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Pasadena is alive with remarkable art collections, architecture, literature, and entertainment, so plan carefully to fit in everything on your must-see list.
Want to feast your eyes on Gainsborough’s masterpiece, “The Blue Boy”? It’s here at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Not to be outdone, Pasadena’s Norton Simon museum also has one of the most remarkable private art collections in the world. And don’t miss the Pacific Asia Museum, among just four institutions in the country dedicated exclusively to the arts and culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands. For a complete lists of Pasadena museums visit www.VisitPasadena.com.
The Huntington Library and Gardens is a wonderful museum housed in the mansion built in 1919 by Henry and Arabella Huntington. The museum recently underwent an extensive remodel, to enhance the visitor's experience observing the museum's large collection including "18th century British and French art, and on American art ranging from the early 18th to the early 20th century. Other objects of the same period round out the collection including French paintings, French and British sculpture, tapestries, furniture, porcelain, and silver, and British drawings and watercolors. The collections have continued to grow, both by gift and purchase, particularly in the area of American art. Temporary art exhibitions include shows derived substantially from The Huntington’s collections, as well as traveling exhibits from other museums throughout the United States and abroad. The Huntington is world-renowned as home to Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy and Lawrence’s Pinkie."
The Huntington Library and Gardens offers a free day, on the first Thursday of every month with advanced tickets.
Parking is also free daily.
Its extensive grounds (over 120 acres) offer interesting botanical specimens and tranqil open spaces to wander through. Large open lawns are a fun place for children to run and tumble, while shady paths make for a pleasant stroll out of the heat of the day.
Norton Simon Museum
View seven centuries of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, including works by Van Gogh, Picasso, Rembrandt, Fragonard and Rodin.
411 W. Colorado Blvd. - 626-449-6840 - nortonsimon.org
Housed in the historic Grace Nicholson mansion, the museum is dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and understanding of the arts and culture of Asia and the Pacific. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
46 N. Los Robles Ave. - 626-449-2742 - pacificasiamuseum.org
Pasadena Museum of California art (PMCA)
Around the corner from the Pacific Asia museum, PMCA is the only museum in southern California devoted exclusively to California art, architecture, and design. Open Wednesday–Sunday, noon–5 p.m.
490 E. Union St. - 626-568-3665 - pmcaonline.org
Kidspace Children’s Museum
Kids can create an earthquake in the shake Zone, scale climbing platforms on the raindrop and Wisteria Climbers, and bring samples of rocks, plant life, soil, or other natural objects to trade at the Kidspace Nature Exchange.
480 N. Arroyo Blvd. - 626-449-9144 - kidspacemuseum.org
Pasadena Museum of History
The History Center Galleries are also open to the public. The Fenyes mansion interior is closed through 2010.
470 W. Walnut St. - 626-577-1660 - pasadenahistory.org
The Armory Center for the Arts presents a gallery of contemporary art exhibits, as well as offers art education and studio classes in the visual arts. Admission is free. Unique works of art and accessible and informative staff make this a great place to visit in Pasadena.