Pasadena’s art, gar­dens and his­tory make a good LA side trip

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Pasadena is lo­cated 15 miles (24 km) north­west of Los An­ge­les, at the foot of the San Gabriel Moun­tains. In­cor­po­rated in 1886, this city of 140,000 re­tains much of its 19th cen­tury charm. But as home to the Cal­i­for­nia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy and NASA’s un­manned space ef­fort, it’s no stranger to moder­nity. Whether you have a day or more to spend, here are few world-class des­ti­na­tions to con­sider vis­it­ing that will give you a taste of the past, present and the fu­ture within a com­pact 23-mile (37-km) ra­dius.

Hunt­ing­ton library art col­lec­tions & botan­i­cal gar­dens

The Hunt­ing­ton is con­sid­ered one of the top cul­tural at­trac­tions in the greater Los An­ge­les area, and is home to one of the finest col­lec­tions of Bri­tish por­trai­ture in the world. Its col­lec­tion in­cludes Thomas Gains­bor­ough’s “Blue Boy,” a 1455 copy of the Guten­berg Bible, a rare man­u­script of Chaucer’s “Can­ter­bury Tale”s and a signed let­ter from Abra­ham Lin­coln to Ulysses S. Grant. The com­plex has 12 gar­dens fea­tur­ing 15,000 plants and flow­ers dis­played in ecosys­tems rang­ing from deserts to jun­gles. There also is a chil­dren’s gar­den and one show­cas­ing the work of mas­ter Chi­nese crafts­men from Suzhou. Open daily 10 am - 5 pm. Closed Tues­days.

Nor­ton Si­mon mu­seum of art

This pri­vate mu­seum was founded in 1922 by the in­dus­tri­al­ist Nor­ton Si­mon, who col­lected Euro­pean mas­ter­pieces from the Re­nais­sance to the 20th cen­tury, as well as Asian art span­ning 2,000 years. It is con­sid­ered one of the world’s finest small art mu­se­ums, gain­ing praise for its ren­o­va­tions by famed ar­chi­tect Frank Gehry. Among the 12,000 pieces in the col­lec­tion are works by Rem­brandt, Rodin, van Gogh, De­gas, Pi­casso and Matisse. Open daily ex­cept Tues­day, plus evening hours Fri­day-Sun­day.

Jet Propul­sion Lab

You’d don’t have to be a fan of “The Big Bang The­ory” to take a tour of NASA’s Jet Propul­sion Lab. This cen­ter, op­er­ated by the Cal­i­for­nia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (where “Big Bang”‘s Shel­don and are Leonard are physi­cists), man­ages 19 space­craft, in­clud­ing the Cu­rios­ity rover on Mars. Pub­lic tours, fea­tur­ing the flight mis­sion con­trol room, are avail­able twice weekly at 1 pm. The tours fill up months in ad­vance.

Old Pasadena

One of three main shop­ping and en­ter­tain­ment dis­tricts in Pasadena, this 22-block his­tor­i­cal area still re­tains many of its 19th cen­tury roots, thanks to his­toric preser­va­tion. It was des­ig­nated a Na­tional Reg­is­ter His­toric District in 1983, and re­mains full of Vic­to­rian, Mis­sion Re­vival and Art Deco build­ings that give off a Euro­pean vibe with its pedes­trian-friendly streets and his­toric al­leys.

The 200 shops house re­tail chains like the Gap, An­thro­polo­gie and For­ever 21, art gal­leries, bou­tiques and an­tique stores. There are 100 restau­rants, din­ers, cof­fee shops and bars. Travel just 2 miles to South Pasadena and grab a shake or malt at the Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Foun­tain, built in 1915 along the west­ern­most stop of Route 66.

The Lang­ham Hunt­ing­ton

This his­toric ho­tel orig­i­nally opened in 1907 and was re­designed seven years later by Rose Bowl ar­chi­tect My­ron Hunt. It added the first Olympic-sized swim­ming pool in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia in the mid-1920s and is now fa­mous for its lovely wooden Pic­ture Bridge, used as a back­drop in movies and TV shows in­clud­ing “90210” and “Scan­dal.” Nonguests can take the daily his­tor­i­cal tour at 2 p.m., stroll among the 23 acres (9 hectares) of land­scap­ing or par­take in a tra­di­tional Bri­tish tea served on Wedg­wood china. Tea ser­vice starts at $42.

The Gam­ble House

The Gam­ble House was de­signed as a win­ter res­i­dence in 1908 by ar­chi­tects Greene & Greene for David Berry Gam­ble, a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion mem­ber of the Cincin­nati-based Proc­ter & Gam­ble Co. fam­ily, and his wife Mary. It is renowned as an out­stand­ing ex­am­ple of Amer­i­can Arts and Crafts style ar­chi­tec­ture. The house was des­ig­nated a Na­tional His­toric Land­mark in 1978, and is now owned by the City of Pasadena and op­er­ated by the Uni­ver­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. One-hour do­cent-led tours held Thurs­day-Sun­day.

Pho­tos shows Urth Caffe in Old Pasadena, a 22-block his­tor­i­cal area hous­ing hun­dreds of shops, gal­leries, restau­rants and bars in Pasadena, Calif.

Photo shows the en­trance to The Hunt­ing­ton Library Art Col­lec­tions & Botan­i­cal Gar­dens in Pasadena, Calif.

In this file photo, school chil­dren look from a view­ing gallery at NASA en­gi­neers work­ing on the rover Cu­rios­ity at the Mars Sci­ence Lab­o­ra­tory, at the Jet Propul­sion Lab­o­ra­tory in Pasadena, Calif.

In this file photo, the Nor­ton Si­mon Mu­seum is seen in Pasadena, Calif.

This photo shows the Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Foun­tain in South Pasadena, Calif. — AP pho­tos

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