How Safe Is Pasadena for Travel?

Pasadena, United States
Safety Index:
78

There is so much more to Pasadena, California than the Rose Bowl and Rose Parade that get global attention each year.

It’s just 10 miles away from the center of Los Angeles but it feels like a world away.

This city has more restaurants per capita than New York City and three distinct districts where you can enjoy all kinds of unique cuisines.

  • Old Pasadena holds on to the history of the city through a unique urban revitalization.
  • South Lake Avenue is the upscale shopping and dining corridor.
  • Pasadena Playhouse Village is an artsy community surrounded by 1920s architecture and spirit.

Outside of the entertainment areas, nature entertains in its own right.

There are biking and hiking trails; even places to rent a horse for a ride along the mountain trails.

Of course, no visit to Pasadena is complete without literally stopping to smell the award-winning roses and the famed Rose Bowl or the Tournament of Roses House and Wrigley Gardens.

Warnings & Dangers in Pasadena

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : LOW

There's a low overall risk in Pasadena with low crime rates and a high police presence. Crowds can get large during the Tournament of Roses events, so that's when thieves could be looking for a crime of opportunity. With 300+ days of sunshine, the weather is most likely going to be as picture-perfect as the rose gardens.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

Sure, you can safely take a taxi or rideshare here. There's a low risk. You can also take advantage of the systems set up to take tourists around in an eco-friendly way. The Metro system and LAX Flyaway routes can get you to and from the airports and around the L.A. area, but in Pasadena proper, enjoy Pasadena Transit or Foothill Transit.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW

There's a 1 in 69 chance of being a victim of a theft, but half of those thefts were reported in homes. Nearly half of the total theft rates happened in automobiles, another great reminder to store away any personal belongings before you lock your car if you choose to drive or get a rental. Overall, it's a lower risk than some other Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

The main disaster risks here are earthquakes and wildfires. Both happen often, but the quakes are generally just little shakers that you might not even notice, while the wildfires can be massive and destructive. The biggest wildfire impact in Pasadena would be poor air quality and occasionally road closures or evacuations. We're going to call it a medium risk just because of how bad the wildfires can be. Certainly, you've seen these on the news and realize they can be fiery monsters.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : LOW

There's a low risk here with the chance of being robbed at one in 1175. Should someone approach you, don't fight with your life for your belongings. Avoid a violent confrontation and report any crime to the police immediately.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM

This is a large metropolitical area and even with Pasadena being nestled away in the northeast corner near the mountains, it could still feel an impact of a terror attack on Los Angeles, so we'll call it a medium risk.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : LOW

We looked into the most common scams reported and by far the majority were targeted at residents. Tourists have a low risk of being the victim of a scam.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

I must have looked at two dozen social forums to find the answer to this question, and there wasn't a single person who said women face any greater risk here than anyone else. There's a low risk, but that comes with the always sage advice of don't wander around dark areas at night and if you can always walk with a buddy.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK : LOW

The tap water in Pasadena meets or exceeds all state and federal requirements, giving it a low risk. The City of Pasadena also works to maintain the pipelines that bring water in from outside the area and to educate consumers of water to not waste this precious resource.

Safest Places to Visit in Pasadena

Let’s start with the big Pasadena attraction—The Tournament House.

Tours are offered, but very sparingly. Only on Thursdays from February – August.

This nearly 5-acre property is home to 1500 varieties of roses and other flowers.

Check out the Pasadena Museum of History next door.

The Gamble Mansion, of Proctor & Gamble fame, is also open for tours.

This might look a little familiar to movie buffs, as it was a scene-setter for part of the Back to the Future franchise.

While we’re talking museums, the USC Pacific Asia Museum is a celebration of all things Asian and Pacific Islander.

Old Pasadena is 22 blocks of safe shopping and dining.

It’s got a historical vibe to it with plenty of modern shopping options.

Step into the 1920s in the Pasadena Playhouse Village for the hipper side of the city, including the oldest independent bookstore in SoCal.

If you want to go a little more sophisticated, the 10 tree-lined blocks of South Lake Avenue welcome you (and your wallet) for a posh experience without having to go all the way to Rodeo Drive.

There are hiking and biking trails within the city and in the nearby mountains, about 10 minutes away.

All are safe assuming you take proper health and safety precautions.

Places to Avoid in Pasadena

I dug into this one to find the “bad” parts of town.

As soon as one or two people said “that’s a bad part,” another person or two would come to defend that area.

This happened repeatedly.

There’s one thing many did agree on—the city gets somewhat dead at night, at least compared to other popular nightlife spots in Los Angeles County.

There are a lot of neighborhoods for those who like driving around and looking at homes and some are upper class while others are smaller bungalows.

It would be wise to do this sightseeing during the daytime.

You’ll see the houses better anyway.

Avoid strange neighborhoods in any metropolitan area at night.

The places where tourists would visit are patrolled and safe as can be in a large metro area.

That doesn’t mean crime won’t happen, but this is much safer than, for example, driving around Compton at night.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Pasadena

  1. Vintage shopping is popular in Pasadena with plenty of stores offering one-of-a-kind items. These stores are required by the Pasadena Municipal Code to dry clean or launder any item before it goes on sale, so you can rest assured that the “used” item is clean when you purchase it.
  2. If you carry out food, buy something at a farmer’s market, or go shopping at local stores, you can’t be given items in a plastic bag. It needs to be a recyclable paper bag and it will cost you 10 cents per bag. You can bring your recyclable bag at no charge.
  3. Don’t leave a bar or restaurant with a drink. There are no open containers allowed on the streets of Pasadena.
  4. There’s a strong “no-smoking” law in Pasadena. Smoking is banned inside businesses, and also within 25 feet of the entrances to those businesses. You can’t smoke on the sidewalk or street. Breaking this law can come with a $100 fine and is considered a misdemeanor.
  5. Pasadena is filled with a beautiful array of flowers in tourist attractions and parks. Don’t take any flowers that aren’t sold by a vendor.
  6. You’ll find Pasadena is a quieter town and that’s because of a strict noise ordinance. From 6:00 am to 1:30 am, the noise can’t go above 60 decibels. This is about the average noise of normal human conversation. After 1:30 am, the limit goes to 50 decibels, so the conversations get a little quieter.
  7. There is a lot of film location history in Pasadena, and you should do your research before you go to map out your sightseeing plan. You don’t want to approach strangers on the street and ask them where to go. This could put you as a target for a crime.
  8. If you are going to Pasadena for the Rose Parade, plan ahead. Rooms nearby can fill up months to a year in advance. To get a spot on the sidewalk, you’ll need to line up at noon the day before and you’ll be in a long line. Overnight camping is allowed this one night of the year, but you’ll get little sleep as there is noise throughout the overnight hours during setup.
  9. There are many self-guided tours you can take of the Pasadena area, and they are free at the Pasadena Visitors Center. Don’t let anyone on the street sell you one of these brochures. They are free and it’s safest to get them from the visitor center.
  10. Download the Pasadena Citizen Service Center app for a direct line with city hall while you are there. You can report things like graffiti and potholes and get answers to any tourist question you have.

So... How Safe Is Pasadena Really?

Here’s how the crime breaks down based on 2020 FBI Data provided by the Pasadena Police Department.

  • Violent Crime: 1 in 335 chance
  • Robbery: 1 in 1175 chance
  • Aggravated Assault: 1 in 582 chance
  • Larceny/Theft: 1 in 69 chance

Keep in mind, those numbers are just considering the crime vs the population of the city, and it doesn’t account for the millions of tourists who come through Pasadena each year.

During the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl activities, there are going to be much larger crowds and a higher chance of crime.

This is among the safest suburban areas of Los Angeles you can visit and stay in.

While you’re a good distance from the beach, you are right by the mountains, which bring their safety guidelines, like bringing plenty of water to drink, lots of sunscreens, and watching out for wildlife.

How Does Pasadena Compare?

CitySafety Index
Pasadena78
Philadelphia60
Houston59
Atlanta58
St Louis58
La Paz (Bolivia)52
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43

Useful Information

  • Visas - The same Visa you used to get into the United States is all that is necessary for Pasadena. There is no additional identification required.
  • Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the currency here. You'll want to have a credit card for a safe way to make purchases and only carry around the cash you need and don't show large amounts of money in public. Exchange currency and take out cash inside a secured bank, not at a random ATM if you can.
  • Weather - The weather is just beautiful year-round in Pasadena if you are lucky enough to be there when a wildfire isn't burning nearby. The average high is in the 70s, with a bit of warm-up in summer, and the average low is in the 50s. You probably won't need a raincoat while you are here, but it's good practice to pack one just in case. A jacket for the cooler evenings will be great too.
  • Airports - The Hollywood-Burbank Airport is going to be the closest option, just 16 miles away, but there's also the larger Los Angeles International Airport 28 miles west. Long Beach and Ontario, California, both have airports about 35 miles away.
  • Travel Insurance - You'll want travel insurance for your trip to Pasadena. Wildfires can quickly shut down air space and road traffic, and there's a ripple effect it can cause across the country at other airports.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Pasadena Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 14° C
Feb 15° C
Mar 16° C
Apr 18° C
May 20° C
Jun 22° C
Jul 25° C
Aug 25° C
Sep 25° C
Oct 21° C
Nov 17° C
Dec 14° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
202122242629323332282420
Low
°C
88911131517171713107
High
°F
687072757984909190827568
Low
°F
464648525559636363555045

Where to Next?

1 Review on Pasadena

  1. A
    Adriana says:

    The city of Roses is so beautiful!

    Pasadena is mostly known for its Tournament of Roses taking place at the start of each year. It’s a beautiful event that you shouldn’t miss if you’re in town at that time. This is truly the City of Roses and if you’re a fan, this is the place and time to be in. The city has a lot to offer but roses are what they are known for and when you come here you’ll realize why that is.

    There’s a 22-block national historic district named Old Pasadena that you should explore to learn more about the city’s history. All buildings are well preserved and there’s a lot to see, visit and taste (with over 100 restaurants) along the way. This place is an experience on its own.

    The Descanso Gardens should be on your list as well. There are cherry trees here that when in blossom are spectacular. It’s like nothing else you’ve seen. Very similar to being in Japan at that time of year. There’s also over 1600 varieties of roses here, an oak forest that you can take a walk through and a pond. You can see ducks on the pond and just sit down and watch them go about their day.

    With some 700,000 acres, the Angeles National Forest is a place you can explore for weeks. With hiking trails and many campgrounds, this place is amazing for people who love to be outdoors. There’s so much to do here and all around has a particular beauty to it.

    One of the places I particularly enjoyed was the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This is managed by NASA and is a wonderful place to learn about technology from the best.

    There are many more things to see in Pasadena so make a list and check off as many as you can while here.

Rated 5 / 5 based on 1 user reviews.

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