Old Town Pasadena is an amazing place to hang out, chill, and savor delicious food. Old Town first began as the center of the industrial hub that helped companies like CalTech, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Beckman Instruments, and Aerojet become the institutions they are today. It is not only known for its fun and interesting history, but also for its fascinating architecture, dating back to around the 1880s. But due to Old Town being such a large and diverse area, deciding where to eat or have fun can be a challenge. Here are a few amazing places that I love and recommend you try the next time you are in Old Town:
21 Choices: This small but amazing frozen yogurt place is a spot I go to every time I am in Old Pasadena. Their frozen yogurt is not quite ice cream and not quite frozen yogurt, it is unique. Not only do they make delicious and unique flavors of frozen yogurt, such as New York Cheesecake, Coconut Walnut Brownie, and Honey Roasted Peanuts, but you can add “mix-ins,” such as candy, fresh fruit, and other sweet and savory toppings, which they can chop up and mix in to your yogurt in front of you while you wait for it. They also make milkshakes that will blow you away. Although there are often long lines here, it is worth every second of the wait. Some of the favorites include the caramel coffee toffee yogurt, California strawberry yogurt, strawberry Nutella mix-in, and banana cream pie mix-in.
Swedish Scoops: Arguably the best ice cream in Old Pasadena, this is cheap, delicious and has authentic Swedish ice cream that blew me away the first time I tried it. Swedish ice cream is different from normal ice cream in the sense that it uses a thicker cream. The smooth, rich, and refreshing texture is very relieving on a hot day like we as Californians experience too often. Unlike most other places on this list, Swedish Scoops is not as crowded or packed, which is great news for some people, especially when it is hot out. Some of the best flavors to get there are the lemon, banana, pineapple, vanilla, tiramisu, and coconut.
Lucky Baldwin’s Pub: If you are a huge sports fan like me, and you like British food and culture, this is definitely the place for you. Although I have not been to this place in a while, I adore the food and have many memories of me watching Premier League Soccer early in the morning at Lucky Baldwin’s Pub. This small and simple restaurant/bar that looks like something out of the 1960s serves traditional British breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and has a perfect atmosphere and environment to watch sports. Some of the best things to get there are the fish and chips, bangers and mash, chicken and vegetable pie, chicken curry, and the NY style steak.
Intelligentsia Coffee: Coffee and tea are my two all-time favorite drinks. They are warm, delicious, and get me through the day, but picking the right place to get them can be a challenge for people like me who love these drinks. It was a challenge for me until I discovered Intelligentsia Coffee. This rather large but cozy coffee shop in the heart of Old Pasadena is one of, if not, the greatest coffee shops I have ever been to. Although the coffee, tea, and food is a little pricey (ranging from $7–$10 for both tea and coffee), I promise it is worth it, and something you will not forget. On top of the good food, good coffee, and good tea, it is a nice cozy place where you can work on your homework or any other assignments. Some of the best coffee selections are the Kenya Maywal coffee, Black Cat Espresso, El Diablo Dark Roast, and Intelligentsia House Blend. For tea, try the Jasmine Peach Tea, Jasmine Green Tea, Moroccan Mint Tea, Bao Zhong Tea, Earl Grey Tea, and last but not least, English Breakfast Tea.
Amara Cafe & Restaurant: This is the place where I first tried Venezuelan food and really became aware of how underrated this cuisine is. It is similar to other cuisines in South America but experiments more with delicious ingredients such as pork, bananas, and green peppers. Although this place is petite and often crowded with long lines, the authentic Venezuelan food and hot chocolate are to die for. Similar to Intelligentsia Coffee, the food is a little pricey (ranging from about $20–$35), but it is without a doubt worth every penny. Some of the best things to get there include the beef Cabrera, la suegra, tuna melt, trio patacones, el torero, and ice cream churros.