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5 Things to See and Do in Pasadena, California

Updated on January 1, 2015

Festive Floats Made from Fresh Flowers


1. Tour the Wrigley Mansion

Little did William Wrigley know that In 1914, when he purchased the 18,500 sq. ft. Stimson mansion for $170,000, that one day it would become the prestigious Tournament of Roses Headquarters, the mecca of New Eve's Eve and New Year's Day activities.

Located on Millionaire Row in Pasadena, it was one of the Wrigley's six homes. This mansion was made with one foot thick steel and concrete walls to protect the structure from California Earthquakes.

Wrigley did not like the appearance of the house next door, so he purchased it and leveled the home to turn the area into the Wrigley Gardens. The gardens have more than 1,500 varieties of roses, camellias and annuals.

Enjoying the festivities by the Tournament of Roses each New Year's Day, Wrigley applied to join the private social club, The Valley Hunt Club most noted for starting the Tournament of Roses Parade in 1890.

When his membership was rejected from the prestigious circle, maybe because he wasn't a full-time resident, William Wrigley Jr. was miffed. He made it known to his family that when he and Ada died, the family would deed the 4.25 acre property with the mansion and gardens to the City of Pasadena for the exclusive use as the Tournament of Roses Headquarters.

Members of the Tournament of Roses offers free tours of the house throughout the year. Go to

Tournament of Roses House and Gardens


2. Go See a Rose Bowl Football Game on New Year's Day

On January 1, 2015 the Oregon Ducks champions of the Pac-12 Conference, and Florida State Seminoles, champions of the ACC Conference, are playing in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at 1:30 p.m. PT at the historic Rose Bowl Stadium.


Do you watch the Rose Parade even New Year's morning?

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Decorating the Floats


3. Watch the Rose Parade Up Close

William Wrigley enjoyed coming to their Pasadena home before New Year's Eve each year. In the morning they would part the curtains in the Master bedroom to watch a festival of flowers, music, equestrians and sports unequaled to anywhere else in the world.

It's America's New Year Celebration, a greeting to the world on the first day of the year, and a salute to the community spirit and love of pageantry that have thrived in Pasadena for more than 100 years.

The floats are made from structural steel elements and organic materials that include flowers, seeds and fruit. Many floats, along with their drive train, include computer-controlled robotic mechanisms to animate the floats.

You can purchase stadium seats along Colorado Blvd. or find a free place to sit or stand along Sierra Madre Blvd. after the parade begins.

Brave souls camp out on NYE along the parade route to see the festivities in Pasadena.

It takes 60 volunteers working 10 hours a day for 10 days to decorate one float.

Where to Stay in Pasadena

Courtyard by Marriott
The Westin
Langham Huntington
In Old Town
Good location
elegant rooms with marble baths,
(626) 403-7600
(626) 792-2727
(626) 568-3900

Dining in Pasadena

Slater's 50/50
800 Degrees
City Thai
61 Raymond Ave.
2 East Colorado Blvd
48 South Fair Oaks Ave.
(626) 765-9700
(626) 993-6455
(626) 577-1500

4. Band Fest

Bandfest presented by REMO features the various bands selected to participate in the 2015 Rose Parade. Over the course of two days, each band, along with its auxiliary performers, will present the field show that has led to its success. It takes place at the Pasadena City College on December 29 and 30, 2014.

Go to to see the schedule and how to purchase tickets.

An All-Girls Marching Band From Denmark


5. Tour the Rose Bowl Stadium

There are guided tours available to the public through a National Historic Landmark.

Public tours are offered twice a day at 10:30AM and 12:30PM, Thursday through Sunday. Guided Tour Ticket Pricing for Adults is $17.50 and $14.50 for students, military and seniors.Call (626) 275-2714 for Group Tickets or email

You will gain access into the original 1922 locker room and the new Terry Donahue Pavilion. See the Loge Lounge, the Working Press Box and walk out onto the field. Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to tour start time. Afterwards, have lunch at the Brookside Golf Course Cafe open to the public.


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