San Pedro, CA is an idyllic coastal neighborhood in Los Angeles located to the west of Long Beach.
San Pedro has a unique personality despite not officially being a separate city.
In this article, we discuss some of the most popular things to see and do in the region, emphasizing activities for tourists. Within each section, we explain why the activity we listed would appeal to potential visitors. Then, towards the end of the article, we offer our final thoughts about the future of San Pedro CA.
Experience the Korean Bell of Friendship
There’s no better way of kicking off your explorations of San Pedro, CA than by emphasizing themes of friendship and love.
The Korean Bell of Friendship was gifted to the US by Korea in 1976 to celebrate the US’s 200th birthday. It’s a 17-ton bell which is 12 feet in height and 7.5 feet in diameter. This bell is rung 4 times a year by striking it with a log that is attached to cables.
This bell is intended to commemorate US veterans of the Korean War. As such, it would be an ideal location for anyone interested in history or anyone with some connection to the Korean War. Additionally, many people like to go to the Korean Bell of Friendship as a reminder of the importance of peaceful coexistence.
Since it represents a gift from one country to another, many visitors pick up on the energy surrounding the bell. Indeed, the Pagoda that the bell hangs from is a popular kind of building used for religious worship throughout Asia. Thus, the Korean Bell of Friendship can also function as a kind of shrine for visitors to pay homage to the power of peace more generally.
Soak Up the Sun at Cabrillo Beach
Since San Pedro is on the coast, many visitors like to frequent its gorgeous beaches. For example, Cabrillo Beach is a historic beach that offers breathtaking views of the ocean, picturesque coves, and provocative tide pools.
This is one of the only beaches in Los Angeles County that offers fire pits for visitors to use. This makes Cabrillo Beach a great location for picnics and parties. This is especially the case on holidays, and the area can get very crowded.
Cabrillo Beach is also a popular location for observing the rituals of grunion fish. These silvery creatures lay their eggs in the sand under a full or new moon. Many visitors like to bring flashlights and try to catch these fish at night. Using any kind of fishing tool is illegal, though visitors can keep whatever they’re able to catch with their bare hands.
This beach features a fishing pier that visitors can traverse. Volleyball is also a popular activity on the beach as is wind-surfing.
Experience the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is situated in a coastal park near Cabrillo Beach. All of the marine life featured in the Aquarium is from Southern California. Exploring this aquarium would be a great activity if you were interested in the diverse ecosystems in the area.
All kids will love Cabrillo Marine Aquarium due to the many educational programs it hosts. Many lectures on an array of science topics are delivered each month and visitors can even sign up for a whalewatch trip in search of Pacific gray whales.
This aquarium has been operating since 1935, so visitors can be assured that they are experiencing a first-rate curation of organisms and information that has been refined over many years. As such, this is often considered one of the best aquariums in the world. If you are attracted to maritime ecosystems, then you simply have to come here.
There is also a coastal park just minutes from the aquarium. This park includes trails, tidepools, beaches, and a saltmarsh as well as many picnic areas that would be perfect for lunch.
Experience the Fanfare Fountains
The Fanfare Fountains consist of two pools that measure 100x250 feet. These are located next to the Los Angeles Cruise Terminal.
The Fanfare Fountains are notable for having 40 programmable water jets and 18 streams which can be launched up to 100 feet in the air.
Each day, a water and light show is choreographed based on various songs that are played. This happens every 30 minutes from 10 am to 9 pm with the exception of being at noon and 8 pm. At these times, a water and light show plays every 10 minutes for an hour.
A list of all the music that is synchronized with the fountains can be found here.
The Fanfare Fountains can be a great location for relaxing. It can serve as an aesthetically pleasing backdrop for conversation and company. Many people like to come to Fanfare Mountains in order to take pictures. This could also be a great meeting spot, as the fountains are hard to miss.
Also, there’s no need to worry about wasting water, as the fountains use recycled water.
Experience the Arts District
The Arts district of San Pedro, CA is another popular attraction. It is primarily located on 6th and 7th street and includes many art galleries and artist studios that can be visited.
The First Thursday Art Walk draws many visitors to this district. These visitors can elect for an official tour which starts at 6:30 pm. This tour leads you through many different galleries, studios, vendor booths, food trucks, and live events like music and theatre. Essentially, this is a time of festivity meant to celebrate the artistic culture of San Pedro.
Many local artists open up their studios to visitors during this Art Walk. This allows visitors to view artists work up-close as well as watch artists work in real time. This Art Walk would be a great way for anyone new to the area to join the artistic community. For example, any artists moving to the area would benefit from meeting other artists through this Art Walk.
There is also a wide variety of cuisine available during the Art Walk as well as tons of shopping options.
A list of all the local art galleries and studios can be found on this webpage. Many art buffs use this list as a starting point for research before they attend the Art Walk. This allows them to plan their route well in advance, as visitors don’t have to do the official tour.
Attend San Pedro Farmers Market
In addition to viewing local art, visitors to San Pedro can also sample local food grown from this region of the US.
The San Pedro Farmers Market is a popular place to source such local foods. It’s open every Friday from 9 am to 2 pm.
This is a popular location any time of year, as California is known for its local fruits and vegetables regardless of the season. Yet, oranges are particularly delectable in the winter months while apricots, figs, avocados, and nectarines are particularly prominent during the summer months.
If you’re a foodie and want to escape some of the more touristy restaurants in San Pedro, then we recommend hitting up the San Pedro Farmers Market. This could be a great way to source ingredients if you wanted to make your own food while visiting San Pedro.
Many of the vendors at the farmers market offer deals for buying produce in bulk. Thus, attending the San Pedro Farmers Market might be ideal if you are exploring the area in a large group. It would be incredibly easy to stop for a quick snack by purchasing a large case of figs, for example.
The produce offered by the market vendors is not only delicious but healthy, as many of the farmers have been certified organic. This means that they avoid the use of certain toxic pesticides when growing their crops in addition to meeting other stringent requirements set by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Our Final Thoughts on San Pedro CA
We think San Pedro is an attractive coastal community that is often overlooked by visitors to Southwestern California in favor of downtown Los Angeles.
San Pedro offers tons of things to do, from various museums and historic landmarks to beaches, parks, aquariums, and a thriving arts district.
This makes San Pedro, CA ideal for any family or individual, as there is something to do regardless of your preferences. At the very least, visitors that feel lazy can simply set up camp on Cabrillo Beach and spend the day admiring the beauty of the Pacific.
We think San Pedro, CA will continue to be popular in the future as many visitors to LA crave a more secluded spot that is away from the chaos of Hollywood.
Our main hope is that visitors preserve the area for future generations. This means keeping San Pedro clean from litter as well as safe from potential crime.