Pasadena’s business and commercial areas vary in composition, character and size. Each commercial area represents different opportunities for new businesses and consumers. We invite you to explore and get to know the various city business districts and commercial areas.
The City’s original business district, Old Pasadena is where old world charm meets modern convenience. Serviced by two Gold Line Rail stops, the district spans 22 blocks and features more than 300 businesses. Above the ground level, a variety of tech companies and small businesses have set-up shop taking advantage of the district’s amenities. The historic streets and alleyways, rustic brick facades, and architectural accents of Old Pasadena create an authentic streetscape of open-air eateries, specialty boutiques, galleries, theaters, and much more. To learn more, visit www.oldpasadena.org
Located within the downtown, the Playhouse District serves as the crossroads of culture, commerce and community. The Playhouse District covers 32 city blocks and has 24,000 workers within a half mile. National and regional retailers, Southern California’s oldest and largest independent bookstore, and numerous home furnishings and art boutiques combine to create a unique retail market. In addition, over 45 restaurants, bars, and coffee shops are within close proximity of museums, bookstores, and movie theaters. To learn more, visit www.playhousedistrict.org.
The South Lake Business District is a stone’s throw from the California Institute of Technology and Langham Hotel. Dubbed the “corporate center” of the city, South Lake Avenue supports a daytime population of over 56,000 people, not to mention, the average household income of the surrounding neighborhoods is over $100,000. The South Lake Avenue Business District provides a unique blend of shopping, dining, professional services and urban living all within 12-tree lined blocks. To learn more, visit www.southlakeavenue.org.
Civic Center is one of the grandest concentrations of Renaissance and Mediterranean architecture in all of the Los Angeles region. With buildings designed by some of California’s renowned architects of the 1920’s and 1930’s, the Civic Center is home to Pasadena’s City Hall, Central Library, Civic Auditorium, and other sites. In recent years, a number of fine dining establishments like Alexander’s Steakhouse, Flemmings, and Ruth’s Chris have opened their doors in the downtown. An area active with redevelopment, the Civic Center area includes “The Paseo,” an open air urban village with a soon-to-open six story mixed-use commercial/residential building & 179-room hotel, all within close proximity to the state-of-the-art Pasadena Convention Center with 55,000 square feet of exhibit hall, space, a 25,000 square foot ballroom, and 29 meeting rooms.
With such notable institutions as the Huntington Memorial Hospital and Art Center College of Design’s South Campus, it’s no wonder that the HeArt commercial area of Pasadena has evolved with such a strong base of medical and arts-related uses. In close proximity to the Metro Gold Line and other transit, the HeArt features specialty supermarkets, fitness and retail. Within the next few years, the Art Center College of Design is proposing to expand its South Campus with construction of dormitories, helping to create a 24-hour campus in the heart of Pasadena.
Recent years have seen a revitalization of the Northwest with the Lincoln corridor evolving into an urban and edgy destination drawing not only local, but also visitors from neighboring cities. New cafes, a microbrewery and micro distillery, an ice cream parlor, and creative shops have joined a merchant mix that includes existing nurseries and long-standing family-owned businesses affording residents and visitors to the area an array of dining, retail and fitness needs. With close proximity to JPL, the Lincoln corridor is also a viable tech cluster with several tech companies located within the Business Park of Pasadena.
Servicing both Pasadena and Altadena, East W is another up and coming commercial area with artisanal offerings becoming more popular for those looking to explore shopping and dining outside of the downtown. With revitalization of the eastern end of Washington at Hill Avenue, new restaurants, cafes and bakeries have energized Pasadena’s other boulevard, East Washington, providing locals and visitors a bevy of options for retail, fitness, fast food, and more all set against an eclectic set of instagrammable murals and artwork.
North Lake is centrally located and offers a variety of neighborhood-serving retail, dining, and service providers. One of the main thoroughfares between Altadena and Pasadena, North Lake is serviced by several transit lines, including a pilot transit program providing direct access to the popular hiking trails in the San Gabriels. For the foodie set, North Lake is the place to go for Southern comfort food, a world class Pastrami dip at the Hat, or authentic Italian groceries and dining at Roma’s Italian Deli & Grocery. Freshly milled artisinal bread offered at Seed Bakery has Los Angeles buzzing and is sure to be a catalyst for the renaissance of the North Lake area.
Fair Grove is vibrant and authentic, servicing a multi-cultural and multi-generational community of locals. Several new additions have complemented the dining, foodie and recreational offerings in the area. New additions include the bold contemporary design of Vallarta Supermarkets’ new concept grocery store, Coach Patty’s Gymnatics, and Elements Dance Space, with others coming online adjacent to the City’s state-of-the-art Robinson Park recreation area.
Lamanda Park was once full of citrus groves and wineries and serviced by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Today, the area features an eclectic mix of uses from auto and light industrial to tech and a variety of specialty stores and eateries including a newly remodeled Vons Center, the Chef’s Center of California (a shared kitchen incubator), the Whistle Stop, Poobah Records, and the Guitar Center. Within the next few years, an exciting new development will transform the former Avon Distribution site located on East Foothill Boulevard.
Hastings is a regional shopping destination that is freeway and and transit adjacent making it a convenient place to fulfill one’s shopping and dining needs. Home to top producing retailers, several stores in the area offer consumers bargain rates coupled with high quality merchandise. Two fitness centers, specialty food markets, the first Panda Inn Restaurant and A Noise Within Theater Company can also be found in Hastings.
The College area is buzzing with student activity from the California Institute of Technology and Pasadena City College. Given the large consumer base, the College area is peppered with a wide variety of dining options including Chick-Fil-A, one of 22 retail spaces in the US to be honored with a Gold Award by the Association of Retail Environments. Caltech’s Chen Neurosciences Center is currently under construction and a new hotel/mixed-use development is planned for the corner of Hill & Colorado.
Wheels, rounds and a nice cup of freshly roasted coffee are just a few of the many options in the Walnut commercial area. Walnut is the go-to for specialty auto repair and good hamburgers, including In’n’Out Burgers, Tops Burgers and the all new Tom’s Famous Family Restaurant. Walnut is also home to the Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative (a hub for biotech startups), Waterworks, Club Champion Gymnastics. Light rail commuters and Angelenos in the know can be found inside Jameson Coffee Roasters enjoying a cup of joe amidst industrial and vintage decor.