san pedro california

Known for its bustling harbor, San Pedro is one of L.A. County’s “original” big cities. The vibe and the culture here are intertwined with the Port of Los Angeles, a man-made port where commercial ships and cruise liners dock, bringing goods and visitors to L.A. Some might say that the port and San Pedro are some of L.A.’s most vital resources and locations! San Pedro is also where you can find fresh seafood, breweries, and visit historic sites like the Korean Bell of Friendship or the USS Iowa Museum. Explore these interesting and entertaining sites the next time you visit UCLA Luskin Conference Center and feel like taking a drive down (30 miles) to San Pedro’s waterfront.

San Pedro Fish Market seafood, Photo courtesy of chotda, Flickr

Ports O’ Call Village

The highlight of any trip to San Pedro is the amazing seafood! Enjoy some of the best in L.A. at several restaurants in Ports O’ Call Village. While you eat, check out the ships going in and out of the busy harbor. A great place to eat is the famous San Pedro Fish Market that serves a popular “Shrimp Tray” with locally-caught squid, shrimp and fish mixed with vegetables. After your meal, browse gift shops and purchase souvenirs at this 15-acre shopping and dining complex. Visit the Ports O’ Call Village website for more information and directions.

Point Fermin Lighthouse, Photo courtesy of Ron T, Flickr

Point Fermin Lighthouse

Have you seen the 500 Days of Summer? That’s where the Point Fermin Lighthouse made a cameo appearance! This historic lighthouse was built in 1874 to guide ships into the bay and was designed in the “stick style” of lighthouses, prevalent in the High Victorian period. Recently renovated, this historic landmark is open to the public for tours. Visit the Point Fermin Lighthouse website for more information and directions.

Korean Bell of Friendship, Photo courtesy of c.lucian, Flickr

Korean Bell of Friendship

The Korean Bell of Friendship is a massive bronze bell gifted to the people of Los Angeles by South Korea in 1976 to celebrate the U.S. Bicentennial and honor veterans of the Korean War. It is housed in an intricately-designed pavilion high atop the hills of San Pedro, with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. The bell is only struck five times during the year: on New Year’s Eve, Korean-American Day, U.S. Independence Day, Korean Liberation Day, and every September in celebration of “Constitution Week.” Visit the Korean Bell of Friendship website for more information and directions.

Cabrillo Beach, Photo courtesy of Neil Silverthorn, Flickr

Cabrillo Beach

Windsurfing and kayaking are popular at this local beach, located near Point Fermin Park. The beach actually has two parts, one part inside the breakwater, making it ideal for swimming with its calm waters, and the second part outside the breakwater, ideal for kayaking and surfing with its choppy waters. The fish also bite well at Cabrillo Beach, attracting local fisherman to the pier, especially during grunion season. Visit the Cabrillo Beach website for more information and directions.

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Photo courtesy of Mark Mauno, Flickr

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Next to Cabrillo Beach and the Port of Los Angeles is the small, yet entertaining Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. The aquarium, designed by legendary architect Frank Gehry, is home to a large collection of marine life particular to Southern California. Visit the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium website for more information and directions.

USS Iowa, Photo courtesy of John Murphy, Flickr

USS Iowa

This battleship was built in 1940, and was called the “World’s Greatest Naval Ship” due to its design, armor, massive guns, and speed. Now, after 50 years of service, you can see this retired ship up close in the port of San Pedro. Schedule a tour of the inside quarters and deck, and check out the naval museum and memorial while you are there. Visit the USS Iowa website for more information and directions.

Vincent Thomas Bridge, Photo courtesy of Nicholas D., Flickr

Vincent Thomas Bridge

You might call the massive Vincent Thomas Bridge that spans the harbor L.A.’s equivalent of San Francisco’s Golden Gate or San Diego’s Coronado Bay Bridge. Not nearly as famous as the other two bridges, the Vincent Thomas Bridge is still impressive. It spans 1,500 feet and features thousands of solar-powered LED lights, which when lit at night, produce a striking, blue hue. Visit the Vincent Thomas Bridge website for more information and directions.

MAIN PHOTO: San Pedro, Photo courtesy of Joits, Flickr

AUTHOR: Oshin Aivazian, UCLA