The Norton Simon Museum offers the best art value per step of any Southern California art museum due to it's density of major artists and manageable size. They are best known for their extensive collection of Impressionists, but the downstairs Collection of South and Southeast Asian Art is also worth a peek.
Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens is technically in San Marino, but it borders on Pasadena. The vast estate of railroad and utilities magnate Henry E. Huntington has 120 acres of Botanical Gardens on the outside. Inside, you'll find one of the most extensive research libraries on the American West and American and English Literature as well as an impressive collection of American and English art.
The Pacific Asia Museum consists of six galleries around a Chinese courtyard. Rotating exhibits may be ceramics, textiles, painting, sculptures and any other decorative arts from all Asian countries.
Pasadena Museum of California Art is located around the corner from the Pacific Asia Museum. They have rotating exhibits of the work of early through modern-day California artists.
The San Gabriel Mission District is the area surrounding the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, one of the oldest buildings in California. You can download the San Gabriel Historical Walk Map.
The Old Mill - el Molino Viejo - in San Marino is an 1860 grist mill from the Mission San Gabriel. It is open to the public and can provide group tours by reservation.
Descanso Gardens in LA Canada offers 160 acres of gardens including a lake and bird sanctuary and 80 acres of flower gardens. Group and tram tours are available.
Heritage Square Museum is a collection of Eight Victorian buildings in a park-like setting in the Lincoln Heights and Highland Park neighborhoods if Los Angeles. It includes the nationally recognized Queen Anne-style Hale House.
The Southwest Museum of the American Indian, now part of the Autry National Center, is the oldest museum in Los Angeles. It features some of the finest examples of Indian art and artifacts in the United States. The Southwest Museum is currently undergoing renovation. A limited exhibit space is open free to the public on weekends during construction, which is scheduled to be completed in 2010.