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Main event Rose Parade; figuring out rest of itinerary

San Diego...
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Main event Rose Parade; figuring out rest of itinerary

We're coming out primarily for the parade and are trying to figure out how much more we can squeeze into our short trip. We arrive LAX at 11:00 am on Saturday 12/29 and are renting a car, staying the first night in Burbank and the next three nights at the Pasadena Hilton, leaving Wednesday 1/2 at 7:00 pm.

One tentative plan:

12/29 - go from the airport to the Getty Center (we have been before so this is lower on the priorities), dinner in Burbank

12/30 - morning - 2 hour trail ride at Sunset Ranch. Afternoon - Bandfest

12/31 - Huntington Gardens and Museum, early dinner, go see the campers on Colorado Blvd. I'm guessing we'd want about 4 hours to see the Huntington grounds and museum (no tea) - is that about right?

1/1 - morning parade (we already have grandstand seats). Afternoon - view floats?

1/2 - morning - or view floats now (we can get in early as seniors). Afternoon - drive to beach town near LAX for lunch and to enjoy the ocean - Manhattan Beach? Santa Monica? We've been to and like both.

One main concern is if we are pushing it to do the horseback ride and Bandfest in one day - we figure we'd have to do the 9:00 am ride to make this work. I gather we want to get to Bandfest as early as possible for good seats. We could do Bandfest in the morning and then the ride but that would involve backtracking on the driving end; not a big problem but better to avoid if possible, right? If doing both the same day is too much, we could do the ride on the 29th and either skip the Getty or go the last day. although I really really want to spend some time at the ocean's edge.

We can't think of anything to do the afternoon of the 1st unless someone gives us game tickets :) , assume we do not want to drive out of Pasadena. Ergo view the floats although that is probably the busiest time.

Any thoughts of the best way to arrange our plans? Or if there is anything else cool and convenient that we've missed? We intend to stay in Pasadena for dinners the nights we are there. Thanks much!

Edited: 08 November 2012, 23:50
So Cal
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1. Re: Main event Rose Parade; figuring out rest of itinerary

Re the Huntington - we spent most of a day and we didn't get to everything we wanted. So if you only have four hours, look over the website and plan your time carefully. The property is quite large and there's a lot to see spread out all over.

Anaheim
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2. Re: Main event Rose Parade; figuring out rest of itinerary

Seeing the floats is crowded and anticlimactic, better to watch the Channel 5 parade reruns in your hotel room.

Rosco

Pasadena, California
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3. Re: Main event Rose Parade; figuring out rest of itinerary

In general, your plans sound good. I've never been to bandfest and have never heard of Sunset Ranch (nor do we ride horses), so can't comment on either.

12/29, being a Saturday and during a holiday period, should be a slow traffic day. You could plan a full day anywhere between LAX and Burbank, and get into Burbank as late as you want (depending on how tired you are from travel). I love the Getty, but have you been to the Getty Villa? Or LA County Museum of Art? Farmers Market?

Early dinner in Pasadena on 12/31: what are you in the mood for? Make reservations!!! Some suggestions: Neapolis, Malbec, Bistro 45. All in central Pasadena, but not in jam-packed Old Town. A/K/A American Bistro or Cafe Santorini are in Old Town, if that is where you want to be. All of the above have websites. All have somewhat low-key but sufficiently upscale and festive atmospheres, good food. Don't know what they are like on New Years Eve, as we stay home...

1/1 Afternoon:

Pasadena is in the San Gabriel Valley, and is adjacent to the largest Asian-American (primarily Chinese) community in the USA. Consider exploring this area a bit, and having a great regional Chinese lunch or dinner. There is a big Chinese mall at Valley Blvd. and Del Mar (different Del Mar than the major street in Pasadena) in the City of San Gabriel , called San Gabriel Square. Chinese restaurants tend to be open on 1/1. Let me know if this is of interest to you and I'll give you suggestions.

Or: See if you can get last minute tix to the game, if interested. We've seen people selling them on the walk to the stadium, when our family went to the game.

Or: A walking tour thru some gorgeous Pasadena neighborhoods with architecturally significant 1900-era houses. If interested in this option, let me know and I'll give you two options for nice strolls.

Two of the major attractions in Pasadena are the Gamble House (located above Rose Bowl and in one of the neighborhoods I've mentioned above) and the Norton Simon Museum. The Norton Simon is a gem, a smaller museum with wonderful collections and a beautiful sculpture garden for strolling. These two are located within blocks of each other, between Old Pasadena and the Rose Bowl.

San Diego...
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4. Re: Main event Rose Parade; figuring out rest of itinerary

Thanks for all the advice! pasca - the Getty Villa was still being redone last time we were in the area. That might be a good option if the weather is inclement since it seems to have more of an indoor element than the Center. We have been to Norton Simon and loved it. We will definitely plan ahead for NYE dinner; hoping that friends of ours will be flying in to visit their kids in Santa Monica and Pasadena and that we can get together.

Re the game - unfortunately looks like my alma mater Go Blue won't be there. I grew up in one Big 10 town and went to school in another so refuse to recognize that interloper Nebraska as belonging in the Rose Bowl. A walking tour would be a great idea if we have any energy left; we plan to walk to dinners, the parade, etc., not to mention all the walking to view the floats afterwards. Our grandstand seats are section 240 over the highway so I hope they're as good a view as they sound.

After reading the stables reviews in depth I think we'll stick with a one hour horseback ride, either at Sunset or Circle K. So we should have plenty of time to do that and Bandfest. We don't have to do the Huntington in four hours - sounds like we should allow the full day (I think they close at 4:30 anyway).

I'll check back for some specifics when we know what our friends will be doing.

Pasadena, California
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5. Re: Main event Rose Parade; figuring out rest of itinerary

Sounds like you are going to be doing LOTS of walking... however, there is a bus that goes along Colorado Blvd; consider using that if you don't want to drive. It is a rather long walk from the Hilton to Pasadena City College. And a very long walk to the float viewing area. I'd drive or take the bus. I believe there might be a shuttle from PCC to the float viewing area. Avoid driving in central Pasadena on 1/1 during the hours before/after the parade and game, though.

A few restaurants closer to your hotel:

El Portal, a nice local Mexican restaurant.

Roy's, an upscale chain, haven't been there.

La Grande Orange, in an old train station, I'm not wild about the food but many like it.

There are lots more.

Will try to remember to come back with more suggestions re walking tour, etc.

6. Re: Main event Rose Parade; figuring out rest of itinerary

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