Home Tours & Festivals

Feb 2, 2011

Altadena Homes Tour
Altadena Guild of Huntington Memorial Hospital
Tour in spring
Since 1952 this annual tour has benefited the important work of what is now called the Huntington Medical Research Institutes. With no shortage of worthwhile architecture in Altadena, we know it will be around for another 50 years.

Architectural Tours L.A.
Tours twice daily; call for times
You’ll take in more than 90 sites on this two-and-a-half-hour tour of Pasadena. The tour includes buildings by Greene & Greene and Myron Hunt, and it encompasses the Civic Center, Caltech and several lovely Victorians; you’ll ride in air-conditioned vans with leather bucket seats.

Arroyo Arts Collective: Annual Discovery Tour
Tour in November
Self-guided maps are distributed at the starting point at this annual opportunity to check out the studios and homes of  Arroyo artists. Stops in Highland Park, Eagle Rock and Los Angeles are included.

Bungalow Heaven Home Tour
Tour in April
Aficionados turn out in droves for this exploration of Sunset magazine’s 2002 “Best Neighborhood in the West.” This charming neighborhood of modest homes built from the 1900s through the ’30s echoes of a century of summer-evening front-porch conversations. The self-guided walking tour includes lectures, demonstrations, raffles and more.

Castle Green
99 S Raymond Ave., Old Pasadena
Tours 1st Sun. in June & Dec.
If you’re lucky enough to know someone who lives here, you can spy inside the residential apartments, but for most of us, attending an event int he lush public rooms or taking one of these two annual romps is how we get our fix of 19th-century Moorish, Turkish and Victorian splendor. Originally a resort hotel, the Castle Green is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Eclectic Eagle Rock Home Tour
Tour in fall
An eclectic tour for this eclectic town. It is a big fund-raiser for the very active Eagle Rock Association, and it’s a great volunteer effort. Homes may range from turn-of-the-century to midcentury modern. Tons o’ fun.

El Alisal
200 E. Ave. 43, Highland Park
Charles Fletcher Lummis—journalist, archaeologist, friend to Teddy Roosevelt and all-around colorful character—began to build his home in 1889 from Arroyo rock. A tireless advocate for the rights of Native Americans, Lummis founded the nearby Southwest Museum, and he was famous for his gatherings of local intelligentsia. The Historical Society of Southern California (HSSC), founded in 1883, is now headquartered here.

Gamble House
4 Westmoreland Pl., Pasadena
1-hour guided tours Thurs-Sun. afternoons; reservations accepted for 2 p.m. tour only
Charles and Henry Greene designed this celebrated example of Arts & Crafts architecture (and its furnishings) in 1908 as a winter residence for David and Mary Gamble. Nowadays it’s a National Historic Landmark, a museum and a fine example of partnering for preservation—it is owned by the city of Pasadena but operated by USC’s School of Architecture. “Behind the Velvet Ropes,” a more personal look at the house, is offered periodically, or it can be scheduled as a private event; call 626.395.9783 for details.

Historic Highlands Home Tour
Tour in May
Several homes representing the diversity of Pasadena architecture—from Craftsman to Spanish Colonial Revival to English Tudor–are open during this worthwhile annual neighborhood crawl.

Lanterman House
4420 Encinas Dr., La Cañada
Tours Tues & Thurs. & 1st & 3rd Sun. 1-4 p.m.
Dr. Roy Lanterman, son of La Cañada’s founding family, commissioned this U-shaped 1915 house. Architect A. L. Haley took pains to provide access to the home’s interior patio area from all first-floor rooms. The house’s second story is a grand ballroom, used to great effect for the Lanterman Ragtime Tea Dance each autumn.

Monrovia Mother’s Day Home Tour
Ticket’s online at
From Craftsman and cottage style to Victorian and American foursquare, Monrovia has it all, and its annual home tour is certain to please the architecturally inclined mom. The town does it up on this self-guided exploration, with refreshments, entertainment and crafts.

Museums of the Arroyo Day
Event in May
They call it “MOTA Day” and it comes but once a year. A consortium of five museums—the Pasadena Museum of History, the Gamble House, El Alisal, Heritage Square and the Los Angeles Police Historical Society Museum—opens all its doors to celebrate the history, art, culture and architecture of the Arroyo Seco, and it’s all free! Shuttles circulate among the museums.

Pasadena Heritage Events
651 S. St. John Ave., Pasadena
The keeper of the town’s architectural flame, Pasadena Heritage sponsors walks, talks and events throughout the year, including these:
Craftsman Weekend. One of the country’s most comprehensive Arts & Crafts shows, this mid-October fest draws enthusiasts from across the nation. Day and evening activities include walking and bus tours, dozens of exhibitors and lectures. Buy tickets early–they do sell out.
Spring Home Tour. Each year, Pasadena Heritage chooses a theme for its March tromp through several exceptional houses—perhaps it’s a style of architecture, such as modern or Victorian, or the work of a particular architect. Docents are on site at each location.
Old Pasadena Walking Tour. The first Saturday of each quarter, knowledgeable guides lead 90-minute jaunts through this National Register Historic District. Reservations required.
Private Walking & Bus Tours. Experienced docents take guests through historic districts and/or noteworthy neighborhoods, such as Old Pasadena, the Civic Center, and Bungalow Heaven. Museum visits and meals can be folded into the adventures.

Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts
Tours in April-May
Each year, in a Herculean effort that includes scores of designers, the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts (PSHA) chooses an estate, transforms its interior and grounds in lavish fashion, and for one glorious spring month, throws open the doors to an eager public. In the last 50 years, PSHA has raised $14 million to support the L.A. Philharmonic and music education for children. Plan to spend the day here, exploring the rooms and gardens, having lunch in the café and shopping in the Marketplace. It’s one of Pasadena’s absolute must-attend annual events.



Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena