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Pasadena is located at 34°9'22" North, 118°7'55" West (34.156098, -118.131808).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 60.0 km² (23.2 mi²). 59.8 km² (23.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.30% water.

The Pasadena Area is determined by The Raymond Fault line, the San Rafael Hills, and the San Gabriel Mountains. It has six suburbs: Altadena, South Pasadena, East Pasadena (annexed to Pasadena proper), Sierra Madre, San Marino, and Arcadia. It is also debatable whether nearby La Canada-Flintridge and Alhambra are suburbs.

Pasadena is an oddity in that even though it is only 12 miles from central Los Angeles, is remains a self-sufficient metropolis.