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South Pasadena, CA sits on 3.42 square miles and has a population of just over 26,000 people. It lies within the bigger City of Pasadena in Los Angeles County. If you want to live in LA without losing the small-town feel that many other cities in America enjoy this is definitely a spot to consider. South Pasadena prides itself as the biggest oldest builder of floats for the famous annual Tournament of Roses Parade.

Like many other cities in California South Pasadena has a long and rich history. It was initially settled by the Hahamog-ha who were a part of the Tongva tribe. They lived in wooden lodges and subsisted on a diet of corn meal, seeds and herbs, venison, berries, fruits and other small animals. Modern day South Pasadena can be traced back to what was then part of the San-Gabriel Orange Grove Association – in 1875 members of the association voted to change the name to Pasadena, and then 3 years later residents of the south of Pasadena decided that they wanted a city of their own called South Pasadena. They voted for incorporation in 1888 and they got it, appointing Ammon Cobb as their first Marshall. The boundaries of the city have not changed much since then.

According to http://www.ci.south-pasadena.ca.us/index.aspx?page=42, “Few cities in California are better recognized for the quality of its small-town atmosphere and rich legacy of intact late 19th and early 20th century neighborhoods and residences. South Pasadena also has a strong claim to having the oldest and most historic sites in the San Gabriel Valley. For many centuries, its adjacency to a natural fording place along the Arroyo Seco had served as a gateway to travel and commerce for aboriginal peoples here and along the coast. It was here that Hahamognas greeted Portola and the missionaries who later established the San Gabriel Mission a few miles to the west.” It is also interesting to note that General Florez, who led the Mexican forces in the Mexican-American war, chose South Pasadena as his point of surrender in 1847.

Modern day South Pasadena is not very different from what the founding fathers left behind. The streets are still lined with large, lush trees, Spanish-style colonial houses, there are plenty of mom-and-pop shops as well as many historical buildings. It is also home to one of California’s best farmers markets which takes place every Thursday at the Mission-West District. The city hosts a run on the first Saturday of every September which is run by all, from kindergarteners to seniors over 80.

It is important to note that South Pasadena has a long running litigation under way. It is over the extension of the Interstate 710. Some organizations proposed the extension of this highway but this would have cut right through more than 1,000 homes and interfered with the small-town feel of this city. Residents of the city decided to put up opposition against the highway and a judge issued an injunction ordering those in support for the highway to stop all work. Litigation has been ongoing for more than 50 years and there is still no end in sight. With the residents determined to fund ongoing litigation, it is not clear that this matter will be resolved any time soon.

Although Pasadena enjoys generally good weather, the summers can get very hot. So hot, in fact, that the city sometimes has to offer cooling centers for residents who cannot afford to run their air conditioning systems full time in the hot months. South Pasadena is mainly a bedroom city – most people who live there work in neighboring towns such as Pasadena, Alhambra, Rosemead, Los Angeles and Monterey Park. The population is rather diverse, including people of all races, genders and sexual orientation. South Pasadena residents are fiercely loyal about their city and they work hard to preserve its culture and age-old traditions.

The median income of residents is about $85,000 and only 6% of residents live below the federal poverty line. People are generally friendly and there is a lot of tolerance – in fact many homosexual couples choose to live in South Pasadena because they know that their neighbors and colleagues are more accepting. There are many restaurants and coffee shops and like in many other cities in California people spend a lot of time outdoors. The city has spent time and money to create lovely parks, biking and walking trails and many people choose to get around on their bicycles. Traffic is as bad as anywhere else in Los Angeles but the city has steadily been providing alternative means of transportation. It is hoped that over time this will decongest the roads.

As for real estate costs have been rising over time and today, it is not very easy to find a cheap home. The average 3 bedroom house will cost you between $500,000 and $700,000 depending on what modifications have been added. This, however, is not unlike much of the rest of California. Smaller houses tend to go for lower prices – if you don’t have a big family settle for a two bedroom as you will pay much less. Also, if you work with the right real estate agent they will be able to find you a deal that you can afford.

To sum up South Pasadena for you here is a review from a user on http://www.bestplaces.net/comments/viewcomment.aspx?id=3A03E134-CEFC-4C7B-906E-BB9F10D9D9F1&city=South_Pasadena_&p=50673220: “The positives of “South Pas”, as locals call it, are really endless. From a location stand-point it is pretty awesome, especially if you work in downtown LA or anywhere in central Los Angeles. The real charm of South Pasadena is that it has a “small town feel” in the middle of Los Angeles. There is quaint “downtown” area with some cool restaurants and coffee shops with quite a bit of activity on a consistent basis. There is also a lot of diversity amongst gender, race, age and sexual orientation. There is a really great open feeling here.”