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City Profiles

Profiles of Pasadena’s Sister Cities


The “Crown” of the San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena is situated 10 miles (16 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles and covers 23 square miles (60 sq. km) at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains along the Arroyo Seco. The city is known for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game and Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day. Pasadena is home to many scientific and cultural institutions including Caltech, Pasadena City College, ArtCenter College of Design, the Gamble House, the Pasadena Playhouse, the Norton Simon Museum, and the USC Pacific Asia Museum. The Huntington, a renowned scholarly library, art museum and garden is nearby and the Mount Wilson Observatory atop Mount Wilson overlooks the city. It is also home to the luxurious Langham Hotel.


Ludwigshafen (lood´ vigs • häf-n), became Pasadena’s original sister city through the efforts of the American Friends Service Committee in Pasadena, who wished to provide war relief to Europe after World War II, as had been done after the First World War. Ludwigshafen is a city on the river Rhine, opposite Mannheim. With Mannheim, Heidelberg, and the surrounding region, it forms the Rhine Neckar Area. Known primarily as an industrial city, Ludwigshafen is the home of chemical giant BASF and other companies.


Mishima (mee-shee-mah) became the second sister city of Pasadena in 1957. Mishima is a city in central Japan. It’s known for panoramic views of Mount Fuji from Mishima Skywalk, a huge suspension bridge. Northeast, the ruins of 16th-century Yamanaka Castle sit within a landscaped park. In the city center, the Mishima Taisha shrine has ornate wooden buildings and spring cherry blossoms. Artifacts such as a 13th-century sword are on display at Sano Art Museum, also home to a Japanese garden.


Järvenpää (the Finnish ä is pronounced like the a in cat), an urban community 23 miles (37 km) north of Helsinki, Finland’s capital, became Pasadena’s third sister city in May 1983. Järvenpää is widely known as the location of Ainola, the home of the composer Jean Sibelius. It is situated about two kilometers south of the city centre. The composer moved with his family to the cottage designed by Lars Sonck on September 24, 1904, and he lived there until his death in 1957. Ainola is open for visitors in the summer months as the “museum of Sibelius”.


Vanadzor (vah-naht-zor) was established as Pasadena’s fourth sister city in 1991. Vanadzor, is an urban municipal community and the third-largest city in Armenia serving as the capital of Lori Province in the northern part of the country. It is located around 128 kilometres north of the capital Yerevan.

Xicheng District, Beijing

Xicheng District, Beijing, Peoples Republic of China, became Pasadena’s fifth sister city in October 1999, when Mayor Bogaard and Governor (Mayor) of Xicheng District signed an agreement in Pasadena. It is the political centre of Beijing. It houses several political institutions including ministries and residential areas for the top officers of the communist party.

Dakar-Plateau, Dakar

Dakar-Plateau, Senegal, named Pasadena’s sixth sister city on Monday June 17, 2019 Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek signed and affixed the City seal on an agreement twinning Pasadena with Dakar-Plateau, Senegal. Immediately thereafter, in the same official capacity, his counterpart Mayor Alioune Ndoye of Dakar-Plateau signed and affixed the seal of his city.