Moving to Pasadena

Welcome to the first step of your exciting journey towards moving to the charming city of Pasadena! Nestled in the heart of sunny California, Pasadena is a vibrant and eclectic city that artfully blends respectable history with lively modern living. With its world-class cultural institutions, bustling shopping streets, and lush parks, Pasadena is the perfect blend of big city attractions with a small town feel. In this comprehensive Pasadena relocation guide, we'll uncover every nook and cranny of the city to help you make the transition feel like a breeze. Buckle up, your great Pasadena adventure has just begun!

Moving to Pasadena, CA landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Pasadena

1. Picture Perfect Beauty Awaits You

You might've seen more of Pasadena than you realize without ever setting foot in the city. Its beautiful, leafy streets, historic architecture, and vibrant rose gardens have graced countless films and television shows. It's a perfect blend of urban and suburban, offering peace and quiet when you need it, and a bustling city vibe when you're craving for some action. Check the city's official website for more information here.

2. A Rose by Any Other Name

Pasadena is famous for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl football game. The city's flower-lined parade and spirited match are customary New Year's Day events that attract visitors from around the world. Whether you're a sports fan or a lover of spectacle, these iconic events have something to delight everyone. Additionally, living in Pasadena gives you home advantage via resident access to tickets before the general public.

3. Pasadena Weather is Everything

Situating at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, Pasadena boasts of a weather system that could make most American cities green (or dry arid brown) with envy. There are over 280 days of sunny skies, punctuated by sublimely mild winters. This climate makes outdoor living and recreation a year-round option. Check Pasadena's weather here.

4. Home of the Eiffel Tower...Sort Of

Now here's a fun piece of trivia. Did you know Gustave Eiffel, the man who engineered the Eiffel Tower, also played a part in Pasadena's history? He engineered the staircase in Pasadena's grand City Hall.

5. A Foodie Paradise

Let's not forget about the food! Pasadena's culinary scene is incredibly diverse, offering everything from food trucks dishing out crispy gourmet tacos, to high-end steakhouses and Japanese Izakayas. The city also hosts a food and wine festival, The Taste of Pasadena, where you can explore local cuisine to your heart's content. Here are some top restaurants in Pasadena.

6. Prices Can Be Steep But Worth It

Living in paradise has its price. While Pasadena presents an appealing picture, with a cost of living 47% higher than the national average, it's not the most budget-friendly destination for everyone. However, most residents will tell you the quality of life, breathtaking surroundings, and thriving culture scene make it worth every penny. Check the cost of living here.

7. An Intellectual Hub

Beyond roses and movie scenes, Pasadena is also home to some pretty big brains. The California Institute of Technology (Caltech), one of the world's top science and engineering institutes, is located here. And let's not forget the NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where you can explore the universe without ever leaving town. Grab your thinking cap!

8. Secret Staircases to Explore

Lastly, another gem tucked away in Pasadena are the historic staircases built into the city's hilly terrain. These now-forgotten pedestrian thoroughfares were once an essential part of the city's landscape. Find them, explore them and treat each one as your private stairway to hidden views and undiscovered corners of Pasadena. Not many people know about it, but now you do! Check out these amazing staircases.

There you have it, eight fun and informative insights that you should know about moving to Pasadena, California. This city offers much more than what meets the eye: a melange of climate-perfection, historical charm, intellectual stimuli, and gastronomical delights. Now, get packin'! No matter where you come from, Pasadena is ready to welcome you with open arms and picture-perfect beauty.

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Pros and Cons of Living in Pasadena

Pros of Living in Pasadena

Rich Cultural Scene

Pasadena offers a vibrant cultural scene that includes numerous museums, art galleries, and theatres. Whether you're an art lover or a history buff, you'll enjoy attractions like Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena Museum of California Art, and the Armory Center for the Arts.

Nature and Outdoor Activities

Living in Pasadena gives you access to a plethora of outdoor activities. The city is in close proximity to the San Gabriel mountains, offering opportunities for hiking, biking, and camping. The stunning Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens are also a must-visit for nature lovers.

Exceptional Dining and Shopping

Pasadena offers an array of dining options ranging from cozy cafes to high-end restaurants. The city is also known for its unique boutiques and antique stores, particularly in areas like the Playhouse District and Old Pasadena.

Excellent Education Institutions

Pasadena is home to some prestigious education institutions including the renowned California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Pasadena City College. The city's school district also offers some highly rated schools, making the city an attractive option for families.

Festivals and Events

The city hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, most notably the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game on New Year's Day. These events contribute to a vibrant community life and offer plenty of opportunities for enjoyment and participation.

Cons of Living in Pasadena

High Cost of Living

Pasadena's cost of living is considerably high, even by California's standards. This can mostly be attributed to high housing costs, but you might also find everyday items like groceries and healthcare to be pricier than the national average.

Traffic and Parking Issues

Like many parts of Southern California, Pasadena can have heavy traffic, especially during rush hours. Parking, particularly in downtown and around popular attractions, can be difficult to find and sometimes expensive.

Smog and Air Quality

Pasadena can at times have issues with smog and air quality due to its closeness to Los Angeles and other large metropolitan areas. This could be a concern for individuals with respiratory conditions, or anyone prioritizing a clean environment.

Hot Summers

While Pasadena generally enjoys a pleasant Mediterranean climate, summers can get very hot. Temperatures can soar above 100 degrees, which might not be comfortable for everyone.


Because Pasadena is a bustling city, it can get quite noisy, particularly in downtown areas or near major roadways. If you're looking for peace and quiet, you might need to consider living in the more residential neighborhoods away from the hubbub.

Modern day picture of Pasadena, CA highlighting pros and cons of living in Pasadena, CA

Is Pasadena a Good Place to Live?

Pasadena, CA is a great place to live because of its perfect mix of city life, small-town charm, and close proximity to nature. It also boasts a thriving arts scene, beautiful architecture, and is home to the annual Rose Bowl game. The city is renowned for its sunny weather, friendly people, and the many shopping and dining options, making it a vibrant and attractive place to reside.

What Is Pasadena Famous For?

The Rose Bowl Stadium

This iconic stadium is the home of the annual college football game, also known as the Rose Bowl Game, which is held on New Year's Day. Aside from sports, the Rose Bowl Stadium has also hosted numerous high-profile concerts and events, making it an integral part of Pasadena's identity.

The Tournament of Roses Parade

Each year on New Year's Day, Pasadena comes alive with the Tournament of Roses Parade. This colorful spectacle, known for its meticulously crafted, flower-adorned floats, marching bands, and equestrian performances, draws millions of viewers both on TV and along the parade route.

Norton Simon Museum

Arguably one of Southern California's most impressive art museums, the Norton Simon Museum houses a remarkable collection of European Renaissance art, South Asian sculptures, and contemporary pieces. Visitors can also enjoy the museum's beautifully landscaped sculpture garden.

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

This world-renowned institution is not just famous for shaping some of the brightest minds in the world, but it also has managed to attract fame through pop culture by being the academic home of characters in the popular TV show, "The Big Bang Theory". Caltech is at the forefront of research in science and engineering, making it a symbol of intellectual rigor in Pasadena.

Capital building of Pasadena, CA in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

In Pasadena, CA, the property tax rate for 2023 is set at 1.125% of the home's assessed value, which is actually lower than the national average property tax rate of 1.211%. It's also slightly less than the overall California average of 1.15%.

Sales Tax

As of 2023, the sales tax rate in Pasadena is currently 10.25%, making it one of the cities with the highest rates in the U.S., where the average sales tax is approximately 7.12%. It exceeds the California average sales tax, which is around 8.56%.

Income Tax

The income tax rate in Pasadena aligns with the state of California's progressive income tax system, potentially ranging from 1% to 13.3% as of 2023. This is notably higher than the average state income tax rates, which typically top out around 4.6% on the higher end.

Housing Market

In Pasadena, CA, the housing market is significantly pricier than in most of the US. The median home value is around $898k, much higher than the national average of $277k. Rentals, too, are more expensive, with the median rent standing at $2,800 compared to the US median of $1,650. Pasadena's housing market is competitive. However, its proximity to key destinations, thriving job market and status as a cultural hub make it an appealing choice despite the cost.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Pasadena, California is significantly higher than the national average and more costly than many other cities in the U.S. The combined expenses of housing, groceries, health services, taxes, transportation, and utilities contribute to its steep cost. Despite this, the city offers cultural richness, top-notch education, and beautiful sceneries that often justify the higher living costs for its residents.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Pasadena, California, is characterized by a Mediterranean climate, renowned for its comfortably warm, dry summers and mildly wet, cool winters. Average summer temperatures often exceed 85degF while winter temperatures usually range around 50degF. Sunshine is abundant, with approximately 280 sunny days per year. Rainfall is rare during summer months but winters can bring about 20 inches of precipitation. While this city is primarily free of typical natural disasters like tornadoes or hurricanes, it is situated in the seismically active state of California. Consequently, earthquakes can pose a significant risk. Also, the hot, dry summer conditions may sometimes lead to wildfires. However, the beautiful weather, combined with stunning views of the San Gabriel Mountains, makes Pasadena a captivating place to reside or visit.

Typical weather in Pasadena, CA

Economy & Job Market

* Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

* Healthcare and Social Assistance

* Retail Trade

* Educational Services

* Manufacturing

With a cheeky wink to its history, Pasadena, CA still wears its "City of Roses" title with pride, but these days the scent mingling with the roses is more "technical innovation" than "citrus groves". Once a citrus fruit empire, Pasadena has successfully pivoted to a more modern economy without losing its sweet charm. Presently, it proudly hosts top industries such as professional, scientific, and technical services turning out amazing innovations like a high-tech conveyor belt at a sushi bar. The healthcare and social assistance industry is like a caring older sibling, supporting Pasadenians in their everyday lives. Let's not forget the retail trade industry, playing its part like a big fashion show, always ready to assist residents in keeping up with the latest trends. Educational services are like the city's nerdy friend, always there to lend a helping hand for those eager to learn while the manufacturing industry remains as solid as that aunt who's always baking for family gatherings.

If you're packing your bags and daydreaming about the sunny skies of Pasadena, you're in luck! The city has an unemployment rate lower than the national average, meaning there is ample opportunity for your job hunt. The professional, scientific and technical services sector is the most generous employer in the city, so if you're a techie or a wizard in the lab, you're in for a treat. Not your scene? No worries, the healthcare and social assistance industry might just be your cup of tea. Nurses, social workers, therapists and more, come in all and join the fun. Also noteworthy is the city's educational sector, which houses some well-renowned institutions. Tips for job seekers? Rubbing shoulders with the right crowd at the Rose Bowl Stadium might just pave the way to your dream job in Pasadena! Make sure to keep your resumes updated and your LinkedIn profiles handy! Here's to landing in the beautiful City of Roses with a soft, job-filled landing!

Traffic and Transportation

Greetings from sunny Pasadena, CA, a city practically humming with energy from people on the move! Whether they're driving, biking or taking public transport, Pasadenians are on the move. The average commute time is about 24 minutes, which is way under the national average - who said Californians are always in a hurry?

Hold your horses - are you not keen on driving? No worries! Pasadena offers a plethora of public transportation options, like the Metro Rail Gold Line, equipped with free Wi-Fi, and buses to ensure that you can read this blog on the go! Or bike lanes galore, for those preferring an eco-friendly mode of transport.

And if you need to fly? Well, we've got you covered there too. Two major airports are just a hop, skip, and a jump away - literally! Pasadena is located knee-buckling close to the Burbank and Los Angeles International Airports, making air travel as breezy as the Pacific Ocean air. So, where in Pasadena are you off to?

What is the traffic like in Pasadena, CA?

Best Neighborhoods in Pasadena

1. Old Town Pasadena

Steeped in historic charm, Old Town Pasadena is no less than a hub of culture and entertainment. Its vibrant streets are lined with restored Victorian-era buildings, now home to a diverse mix of hip boutiques, sleek bars, and culinary hotspots. The area also hosts one of the biggest weekly street fairs, the Old Pasadena Farmers Market, offering a delightful mix of farm-fresh produce and artisanal trinkets. For a unique nightlife experience, hit the buzzing Colorado Boulevard, with its eclectic mix of live music venues, theaters, and comedy clubs. Plus, the Raymond Avenue light rail station provides an excellent transit connect to the rest of the city.

2. South Lake

Living in South Lake means being right in the heart of Pasadena's business district. This posh neighborhood boasts a slew of commercial office buildings, high-end retail outlets, and well-attended eateries. Residents enjoy the luxury of being a stone's throw away from the beautiful San Marino Gardens, the trendy South Lake Avenue, and the shopper's paradise that is The Shops on Lake Avenue. And for those who desire a bit of tranquility amidst the bustling city life, the calming reflection pool of Corporate Center Pasadena is perfect.

3. Bungalow Heaven

True to its name, Bungalow Heaven is a serene residential retreat dotted with quaint, beautifully preserved California bungalows. The canopy of towering deodar cedar trees gives this historic landmark district an otherworldly charm that's both heartwarming and captivating. Just a skip away from Victory Park and Pasadena City College, this neighborhood is ideal for those who love quiet suburbs but don't want to compromise on the city's conveniences.

4. Playhouse District

Creatives and culture enthusiasts will feel right at home in Playhouse District. This neighborhood is a vibrant cultural hub, housing the renowned Pasadena Playhouse, several art galleries, museums, and educational institutions. Playhouse District also satisfies your gastronomical cravings with its collection of cuisines from around the world. But comfort food isn't far behind with plenty of chill brunch spots and quirky coffee houses.

5. Madison Heights

Gorgeous Craftsman homes, lush tree-lined streets, and easy access to recreational hubs define Madison Heights. Situated centrally between Old Town and South Pasadena, this neighborhood offers the best of both worlds. And if all that isn't enough, Madison Heights is just a short hop from Allendale Park and the popular shopping district on Lake Avenue, making it an instant attraction for outdoorsy types and shopaholics alike.

All in all, Pasadena is not just a city of roses but also a city of diverse neighborhoods, each one distinct from the other. Each offers its unique blend of history, culture, recreation, and modern living, making it a vibrant and welcoming place for newcomers. So, whether you're an art lover, a foodie, or someone seeking tranquility amidst city life, you'll find your ideal neighborhood in Pasadena. Happy house-hunting!

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Things to Do

New to the City of Roses, Pasadena, California? You're in for a thrilling adventure! With its allure of exquisite architecture, world-class museums, and fabulous food scenes, Pasadena has something for everyone. Buckle up as we explore seven top things you should do once you move to this charming city.

1. Adore Art at The Norton Simon Museum

Uncover the works of world-renowned artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Diego Rivera at the Norton Simon Museum. With a vast collection spanning over 2,000 years, you can hop on a journey through time. And when you want a break, stroll its delightful sculpture garden featuring over 70 sculptures.

2. Explore Eaton Canyon Natural Area

You don't have to be a hiker to appreciate the scenic beauty of Eaton Canyon. An easy trail leads straight to a splashing waterfall, making it a perfect family day-out destination. Plus, its nature center presents informative exhibits about local fauna and flora.

3. Witness History at Gamble House

A trip to Pasadena is incomplete without visiting the primal masterpiece of American Arts and Crafts movement, the Gamble House. Enjoy a guided tour, marvel at its intricate woodwork, and soak in the fascinating history behind this architectural legend.

4. Dine and Shop at Old Town Pasadena

Head to Old Town Pasadena, where modernity meets tradition. Lined with unique boutiques, fine-dining restaurants, and classic pubs, it's an ideal place for indulging in retail therapy or savoring a sumptuous meal.

5. Visit Professor Arnold's Secret Lab at Kidspace Children's Museum

Off the beaten path and immensely fun, the Kidspace Children's Museum sits at Brookside Park. It's a wonderland where little ones can engage in hands-on exhibits, but the real thrill is Professor Arnold's secret laboratory. Here, kids can participate in outlandish science experiments, becoming mini Einsteins in the process!

6. Discover Unusual Plants at Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

More than just a library, Huntington is a trove of rare books, art, and dazzling gardens spanning 120 acres. However, few people know about its lesser-known sections like the 'Desert Garden.' Home to unusual cacti and succulents, venturing here feels like landing on an alien plant-filled world!

7. Catch a Show at the Pasadena Playhouse

Pasadena Playhouse is California's State Theatre and a premier destination for top-notch performances. Enjoy an evening show, immerse in the art of storytelling, and perhaps, spot a Hollywood star in the audience!

There you go - seven unique experiences that make Pasadena truly enchanting. So whether you love art, nature, food, or history, this eclectic city is ready to mesmerize you. Get set to embark on extraordinary adventures and make memorable moments in Pasadena, California!

Things to do in Pasadena, CA?

Find Movers for Your Pasadena Relocation

Pasadena, with its rich history, vibrant cultural scene and ample amenities, is an ideal destination for relocations. As the prospect of a move to this unique city starts to materialize into a plan, ensuring a smooth transition is paramount. Great Guys Moving is poised to assist in making this move effortless, connecting you with the best and most affordable movers in the industry. Simply by providing a few key details of your move, tailored quotes from licensed and insured moving companies can be swiftly on their way to you. Begin your journey to Pasadena the right way; secure a free moving quote through Great Guys Moving today.

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