Nestled in northeast Los Angeles county, Pasadena is the home of the annual Rose Bowl football game and the Tournament of Roses. Lawyer Laura Farber serves as the president for the flower-filled festival, which also includes the popular New Year’s Day parade. Farber started as a volunteer for the Tournament of Roses Association in 1993 and was elected to the Executive Committee in 2012. To say she's a fan of her home city is a bit of an understatement. We asked her to share her favorite stores for both locals and visiting spectators looking for worthwhile souvenirs.
1. Old Pasadena
"Old Town, as it’s known to locals, is home to a wide variety of retail shops and restaurants that offer something for everyone," says Farber. The neighborhood, which was established in the 1880s, has more than 300 shops and restaurants from local mom and pops to chain favorites to chic boutiques. Gold Bug offers one-of-a-kind gifts and jewelry, Lather has luxurious beauty and bath products, and the Peloton showroom provides eco-friendly indoor cycling options with a personalized tutorial.
Vroman's is an integral part of the Los Angeles literary community, offering regular events and readings with many recognizable authors. "It’s a great spot in the community with an extensive collection of books and it also has a wide range of gifts, including stationery, cards, and other really unique handmade gifts," says Farber. Check out the employee picks—they know good reads!
"The Huntington Gardens and galleries are not to be missed on any trip to the Pasadena area," Farber says, "but The Huntington Store is truly a hidden gem that can’t be missed." This popular tourist attraction includes a gift shop offering more than just mass-produced mementos. "The Huntington Store is a beautiful space and features eight thematic rooms along with a specially curated selection of seasonal gifts, books, and home decor relating to The Huntington's library, art, and botanical collections."
On the second Sunday of each month some 20,000 people visit the Rose Bowl Stadium for the world-famous Rose Bowl Flea Market. The stadium itself is a sight to behold as it is the home of the Granddaddy of Them All, The Rose Bowl Game, but the flea market is a fun stop for any visitor hunting for treasures. Be sure to arrive early to have your pick of the best items and wear comfortable shoes as it’s a full-day affair.
"The Soap Kitchen has been in Pasadena for over 10 years,” Farber says. “The store offers fresh, all-natural, and handmade soaps and candles. Not only does the store smell amazing when you walk in, but it also has a great selection of scents to cater to every individual. Their packaging is beautiful and their items make for great gifts for friends and family."