Shop, Dine and Enjoy Festive Happenings in This Charming Enclave of LA
Old Pasadena is a quaint Los Angeles alcove untouched by the metropolitan mover and shaker mentality, and that’s why we love it. It is refreshingly relaxed while still being infused with touches of the big-city life that we crave. Mom and pop shops and locally owned and operated eateries have put down roots between the preserved architecture, so it’s not all big box stores and chain restaurants. Old Pasadena is particularly picture-perfect during the holidays, when it pulls out all the stops to transform into a West Coast winter wonderland. Fun fact: Old Pasadena spans 22 blocks and hosts over 200 retailers and 100 restaurants!
The tree lighting takes place on Friday, Dec. 1 at Pasadena City Hall, and the holiday kickoff party happens the following evening. Throughout the month of December, Old Pasadena hosts a variety of cheer-filled workshops, crafting opportunities, shopping events and chances to sit down with Santa and tell him what’s on your Christmas list this year. This year’s holiday campaign is called “Make It Magical,” and they are doing just that—this is wholesome fun for the whole family.
Agnes is joining in on the holiday fun with food that reflects our yuletide nostalgia. Plus, anything that categorizes itself as a “cheesery” is right up our alley. They have a whole section of their menu categorized as Snackadoos, and with things like upscale tater tots and fancy eclairs, it’s all really working for us. Their menu is all about breaking (housemade) bread with friends and making memories over manchego and malbecs. Plus, they encourage grabbing grub to go from their sides n’ pies menu, featuring a variety of cheese platters, freshly baked breads, and festive sides and sweets. Just check out their Instagram for some drool-worthy ordering inspo!
Entre Nous is a cozy little French bistro with sparkling lights and champagne. Grab a seat at the bar and a Kir Royal while admiring the menu, which has plenty to snack on while you get in the holiday spirit. They are known for their steak tartare, which is a salty delight featuring different textures to keep your taste buds on their toes. Always end with the profiteroles—always.
You know Perle is good because it was selected to be a part of the Michelin Guide for the third year in a row this year! Another French foray, this delightful little destination is doing the holidays right with prix fixe menus and a la carte options. Their holiday decor usually includes pops of poinsettias and lush window wreaths. And if there’s ever an excuse to order caviar, this is the time.
You can’t be a Scrooge at Bone Kettle. This Southeast Asian spot is all about slow-cooking for maximum flavor. The bone marrow butter with sourdough bread will get the yuletide tears of joy flowing. They encourage family-style ordering, so diners can really get a taste of everything—from the blue crab toast and spicy papaya salad to the clams and donuts (don’t knock it till you try it!).
It’ll be a feliz Navidad at Dos Besos this holiday season with churros roasting on an open fire and langostinos nipping at your nose. This place is doing big batches of paella, which pair perfectly with their tortilla espanolas to kickstart your Christmas season. Say adios to Thanksgiving and hola to the holidays!
Ho-ho-holy mole! Maestro is one of our favorite date-night destinations in Old Pasadena, serving up authentic Mexican dishes with sides of mariachi and margaritas. Peruse the menu while picking at some plantains and guac, and don’t sleep on the beet salad. If you really want to impress Santa’s reindeer this year, swap out the carrots for a Maestro tres leches carrot cake instead.
With over 200 retailers in a 22-block span, Old Pasadena is the spot to cruise around and Christmas shop. With fan favorites like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Zara, you can get your closet on point for Christmas and get your workout gear ready for winter wonderlands at places like Vuori, Alo and Allbirds. Craving an outfit change? Eileen Fisher has you covered. Get your holiday home goods from Parachute and Pottery Barn, something special and shiny from Tiffany, and for the tech heads, there’s always Apple.
While we love our big-name stores, it’s the independent retailers that really bring the charm. Old Pasadena has a slew of small businesses slinging unique, often handmade goods for those one-of-a-kind gifts. Gold Bug is as quirky as they come, selling handcrafted jewelry and funky art pieces. Lather is another local shop selling everything skincare. Need a hostess gift for the holidays? Look no further than Homage. Got a vinyl junkie in your life? Score a rare record from Commune Records. Have an ornament exchange coming up? Maude Woods is your one-stop shop. And when in doubt, just show up with a bottle of something from Everson Royce.
When: Friday, Dec. 1
Join Victor Gordo for the Mayor’s Annual Holiday Tree Lighting, happening on Dec. 1 from 5-7 p.m. at Pasadena City Hall. Enjoy festive musical performances and a holiday craft contest. This is sure to get you in the spirit of the holidays with some extra special appearances—Santa? Is that you? Get there early to ensure parking and secure your prime spot to watch the town tree come to life. Live entertainment will be put on by local youth groups; it will be an amazing display of Old Pasadena city pride.
When: Saturday, Dec. 2
The Saturday after the tree lighting is the One Colorado Holiday Kickoff Party. On Dec. 2 from 5-8 p.m., you are invited to celebrate the season with local DJs, customization options for gifts purchased from One Colorado provided by Lot Stock & Barrel, and to-go rolls and cocktails from Sushi Roku. This will be a fun way to mingle and jingle all the way!
When: Fridays-Sundays, Nov. 24-Dec. 24
Celebrity sighting! Bring your loved ones and little ones to meet the season’s most popular person: Santa. One Colorado is hosting photos with Santa starting Nov. 24 through Dec. 24 on Friday from 5-9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. They will be hosting a special pet night on Sunday, Dec. 10 from 4-7 p.m., so be sure to bring your furry friend to get their photo with Santa. Pricing varies depending on the number of people in the photo, but plan to shell out between $30-$40 for 10 pictures on a memory card. Want to take your own photo? You’ll have a few minutes to snap the shot for $30.
When: Dec. 1-24
One Colorado will also be hosting a Holiday Tree Celebration, where nonprofits and retailers will be competing to be crowned best Christmas tree—all for a good cause, since they will be earning themselves donations to their respective charities. Trees will be on display in the communal courtyard and inside Industrious. Come on down and vote for your favorite tree to help retailers like Allbirds, Sushi Roku, Twigzz and Unicorn Store give back this holiday!