As the largest city in the San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena is the commercial and cultural heart of the area. And although a suburb of nearby Los Angeles, California, the city of Pasadena has a downtown of its own that rivals those of other major American cities. The heart of downtown Pasadena is an area known as Old Pasadena, or Old Town, depending on who you ask. It's centered on the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue with Colorado Boulevard being the city's Main Street.
Downtown Pasadena is about twelve miles away from downtown Los Angeles. Pasadena's downtown area is not far from the Interstate 210 freeway, State Route 134 interchange. You can also reach the area via the Metro Gold Line Light Rail, which stops just south of Old Pasadena at the Del Mar Station and just north of Old Pasadena at the Memorial Park Station. Downtown Pasadena's Main Street is Colorado Boulevard, from the 210 Freeway to the west to about Mentor Avenue to the east. Also Lake Avenue has businesses for several blocks north and south of Colorado Boulevard. Another interesting Main Street area is the Americana at Brand development in nearby Glendale.
Downtown Pasadena mixes historic architecture with more modern high-rises scattered throughout the area.
Shops, cafes, and night clubs line Colorado Boulevard in Old Pasadena.
Colorado Boulevard serves as Pasadena's Main Street. The heart of Old Pasadena is where Colorado intersects with Fair Oaks Avenue.
We start our tour at the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Oakland Avenue. We'll head west but this is a view looking east towards Pasadena's Playhouse District.
A shopper walks past the Linden Optometry Building, a stunning example of art deco architecture with its green glazed-tile exterior.
More shops and restaurants at the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Los Robles Avenue.
A more modern mixed-use building takes up the 300 block of East Colorado Boulevard.
Paseo Colorado is an outdoor mall just to the east of Old Pasadena. Despite being a mall, it still provides a relatively pedestrian friendly exterior along Colorado Boulevard.
A two-story courtyard and a movie theater are at the heart of Paseo Colorado.
This is the Garfield Promenade at Paseo Colorado. Notice the outdoor kiosks? Also you'll find public restrooms just inside.
Another modern building with retail and restaurants on the ground floor across from Paseo Colorado.
A mid-rise apartment building featuring shops and cafes on the first two floors.
Pasadena's City Hall is just a few blocks off Colorado Boulevard and an excellent example of Mediterranean Revival architecture.
A mix of architectural styles on the 200 block of East Colorado Boulevard.
BJ's Brewhouse is located on the ground floor of the Pacific Southwest Trust and Savings Bank, an example of Second Renaissance Revival architecture.
These two modern office buildings on the 100 block of East Colorado Boulevard don't feature restaurants and retail on the first floor, creating a break in the window shopping. They are also the divide between Old Pasadena and the Paseo Colorado district.
This historic building at the intersection of Arroyo Parkway and Colorado Boulevard is also home to a Mexican restaurant.
A view looking north on Raymond Avenue towards Colorado Boulevard and the San Gabriel Mountains.
Window shoppers stroll past sidewalk cafes on the zero hundred block of East Colorado Boulevard.
Boutiques, sidewalk cafes, and historic architecture can be found on the zero hundred block of East Colorado Boulevard.
Here is another view of the historic architecture near the heart of Pasadena on Colorado Boulevard.
Another view of the zero hundred block of East Colorado Boulevard. This one is looking east towards Raymond Avenue.
Colorful and sometimes futuristic logos and designs mix with the historic architecture on Colorado Boulevard.
Shoppers walk past the stores on Colorado Boulevard near the heart of Pasadena, California.
Built in 1929, The Exchange Block Building is an excellent example of Classical Revival architecture.
Fair Oaks Avenue divides Colorado Boulevard between East and West. This intersection forms the heart of Pasadena, California.
The Container Store is a major chain store located a full block off Colorado Boulevard at the intersection of Fair Oaks Avenue and Union Street, on the site of the former Pasadena City Hall. Its architectural style reflects the building that once stood there.
Boutiques, palm trees, and ornate architecture can be found along the zero hundred block of West Colorado Boulevard.
Shoppers stroll along the wide, tree-lined sidewalks on Colorado Boulevard.
A view of Colorado Boulevard looking east towards its intersection with Fair Oaks Avenue.
Mercantile Place is a small alley that runs parallel to Colorado Boulevard on its south side.
A busy street scene at the intersection of Fair Oaks Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in Old Pasadena.
Shops and cafes line narrow Mills Place just to the south of Colorado Boulevard.
Familiar chains can be found on the zero hundred block of West Colorado Boulevard near the heart of Pasadena.
The upscale stores reflect the high rents in this part of Pasadena at the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and De Lacey Avenue. Notice the diagonal crosswalk at the bottom of the photo?
This more modern building is located on the 100 block of West Colorado Boulevard.
Shops and outdoor dining can be found along Colorado Boulevard, including some familiar brands.
Here is another view of Colorado Boulevard and De Lacey Avenue, including another view of the diagonal sidewalk. Forever 21 makes its home where Saks Fifth Avenue used to live.
You can still find independent retailers just off Colorado Boulevard such as this one on South De Lacey Avenue.
Shoppers stroll the 100 block of West Colorado Boulevard. The Barnes and Noble is now closed.
An Urban Outfitters now occupies the Wood and Jones Building on Colorado Boulevard.
More shops and ornate architecture along the 100 block of West Colorado Boulevard in Old Pasadena.
When you reach the 210 Freeway, you know you've made it to the far western end of Old Pasadena.
Head a few blocks south on Arroyo Parkway to pick up the Metro Gold Line Light Rail at the Del Mar Station.
A light rail train pulls into the Del Mar Station which serves the south side of Old Pasadena. The Memorial Park Station serves the north side of Old Pasadena.
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