Arts & Entertainment
The Armory Center for the Arts, housed in Pasadena’s historic 1932 National Guard Building, serves as the city’s hub for art education in its myriad forms. It originated as the education department of the Pasadena Art Museum in 1947 with classes led by artists whose teaching concepts grew out of the museum's exhibitions of modern art. This education program became known as the Pasadena Art Workshops after the museum closed in 1974. Without a permanent space for exhibitions, the workshops used professional artists as teachers and focused on the development of arts programs that presented alternative forms of learning. By working in partnerships with schools, libraries, parks, neighborhood groups, community centers, and city agencies, the museum’s programs brought the arts to new audiences – a trend that continues to this day.
Opening in its permanent space on Raymond Avenue in 1989, the center underwent a $2.4 million transformation in 2002 to create an additional 6,800 square feet of classrooms and studio spaces for drawing and painting, digital arts, and photography. Today it offers a wide range of programs and studio classes for all ages (in-person and online), as well as exhibitions in its galleries, year around. Galleries are open by appointment Fridays from 3:00 to 7:00pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00pm. Admission is always free.
The Gamble House, one of Pasadena’s landmark treasures, is an outstanding example of American Arts and Crafts style architecture. The house and furnishings were designed by Charles and Henry Greene in 1908 for David and Mary Gamble of the Procter & Gamble Company. The house, a National Historic Landmark, is owned by the City of Pasadena and operated by the University of Southern California and is open for public tours.
One-hour, docent-led tours are available to the public Thursday-Sunday. Tours begin at noon with the last tour beginning at 3:00pm. Advance ticket reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets may be purchased in the bookstore on the day of the tour or in advance by booking online or by calling 844.325.0812.
On Tuesdays, The Gamble House is open for lunch-time tours. Guests can settle in with their brown-bag lunch (not provided) on the picturesque rear terrace or lawn between 11:30am and 1:30pm. Two 20-minute docent-led short tours will be given at 12:15 and 12:45 every Tuesday. Advance ticket purchase is recommended; tickets cost $8.
Nestled into a hillside in Pasadena’s Brookside Park, just a stone’s throw away from the famed Rose Bowl, Kidspace Children's Museum is a place where everyone wants to be a kid. Opened in 2004 and expanded several times since, it is designed to provide creative environments that inspire learning through self-directed, interactive experiences and play in the arts, sciences, and humanities.
Exhibits are most-certainly hands-on and designed to excite all the senses. Its 2.2 acres of outdoor learning environments is remarkable, offering a running creek, treehouses, gardens, the Splash Dance Fountains, climbing structures, the science-themed Galvin Physics Forest, and so much more. Indoors, guests can enjoy arts and crafts opportunities and nature exhibitions, see what an earthquake feels like, and play in the Ant Hole and Climbing Towers. Infants and toddlers have their very own room that is quieter, softer, and filled with age-appropriate materials.
The Museum offers a robust calendar of events and workshops throughout the year; visit the website for complete information.
Note: Kidspace is closed each Monday between September and May, as well as any Saturday in the fall when UCLA is playing a game at the Rose Bowl.
The Norton Simon Museum holds one of the world's finest and most prestigious collections of art. Reflecting the extraordinary effort and vision of its founder, it stands as a tribute to human civilizations, the visual arts, and the nobility of individual accomplishment.
The permanent collections consist of Western and Asian art from a period spanning more than 2,000 years. European and American masterpieces -- including paintings, sculpture, works on paper and photography -- are complemented by stunning art works from India and Southeast Asia. The Museum holds an extensive print collection, which includes rare etchings by Rembrandt and Goya, as well as a comprehensive collection of Picasso graphics. The collection also includes the Galka E. Scheyer Collection of works by the Blue Four artists: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, and Klee.
Located just outside Old Pasadena's boundaries and easily walkable from the district, the Museum is housed in a unique building originally designed by architects Ladd & Kelsey in 1969, with recently updated interiors by Frank O. Gehry & Associates. It boasts a beautiful garden, inspired by Monet's Giverny. The Norton Simon is a true Pasadena landmark, promoting art education through a variety of programs, which include special exhibitions, tours, children's programming, and lectures.
The Pasadena Museum of History’s collections, exhibits, and programs provide educational resources for the public to increase understanding and appreciation of history, culture, and science in Pasadena and neighboring communities. Founded in 1924 as the Pasadena Historical Society, the Pasadena Museum of History operates the only Museum and Research Library devoted solely to preserving and educating the community about the history of Pasadena and the west San Gabriel Valley.
The Museum's valuable archival collection includes over 1,000,000 historical photographs, original manuscripts, books, maps, architectural records, costumes, and other artifacts. Spanning the years 1850 to present, this is the largest and most comprehensive collection relating to the history of the west San Gabriel Valley. Significant collections include the Tournament of Roses Collection, Pasadena Black History Collection, Pasadena Star-News historic archives, and the Sylvanus Marston Architectural Collection.
Since 1970, the Museum has been headquartered on the 2.1-acre grounds of the Fenyes Estate, a Pasadena Cultural Landmark that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Museum's 1906 Beaux Arts Fenyes Mansion contains approximately thirteen rooms with original Victorian furnishing and a historically significant painting collection. Named for its founders, Eva and Adalbert Fenyes, the home became a California version of the kind of "salon" popular on the East Coast and in Europe.