NFT Los Angeles San Pedro

San Pedro

General Information
San Pedro Chamber of Commerce: www.sanpedrochamber.com

Overview
On the southern side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula lies a fiercely proud community that's worth a visit. The port city of San Pedro (pronounced "PEE-dro") relies heavily on boat traffic, with freighters and barges from points all over the world drifting in and out, creating an industrial feel. Despite that, San Pedro is a delightful place for a day-trip--the city maintains a sense of history and small-town vibe, and you'd swear you were in some New England fishing town. Live out your deepest SoCal transit fantasies: Ride in one of the city's "Big Red Cars," restored railcars that run 12 pm to 9:30 pm Friday through Sunday and pay a mere buck for fare. San Pedro also boasts sweet hidden delights, from the Mediterranean-style Cabrillo Beach Bathhouse (3800 Stephen M White Dr, 310-548-7554) built in 1932, to the charming seaside village Ports O' Call (Berths 75-79 on the waterfront), to the enriching Angels Gate Cultural Center (3601 S Gaffey St, 310-519-0936; www.angelsgateart.org or @AngelsGateArt) and the Victorian Point Fermin Lighthouse and Park (807 Paseo Del Mar; www.pfls.org). Visit the Korean Fellowship Bell (and definitely hang with the sick seals while in the park: www.marinemammalcare.org), see the grunion run at night on Cabrillo Beach (the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium has a schedule at www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org), or find placid tide pools beneath the cliffs. And do not miss the Sunken City, a neighborhood that fell over the cliffs due to seismic shifting. (Walk south from Point Fermin Lighthouse and hop the wall.) See more.

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As befits a seafaring town, some of the country's foremost tattoo parlors can be found in San Pedro (to start, try Ink Divine Tattoo, 305 W 7th St, or So Cal Tattoo, 339 W 6th St). It also boasts the Warner Grand Theatre (478 W 6th St, 310-548-7672; www.warnergrand.org or @GrandAnnex), an opulent Art Deco venue built in 1931 that is rich in both history and culture. Visit Green Hills Memorial Park (27501 Western Ave; www.greenhillsmemorial.com) to see the graves of Charles Bukowski and The Minutemen's D Boon. But what defines and distinguishes San Pedro most is the monthly ART Walk. On the first Thursday of every month, art galleries, retail shops, restaurants, and street vendors celebrate creativity by staying open late and offering discounts and specials. Live entertainment accompanies the action throughout the historic downtown Arts District, located between 4th and 8th Streets and Pacific Avenue and Centre Street. Visit www.1stthursday.com for an extensive list of participating establishments.

San Pedro is also a bridge away from Long Beach via Terminal Island (St. Vincent Thomas Bridge), and has ferries to Catalina Island for fantastic day trips.

How to Get There
From Downtown LA, take the Harbor Freeway south (110 S) to Gaffey Street, then head south to San Pedro.




         



On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Susan Milam
Photo:  Susan Milam

San Pedro Waterfront
San Pedro has numerous things to recommend it. A fantastic, really cheap Mexican restaurant, a pub frequented by longshoremen that looks like something out of a '50s B movie and has the best French fries around. Still, the absolute best thing about San Pedro is the waterfront. Don't confuse the Waterfront with Ports o' Call, although they share the same parking lot. Port's o' Call has one nice restaurant and a bunch of really sad souvenir stores. The San Pedro Waterfront has mariachis, fresh fruit in cups, beer, margaritas, fish that you choose from a counter and then have cooked up on a long slab of a grill with lots of mixed veggies. The resulting stew is served on a cafeteria tray and enjoyed outside. Outside is great. Families eating enormous fish with the heads still on, spraying people across the table when they hammer open their enormous crabs with legs that look like they just walked out of the ocean--and if that weren’t enough, there's ice cream.



Posted By:  Rhea Lewitzki
Photo:  Rhea Lewitzki

Gypsy Way BBQ
Gypsy Way BBQ: one of the signs says "Persian Cuisine" but the other says "Mediterranean Cuisine." Ok so which one is it? The eclectic menu does little to clarify (they serve both Greek salad and Shirazi salad, Baklava and Bamieh); I guess they really are both. Gypsy Way is fairly new to San Pedro, and a very nice addition, since the town is fairly small and has relatively limited cuisine. The best time to dine at GW is lunchtime, when each dish is only $9.95 (dinner prices can be rather steep). A typical meal includes a barbecued meat of your choice, grilled vegetables, a basket of pita, a heap of basmati saffron rice, and either soup or salad. The soup is extraordinary, think chicken noodle with a Medi/Persian twist: lentils, red beans, vegetables, noodles, yogurt, and fried mint. So creamy and delicious! Substitute basmati for sweet-and-sour cherry rice (the cherry sauce colors it bright pink!), and to drink have a yogurt soda or tea.



Posted By:  Rhea Lewitzki
Photo:  Rhea Lewitzki

Bonello's New York Pizza
Why is it so hard to find a place that sells good pizza by the slice? And especially pizza that hasn’t been coagulating under a heat lamp since morning? I’m pretty sure that if it weren’t for Bonello’s, I’d have to drive to the mall and get Sbarro at the food court, and that isn’t saying much. Oh Bonello’s, wonderful Bonello’s, you make my heart sing for your amazing $1.50 slices of cheese pizza, and your special of two slices, one big salad (just lettuce, tomato, cheese and olives, but hearty), and one can of soda for $6.50, a meal big enough for two. And this isn’t the kind of pizza that tastes good because it’s inexpensive. We poor students know all about that game, and this place doesn’t play it. Walk up to the window, order a slice, pay after it’s served. Enjoy sitting outdoors or inside at the counter, and don’t burn the roof of your mouth! Cash only, closed Sundays.



Posted By:  Rhea Lewitzki
Photo:  Rhea Lewitzki

Omelette and Waffle Shop
First of all, it should be ‘omelet,’ because there is nothing ette-ish about these egg beasts. (Doesn’t ‘ette’ imply small?) Anyway, you gotta hand it to a place that serves ninety-five different omelettes/omelets/whatever. Ninety-five, are they serious? I almost had to leave when I got the menu because I’m one of those really annoying people who can’t make a decision. People swear by the chicken-artichoke one, but eating the mama chicken with the baby chicken seems kind of strange to me. So I always go with the pumpkin waffle, which is kind of like eating a pumpkin pie for breakfast. But no matter what you order, the portions are big and coma-inducing. This place brings in all the locals, so prepare for a long wait, minimal parking, and customers who strike up conversations with you. But it’s worth it, especially if you like revamped diners and/or take your egg dishes very, very seriously.



Posted By:  David Horvitz
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Baltic Bakery
Picture this: You’re in the car with your friend (who happens to be Rhea, another NFT writer) and you’re driving down residential streets in San Pedro. You pass a laundry mat and all of a sudden something hits your olfactory organ. Peruvian cookies by Mama O! What are Peruvian cookies? We don't know! Who is Mamma O? Who cares! It doesn't matter because we know that these small, sugary, white cookies are destined to be delicious. Upon entering Mama’s lair, which incidentally is located inside of another bakery, Baltic Bakery to be precise, we were so distracted by the yummy cookies that we didn't even look at what else was on the menu. Be sure to check Mama's schedule though, (we found out the hard way; on a future visit we discovered Mama O was not in), and if you happen to miss her, get some of the fine tasting bread.



Posted By:  Rhea Lewitzki
Photo:  Rhea Lewitzki

Busy Bee's Market
The compliment might be totally self-proclaimed, but once you try a sandwich you too will exclaim, “Who the hell cares if they’re arrogant? It really is the best in town!” This family-owned market tucked away in a neighborhood appears modest and inconspicuous despite its boastful guarantee. There isn’t anywhere to sit, parking is limited, there aren’t any windows, and you can’t really see through the front door. But don’t let the nondescript exterior throw you off. At lunchtime expect a queue of longshoremen spilling out of the door, and more customers inside hovering around the vast selection of beverages and simmering meats. Hardcore eaters order the Belly Buster (caution: not something from Fitness magazine), but I’m a fan of the less intimidating BBQ chicken sandwich smothered in homemade marinara, which looks like a car crash when you take it out of the paper. Always grab extra napkins, though getting the sandwich all over your lap and in your hair is only half the fun. Busy Bee protocol is that you must take your lunch to Paseo Del Mar Park or the Korean Friendship Bell. Ask any San Pedran for directions. Cash only, closed Sundays.



Posted By:  David Horvitz
Photo: 

You may know Noah from reading some of the other LA Radars. What you may not know is that there are twenty cats that live under Noah's place. And another thing that you may not know (and even Noah doesn't know this), is that there are 200 cats that live underneath me. Okay, by "underneath" I really mean three blocks to the cliffs and down to the sea. Cat Beach is located in San Pedro in White's Point's beach level parking lot. I guess the story is that when you don't want your cat anymore (how sad) you leave it here. There are hundreds of them in the rocks, some even born on the beach. Come and find them. Don't worry, they aren't starving, there are volunteers who come down and feed them. But I'm sure they wouldn't mind if you give them some of your extra fishbones. A brief history: A hundred years ago this beach was filled with Japanese abalone fishers. And there was even a Japanese style hot spring until an earthquake sealed it up. Oh how I wish it was 1890!



Posted By:  David Horvitz
Photo: 

Angels Gate Cultural Center
On top of a grassy hill in San Pedro, with a breathtaking view of Catalina, sits a large bell in a pagoda with a lot of pigeon poop. That describes the Korean Friendship Bell, given to the US by South Korea in 1976. The bell is in a park great for relaxing, kite flying, looking out at sea, or doing nothing. There is an exhibit space that has Korean related objects on display. This is a good place to come on a sunny afternoon. I've always been too scared to come here at night because it is supposedly one of the top rape spots in LA. The bell is rung four times a year, which is so boring, and why you should bring some wire cutters (because the wooden mallet is chained down), come late at night (the wire cutters will be your weapon against sick villains), and ring the bell 100 times. This place is in an excuse to drink soju and eat bibimbap. And if you're bored, bring your own bell and stand a little north of the pagoda and say you're holding the North Korean Friendship Bell.



Posted By:  David Horvitz
Photo: 

You know there is something about you that makes you different from most people in LA. You're not a superficial fuck. You don't care only about yourself and your career. You even think about other people before you think about yourself. And so you want to show someone that you aren't like the rest. Why not take them to see the sick seals in San Pedro? They want people to come and smile at them so they can get better and play again. Yes, that is what seals do, they play. And maybe you used to play when you were younger. The Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro takes in sick seals and sea lions from Los Angeles and Ventura County, heals them, and sends them back into the ocean. You can look at them from behind a fence during daylight hours. Take 110 South to the end at Gaffey Street, make a left, after 36th Street you will find an entrance to Fort MacArthur at Angels Gate on your right, go in, turn right onto Leavenworth Drive and follow the road past the fort until you see the building and the parking lot. Go behind the building. Play.



Posted By:  David Horvitz
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Carla's Tidepools
Do you remember that great LA band back in the ‘90s, The Gerladine Fibbers, with the totally amazing Carla Bozulich? The other night she ended up giving me a haircut outside on Hollywood Boulevard with Pat Smear and Lemmy (wow, what a night of insanity!). She got pissed at me that I didn't know where her favorite tide-pools were even though I’m from Pedro. "Carla's favorite tide-pools" are below Second Park in San Pedro. Walking down to the coast from the park you will find a small pathway, and then a steep set of metal stairs. Go down at low-tide, but if you see anyone fucking with a sea cucumber or sea anemone, please give them a nice punch in the face. Make sure their blood from their nose hits the water so a shark can come by and eat them. Do a map search for Paseo Del Mar and Meyler in San Pedro. Park around there, enter the small park, walk down, long for a world that once existed, one filled with treasures underneath every rock now obliterated by people who just don't care about these special things, get pissed, take action, the starfish is your friend and gives you tranquility.



Posted By:  David Horvitz
Photo: 

Do you remember that old Situationist slogan spray painted all over Paris in May ’68—UNDER THE PAVING STONES THE BEACH? Well, if you want to know what that’s about, you have to go to Sunken City in San Pedro—a part of Pedro that fell into the ocean in the 1930s due to earth movement. Now the uninhabited area has old streets leading into cliffs, chimneys coming out of nowhere, and cement foundations hovering precariously over the sea. This is probably where all those post-apocalyptic ‘80s flicks were filmed. It is easy to walk around and explore this barren landscape—also easy to fall off and die. Don’t worry about getting busted, everyone does it. The day is the safest time to go. But going at night is amazing to watch the boats in the harbor, but beware of gangs and cops (you’re not supposed to park in the Point Fermin lot at night) and possibly Mike Watt thumping his upright bass under the bright full moon. Walk into the park, walk to the cliff, go all the way left (south), hop the little barrier and go around the fence. Bring wine and don’t fall off.



Posted By:  Jessica Goeller
Photo:  Jessica Goeller

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
It’s not as flash as the Aquarium of the Pacific, but Cabrillo Marine Aquarium has a lot to recommend it. Exhibits are close to the ground, making ideal viewing for toddlers and stroller-dwellers. It’s also quite uncrowded compared to its big brother aquarium in Long Beach. Surrounded by Cabrillo State Beach, with its gentle summer waves and exotic winter tide pools, the aquarium can be the highlight of your family outing. Enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the many shaded tables while the kids splash in the waves or play on the playground. The $7 parking fee is unavoidable, but you’ll more than recoup the loss from the savings on admission.




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