When I told my Southern friends I was moving to Pasadena way back in 2008, they started singing that song to me to which I smiled and corrected the word old to young. Although I’ve spent the majority of the past five years staring at my computer screen and feverishly reading books, I have, indeed, fallen in love with Pasadena. So without further ado, my top five favorite things to do in the Pasadena/LA area:
- Break out my dancin’ shoes- This is by far my favorite perk of living in this area. When I lived in Birmingham, I struggled to find adult classes amidst the tiny pink tights and tutus. Over the past few years, I’ve taken hip hop, tap, ballet, swing, and salsa. To work off my stress, I love breaking a sweat in a salsa club, especially at The Granada in Alhambra (www.thegranadala.com) or Ixtapa in Old Town Pasadena (www.cantinaixtapa.com).
- Soak in some sun- We are spoiled here in SoCal with such beautiful weather, and I try soak it all in to counteract the overwhelming amount of time I spend in class, at work, or my practicum site. I especially love Lacy Park, the Cal-Tech campus grounds, and the Arlington Gardens. If I want to treat myself to a pricier experience of the sun, I go to The Huntington Gardens (www.huntington.org), the LA Arboretum (hwww.arboretum.org), or The Descanso Gardens (www.descansogardens.org)
- Go for a fro-yo run- I have always loved frozen yogurt, but Pasadena has so many do it yourself fro yo options that trying out new fro yo spots with friends quickly became my favorite past-time. Right now my favorites are Menchie’s in South Pasadena and Cherry on Top by Pasadena City College.
- Stock up on fresh food- I tend to eat mostly vegetables and fruits, which means I spend a significant amount of time in the produce aisle at the grocery store. I would much rather spend that time at Farmer’s Markets, picking out locally grown, fresh fruits and veggies. Every so often I try to catch the Thursday night South Pasadena Farmer’s Market, the Friday night Monrovia Farmer’s Market, or the new Wednesday evening Pasadena’s Farmer’s Market, which is actually right behind Fuller
- Scout out the cheap/free stuff- As a long-term graduate student (yes, this is my second Master’s at Fuller- call me smart or call me crazy), I have learned to live on a tight budget. I’ve also learned how to have fun on this tight, or really non-existent, budget. So I frequent the Old Town Pasadena calendar of events (www.oldpasadena.org/gc_calendar.asp) and make note of the free concerts in Old Town and free movie nights at One Colorado. I also look forward to the amazing free concerts in the summer at the Levitt Pavilion (www.levittpavilionpasadena.org).
And, that, is how I stay sane in the crazy/amazing world of grad school life.