downtown los angeles

American Superior Vintage: Another Sign of “Neighborhoodification” in Pasadena?

American Superior Vintage has been open for about a couple of months near PCC

Colleen Dunn Bates of Hometown Pasadena asked me on a recent interview what I thought would be the next “up-and-coming neighborhood” in Pasadena (neighborhoodification if you will), to which I answered “that stretch of Colorado Blvd. between Lake and PCC.”

I’ve always driven past this part of Pasadena lamenting the lack of pedestrian connection between PCC (a strong anchor) and the rest of Downtown Pasadena (to the west of PCC) as parking lots in front of strip malls and motels prevent this section from becoming conducive for an enjoyable walking experience.

However, even with its drawbacks, the area contains a number of beautiful historic buildings and some new creative life, such as ARC (A Room to Create) and even Taco Station on Green as well as established names like Daisy Mint and Zankou Chicken, that I think warrants some guidance from the City of Pasadena to help form a bona fide urban neighborhood by incorporating new landscaping, street lamps, etc. to give the street a visual consistency and help form a neighborhood identity–with the eventual goal of finally connecting Pasadena City College with the rest of Downtown Pasadena for pedestrians.

Also, with new businesses like American Superior Vintage opening recently (other locations include Melrose, Hollywood, and Echo Park), this stretch of Colorado is really acquiring a cool and funky vibe that could become Pasadena’s answer to Silver Lake or Los Feliz.

The store is packed with vintage clothing that have all been dry cleaned according to the store associate

Two levels of shopping packed with vintage clothing


  1. Charlene says

    Loved the American Vintage! And may I just add that although the Taco Station is on Green and not on Colorado, that place is always busy, every time I go there. They are definitely rocking that corner next to a super charming paper press studio.
    Great find place btw. Thanks for taking me there :)

  2. Pingback: American Superior Vintage: Another Sign of “Neighborhoodification?” | Brigham Yen | Hometown Pasadena |

  3. Lawrence says

    A little streetscaping along with the redevelopment of the vacant car dealerships would go a long way in this area. It has some cool businesses already as you pointed out. Daisy Mint and Taco Station are awesome!

  4. John says

    Love Daisy Mint, too. And, yes, Taco Station is wonderful. I agree this area has potential and yes it needs trees and streetscaping.

  5. trombley says

    Let’s not forget the area of Colorado directly across from PCC……starbucks, robeks juice, novel cafe, panda and la salsa. I see plenty of people sitting outside, eating and drinking there.

  6. STARCHY says

    there used to be a really cool building where that Novel cafe/mini-mall now stands – it was demolished before I could take a picture or find out what it was – anyone on here know?

  7. Nabil says

    I completely agree here- I don’t understand why this section of Pasadena is not linked to the historic core.

    Get this linked to Old Town and get Lake linked to Paseo and Old town and the city will be connected in a way that few places (if any) can boast of in the LA area.

  8. I’ve lived near here for over 25 years, and can’t remember what was there before the Novel Cafe. I do remember a nice 2-story apartment building on the North-South street on the east end of that strip that was torn down. Are you the STARCHY from la.curbed? I’m occasional poster NN there.

  9. It’s people that link areas – people confident enough to open stores, and shoppers who want to go there. There’s is little that the city can do to make the area vibrant.

  10. Lawrence says

    While it’s true that people ultimately create vibrancy, cities can plan environments that foster this type of activity. Simple changes like unified streetscaping, landscaped medians, storefront/signage improvements and mixed use development can go a long way toward injecting life into underutilized areas.

    For example – think of the transition between West Hollywood and Hollywood along Santa Monica Blvd at La Brea. On the West Hollwood side, the streetscaping is pleasant and uniform making it great for pedestrians. New retail and housing developments in the area address the street and tie in nicely. Once you cross La Brea and hit Hollywood, the vibe changes dramatically. The streetscaping is non-existent, the lighting is poor and the sidewalks are in bad shape. As a result the pedestrian flow is minimized and the vibrancy dies off. It shows how much impact effective planning can have.

    The transition between Old Pasadena and this stretch of Colorado may not be as dramatic, but the same idea applies. Beautify the area and redevelop underutilized lots and the area will become more attractive for businesses and shoppers alike.

  11. Anthony says

    I think everyone including me forgot to mention one of that biggest draws to that area thy make it unique to all of soc cal, Cal-tech!!! It’s the constantly been ranked as one of top 25 schools into country second only to cal in the state if memory serves correct. Granted I know the kids at caltech may not exhibit the same collegiate lifestyle as Berkley or westwood kids, but it still needs to inject some sort of campus village towards Colorado. It wont make this neighborhood madison wi, but anything is better than empty lots

    • You’re right Anthony. It only strengthens the idea that this part of Colorado Blvd deserves to be elevated higher on the City’s priority list when they consider which area should be the next part of Pasadena to get a landscaping makeover.

      All those empty lots, collectively, suck the life out of the area and are detrimental to a vibrant urban neighborhood as it dilutes the walking experience and spreads things out.

  12. Well, Old Pas has negligable landscaping and it is vibrant, and a lot of the stores on the Lake-Hill section of Colorado do look good. The WeHo landscaping has a certain “suburban anytown” feel to it, which I wouldn’t want to see here, and a decade or more ago Melrose had great pedestrian traffic, well into the Hollywood side. There are non-pedestrian businesses on Colorado there (Pep Boys, Holmes body shop, for example) but I’d hate for the city to force existing businesses to re-locate for some nebulous ped-friendly retail/cafe outlets that may never come. Something built on the Ford lot could be a great magnet (say, a retail center that doesn’t ignore the street, on both sides), but in this economy I don’t think that’s going to happen soon.

  13. I do wish the city would force that Box City store to re-paint in a less tacky way, however.

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