Is Pasadena Considered Part Of Los Angeles? Examining Their Relationship

With its iconic City Hall, Tournament of Roses Parade, Caltech campus, and close proximity to LA, Pasadena holds a special place in Southern California. But when it comes to official boundaries, the question of whether Pasadena is part of Los Angeles brings some ambiguity. At a simple level, Pasadena is its own incorporated city that is not part of the City of Los Angeles. But the full relationship is more complex. Read on for a detailed look at the links between Pasadena and LA.

This article will dive into Pasadena’s geography, history, culture, and governance to analyze its connection to Los Angeles. We’ll answer questions like: Is it part of LA County? What are its origins? How closely tied are the two cities? Does Pasadena consider itself part of LA? If you want clarity on Pasadena and LA’s relationship, this guide has you covered.

Pasadena’s Geographic and Legal Relationship to LA

Located in Los Angeles County

Pasadena is located in Los Angeles County, California. It is nestled in the San Gabriel Valley, approximately 10 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. This proximity to Los Angeles has led to a close relationship between the two cities.

Separate Incorporated City

Despite its proximity to Los Angeles, Pasadena is a separate incorporated city. It has its own local government, including a mayor and city council. This means that Pasadena has the power to make its own decisions and govern its residents independently from Los Angeles.

Part of LA Metropolitan Area

While Pasadena is a separate city, it is still considered part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The Los Angeles metropolitan area encompasses a large region that includes several cities and communities surrounding the city of Los Angeles.

Pasadena’s inclusion in this metropolitan area highlights its significant connection to Los Angeles and its influence on the region as a whole.

For more information about Pasadena’s relationship to Los Angeles, you can visit the official website of the City of Pasadena at and the official website of Los Angeles County at

History and Development

Pasadena, a city located in Southern California, has a unique and fascinating history that is closely intertwined with its relationship to Los Angeles. Founded separately from Los Angeles, Pasadena has its own distinct identity while also maintaining strong ties to its larger neighbor.

Founded Separately from LA

Pasadena was officially incorporated as a city in 1886, several decades after the establishment of Los Angeles. The city was initially settled by the Tongva Native Americans, who were later displaced by European settlers.

As the area developed, Pasadena became known for its fertile land, which attracted farmers and agriculturalists.

During the late 19th century, Pasadena experienced a surge in population and economic growth. The city’s reputation as a desirable place to live led to the establishment of institutions such as the Pasadena Playhouse and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), further solidifying its cultural and academic significance.

Tourism Destination for Early Angelenos

As Los Angeles began to grow rapidly in the early 20th century, Pasadena became a popular tourism destination for Angelenos seeking respite from the city’s bustling atmosphere. Its picturesque landscapes, including the iconic Rose Bowl and the stunning gardens of The Huntington Library, attracted visitors from all over the region.

Pasadena’s reputation as a tourist hotspot was further solidified by the Tournament of Roses Parade, an annual event that showcases elaborate floats and celebrates the city’s commitment to beauty and creativity. The parade draws millions of spectators, both locally and globally, each year.

Post-WWII Growth Ties to LA

After World War II, Pasadena experienced a wave of growth that was closely tied to the expansion of Los Angeles. Many Angelenos saw Pasadena as an attractive suburban alternative to the city, with its tree-lined streets and charming neighborhoods.

This post-war period saw the development of the Pasadena Freeway, which provided convenient access between the two cities. The freeway not only facilitated commuting but also strengthened the economic and cultural ties between Pasadena and Los Angeles.

Today, Pasadena is home to numerous businesses and institutions that serve both the local community and the greater Los Angeles area.

Economic and Social Connections

Commuter Trends and Business Links

Pasadena and Los Angeles share a close economic relationship, with many residents of Pasadena commuting to work in Los Angeles and vice versa. The convenient proximity between the two cities allows for easy travel and commuting options, such as the Metro Gold Line.

This connection not only benefits commuters but also fosters business links between Pasadena and Los Angeles.

Many companies have established offices in both cities, taking advantage of the diverse pool of talent and resources available. The bustling business scene in Los Angeles extends its influence to Pasadena, with numerous startup incubators and coworking spaces popping up in the area.

This cross-pollination of ideas and entrepreneurial spirit contributes to the overall economic growth and innovation in both cities.

Rose Parade and Cultural Events

One of the most notable connections between Pasadena and Los Angeles is the annual Rose Parade, which takes place on New Year’s Day. This iconic event draws millions of spectators from around the world and is broadcasted globally.

The parade, featuring elaborately decorated floats, marching bands, and equestrian units, showcases the artistic and creative talents of both cities.

Additionally, Pasadena is home to numerous cultural events and festivals throughout the year, attracting visitors from Los Angeles and beyond. The Pasadena Playhouse, a historic theater, hosts a variety of performances, including Broadway shows, while the Norton Simon Museum exhibits renowned works of art.

These cultural offerings create a strong bond between Pasadena and Los Angeles, enhancing their shared identity and fostering a sense of community.

Shared Media and Art Markets

Pasadena and Los Angeles both have vibrant media and art markets, which further solidify their connection. The entertainment industry in Los Angeles, known as the entertainment capital of the world, extends its influence to Pasadena through film and television production.

Many popular TV shows and movies have been filmed in Pasadena, utilizing its picturesque streets and historic architecture as backdrops.

Similarly, the art scene in Pasadena thrives with numerous galleries and art institutions. The Armory Center for the Arts and the Pasadena Museum of California Art showcase a wide range of artistic expressions, attracting artists and art enthusiasts from Los Angeles and beyond.

This shared appreciation for the arts strengthens the cultural ties between the two cities and fosters a sense of collaboration and creativity.

Comparing Neighborhood Vibes

Pasadena’s Small Town Charm

When comparing Pasadena to Los Angeles, one of the noticeable differences is the small town charm that Pasadena exudes. While Los Angeles is known for its bustling city life and fast-paced atmosphere, Pasadena offers a more relaxed and laid-back vibe.

The tree-lined streets, beautiful parks, and cozy neighborhoods give Pasadena a sense of community that is often associated with small towns.

According to a survey conducted by the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, 78% of residents feel a strong sense of community in Pasadena, attributing it to the city’s small town charm. The close-knit community fosters a friendly and neighborly environment, where residents often know each other by name and take pride in their city.

Architectural Styles

Another aspect that sets Pasadena apart from Los Angeles is its unique architectural styles. While Los Angeles is known for its modern and contemporary architecture, Pasadena boasts a rich history of architectural diversity.

From Craftsman-style bungalows to Spanish Colonial Revival mansions, the city is a treasure trove of architectural gems.

According to the National Register of Historic Places, Pasadena has over 1,000 historic buildings that showcase various architectural styles. One iconic example is the Gamble House, a masterpiece of American Arts and Crafts architecture.

The presence of these historic buildings adds to the charm and character of Pasadena, making it a desirable place to live and visit.

Civic Pride and Identity

Pasadena residents have a strong sense of civic pride and identity, which further distinguishes it from Los Angeles. The city is known for hosting the annual Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl Game, events that bring the community together and showcase Pasadena to the world.

According to a survey conducted by the City of Pasadena, 92% of residents feel a sense of pride in their city. The survey also revealed that 89% of residents actively participate in community events and initiatives, demonstrating their commitment to shaping the identity and future of Pasadena.

Pasadena’s rich cultural heritage and diverse community contribute to its strong civic pride. The city is home to renowned institutions like the Pasadena Playhouse and the Norton Simon Museum, which attract visitors from far and wide.

These cultural landmarks not only enrich the lives of residents but also contribute to the overall vibrancy and identity of Pasadena.

Perspectives from Locals

When it comes to the relationship between Pasadena and Los Angeles, locals hold various perspectives. While some may argue that Pasadena is considered part of Los Angeles, others see it as a separate “bedroom community” with its own unique identity.

Seen as a Separate ‘Bedroom Community’

Many locals in Pasadena view their city as distinct from Los Angeles. They see it as a quiet suburban enclave, known for its tree-lined streets, historic architecture, and close-knit community. Pasadena has its own local government, school district, and police force, further emphasizing its autonomy from Los Angeles.

Residents often take pride in their city’s charm and character, considering it a place where they can escape the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles while still being within close proximity to the city.

Retains Independent Spirit

Pasadena has a rich cultural scene, with renowned institutions such as the Pasadena Playhouse, the Norton Simon Museum, and the Rose Bowl Stadium. These cultural landmarks contribute to the city’s independent spirit and its reputation as a cultural hub.

Additionally, Pasadena hosts events like the annual Tournament of Roses Parade, which draws visitors from around the world. These unique offerings and vibrant community contribute to Pasadena’s sense of independence and highlight its separate identity from Los Angeles.

LA’s Attempt to Annex Pasadena

In the past, there have been attempts by Los Angeles to annex Pasadena. The most notable one occurred in the early 20th century when Los Angeles sought to expand its territory. However, these attempts were met with strong opposition from Pasadena residents who were determined to maintain their city’s autonomy.

Ultimately, Pasadena successfully resisted annexation and has remained an independent city ever since.

For more information on the relationship between Pasadena and Los Angeles, you can visit Pasadena Museum of History and City of Los Angeles websites.


While the City of Pasadena is separate from LA, the close ties between the two cities in county boundaries, regional planning, economies, and culture create an interconnected relationship. Pasadena remains its own municipality with a distinct identity, yet relies on LA for economic and social opportunities. With collaboration and friendly rivalries, Pasadena retains independence while embracing its vital role in the LA region.

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