As I walked onto the grass of the Rose Bowl Stadium during its 100-year birthday celebration, I couldn’t help but feel the weight of the moment. While the Rose Bowl stands as an iconic architectural feat that’s hosted the largest events in world sports, it symbolizes far more than that. For the past 100 years, it’s drawn crowds from every corner of the Earth, built to become a place of gathering and pride for the Pasadena community where people of all backgrounds can unite under the Southern California sun. 

This year’s Best of Pasadena issue pays homage to this dream. It’s an ode to the places and experiences that bring people together, whether it’s for dinner at Houston’s, a drink at Lucky Baldwin’s or a show at Pasadena Playhouse.

This issue is for both the newest visitor and the oldest resident. It’s a celebration of the community’s forward strides, showcased by the city’s museums, and a reminder that finding joy can be as simple as a trip to the Pasadena Certified Farmers’ Market or a bundle of flowers from Jacob Maarse.

As the sun begins to set on the last two years of the pandemic, Pasadena has come together like never before as families and friends reunite at the dinner table or on a night out on the town. The city has seen new leadership, in the form of City Manager Miguel Márquez, and suffered the loss of one of our own, John J. Kennedy, an embodiment of the best of this city.

The Best of Pasadena issue serves to honor the city’s achievements by showcasing the community’s favorite experiences and destinations, ones that unite us all and build relationships that know no barriers or bounds.

It is this dream of a united community that Kennedy dedicated his life to achieving and a legacy that those he inspired will carry on into the future.