Pomona College Magazine
Volume 41. No. 1.
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#19
Visit Old Pasadena.

Once known for the Rose Bowl and old money, Pasadena now offers a vibrant urban scene that is closer to campus than other L.A.-area hangouts. The center of action is a stretch of Colorado Boulevard called Old Pasadena, where the once-fading historic storefronts today house trendy shops, theatres, bars and countless restaurants. The place is so popular that the city has installed unusual diagonal crosswalks to hasten the flow of pedestrians.

Success also has brought familiar upscale chains ranging from Banana Republic to Pottery Barn. The cuisine remains unique, with popular restaurants ranging from Mi Piace (Italian) to Xiomara (Cuban). Another fun spot is Soda Jerks, a retro soda fountain with drinks that include any variation on Coke and homemade ice cream you can imagine.

Pasadena’s Laemmle Theater is the closest art-house movie theater to campus and the independent Vroman’s bookstore is so famous for big-name book signings that it merited its own entry on this list. Pasadena also remains a center for culture, with such little jewels as the Norton Simon Museum and the Pacific Asia Museum. If you’re around for winter break, camping out all night to see the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day is a raucous good time.

You should know, however, that some locals prefer to skip crowded Old Pasadena for the nearby swanky shopping district on South Lake Avenue. Here you’ll find singer Jennifer Lopez’ Cuban eatery called Madre’s, the cheap-but-tasty surfer grub of Wahoo’s Fish Tacos and Peet’s Coffee & Tea, whose loyal fans insist this chain is superior to Starbucks.
 
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