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Coffee & Culture in Pasadena

February 6, 2018 No Comments
Those of us on the East side of L.A. County are so fortunate. If we feel like taking in a little art after breakfast, it’s totally doable without driving into downtown. Here’s what we did on Super Bowl Sunday instead of sitting on a couch and gorging on fried foods. 


Our schedules are not very condusive to family time lately, so when we all had a day off when everyone else would probably be in front of their TVs or at a bar, we decided to have a little local outing that included cofee and culture. Our first stop was Again Cafe x Chibiscus Ramen on the always adorable Green Street in Pasadena. When you hear of a place that serves breakfast in the morning and ramen in the evening, what’s taking you so long? Although they have a waffle and salad menu, we opted for pastries as caffiene was what we really needed this AM. I’m already planning on coming back for a bowl of hot ramen if these “winter” nights ever start cooling off! 
Here are my other Pasadena picks for breakfast (complete with fantasic coffee options):


The Norton Simon Museum rests in the heart of Pasadena. You’ve probably seen it as the backdrop of the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. Nestled between the busy Colorado Blvd. shopping district and historic Pasadena homes built with old money, it can be easy to miss if you don’t know where to find it. Parking is free and admission is free to kids and students. In grad school, I would come here in between classes to study in the Sculpture Garden or wander the 19th Century wing to stare at my favorite Degas painting, Waiting

The Norton Simon is small enough to cover in a couple of hours and you don’t feel like you’re missing much if you have the family in tow and the little ones get bored. My kiddo has wandered many a museum around the world, so she’s pretty good, wanting to know what each placard says and more recently wondering why so many people are without clothing! 

The upper level houses art from the 14th-20 centuries with an impressive collection of Degas, Picasso, and Rembrandt. Degas is especially well represented here as it is the permanent home of one of the Little Dancer, aged fourteen sculptures. Currently, there is an entire special exhibit dedicated to the sculptures of Degas on the lower level. The lower level also feeds my interest in South & Southeast Asian artwork with Buddha and Shiva statues at every glance. 

The museum houses a theater that features a variety of art films and documentaries, but also mainstream movies. When they held a special exhibit of Andy Warhol that featured a painting of the title of the 1982 film, Annie, they showed the beloved movie in the theater. Around the outside of the museum, you will find a sculpture garden with an easy, walkable path around a pond filled with ducks and tadpoles, as well as several impressive sculptures, including many by Rodin. There is also an outdoor cafe and one of my all-time favorite museum stores. Not only can you take home artwork featuring your favorite piece, but there is a huge selection of children’s educational toys, an endless amount of stationary, and an art book library like I’ve never seen. 

The Norton Simon does not feel like a trek where you have to dedicate your entire day to art gazing. It’s easy and accessible while being one of those places where you can visit old favorites and see some featured exhibits. 

Here are my other picks for culture in Pasadena:

The Pasadena Playhouse
The Huntington Library (see blog post here). 
The Pasadena Museum of California Art
The Boston Court Performing Arts Theatre





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About Me

Dr. Shiloh

Travel has always been a part of my life and I have found the key to making it a part of my professional experience. Expect recaps of great destinations, advice on incorporating travel into your work & tips on making travel with a family easier. Cheerio!


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