San Pedro is an area of Los Angeles that is often missed, topping few Angeleno or tourist’s lists. But as those of us who live in the City of Angels know, change can happen rapidly. What once may have been an under-the-radar area can quickly revitalize due to the right establishment or vision. Anything is possible in the Land of Dreams, as San Pedro demonstrates.
By 2020, 16 acres of restaurant and retail space here, along with a half-mile waterfront promenade, will turn Port O’ Call Village into San Pedro Public Market, with hopes to rival the waterfronts of other major cities.
Down by the waterfront Brouweriji West exists in a building that once sat empty for 60 years. This small-batch craft brewery and tasting room sits in a 70-year-old Navy warehouse and seems to be part of that shift. Drawing in crowds with their hip indoor/outdoor space, the communal picnic-style tables and dangling white lights reminds one of something they might find in Portland or Denver. Brouweriji West offers mixed fermentation beers reminiscent of Belgium that delight drinkers with unique flavors; think hints of peach, floral, cereal (Cap’n Crunch, yes seriously), and coffee.
There are over 12 different beers on tap made from special grains and a few hops. Enjoy a dry stout or a blackberry saison – it might just be the best beer you’ll taste in America! On weekends the large outdoor courtyard often hosts live music, food trucks, and the Chori-Man, a fourth generation chorizo maker who serves tasty chorizo tacos and burritos. Even dogs and kids are welcome. In keeping with the California spirit, Brouwerij West uses 30% less water than a normal brewery and runs almost entirely off their roof’s solar panels. From Malibu, you can get to this fun locale in a $30 Uber pool ride.
Near Brouwerij West you’ll find a marketplace called Crafted that sells handmade goods (think unique Etsy finds) from Friday to Sunday with more than a 100 shop stalls. You also might stumble upon Catalina Sea Ranch near the Port of Los Angeles. It’s the first offshore mussel farm in the US where open ocean mussels are big business. A crop is ready in as little six months and the founder, a vivacious older business man treading on new territory, has already sold 20 million pounds before the juicy mussels were even harvested.
While cruising around San Pedro, don’t be surprised to see numerous wild peacocks strutting their feathers around homes. Read online for that story. If it is still there, marvel at Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket standing proudly between a few palm trees temporarily stored in the shipyard after a successful landing. Also, make sure to visit the Korean Bell of Friendship housed in a stone pavilion in Angel’s Gate Park, perched high above the blustery Pacific Ocean. This massive, intricately-decorated bronze bell was donated in 1976 to the people of Los Angeles by the people of the Republic of Korea to celebrate the bicentennial of the U.S. independence, honor veterans of the Korean War, and to build friendship between our two countries. You may recognize the basketball court area nearby from numerous music videos and films.
The “Sunken City,” although occasionally too wet and dangerous to hike, offers a look at a jumbled foundation of broken houses, buckled sidewalks, and streetcar tracks due to a landslide that occurred in 1929. Exclusive homes fell into the ocean when the land moved 11 inches a day. The area is now a popular hiking spot, but be cautious. Graffiti covered cliffs remain.
Swing by Busy Bees to pick up large tasty subs, then visit the historic Grand Warner Theater on 478 W. 6th Street and imagine what it was like to be alive in 1931. Though a favorite filming location for TV shows, the theater still runs classics on its 50-foot screen and hosts concerts on its vaudeville size stage. For children and curious adults, spend time at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, an educational and research facility on the beach.
Other notable stops in San Pedro include the final home and gravesite of American writer Charles Bukowski, whose bold statements can be found all over LA. His gravesite at Green Hills Memorial Park reads “Don’t Try.” The breathtaking Wayfarer’s Chapel, known as “The Glass Church,” is worth a trip in nearby Rancho Palos Verdes. This intimate glass structure by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, Lloyd Wright, makes a picture-perfect frame of the grandiose, sprawling ocean as its backdrop. At sunset, sip cocktails at Terranea Resort followed by dinner at their newly revamped, upscale bistro Catalina Kitchen. It’s perfect for seafood lovers wanting to dine with a view (and their expansive brunch is a recommended winner, too).
Even Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recommends San Pedro as a Must-Do location in the latest Delta Sky Magazine. He suggests visiting the the nation’s largest port followed by champagne brunch at Ports of Call Restaurant, which includes a free ticket for a harbor cruise to see the inner workings of the port complex. He then suggests hopping aboard the U.S.S. Iowa, the ship that carried President Roosevelt to Yalta, along with capping off your day at Brouwerij West, soon to be your new favorite spot.
Have you explored San Pedro?