Pasadena, CA: Livability Top 100 Best Places to Live 2014

By Stephanie Stewart-Howard on October 15, 2013 at 11:03 pm EST

Pasadena’s one-two punch of sustainability combined with historic preservation makes it the kind of place residents benefit from and truly appreciate living in. While we know it for the Rose Bowl or from TV’s The Big Bang Theory, there’s richness to the city’s culture that goes well beyond the basics.

The sustainable side manifests in extreme walkability and exceptional public transportation, as well as dedication to responsible, livable environmental stewardship. A recent renovation of the city hall to LEED Gold certification standards underlines that commitment.

The historic preservation element complements that, underlined by the vast number of fine surviving California Craftsman 19th- and early 20th-century homes. “It’s really not unusual here to see families pass down houses for generations,” says Leann Lampe of the Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Added to the city’s progressive planning is an abiding commitment to art, science and scholarship, as the city is home to powerhouses, including the California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Norton Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena City College, Pacific Asia Museum, California School of Culinary Arts and Art Center College of Design. The jobs sector is likewise permeated with technical, engineering, education, pharmaceutical and medical professionals, plus appeal to the creative classes.

The city is family friendly and more relaxed than the assumed high-octane and sometimes gruff Southern California standard. “Pasadena has a genuine, friendly, welcoming quality,” says Lampe. Abundant verdant parks and green spaces, including a 130-acre recreation area adjacent to the Rose Bowl geared at residents specifically appeal to families.

With a dedicated culinary culture and more restaurants per capita than Manhattan, the city invites gracious living. The restored and thriving Old Pasadena, a central component of the city’s downtown, revives the city’s past while encouraging the growth of local retail and restaurant businesses, along with the influx of high-end outside retail in a beautiful setting.

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