My Memorial Day Weekend Staycation – the Pasadena Edition

A week ago yesterday marked the beginning of my staycation. In case y’all didn’t know, I am a native of Los Angeles, CA. I love my town and everything it has to offer, but I didn’t want to stay home all weekend. I also didn’t have a whole lot of money to spend on a flight or a cruise or anything like that. I thought “where can I go where I’m far enough away from my house to feel like I’m somewhere, but not too far away?”. I did some researching and looking around online and decided on Pasadena, CA.

Pasadena is a city in the San Gabriel Valley, just north of downtown Los Angeles. It was incorporated way back in 1886 and is known for the Rose Bowl and the Tournament of Roses Parade. It’s also a shopping and dining destination with many upscale businesses. I would also say that many parts of Pasadena are walkable and bikeable. Oh, and I can’t forget the monthly Rose Bowl Flea Market! Best flea market in the area.


One of the main reasons I chose Pasadena (I had considered Calabasas and Malibu as well) was because I got wind that a vegan food festival was going to be in town! Oh boy! I follow quite a few vegan folks on Instagram and I had seen posts about Eat Drink Vegan but I guess I wasn’t paying that much attention because I didn’t realize it was Memorial day weekend until Monday or Tuesday of that week. I missed ALL of the reduced price tickets from the folks on Instagram and the websites that offer deals and such. Sigh… I was all jacked up.

Eat Drink Vegan is a vegan beer and food festival. You can drink all the beer, soda, cider, kombucha, etc. that you want. There are vegan food vendors that sell food in traditional vendor booths as well as food trucks. There was also a marketplace too! It was like vegan heaven. Oops, but I’m jumping ahead.

So, I decide I’m going to Pasadena for Memorial Day weekend. I buy my Eat Drink Vegan ticket and I get my hotel from (I end up at the Westin Pasadena). I started to think about what else I could fill my weekend with. I thought about going to a spa, but realized I didn’t have the funds to do it the way it should be done, so I decided I’d get a manicure and pedicure instead.

I didn’t know where to get a good mani/pedi, so I asked around but ultimately settled on Iluminar based on a combination of Yelp reviews and me perusing their website. I got SO lucky, I called them at 1pm on Friday and was able to get an appointment the SAME day at 4:30 pm, yay! I talk at length about my experience at Iluminar here.

The hotel was SUPER nice! The Westin Pasadena is right near City Hall and not too far from a Metro Gold Line stop. It’s a perfect location because you can walk around and take pictures and just take in the scenery. The hotel was nice and clean and I LOVED how the room was decorated. The bed was nice and big and fluffy and there was a nice seating area by the window! They have a shuttle that can take you anywhere within a 3 mile radius (they dropped me off and picked me up from the nail salon). I highly recommend staying there if you ever happen to head to the area.

Saturday was the big day, EAT DRINK VEGAN! I walked to the nearest train station (about 3 blocks away) to take a shuttle to the Rose Bowl. I stood there and stood there. No shuttle. A guy comes up and asks about it and we’re both confused. Two more people come and they’re confused. We all just take an Uber there. I made friends right then in there in the Uber! One of them I ended up hanging with the ENTIRE time. He was really cool and we got down to the business at hand… EATING! We then met up with 2 of his other friends and this almost 40 year old was kicking it with three 20-somethings. LOL!

A “peace roll”

sushi rice tots
a very tasty vegan burger; they had one that had peanut butter, jelly, and banana chips in it (yes, I tried it, no I didn’t like it very much)


vegan ramen (top) and vegan korean food ( I think it’s bibimbap)
vegan ravioli

I even got to see my FAVORITE vegan Instagram guy: veganfatkid!!


As you can see from the photos, it was a LONG day filled with food and fun! On the way back to the hotel I walked through City Hall and snapped a few pictures:

this fountain creeped me out


The next day I went to the pool and chilled out in my swimsuit. I just want to say that yes, black people can tan (in case you didn’t know):



All in all, I had a great time. I hope this inspires any of you that are local to staycation in Pasadena or even if you’re not local, maybe there is a town near you that is staycation worthy. I plan to do this a couple more times in different parts of the county.

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