With the BCS National Championship Game just six days away, Pasadena is preparing for an influx of Auburn and Florida State fans.
“We’re expecting 93,000 attendees,” said Christine Susa of the Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s nothing new to us to host big teams.”
Susa added because most local hotels have a three-night minimum, she expects fans to start arriving Friday and Saturday for Monday's game, which kicks off at approximately 7:30 p.m.
“We would love for them to stay the whole week,” she said.
And with three districts full of museums, restaurants and shopping, it just might take a week to experience the best of Pasadena.
» Old Pasadena is a 22-block National Historic District that features turn-of-the-century architecture and 200 shops, galleries and bistros.
“If they’re interested in arts and culture, there are lots of architectural arts here,” Susa said. “You can actually see the history of the city in the architecture.”
Visit www.oldpasadena.org for maps and a list of attractions.
» Old Pasadena also boasts the Gamble House. Built in 1908 for one of the founders of Procter & Gamble, the American Arts and Crafts-style home is a National Historic Landmark open for public tours. Check out www.gamblehouse.org for tour information.
» Art lovers can find another haven in Old Pasadena. The Norton Simon Museum of Art features masterpieces by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Picasso and Degas. Current exhibits include 20th Century sculptures and the Spanish artist Francisco de Goya y Lucientes’ paintings and rare prints. Visit www.nortonsimon.org for more information.
» Just minutes outside of Pasadena in San Marino, The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens welcomes visitors to explore 150 acres of gardens and a library filled with rare manuscripts. The Huntington’s art collections feature both American and European works. See www.Huntington.org for hours and admission.
» In addition to the Norton Simon and the Huntington museums, Susa said Pasadena’s younger visitors have a museum of their very own. Her top destination for children 10 and younger is the Kidspace Children’s Museum. Kidspace is home to indoor and outdoor hands-on learning stations where kids can explore science and the environment. Check out www.kispacemuseum.org for a full list of the museum’s kid-centric activities.
» For teens and adults, Susa suggests Pasadena’s shopping and movie theaters. The Paseo Colorado is an outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment district that runs along historic Colorado Boulevard. Paseo Colorado is home to dozens of stores, which are listed at www.paseocoloradopasadena.com, along with current sales.
» As for theaters, Susa’s top choice is iPic, which goes beyond screening newly-released movies.
“You sit down and you can order your food in your seat,” Susa said.
Theater guests can also order a drink from the full bar, along with a pillow and blanket. For more information, visit www.ipic.com.
» Susa also encouraged Tigers fans to take a bite out of some of Pasadena’s best burger joints.
Pie ’n Burger has been serving Pasadena patty melts and rhubarb pie since 1963. Susa described the diner-style restaurant as “very old-school.”
For a more modern take on an old favorite, Susa suggests Slater’s 50/50 and Umami Burger.
Slater’s is a sports bar that serves craft beer paired with gourmet burgers.
“They do a burger patty that has 50 percent bacon and 50 percent beef,” she said. “It’s rich.”
Umami Burger is a franchise native to southern California. The burgers are served with house-made sauces and adventurous sides, like truffle fries, for a uniquely Californian treat.
“It’s one of my favorites,” Susa said.
For more information on everything from restaurants to attractions to where to park, Susa encouraged visitors to call Pasadena’s visitor hotline at 877-793-9911 and download the free, interactive GoPasadena app.