Some neighborhoods are great to live in even though tourists may come and crowd the place on week-ends. Pasadena is one of them, with places like the Norton Simon and the Huntington Gardens to explore, it attracts tourists and residents alike.
There are fabulous bakeries, like Emma's which has the best pastries outside of Europe. With mouthwatering almond croissants and crumbly butter cookies, it is the kind of pastry shop you would find in any fine European city. It's right across from the Huntington Hospital so if you are visiting someone who would smile if you brought them a cookie or pastry, go to Emma's before your visit and lift someone's spirits.
Mi Piace ("I like it" in Italian) in the heart of Old Town is the best Italian cafe in the area, with sidewalk seating in the middle of town just like the best cafes in Italy. You can be part of town and watching it at the same time. Classic Northern Italian food and desserts are deliciously prepared with friendly service and a relaxed atmosphere.
If you crave sushi, then head to the square by the theatres for Sushi Roku, the inventive sushi place that will leave you salivating for their jalapeno hamachi or caviar specialties.
If you love to cook and you would rather cook than eat out, then you can spend an entire day at Crate and Barrel or Sur La Table, where you can find anything you could wish for to cook any recipe, as well as any cookbooks you may want.
Plenty of places to play in Pasadena, now it's up to you to choose where.