See marine life, taste delicious seafood, shop for hand-crafted goods and see a bit of battleship history.
by Erin Mahoney Harris
The harbor city of San Pedro is loaded with hidden treasures. An excellent aquarium, whale watching excursions, a permanent craft fair, a historic battleship and more neat discoveries are in store for families willing to journey to one of the world’s busiest ports.
This is the time of year to go whale watching, as Pacific gray whales migrate from January through mid-April. You might be lucky enough to spot whales, dolphins and sea lions from the shore at Point Vicente Interpretive Center (31501 Palos Verdes Drive West, Rancho Palos Verdes; 310-377-5370), or you can book a whale watching cruise through L.A. Harbor Sportfishing (1150 Nagoya Way; 310-547-9916; www.laharborsportfishing.com).
San Pedro’s Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (3720 Stephen M. White Dr.; 310-548-7562; www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org) is easy to overlook when compared with the flashier Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, but it’s absolutely worth a visit. The Frank Gehry-designed marine life center in Cabrillo Beach Coastal Park offers a close and comprehensive look at local sea life, featuring plenty of hands-on exhibits to get kids excited. Best of all, admission is affordable at just $5 for adults and $1 for children and seniors.
If you love handmade treats and artisanal goods, you’ll be happy to find them year-round at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles (112 E. 22nd St. #10; 310-732-1270; www.craftedportla.com). Clothing designers, bakers, jewelry makers, woodworkers and other crafty types peddle their wares in the cool industrial warehouse market space every weekend, and parking and admission are free.
Enjoy a killer view with your brunch, lunch or dinner at 22nd Street Landing (141 W. 22nd St.; 310-548-4400; www.22ndstlandingrestaurant.com). This classic restaurant overlooking the marina serves fresh seafood, of course, and fish and chips and pasta for the kids. Grab a table on the upstairs deck to enjoy the sights of the marina, including sea lions, pelicans and fishing boats heading out to sea.
Built in 1940 and designated the “World’s Greatest Naval Ship” due to her big guns, speed and longevity, Battleship Iowa (250 S. Harbor Blvd.; 877-446-9261; www.pacificbattleship.com) is an impressive relic, to be sure. The ship boasted more than 50 years of service and was known for its state-of-the-art naval technology, along with creature comforts to accommodate presidents including Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Ticket prices to board and tour the ship range from $10 to $18.
Also Worth a Look: San Pedro’s Waterfront Red Car Line is a vintage trolley service that runs between the World Cruise Center and Cabrillo Marina, with stops along the way for the Maritime Museum, Ports O’ Call, Crafted, 22nd Street Landing and other attractions. It runs from noon to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and $1 buys unlimited rides all day.