Not far from LA’s most popular hotels, there’s a great place to get outdoors and enjoy all that southern California has to offer. San Pedro is at the southern tip of the 110 freeway and has some beautiful waterfront views.
A must-see stop is the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (3720 Stephen M. White Drive; San Pedro, CA 90731) One of the most popular attractions with all ages is the tidepool touch tank where young and old can actually reach in and touch sea urchins, stinging anemones and those bumpy sea stars. Also, head over to the lab area where you can see just hatched sea horses, so small you have to squint to see them.
After the aquarium, stroll down to the Cabrillo beach. It’s right across the parking lot. Take in some beach volleyball or just relax and watch the waves come ashore as you gaze up the California coast.
Want to see more while you sit and relax? Jump aboard the Spirit Cruise line for a waterfront tour. Take their 60 or 90 minute harbor bay cruise and see the amazing size of the Port of LA and find some great harborfront dining locations you might want to visit when you return. If you are there in January, February or March, be sure to catch their “Guaranteed Whale Watch” excursions and see some of the 25,000 giant grey whales that migrate right past Los Angeles.
Need some gifts to take home? You haven’t seen anything until you’ve shopped at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles. (110 E. 22nd St., San Pedro, CA 90731 310-732-1270) Open 52 weekends a year, here you’ll find crafts from hundreds of designers, artists and artisanal food makers – most of whom display only here. Find one-of-a-kind fashions, jewelry, artwork – whatever. With art demos, live music performers and food tastings, there’s always something fun going on in this renovated theater.
Want some history before leaving the port? Take a tour of the USS Iowa, proudly docked at Berth 87 (250 South Harbor Blvd., San Pedro, CA.) This World War II battleship, which has hosted Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, is open daily for tours from 9 – 5. Experience simulated wartime action in the ship’s digital theater. If you are from the State of Iowa, you get in free.
Give yourself at least a whole day to explore San Pedro. There’s so much to see and do, you won’t want to miss all the Port of LA has to offer.
Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about travel destinations across the country and around the world. Feel free to drop him a line at email@example.com with suggestions for future stories. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Twitter @photodb. To read Doug’s disclosure notice, click here. To see his travel photo collection, see BardwellPhotography.com.