Rose Bowl Side Trip

Rose Bowl: 1 hour. The Pasadena ARTS bus does all the work on this one; sit back, relax and ride a scenic route to the Rose Bowl. The most frequent bus schedule is on Saturdays, maybe making that day the easiest for you. There is no bus service to the Rose Bowl on Sundays.

Full route information is available at the Pasadena ARTS bus website.   

Although the bus stop signs (and the ARTS bus site) may lead you to believe the Rose Bowl is accessible only on Saturdays, the Rose Bowl is accessible every day of the week except Sunday on either #51 or #52.

  • #51 travels only to the Rose Bowl. It operates on Saturdays and runs about every 22 minutes, all day long. The ride takes about 11 minutes.
  • #52 travels to the Rose Bowl and beyond (either the JPL or the Art Center). It operates Monday through Friday but operates every 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the time of day. The ride takes about 11 minutes.
  • Pasadena ARTS buses don’t operate on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day.  
  • Make it easy on yourself. Before you get off the bus at the Rose Bowl, ask the driver about the bus frequency for the return ride and the exact location of the bus stop for your pick up. 

What you’ll see:

  • A) The Rose Bowl! Access within the bowl requires a valid event ticket but it still makes for a good photo-op. 
  • B) Brookside Park, just across from the bowl, is a pleasant place to stop – and watch others exercise. If you’ve got kids in tow, take them to the Kidspace Children’s Museum located within the park.
  • A slice of Pasadena. The ride over and back from the bowl makes for a nice mix of interesting buildings and scenery. 

This Side Trip is wheelchair accessible.

How to get there:

  1. Locate the corner of Raymond Avenue and Holly Street. Memorial Park, the Gold Line Memorial Park station, and the Raymond Theatre are steps away.
  2. Keeping in mind the day of the week, find the #51 or #52 Pasadena ARTS bus stop near the corner of Raymond Avenue and Holly Street. When the bus comes, board it.
  3. The bus runs about every 22 minutes on Saturdays, less frequently on weekdays. Check the Pasadena ARTS bus website for exact schedules.
  4. The standard fare is 75¢ (60+ is 35¢). Other fares or discounts may apply so check out this link to see if you’re eligible: Pasadena ARTS fares.
  5. Remain on board until your arrival at the Rose Bowl/Brookside Park (Seco & Arroyo) stop.
  6. The one-way ride takes about 11 minutes.
  7. Before getting off, check with the driver regarding the exact pick-up point and bus frequency for your return trip. 

How to get back:

  1. Board the bus (same number, same fare).
  2. Remain aboard until your arrival back at the Raymond & Holly Street stop. The return route duplicates the outbound route.

If you see something that interests you along the way to the Rose Bowl, feel free to stop and check it out on the way back. Just note where you got off and reboard at that same spot. An additional fare is required for each re-boarding. 

The Tour: Aside from your bus ride, there’s no real “tour” component in this Side Trip. But the Rose Bowl and Brookside Park are two worthy destinations, particularly on a nice day.

A) Rose Bowl. The first Tournament of Roses football game took place on January 1, 1902 making this bowl game the “grandaddy” of them all. But that match wasn’t held here – the stadium didn’t open until late 1922. It was held at the Tournament Park near  Caltech. The first Rose Bowl game at this stadium took place on January 1, 1923. Back then the main entrance area you see today (with the “Rose Bowl” sign above) wasn’t there. Instead, you had an open-ended, horseshoe-shaped arena. That opening was closed in 1929, creating today’s “bowl.” Filled with water, that bowl would hold about 84 million gallons.

This bowl has earned its name; over 100 varieties of Rose bushes surround the stadium. For reasons of cost and security, tours are no longer provided within the Rose Bowl. Note: The 90,000-seat bowl is undergoing a $152 million phased renovation program with completion due in the summer of 2013.

B) Brookside Park. 350 N. Arroyo Blvd. Open 6:00 am – 10:00 pm daily. At over 61 acres, this is Pasadena’s second largest. (The Lower Arroyo Park Area, just downstream from here, is larger but lacks this park’s facilities.) The “brook” in Brookside Park happens to be the Arroyo Seco (“Dry Creek”) running past the park. Half of Pasadena’s water supply comes from an aquifier beneath the city, fed in part, by this little creek.

As a visitor, it’s not likely you’ll be using the lighted baseball (Jackie Robinson Field), softball or soccer fields, the tennis courts, the aquatic center or even the barbeque pits. But it sure makes for a great place to bring a picnic lunch during your “Pasadena Adventure” walking tour. Picnic tables are first-come, first-served. 

The Kidspace Children’s Museum is located within the park, within a facility designed originally for flower shows. Click here for more information and admission costs to the interactive museum.   

It’s a Fact:

The record attendance at the Rose Bowl occured in 1973 when 106,869 came to see the USC Trojans defeat the Ohio State Buckeyes, 42-17. That attendance figure remains an NCAA bowl game record.

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