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15 Pros and Cons of living in Pasadena, CA

Written by Zach Spanton

Pasadena, California, is a thriving city located at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. Despite its proximity to Los Angeles, this city has all the charm you’d expect from the Southland.

It is not only a suburb of Los Angeles; it is its own city with a bustling commercial community, highly regarded art museums, gorgeous residential architecture, and cultural assets.

Thinking of moving to this city? Pasadena has its fair share of good and bad, so let’s check out fifteen pros and cons of living in this city!

Pros of Living in Pasadena

1. It is home to the California Institute of Technology

Even while Pasadena is known for its beautiful scenery and agricultural abundance, it was the city’s prestigious universities that propelled it to prominence.

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) was founded in 1891 and has since become a preeminent institution for the study and practice of technological and scientific disciplines around the globe. Since the 1940s, the aerospace industry has had deep roots in Pasadena, with many local graduates finding employment at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory or The Aerospace Company in adjacent Old Pasadena.

Nonetheless, Pasadena City College and the Los Angeles County Conservatory of Music also attract a wide range of students, proving that the City of Roses is not merely a hub for aspiring scientists and engineers.

2. The city has a lot of historic charm

Until the turn of the twentieth century, Pasadena was largely rural, like the rest of Los Angeles.

Due to Los Angeles’s explosive growth, Pasadena went from a rural agricultural area to a glamorous vacation destination in the early 20th century. Many longtime Angelenos in the 1920s, including the Gamble family, settled in the Arroyo Park region because they adored the rolling hills and the craftsman architecture it represented. 

Many excellent surviving specimens of the Arts and Crafts style remain today, easily recognizable by their overhanging eaves and rough-hewn wooden beams.

3. Get a job in the technology sector

Because of CalTech, the aerospace and applied sciences industries have a long history in Pasadena. But, along with the rest of Los Angeles, it has deep ties to the IT industry. Formerly populated by enterprises founded by aerospace and science majors, Old Pasadena is now dominated by tech companies.

Companies including Automatic Data Processing (ADP), Spokeo (SPK), and Everbridge (EVR) have established offices in the area surrounding CalTech, which has attracted several new residents and investors to the area. Tech companies and startups compete for office space in Pasadena because of the area’s convenient location in suburban Los Angeles County.

4. Come out for the UCLA Bruins games or the Rose Bowl game

Many people relocate to the Pasadena area to become immersed in the city’s thriving sports culture.

Several thousands of locals gather each fall for UCLA Bruins football games, demonstrating the city’s fervent support for the sport. On January 1st, there is the Rose Bowl game, and the following day is the Tournament of Roses Parade.

5. Visit the Norton Simon Art Museum

Pasadena’s many museums and art galleries contribute to the city’s charm. Nonetheless, the Norton Simon Art Museum is the cultural crown gem of Pasadena, with world-famous European and Asian art collections.

The museum was established in 1969 and features a garden with sculptures and several halls with paintings and tapestries. The almost 11,000 works of art placed here make for a great way to spend a weekend.

6. Its proximity to Los Angeles

The city’s proximity to Los Angeles is a major selling point for Pasadena real estate. Several major freeways—the 210, 110, 710, and 134—pass through Pasadena.

The 210-710 Interchange is conveniently located in Old Pasadena, making it easy for locals to get to other parts of Los Angeles. Commuters from Pasadena can take the 110 south to go to the Sunset Strip, as it is located just northeast of Downtown Los Angeles.

7. The low humidity makes the weather enjoyable

Pasadena is a pleasant area to live in, but it gets hotter in the summer, and much colder in the winter than Los Angeles does since it is further from the Pacific Ocean. Summertime highs in Pasadena often top 100 degrees Fahrenheit, yet even the coldest winter nights rarely dip below 45 degrees. 

But there is a major upside to living further inland, away from the Pacific Ocean: the low humidity lessens the extremes of the hottest and coldest months. Temperatures in the heat and cold aren’t as oppressive as they would be in a city like New York.

8. Take a trip to nearby Mount Wilson or Mt. San Antonio

When you leave Pasadena and head east, the landscape will suddenly become more mountainous.

The Angeles National Forest is located to the east and north of the region, and the Mount Wilson Range is the first mountain range you’ll come across. Skiing, hiking, and mountain biking are just a few of the activities that can be enjoyed once travelers reach the mountains.

The highest point in Los Angeles County is located atop Mt. San Antonio, which is a popular destination for hikers. Trails for hiking can be found all around the peak, and in the winter, a ski lift makes it even more appealing.

9. Enjoy high-speed internet

In and around Pasadena, residents can now take advantage of lightning-fast internet speeds. In contrast to more rural locations, Pasadena has access to powerful and fast internet, thanks to the city’s urban status and closeness to other large cities.

Companies and universities alike can benefit from faster and more reliable internet connections. Most people in the Pasadena area have access to high-speed Internet connections that use either the 4G or 4G+ standards.

10. Visit the famous Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens

A two-for-one deal, the library has over 700,000 rare books, many of which are restricted to scholars. The museum also houses a sizeable art collection that highlights works by British and Continental artists from the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as American artists from the early 18th century to the current day. 

The Botanical Gardens are 120 acres and feature everything from a desert garden to a Chinese and Japanese garden. Marnie, Heathers, Indecent Exposure, and The Good Place are just a few movies and TV shows that have used it as a setting.

Cons of Living in Pasadena

1. The roads are always busy

You can expect heavy traffic in and around Pasadena, especially on a weekday morning and afternoon commutes. For a typical commute, which may involve sitting in traffic, factor in at least an extra 30 minutes.

Yet, only about 7% of people in the city actually use carpooling services, despite the fact that they could help reduce traffic congestion. While there is access to public transit, less than 8% of residents actually make use of it.

2. Living costs are 60% higher than the national average

The price of living can be quite high in the Golden State. That’s undeniably the situation for people living in Pasadena, where the cost of living is 85% more than the U.S. average.

Although higher wages help to alleviate some of these expenses, this region is still consistently ranked among the most expensive in both California and the United States.

The cost of housing, for instance, has risen dramatically and shows no signs of stopping. The city’s median home price is currently $1,059,020.

3. Poor air quality

Sunsets in California, particularly in Los Angeles, are famous for their rich colors and long duration. A lot of the polluted air that settles over Los Angeles and the surrounding area each evening is responsible for the city’s famous nighttime technicolor displays.

This, combined with Pasadena’s location in a valley with mountains to the east, results in some of the most filthy air in the country for locals to breathe. As Pasadena is so close to Los Angeles, its citizens experience many of the same health issues as those in the city of angels.

4. The rapid growth of the city is causing environmental damage

As the population in Pasadena and the rest of California rises, stress will be placed on the city’s and state’s dwindling supply of natural resources and open areas. Urban sprawl is changing forests and grasslands, and the effects are already visible.

Some impacts, such as those on air and water quality, are less obvious. In many cases, the degradation of such resources cannot be recognized unless they are tested regularly.

5. There’s the risk of earthquakes and other natural disasters

Although Pasadena typically experiences pleasant weather, the city is not immune to the possibility of extreme weather or natural disasters.

To begin, Californians ought to have earthquake supplies on hand. Pasadena will, of course, occasionally experience the trembling that is so characteristic of the Golden State.

People and property can also be damaged by mudslides, wildfires, and hurricane-force winds.

In Conclusion

Living in Pasadena offers access to many benefits, such as an abundance of job opportunities, great weather, high-quality schools, and fun activities to enjoy.

On the other hand, one should equally consider the cons, such as the high cost of living, traffic problems, and environmental damage. 

Learn More About Living in Pasadena, CA

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