San Gabriel Mission

Pasadena & the San Gabriel Valley

In 1781, settlers departed from this mission to found El Pueblo de Los Angeles in today’s Downtown area. Set about 3 miles southeast of Pasadena in the city of San Gabriel, it’s the fourth in the chain of 21 missions in California and is one of the prettiest.

Its church boasts Spanish Moorish flourishes, a copper baptismal font, carved statues of saints and a 1790 altar made in Mexico City. The mission surroundings are also well worth a quick stroll. Following Mission Dr takes you past the 1927 Civic Auditorium, the Civic Center, a historical museum and galleries.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Pasadena & the San Gabriel Valley attractions

1. El Molino Viejo


While in the Huntington Library area, make a quick detour to this transporting brick-and-adobe structure with creaky wooden floors and exposed timbers in…

3. Rialto Theatre

2.77 MILES

The theater where Mia and Seb went to the movies in La La Land has been closed since 2007 (talk about movie magic!), but locals remain nostalgic for this…

4. California Institute of Technology

3.01 MILES

With 34 Nobel laureates among its faculty and alumni (not to mention that it's the fictional setting of TV's The Big Bang Theory), it’s no surprise that…

5. Pasadena City Hall

4.09 MILES

Pasadena's 1927 city hall is on the National Register of Historic Places and a prime example of California Mediterranean-style architecture.

6. Mack & Jackie Robinson Memorial


This pair of giant heads depicts the Robinson brothers, groundbreaking athletes who spent their formative years here in Pasadena. Jackie (1919–72) gained…

7. Tournament House & Wrigley Gardens

4.23 MILES

Chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley spent his winters in the elegant Italian Renaissance–style mansion where the Tournament of Roses Association now…

8. Norton Simon Museum

4.53 MILES

Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais standing guard by the entrance is only a mind-teasing overture to the full symphony of art in store at this exquisite…