South Pasadena voted to separate itself from Pasadena in the late 1800s, creating a small independent town of just 500 people. Today, South Pasadena has around 25,000 residents spanned over its 3 miles in the West San Gabriel Valley. The city is snugly situated between Pasadena and Los Angeles.
The original South Pasadena profited from tourism and agriculture. The city was home to Cawston Ostrich Farm, which was nationally renowned and drew trainloads of visitors from all over. It was also home to LA’s first grand resort, The Raymond Hotel, which drew in many East Coast visitors over the winter months.
South Pasadena, the City of Trees, is home to beautiful native California trees including redwoods, sequoias, and sycamores. The natural beauty is enhanced by the city’s thoughtful architecture which has been carefully preserved over the years.
Being a lovely Los Angeles County suburb, it is no surprise that South Pasadena has been a popular film location. Movies filmed here include Freaky Friday, Gone with the Wind, and Nightmare on Elm Street.
South Pasadena is a picture-perfect city in LA county. With its iconic history, gorgeous architecture, and vibrant community, South Pas is the epitome of California living.
South Pasadena is devoted to its local retailers, which contributes to the city’s homey atmosphere. The business district is lined with independent merchants that love to serve the community. Situated along Mission Street, shoppers can buy artisanal wines at Mission Wines, beautiful clothes at Jasleen Boutique, and vintage eyeglasses at Old Focals. The area also features art galleries, hand-crafted gift stores, and intimate music stores.
Along with many local residents, I love to stop by the famous Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain, a South Pasadena landmark since 1915. Situated along the original “Route 66,” Fair Oaks Pharmacy is a community staple where people gather for ice cream sundaes and rootbeer floats. And yes, the store also fills prescriptions.
South Pasadena is known as the City of Trees, with over 21,000 beautiful trees decorating its streets. Loved for its historic charm, Craftsman houses, and unique small businesses, South Pasadena truly epitomizes California living in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
This affluent city is beautiful year-round, and the residents enjoy exciting community events, like the popular Thursday farmers market in the South Pasadena Historic District and float building for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. At the heart of the historic district is the Meridian Iron Works Museum, which is housed in a landmarked building constructed in 1887. The museum teaches about the area’s rich past, displaying a collection of artifacts from the San Gabriel Valley and South Pasadena’s earliest years.
Another notable South Pasadena building is the Rialto Theatre, which blends Spanish Baroque and Egyption stylings. This landmarked building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, and it has been featured in numerous films and commercials, including the recent film La La Land.
South Pasadena has wonderful parks and green spaces. Residents like to stroll into the Lower Arroyo Seco, which has a trail that leads under the famous Colorado Street Bridge. Toward the middle of town, the beautiful Garfield Park offers huge lawns, gazebos, sports courts, and playgrounds.
The city is just 6 miles from Downtown Los Angeles, making the city commute quick and easy. Many residents work downtown.
The South Pasadena Unified School District was established in 1886. It serves about 4,800 students within the West San Gabriel Valley. The district is top-rated, with a reputation for providing high-quality education through its rigorous curriculum, excellent teachers, and committed community of families. Students within this district are consistently recognized for their achievements, earning honors at the local, state, and national level.
Through local PTAs, booster clubs, and the South Pasadena Educational Foundation, the district receives overwhelming support from parents and community members. The community recently approved a $98 million bond measure which will be put toward the modernization of the school, aligning itself with its high caliber academic programs and top-notch instruction.
Its three primary schools include Marengo Elementary School, Monterey Hills Elementary School, and Arroyo Vista Elementary School, and its two secondary schools are South Pasadena Middle School and South Pasadena High School.
South Pasadena also is close to many renowned private schools including Holy Family Catholic School, Mayfield Junior School, Mayfield Senior School, Polytechnic School, Westridge School for Girls, and Sequoyah School.