Pasadena, and they are highly sought after. Check out their website for pricing and plenty of images.

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Amy’s Playground

Amy’s Playground was founded by a South Pasadena mom who wanted to provide a place where local kids could come and play, rain or shine. This indoor children’s spot is a wonderland for kids: there’s a huge bounce house, several slides, tubes, and much more for the little ones to enjoy. Kids of all ages are welcome here. And fortunately, parents can be comfortable here, too: there’s a reading nook, free coffee, and picnic tables where you can eat your own food.

In addition to being open during regular business hours, Amy’s Playground is also an ideal spot for birthday parties. There are four tiers for birthday parties:

Fun & Frolic

For $400, you’ll have private use of Amy’s Indoor Playground for up to 20 children, two party assistants that will help with set-up and clean-up, and a free return pass for the birthday child.

Birthday Bash

For $450, you’ll get private 2-hour access for up to 15 children, two party assistants, a personalized cake, solid color cake products and utensils, juice, party favors, and return pass.

Hullabaloo

For $525, you’ll get private 2-hour access for up to 15 children, two party assistants, cheese pizza, solid color products and utensils, a personalized cake, juice, face painting and temporary tattoo application, and free return pass.

Amy’s Theme Party Spectacular

In addition to all the items in the Hullabaloo, for $540, you’ll get themed invitations, themed paper products and utensils, themed birthday cake, and party favors.

You can check out the Amy’s Indoor Playground website for a full list of available theme options, which include popular choices like Batman, Spiderman, and Disney Princesses. You can also choose add-on options, like helium-filled balloons, tablecloths, and balloon and magician artist packages.

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Chirp Karaoke Cafe

Chirp Karaoke Cafe is a very unique way to throw your child the perfect birthday party. Chirp was started by two moms who wanted a fun and creative space for kids to have fun and sing. Think about it: there are countless karaoke spots for adults, but very few for children, and Chirp aims to bridge the gap by creating a beautiful space where kids can have a blast performing, and parents can sit back and watch.

There are many different types of parties available at Chirp, including toddler parties and teen parties. There are also discounted weekday parties. During Toddler parties, a host manages the entire day and keeps the children engaged with songs, activities, and plenty of games. Some activities might include sing-a-longs, coloring, playing kitchen, and much more. Teen parties will have a karaoke DJ, foosball, basketball, and various other games.

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Duff’s Cakemix

The center of every birthday party is the birthday cake, and with Duff’s Cakemix, it’s never been more true. The company’s mantra is, “We bake…you create”–and it’s a great opportunity for children to stay engaged, have fun, be creative, and learn something new. They offer a range of party packages for different types of events and budgets. A standard party package includes a two hour reservation, a cake kit that includes buttercream, fondant, and other goodies, expert decorating guidance, celebration cake to cut and serve, a special apron for the birthday kid, and much more!

And if your kids really enjoy their Duff Cakemix birthday party, consider enrolling them in the summer camp program. The Summer Cake Camp teaches kids how to roll, sculpt, and cover cakes with fondant, work with buttercream, and airbrush a cake with edible spray.

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Playlab

PlayLab is designed to be a versatile play space for children and infants, where they can safely experiment with different kinds of play in an environment that caters to their growth. The space was created by early childhood development experts, making it optimized for all their needs. Among many things, the PlayLab space encourages socializing, exploration, and curiosity.

PlayLab’s parties are ideal for mothers who want a prime space for both themselves and their children. For just $400, you’ll get a 4-hour private party (though you can add more time for a fee). A staff member will be there to help you set up and clean up, the team is flexible with furniture arrange, and each party allows up to 45 children (which is much higher than some other places). Furthermore, all party attendants gets a free return pass. There are additional options for a character appearance, magician, music performance, and other birthday party inclusions.

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Club Champion Gymnastics

Club Champion Gymnastics is one of Southern California’s best gymnastics clubs. But for the tumblers and active ones in your life, they also offer birthday parties. A birthday party includes gymnastics activities and lessons from knowledgeable staff, birthday invitations, party favors, and a special birthday gift for the guest of honor. Kinds another three require an extra fee for special assistance. Check out their website for more details.

MyGym

Like the previous entry, MyGym is all about flexible fun through fitness. They offer different party tiers depending on your party size, needs, and budget. The MyGym team puts thorough planning and effort into each party, before you arrive. They’ll take special song and game requests and incorporate it into the party plans. Each birthday party is filled with activities, puppets, games, songs, and much more. Party tiers include the Grand Celebration, Deluxe Celebration, and Premier Celebration. Check out their website for details and price points.

Best Food Events In South Pasadena & Surrounding Area

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With the wonderful and highly-rated Farmer’s food market right in the backyard, South Pasadena is no stranger to strong flavors and culinary class. This is a city with plenty of food events to please any palate, and the many South Pasadena restaurants are a testament of what to expect. Cos & Pi is known for their seasonal and lunch menus; Fiore Market Cafe brought a little bit of Italy back to South Pasadena with their baked breads and fresh sandwiches; and Gus’s BBQ has effectively transplanted Southern hospitality and cuisine with rich, flavorful meats and great service.

As you can tell, food is one of South Pasadena’s strong points. In addition to their many restaurants, there are also plenty of food-related activities happening in the immediate and surrounding areas, and they’re well worth checking out. Here are a few food events to consider:

Taste of South Pasadena

With so many restaurant options in South Pasadena, choosing just one can quickly become difficult, especially when they’re strongly rated evenly across the board. The annual “Taste of South Pasadena” event aims to cure any indecision you might have. It takes event-goers on a journey through some of the area’s best cuisine and best restaurants.

Bringing together some of the best food enthusiasts, it allows attendants to sample food and drinks from over 20 participating restaurants. Together, you’ll stroll around South Pasadena, stopping to savor small plates and enjoy friendly conversation. Events also have live music, optional wine tastings, and various other activities. If you have children, don’t worry: if they’re under 7, they’re free.

Los Angeles Times FoodBowl x Crossings

This year, the second annual LA Times FoodBowl takes place at the Crossings restaurant in South Pasadena. This festival aims to feature the best of the city’s food and drink scene, and will be serving a one-time menu from chef Kevin Malone, which will be paired with wines that are hand picked and imported by Karl Curran and Charlemagne Fine Wines. There’s a limited time availability for seating, but if you miss it this year, you can always try again next year. The menu includes caviar, oysters, duck, and beef ribeye cap among others.

Angeleno Winemaker Dinner

The Angeleno Winemaker Dinner also takes place at South Pasadena’s Crossings restaurant, and will feature guest winemaker Jasper Dickson. Dickson works as a small-batch producer under his Rhythm Wine label. He purchases his grapes only from South California growers, and has been known for his intimate experimentation with different types of juices. The five-course meal will cost just $98, including tax and gratuity. Plates will include ceviche, monkfish, quail, pork belly, and churro.

Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet

You can expect food events happening every Mother’s Day in Pasadena, and this Mother’s Day brunch is a popular option. The The Mixx’s Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet offers bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, and live jazz entertainment. The menu includes organic free range soft scrambled eggs, house made chicken sausage, apple smoked bacon, brioche French toast, a smoked salmon presentation, and much more. The Mixx–a popular new urban oasis for foodies–is known for hosting many other types of events, too. Check out their calendar for more information.

Introduction to Pu-erh Tea

At this “Introduction to Pu-erh Tea” event, Pu-erh expert Jeffrey McIntosh (who owns multiple tea companies) will share his personal experiences in the tea industry, detailing his many adventures visiting tea mountains and regions around the world over the last decade. Pu-erh tea is a variety of dark tea that’s grown exclusively in the Yunnan Province of China. McIntosh’s goal is to educate people on why Pu-erh tea is so fascinating by exploring ripe and raw variations, fermentation processes, health benefits, and various other tasting characteristics. This one hour class and tea-tasting session costs $65 per person.

Masters of Taste, Pasadena Rose Bowl

The Masters of Taste food and drink festival is a regular tradition at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. This single-day luxury festival brings in food and crafted drinks from over 40 different restaurants and master chefs, and also features live music and entertainment. The festival is broken down into three master food concepts, which include, “Sweet Masters,” “Culinary Masters,” and “Beverage Masters.” Featured vendors include Sprinkles, The Raymond 1886, and the Butter Cake Shoppe. Beverage Masters bring in some of L.A.’s best master mixologists, concocting creations from some of California’s best wineries and craft breweries. Every year, the event takes place at the Rose Bowl stadium and expects to bring in at least 2,500 food and drink enthusiasts. All ticket proceeds will benefit the Union Station Homeless Services.

Future Con

While this event isn’t a food-specific gathering, it gets a worthy mention because it’s a popular event with great food that serves as the backdrop to a tech space. Future-Con celebrates the latest in consumer technology from different industry innovators. Learn more about virtual reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning, game learning, smart tech, and so much more. Many of the tech products will be available for purchase, and you’ll get the opportunity to see the latest advancements demonstrated live before you make a decision.

According to the event’s ticketing page, “Along with the latest in innovation, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious food from some of the best culinary artists which will be sure to satisfy your appetite.” Tech + cuisine sounds like a recipe for a good evening.

Fork In The Road

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South Pasadena’s Fork In The Road is one of the most interesting spots in the city. Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, it’s the perfect place for a photo op, and symbolizes that, no matter what road you take, the city has a lot to offer. If you’ve never seen it yourself, it’s quite straightforward: it–quite literally-is a fork in the road. It’s constructed of wood (though its silvery paint job gives it the appearance of metal) and sits at the intersection of Pasadena and St. John Avenues.

The Fork has been standing since Halloween 2009, and it has quite the history. Artist Ken Marshall and a friend of his created the Fork as a 75th birthday gift to his friend, Bob Stane. Marshall and Stane co-own the Altadena coffee gallery and showroom, and had talked about the idea a while back. One night, dressed in CalTrans uniforms (CalTrans owned the land plot), the pair snuck over late and night, dug the hole, illegally stuck in the art, and poured in 400 pounds of concrete. According to many sources, they waved at policemen who drove by during the installation.

Residents were thrilled to see the fork, and believed it added a bit of humor to the city. “People just became unglued about it,” Bob Stane told NBC News. “They just thought it was fantastic. They were so happy to have a bit of humor on the street.”

After the Fork was firmly planted, a party was thrown, and the mastermind behind the project considered the artwork not just a gift to Stane, but to the city of South Pasadena. At the party/groundbreaking of the Fork, t-shirts were handed out with the sentence, “The World’s Largest Fork In The Road.” Later research eventually found that this was not, in fact, the largest fork in the road. There is also a 31-foot fork in the road in New York. Despite this fact, it did not thwart the enthusiasm of the residents and artists themselves.

Although most people were happy to have it, the California Department of Transportation was less enthused. On June 10th, 2010, the Fork was taken down by the city, who cited safety issues as a primary concern, and noted that Marshall did not have permission to put in on the property in the first place.

“They think it’s dangerous, that it might fall over, and they’re afraid people will run across the street to be photographed with the fork and be run over,” Stane told the Los Angeles Times.

However, the removal of the fork didn’t last too long. After proper permits were granted, and residents voiced their desire for it to stay, it was re-planted in October 2011. Today, the Fork is anchored to a 2.5 foot concrete plate. Originally just a simple intersection, it’s now called “Fork Plaza.”

Since then, the Fork has had its share of fun at its permanent residence. In 2012, the Idaho Potato Commission celebrated their 75th anniversary by traveling around the country with a six-ton, 28-foot long potato. The potato visited the Fork and made for a fun, eventful, interesting day.

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It’s also a site to many local events and fundraisers, such as “Put the Fork In Hunger,” a charity event that helps feed underprivileged families in the area.

Now that the Fork is here to stay, everyone’s happy, but most especially guerilla artist Ken Marshall, who says, ““When I am not here, my kids will go by and say, my dad did that. Which is kind of cool.”

Extraordinary Estates In South Pasadena

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The city of South Pasadena has a lot to offer. The Los Angeles Times said of South Pasadena, “The city has so zealously protected its original charm and architectural character that it has become in many ways a time capsule of California living in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.” Their charming tree-lined streets are known for their large concentration of beautiful Arts & Crafts-era bungalows and Craftsmen homes.

The Pasadena Craftsman Weekend has displayed the best in design and architecture for over 25 years.Then there’s also the Pasadena Heritage’s Spring Home Tour, which takes visitors on a tour of some of the most beautiful homes in the Pasadena area.

Today, South Pasadena is the largest self float-builder in the Tournament of Roses Parade, as well as the oldest postseason football game in America. And although college football brings hordes of visitors in every winter, the architecture attracts visitors year-round. Here are some of the area’s most extraordinary estates:

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Fenyes Mansion

Orange Grove Boulevard is known frequently as “Millionaire’s Row,” and it’s full of million-dollar mansions. The Fenyes Mansion is just one of them. It is currently managed by the Pasadena Museum of History and has appeared in Hollywood films, Being There and The Prestige. General tours are available to the public, and Fenya Mansion offers a glimpse into the life of those who live on Millionaire’s Row.

Robert Farquar designed the home in 1906 and 1907, where a conservatory and studio were eventually added in 1911. Four generations of relatives have lived at the estate, and many of its rooms remain they were over 100 years later. During the tour, you’ll find family heirlooms, a California plein air art collection, and much more. The Fenyes Mansion has been designated as a Pasadena Cultural Heritage landmark and a Point of Historic Interest by the state of California.

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Gamble House

The Gamble House is another staple on the “Millionaire’s Row.” In 1908, Charles and Henry Greene designed the Gamble house for David Berry Gamble, who was a second generation family member of the Procter & Gamble Company. By then, David and his wife, Mary Gamble, were frequenting Pasadena in the winter, and wanted to move there permanently. Within 10 months of meeting the Greenes, the house and initial pieces of custom furniture (five rugs in the living room were designed by Charles Greene from watercolor)  were complete. The husband and wife passed away in 1923 and 1929, but the house remained in the family until 1966, where it was deeded to the city of Pasadena through an agreement with the University of Southern California Architecture School.

The architecture of the home is well worth visiting the place. The Gambles wanted the design to pay homage to the rustic setting, and the wood home sits nestled in a grassy knoll. Vines obscure the exterior partially, making the house blend seamlessly with nature, and the interior also matches this aesthetic, with semi precious stonework, glass, metal, and wood elements. In fact, there were several types of wood used in the design: teak, Oak, maple, mahogany, and Port Orford cedar.

The overall design was inspired by Swiss and Japanese architecture. Today, it is considered a central figure and masterpiece in the “America’s Arts and Crafts” movement. It’s also had its share of big-screen fame. Where the garage once was, there is currently a bookstore, which was the site of Doc Brown’s Lab in Back to the Future. Tours of this home take at least two hours.

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Duncan-Irwin House

The Duncan-Irwin House is another Greene & Greene work of craftsmanship. The house originally belonged to a local seamstress, Katherine Duncan, who continued to make additions to the property until 1904, when she sold it to Theodore Irwin Jr., the heir on an industrial fortune.

Irwin did not need to work, thanks to his inheritance, and spent many years simply adding to his father’s collection of art and books. The property has amazing views of the San Gabriel Mountains and the Arroyo Seco Valley. The architecture is very reminiscent of the Greene brothers: it has timber terraces, overhanging eaves and exposed rafter tails, and large Arroyo boulders that are woven into brickwork of the massive pergola columns, which is one of the home’s best features. Wisteria vines bloom at different times of the year, cascading the home with green.

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Miltimore Residence

The Miltimore Residence hit the market for the first time in 66 years this March, with an asking price of $4 million. This historic South Pasadena home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was initially designed in 1911 for prosperous olive rancher, Mrs. Paul Miltimore. Since then, it has had only three owners, and looks nearly identical to when it was first built, as few upgrades have been made, which make the home in its entirety feel like an antique beauty.

It has hardwood floors throughout, French doors, two fireplaces, and tubs that are encased in magnesite. In 1914, House Beautiful magazine did a story on the home, saying its “most original feature is the play of color upon its white surface… which becomes iridescent when the sun moves across it. The texture that makes this charm is Mr. Gill’s discovery and secret.”

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The Bubble House

South Pasadena’s Bubble House is a testament to one of the most innovative architectural solutions of our time, and to the legendary architect Wallace Neff. Neff designed homes for some of California’s wealthiest people, including Judith Garland and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Several celebrities have also purchased Neff’s homes, including Brad Pitt, Diane Keaton, Madonna, and Guy Ritchie.

Neff designed the Bubble House as an answer to the housing crisis after World War II. What’s most fascinating about the space is that it can be constructed in under 48 hours by inflating a large balloon with chicken wire, spraying it with gunite, and applying a pressure house. Though 3,000 Airform houses were built, the South Pasadena home, where he lived up until his death, is the last remaining in the country. The current owners are Sari and Steve Roden, who inherited several pieces of vintage furniture upon purchase. You can drive by this historic home at 1097 S. Los Robles Avenue.

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Castle Green

Castle Green has a long and storied history. Originally built in 1898, the design was influenced by Spanish, Victorian, and Moorish architectural elements. Back then, it was called “Central Annex” and was a part of trio that included the main Hotel Green and another building that was later called the Wooster Block. There used to be a pedestrian bridge that connected Castle Green to Hotel Green. It has since been demolished, though remnants of the bridge still remain.

In the 1920s, it was converted into an apartment complex, where it housed many designers, artists, and musicians. Today, the Castle is an enchanting event venue. It is full of charm and glamour, and is very popular for wedding bookings, with its lush gardens and verandas. It’s a nationally registered historic monument that’s also ideal for corporate events, galas, and all types of soirees.

In 1924, the Los Angeles Times said of the Castle Green, “Pasadena, to whom the world concedes a leading place for her architectural accomplishments, has surpassed herself in Castle Green, which, in the transformation from a world famous hostelry to tenant owned apt. building, has accomplished one of the most striking architectural achievements of which the Southland has any record.”

Bungalow Heaven

Bungalow Heaven isn’t a single home, but a large, charming cluster of homes in Pasadena. Due to their history, they are worthy of a mention. In this area, over 800 homes span across 16 blocks of quiet, tree lined streets. Each home is a representation of the Arts and Crafts movements, and demonstrates what affordable housing looked like during that time period. The area was included in Thrillist’s “The 10 Most Beautiful Neighborhoods in America, Ranked” feature, and its received several other distinctions. It was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was Pasadena’s first Landmark District and received the APA designation as one of the “10 Great Places in America.”

Everything You Need To Know About Pasadena’s Bunny Museum

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South Pasadena’s Bunny Museum currently holds the largest collection of rabbit stuffed animals than any other place in the world. This world-record holding museum originally opened in 1998, and their slogan is very appropriate: “The hoppiest place in the world.” Even celebrity Elijah Wood took a tour of the Bunny Museum. You can check out some of his videos of the experience here.

At the Bunny Museum, curators believe that bunny rabbits aren’t just an Easter occasion. According to the museum, there are bunny references everywhere: dust bunnies, rabbit ear antennas, and rabbits being pulled out of a magician’s hat. The museum is an ode to all things bunny, from the obvious Easter references, to this lesser known facts.

The museum is a non-profit corporation, and there’s so much more than just plush bunnies to touch here. For just $8 (or free for members), you can touch and feed real bunny rabbits, and even bring your own bunny if you have one. Although there is a fee for admission, visitors are still required to make a reservation in advance.

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Aside from holding the Guiness Book of World Records for largest collection of bunny memorabilia, the Bunny Museum currently holds over two dozen awards, including:

  • The Most Unusual Museum, 2015
  • The Best Rabbit Paraphernalia, 2006
  • The Best Kept Secret, 1999
  • Top Three things To See in California, 2014
  • The Most Weird Museum in Los Angeles, 2014
  • The Best Off-The-Beaten Path Museum in Los Angeles, 2016

The Bunny Museum was established in 1993, and the story of its opening is just as interesting as the museum itself. A boy (Steve Lubanski) gave a plush bunny to a girl (Candace Frazee), and they eventually became a married couple built on the foundation of the art of bunny gift-giving.

After Steve gave Candace the first rabbit as a gift (as an homage to her nickname, “Honey Bunny”), they made it a tradition to give one another a bunny-themed item every single day. As you can imagine, the tradition ballooned into quite the collection, and they eventually amassed a collection of over 8,000 bunny items. At this point, they opened their home to the public to share their collection with others.

Eventually, they moved to Pasadena to Alameda, where they currently hold over 34,000 items. The displays are currently on exhibit in “salon-style,” which means they span floor to ceiling. Though initially this style of display–which originated in Paris in 1667–may seem chaotic, there’s a particular type of order and cohesive flow that guests can easily take notice of. Thanks to the salon style of display, there’s always something to look at.

Some of the exhibitions and displays include:

  • Chamber of Hop Horrors
  • An antiquity display, which contains a 2,000 year-old ring, amulet, pendant, and fibula
  • Rose Parade Float Bunnies (nine original Rose Parade floats)
  • White House Easter Egg Roll, a display with several original wooden decorated Easter bunny eggs from their holiday event

Among the more stranger exhibits include the freeze-dried bunnies, which were once household pets that are now situated in a display case.

Guests 13 years and older who have a particular affinity for bunny rabbits can join the Paw Patrol, a daily committee that helps clean litter boxes for bunnies and cats, vacuum, groom, feed, and clean bunnies and cats. Paw Patrol takes place throughout the day in half an hour shifts. Guests can also bring fresh fruits and vegetables for the animals, although carrots are not allowed. The Bunny Museum provides carrots themselves, to prevent guests from bringing only carrots and thwarting a versatile diet for the animals.

The museum earned itself an entry in the world’s best curated book of all things unique, the Atlas Obscura. According to Atlas Obscura, the couple plans to eventually locate to an even larger space.

The Bubble House

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South Pasadena’s Airform Bubble House was designed by architect Wallace Neff, who also designed for some of California’s wealthiest, including Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Judith Garland. Despite his extensive architectural resume, his Airform “Bubble House” is said to be one his finest–and most proud–works.

Like many great design stories, this one has a humble beginning. In the early 1930s, the housing crisis put a halt on many promising construction sites, as companies and individuals struggled to find reliable funding. Neff was shaving at his bathroom sink when a bubble formed on his finger and he realized that if he could find a way to build with air, he could save money and build quickly, with no need for wood or nails.

The construction was therefore one of the most curious of its time. It was built using an inflatable balloon covered in chicken wire and then sprayed with gunite, which is a mixture a sand, water, and cement that’s applied through a pressure hose. The gunite then produces a dense layer of concrete, and is often used for structural repairs. Using this method, open-plan, curved homes could be built within 48 hours.

Neff tirelessly attempted to campaign and convince the U.S. government to adopt this style of design in their wartime housing initiatives. After World War II, there were simply too many people and not enough houses. Neff believed it would be the most cost-effective, efficient way to industrialize housing efforts. According to one book printed by Hennessey, another goal of his was to “resolve the dilemma of being an architect close to affluent clients and a designer for a mass of anonymous clients with low budgets.”

However, many people weren’t convinced that the igloo shape successfully optimized space, and the unconventional structure deterred large money-makers from adopting it completely. While 400,000 were originally planned for construction in the United States, only 3,000 were actually built. However, overseas Neff had better luck, and he constructed airform houses in cities around the world like Cairo, Rio de Janeiro, and Senegal.

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Today, the only existing Airform house in America is in South Pasadena, California, where the current owners take special care to maintain it. The ceilings are seven feet high and the domed ceilings stretch up to 12 feet. It was built in 1946 and the neighbors weren’t receptive to it, because at the time, it did not fit into the Period Revival aesthetic of the nearby homes.

Despite criticism of its elliptical structure, it was featured on the cover of the Los Angeles Times Home Magazine, and was eventually praised for its inventive solution to the mid-century housing crisis. The South Pasadena home is where the architect personally lived until he died in 1982.

Current owners Sari and Steve Roden, who purchased the house in 1998, said in a Los Angeles Times article that they “can’t imagine living anywhere else.” The couple also inherited several pieces of vintage furniture originally owned by the architect.

The house comes with its own share of fame and rumors. The owners have heard that Elvis once visited the house, most likely to discuss a home that he wanted Neff to design for him. The irony here is not lost: while Neff is most renowned for his elaborate designs, his heart was in simple, open, and flowing architectural spaces. Though the house is occupied, you can still drive by 1097 S. Los Robles Avenue for a look at piece of design history.

Cawston Ostrich Farm

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South Pasadena is steeped in history, and one of the greatest examples of that is the Cawston Ostrich Farm. If you’re a South Pasadena native, you’ve likely heard of it, and if not, it won’t be long before you do.

The Cawston Ostrich Farm was a nine-acre farm where visitors could ride ostriches via a carriage that was attached to their neck and body (much like a horse). This was the first ostrich farm in America, as well as the first tourist destination in California, and it provided a fully immersive experience. Not only could guests ride the ostriches, but they could also purchase ostrich-themed memorabilia, such as ostrich feathered hats, fans, and capes.

As you can imagine, starting an ostrich farm is no easy feat. Edward Cawston brought 50 ostriches from South Africa to California via Texas in 1886. However, the journey to Pasadena was extremely strenuous on the birds, and only 18 of them arrived in tact. Originally, Cawston’s primary plan was to cash out on the popularity of ostrich feathers. He had accessories and fashion items in mind, and wanted to cut out the middleman and raise the ostriches on his own farm.

After over half of the birds failed to survive the harsh trip, Cawston decided to breed his own birds with the remaining 18. Through breeding, he was able to balloon his total to over 100 ostriches total. From here, the farm, located in Arroyo Seco Valley, began to boom. Back then, it was a modern day theme park, full to the brim with roaming, able-bodies ostriches and decorated with pyramid-style structures to represent the birds native Africa.

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There was such a keen interest in ostriches and their feathers that it drew tourism for years to come. Some visitors rode the ostriches with carriages, others rode it bareback, but mostly, one of the most captivating facets of the ostrich farm was observing during feeding time. Because ostriches swallow food whole, it became quite the spectacle to see the birds swallow oranges whole.

The farm was located next to the Pacific Electric Railway, and its popularity eventually led to the creation of the Red Car trolley, which took visitors from the railway directly to the ostrich farm.

Cawston’s ostriches weren’t just a moneymaker in Pasadena. The farm was also attached to a factory, where he shipped genuine ostrich feathers and products all around the country, and other parts of the world. Visitors could also watch the animals as they are plucked to gain a better understanding of the feather-gathering process, as well as to witness firsthand the authenticity of its products in the making.

Around 1910, the market for ostrich tourism started to plummet. Around this time, real theme parks with motorized rides and entertainment began to take precedence. The factory closed down in 1935. Today, the original brick structure of the factory remains, and is an official cultural landmark (#18). The South Pasadena Public Library spent many years digitizing photos from the Ostrich Farm, which are available for viewing at Online Archive California. Today, although the farm has long since been shut down, it attracts tourists around the world.

Top Outdoor Activities In South Pasadena

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Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you South Pasadena is a city that’s full of charm.The city works hard to preserve its original culture and history, and retains a small-town feel that makes it desirable to people around the world. Because what’s better than being able to reside in a town that’s far enough to exude community spirit in a small-town scene, but close enough to head over to Hollywood in just a short car ride?

Whether you want to stay indoors or catch some air, the area is versatile enough to appeal to all types of activities. And when it comes to South Pasadena, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to keep you busy during the nicer days (which is pretty much year-round). Here are a few to keep in mind:

Visit The South Pasadena Farmers’ Market

The South Pasadena Farmers’ Market is the place to go for all your local California cuisine needs. Live music enhances the ambiance, and locals and visitors alike scour the dozens of vendors for some of the best food trucks and take-home options. The market takes local shopping to another level, and has a strong community presence that resonates throughout the space. Options are endless here. Head over to Nicole’s for fresh goat cheese, Nana’s nachos for drizzling cheese and tortilla, Apple Sherrill Orchards for freshly squeezed natural juices, and Mama Musubi for gourmet rice balls.

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Visit The Fork In The Road

South Pasadena’s infamous Fork in the Road is one of the city’s best photo-ops, and it never goes out of style. Whether you’re new to the area or have seen the Fork dozens of times, it’s always a welcome reminder of all that South Pasadena has to offer, no matter which way you go.

This 18-foot wooden fork sits at the intersection of Pasadena and St. John Avenues. It was installed by local businessmen Bob Stane and Ken Marshall, who originally placed it without permission from local city officials. Since then, it has become a popular site for city events, such as fundraisers and food drives.

Go Horseback Riding

The San Pascual Stables have been offering horseback riding to South Pasadena since 1978. This is an ideal outdoor activity for all ages and riding education levels. There are all types of lessons available, too, including a summer camp program for kids and regular riding lessons for adults. San Pascual Stables is also known for hosting family-friendly events, such as the San Pascual Holiday Horse Show during the Christmas Holiday.

Go On A Park Crawl

South Pasadena has no shortage of parks, and there’s a hundred different ways to explore them. One of the best and most popular parks in the area is Garfield Park. It sits on seven acres and is beautifully landscaped throughout. It has tennis courts, fire pits, picnic tables, playgrounds, and more. Every year, the Summer Concert in the Park series takes place here. A massive easter egg hunt called Eggstravaganza also takes place here. Check the South Pasadena Events page for an updated list of current happenings.

Arroyo Park is another popular South Pasadena staple. It sits on nearly 20 acres of land, and has athletic fields, playgrounds, picnic tables, a barbecue, and a small amphitheater. This is the go-to spot for local sports and ideal for watching a game of soccer or baseball. Other parks include Orange Grove Park (which also has a 9,500 square foot recreation center), Library Park (home to the library and Senior Center, with plenty of meandering walkways), and Legion Park (which has a landscaped memorial garden).

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Taste of South Pasadena

South Pasadena is prime real estate for food, and it might get difficult to narrow down your top choices—especially as a newcomer. That’s where Taste of South Pasadena comes in, an walking tour event that takes you to some of the best eateries in town. One Yelp reviewer said, “Taste of South Pasadena is a great way to explore the city, stroll, and sample yummy treats, food, and wine.” The next Taste of South Pasadena event takes place on April 17th, 2018. Last year, the event had 22 participating restaurants and 12 wineries, and had a whopping 850 attendees. There will also be live music and an optional wine tasting. Children under 7 are free.

Rose Bowl Stadium

Just a hop, skip, and away from South Pasadena is the Rose Bowl stadium—a must for locals and visitors alike. The stadium is home to a slew of events, from some of the most renowned football tournaments, to concerts, and even a monthly flea market held every second Saturday of the month. And of course, it’s home to UCLA’s Bruins team. No matter what month of the year, there’s always something going on here.

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Take Golf Lessons

The Arroyo Seco Golf Course is the perfect place to take a golf lesson–or simply play golf if you’ve already mastered the art of the swing. According to the official City of South Pasadena website, the golf course has an 18-hole, Par 3 course, full driving range, 9-hole miniature golf course, and putting and chipping practice areas. Anything a golfer could need is readily available here.

The range was recently renovated, and now features a spacious practice area and  state-of-the-art hitting mats. It’s also an illuminated course, which means it stays open late until 10pm. There are five professional teachers that take up residence at the Arroyo Seco Golf Course.

There’s also a full-service restaurant and bar on site for before or after your game. And lastly, the site plays hosts to weekly events, such as Wine & Song, the Arroyo Seco Men’s Golf Club, and the Arroyo Ladies Golf Club.

Best Kids & Family Activities in South Pasadena

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Although South Pasadena is just 3.5 miles of area, but it packs a strong punch. South Pasadena’s city mission is to stay small, making plenty of room for mom-and-pop shops and creating the perfect family environment. There is a strong sense of community in the area, and kids are the center of that community. The South Pasadena neighborhoods are charming, and parents have plenty of opportunities to keep their children engaged. Here are some of the best kids and family activities in South Pasadena:

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Amy’s Playground

Amy’s Indoor Playground is the perfect place to take your little ones. The business was founded and continues to operate by Amy, a South Pasadena mom that always has the children’s best interest at heart. The shoe-free, carpeted indoor playground is designed to be challenging, stimulating, and a blast for anyone who joins.

What to expect: a huge bounce house with a slide, miniature houses and cars, and even a balloonist once a week that makes awesome balloon creations. And the space is also built to be just as cozy for adults: there’s a quiet reading area, free coffee, picnic tables, and a bring-your-own-food policy (though drinks and snacks are available for purchase). And at just $8 for a day pass, it’s a steal.

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 Visit Garfield Park

If the weather’s on your side, take your kids over to Garfield Park––a South Pasadena staple. This is a town where parks are the focal point of the city, and it shows when you arrive. There are six parks in total in South Pasadena, and Garfield easily ranks at the top for many residents.

This beautifully-landscaped park sits on seven acres, has plenty of picnic tables throughout, two tennis courts, a fire pit, and is even home to the Summer Concert in Parks series. Other events, (especially during the holiday) take place here, too. Keep an eye out for Eggstravaganza, an Easter egg hunt happening on March 31st, and check out the park’s website for more upcoming events. At the northern end of the park is the The South Pasadena Children’s Memorial and Healing Garden, a place reserved to memorialize young Pasadena residents who have passed away.

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Kids Klub Summer Camp

At Kids Klub, there’s an endless supply of fun. Michael Wojciechowski, CEO & President of the Kids Klub, says, “Our philosophy is a ‘Back to Basics’ approach where we provide a safe, clean, and stimulating environment for children to play, learn and grow in, while teaching the children self-esteem, respect, and responsibility.” Part of what makes the Kids Klub unique is their mission to mix fun with education by providing stimulating “Discovery Areas” that allow children to learn in a hands-on environment. There are a variety of services available: infant care, pre-school, after-school, and evening and weekend drop-off services. Prices are provided in “membership” tiers by season. Check out their site for more details.

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The Dinosaur Farm

The Dinosaur Farm is specialty toy and book store in South Pasadena, and if your children weren’t fans of these prehistoric creatures before, they just may be after they step through the Dinosaur Farm door. Everything dinosaur is found here: cups, puzzles, games, merchandise, inflatables, party supplies, and much more.

There are also other collectibles outside of dinosaurs to be found. But it’s not just about buying a handful of toy gear; what makes this place so great is the experience it offers. The store opened in 1994, and has received a handful of awards and press mentions since. Forbes Magazine listed the Dinosaur Farm as one of the Top 10 Amazing Toy Stores, alongside nationally recognized brands like FAO Schwarz.

Partake in Parade Festivities

The city puts on the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade annually, and it’s an event you don’t want the kiddos to miss. Every year, this floral-based event takes on a different theme. In 2016, the theme was “Find Your Adventure,” while 2018’s theme was “Making A Difference.” The event coincides with the Rose Bowl Tournament festivities, where several cities in the area make a float to contribute to the high-energy parade event.

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San Pascual Stables

South Pasadena’s San Pascual Stables make for an ideal day-trip during a warm day. Like many local businesses in South Pasadena, San Pascual is steeped in history. The center has been in operation since 1978 and has been offering premier horseback riding lessons ever since.

The expert instructors work with any type of rider, at all age levels. The Riding Academy also offers “Mommy (or Daddy) & Me” lessons, as well as a summer camp program for children who really enjoy horses. They also host events during the holidays, like the free San Pascual Holiday Horse Show this past December, which offered pony rides, games, and food.

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Kidspace Children’s Museum 

The Kidspace Children’s Museum is Southern California’s premier family destination, and one look at their reviews can attest to this. There are so many activities here, that you’ll have to check the lineup to see what’s happening during a particular time. It’s true that Kidspace has it all: fun physics classes, art lessons, mud to play in, science experiments, playgrounds, and tunnels galore. These sites and exhibitions allow your children to explore, have fun, and learn. Check out the Free Family Night, which occurs on the first Tuesday of every month.