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Pasadena Jan. 6-9 for BCS National Championship Game

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Florence, Alabama
posts: 32
Pasadena Jan. 6-9 for BCS National Championship Game

My husband and I are heading out to Pasadena on Wednesday, Jan. 6. We are staying at the Residence Inn in Pasadena/Arcadia (hope it's clean & safe!). Here's what we are thinking for our trip, and we'd love any advice, tips, or thoughts from the local experts...

Wednesday, Jan 6: Arrive at Ontario airport around 5:20 p.m. Pick up rental car & head to the hotel to check in. Will traffic be awful at this time? We will want to grab something for dinner. Should we look for something near the Ontario area (to let traffic clear some) or wait until getting into the Arcadia area?

Thursday, Jan. 7: Game Day!! We will probably just plan to drive to the game and park...any better tips? We are planning to arrive early and spend the day at the ESPN tailgate party prior to the game.

Friday, Jan. 8: Sightseeing day! We are thinking we would like to go to the Hollywood area...Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese (can you do a tour?), etc. We are also thinking about doing some type of studio tour this day...any suggestions of which one would be best? Should we do studio tour in the morning and Hollywood area in the afternoon or vice versa? Any good restaurant suggestions for the area (we like American, Italian, etc...no Asian, etc.). We thought about spending the evening at the Santa Monica pier...although there may not be time or we're thinking it would it be too far away with traffic?

Saturday, Jan. 9: Flight leaves Ontario airport at 9:15 a.m. What time should we leave our hotel in Arcadia?

Thanks in advance for any advice...and Roll Tide! =)

Los Angeles...
posts: 2
reviews: 10
1. Re: Pasadena Jan. 6-9 for BCS National Championship Game

Hi there,

When you arrive on Wednesday late afternoon, yes, traffic will be bad BUT you will be going against traffic to get to Arcadia. Ontario is about 30 miles east of Arcadia, if I recall correctly. I have not been to that Residence Inn but Arcadia is very safe.

Have dinner in Claremont -- that is on the way to Arcadia (about 10-15 miles west of Ontario). Go to the Village -- a charming, walkable, quaint area with shops, eateries, etc. -- it's right next to the highly-regarded Claremont Colleges. There is a GREAT tapas place there, but I can't remember the name off the top of my head. There's also other restaurants there -- Walter's is nice.

Here are a few links:



I assume the game will be at the Rose Bowl, yes? Then you will want to stay in Pasadena to eat. Most folks recommend Old Town Pasadena, which is the main shopping/restaurant district. But it can get very crowded, esp. on game days. So here are suggestions for a few restaurants on the perimeters of Old Town or nearby -- which means easier and cheaper parking. And that is KEY.

La Grande Orange: This charming restaurant is next to a train depot (the Gold Line going to downtown LA), and is classy yet casual. Parking is next door in a parking garage -- free for the first 90 minutes if you get your ticket validated in the restaurant. Or you can park via valet right in front of the restaurant (not sure how much this costs). If it's a nice day, sit on the outdoor patio. It has really good food -- a friend and I ate lunch here yesterday, and we split a seared tuna burger/fries and a chicken and spinach salad. Really tasty, and we are big food snobs. La Grande Orange also has a decent beer selection, and is known for its white sangria.

Here's the restaurant's URL: http://www.lgostationcafe.com/

Green Street Tavern is also LOVELY -- a bit more expensive, though. This is right below the heart of Old Town, so parking may be a wee more difficult here if the nearby parking garage is full. We had our dept. holiday dinner here: http://www.greenstreettavern.net/

Since it seems that you're sports fans, there's also the Yardhouse in the Pasadena Paseo shopping center. By the way, this shopping center is outdoors and is very nice to stroll around. The Yardhouse has every beer imaginable, and the food is actually quite good (I'm not a sports bar fan, but I was impressed with this place) and inventive. Be aware, though, that this place might get pretty crowded, esp. on a game day.

The URL for Pasadena Paseo (click on dining to get info on the Yardhouse): http://www.paseocoloradopasadena.com/

Re sightseeing: I don't know anything about Hollywood "star" tours, so I can't help you there. Maybe someone else on this forum can chime in. However, I do recommend spending time in Santa Monica. Try to get there in the afternoon -- you'll want to spend a bit of time there. Just walking up and down the Boardwalk and into Venice Beach is nice. Lots of interesting vendors on the Boardwalk. And ride the ferris wheel!

One restaurant recommendation: The Lobster. It's right in front of the ferris wheel and it looks touristy -- but both the food and service are excellent. FYI: It is not cheap, but seafood never is. The Lobster has a wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean and the boardwalk (watch the sun set), so get a table by the windows. http://www.thelobster.com/index.php

On Saturday, as long as you leave the hotel by 7 AM, that should give you plenty of time to get to Ontario Int'l Airport.

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 13,835
reviews: 57
2. Re: Pasadena Jan. 6-9 for BCS National Championship Game

For game day, I would not drive directly to the game. Parking and traffic will be a mess anywhere near there. Instead, I'd suggest that you drive to the Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line station (149 North Halstead St.). There is a free 950 space parking lot here (get here earlier so that you can get a parking space).

Then take the Gold Line train from here (this is the last station, the train only runs in one direction from here) and exit at the Memorial Park Station. Walk 1/4 mile west on Holly St. to the Parsons Corporation. Free shuttle buses will be leaving from here to the stadium. Alternatively, you can walk from the Memorial Park Station directly to the stadium (about 1 3/4 miles).

Re: Studio Tours - the two most popular are Universal Studios (in Universal City) and Warner Brothers (in Burbank). Universal is a working studio, but this is more of a theme park experience. The theme park includes a studio tour (along with rides and other attractions), which is done on trams in large groups of several hundred people. Warner Brothers is really just a studio, and the tours are done in small groups on golf carts. The conventional wisdom on the LA area boards is that Warner Brothers is better if you are really interested in the inner workings of TV production etc. Universal is more of the "gee whiz" special effects / theme park experience.

Both of the above are close enough to Hollywood that you can easily do both one after the other. For Hollywood, the main attractions are located around the intersection of Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave. You can park under the big shopping complex on the northwest corner for pretty cheap - you just need to buy something inexpensive (like a cup of coffee) and get your parking validated by one of the merchants in the center. One restaurant of interest is Musso & Frank's Grill which is one of these "institution" type places in LA that have been around forever, lots of history to the place with movie stars etc., and they make a mean martini :)

You can certainly go to the pier in Santa Monica as well, though you might want to do that in the morning, do the studio tour in the afternoon and then do Hollywood in the evening, as, IMHO, Santa Monica is best enjoyed during daylight hours when you can see the ocean etc.

I'd suggest trying to stay off the road as much as possible during rush hours, which are roughly 7:00AM-9:00AM and 4:30PM - 7:00 PM, especially when transiting between Hollywood and Santa Monica, which are across town from one-another.

You might also try and squeeze in a trip to the Griffith Observatory, perhaps the night you arrive if you are not too tired - great views of the city from up there along with a very nice astronomy center, and a little piece of LA movie lore (James Dean / Rebel Without a Cause has some famous scenes there, among other films). If not the night you arrive, then maybe on the 8th - if you can try to be there at sunset.

laguna niguel, ca
Destination Expert
for Honolulu
posts: 7,103
reviews: 12
3. Re: Pasadena Jan. 6-9 for BCS National Championship Game

This isn't Bermuda so it will get cold after dark so be sure to bring a jacket, also if you drive, just go for the golf course, but be very careful to take note where you park your car. They usually have some balloon markers which are not a lot of help. Look for a backtstop or tree that you can easily indentify. There are always a bunch of people who have no clue as to where they parked, everything looks these same after dark.

There are usually some big alumni parties outside that you might want to go to.

Rose Bowl has very small tunnels and they jamb up close to game time so be sure to get in your seat at least 1/2 hour early or you will miss the flyover.

Florence, Alabama
posts: 32
4. Re: Pasadena Jan. 6-9 for BCS National Championship Game

Thanks so much for all the tips...they have been very helpful!! I'll plan to print this off and carry it with me on our trip. If you think of anything else, please let me know! =)

pasadena, ca
posts: 4,915
reviews: 22
5. Re: Pasadena Jan. 6-9 for BCS National Championship Game

You've gotten great advice here. I think you might get lucky on the drive from Ontario, as the traffic will be jammed going the other direction, but may well be clear heading west toward Arcadia.

I like Claremont, and particularly like Walters, as recommended-- but if you decide to just continue to Arcadia, there are plenty of restaurants near your hotel, including some (mostly chain restaurants) within walking distance. The Residence Inn is in a pleasant, upper middle class residential community. Not exciting, but definitely safe. There is a regional mall with some restaurants (Cheesecake Factory, etc) nearby, as well as restaurants along Huntington Drive very close to the hotel.

Florence, Alabama
posts: 32
6. Re: Pasadena Jan. 6-9 for BCS National Championship Game

Thanks! Maybe we will get lucky with the traffic from Ontario. We knew this airport would be a little further of a drive...but it was a nonstop flight both coming and going, & it was the cheapest!! We'll research some of the restaurants a little further this week and probably base our decision on how hungry we are when we leave the airport. Glad to hear the Residence Inn is in a safe location. Most of the reviews I've read have been pretty good, and we were looking for something close to the Pasadena area.

7. Re: Pasadena Jan. 6-9 for BCS National Championship Game

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