7.2 out of 10

West Central

34.152073951812 -118.13848272394
Great for
  • Eating Out
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Internet Access
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping Options
Not great for
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Peace & Quiet
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • LGBT+
  • Hipsters


4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5

"A Tale of Two Neighborhoods"

The 210 Freeway runs right down the middle of West Central and, in addition to adding to the noise and traffic for local residents, it creates a dividing line between the two distinctly different halves of this neighborhood. On the northern side, you find yourself in a predominantly residential neighborhood where the average income is around $39,000--if you did not know any better this might make you think that this is a poor neighborhood. When you look at the average rent, however, ($1,100) you begin to see that something else is going on. In fact, it is the heavy student population of the is area (lots of Trojans) that makes what is basically a middle class, apartment heavy neighborhood look like a poor neighborhood.

However, an actual drive through the neighborhood reveals a fairly bland middle class area with lots and lots of newer apartments. In fact, compared with some of the other neighborhoods in Pasadena, West Central has a higher percentage of newer buildings with about half of the structures dating from after 1970.

The streets tend to be wide and the apartments are fairly well-kept. The houses tend to be older and there is a certain amount of variation in how well they are maintained but you can find a number of interesting structures on quiet, leafy streets.

South of the freeway, the neighborhood’s character changes dramatically. There are office parks and a definitely more urban feel to the streets. Several corporations make their West Coast headquarters here. Parsons Corporation for example, a leading engineering and construction company, has a large facility here.

The southern end of the neighborhood is bordered by Colorado Blvd., Pasadena’s main shopping lane—this area is known as “Old Pasadena” though little remains of the actual structures that once were located here. What you will find is the usual suspects that pop-up in such high-end consumer hubs—Restoration Hardware, Il Fornaio, and Barney’s Burgers for example (and also Target and Pep-Boys farther to east). There are also cinemas (Academy), cafes (Beanery) and bookstores (Barnes & Noble). Vroman’s Bookstore, the longtime Pasadena landmark is worthy of special attention in these days of decling independent bookstores. You will also find some unique eateries and nightspots along Colorado. Most notable is the French place, Technique and the LIV Lounge—both the kind of highly sophisticated places that are almost worth the inflated prices. And, if you just want an outstanding steak, try Ruth Chris Steak House—yum, yum. Put simply, Colorado is Pasadena’s version of the Third Street Promenade.

This area is also home to the Pasadena Museum of California Art which is good if you are into California art—I’m not (much better is the Norton Simon just on the other side of the 210 Freeway.

This area, south of the 210, is also home to Pasadena’s seat of government. So you will find all the major government office buildings in this area, and the Pasadena Public Library.

The major Pasadena Hotels also make their homes here. The Pasadena Westin is, for example, here, right by city hall.

Churches are also well-represented throughout both northern and southern halves of West Central, with All-Saints Episcopal Church in the south right by the Fuller Theological Seminary.

In a nutshell, if you are looking for something to do, you can probably find it here.
  • Outstanding Shopping Area
  • Good Apartment Living
  • Good Cultural Options
  • Noisy
  • Busy
  • Expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • LGBT+
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish

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