Picture Perfect Pedro

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Full disclosure, this picture wasn’t taken today, but it’s what I see, or what I wish I’d see, every time I watched the sunset. Catalina, the Pacific Ocean, palm trees accompanied by the scent of anise, sweet and warm grass, and salt air. Also in the air, the mournful sound of peafowl (you know, like peacocks), which, apparently, not everyone likes anymore. How, exactly, such a bird can be “controverisal” is beyond me.

Way down here at the southern tip of this fair city, San Pedro is frequently maligned, dismissed, willfully ignored, or just plain forgotten. Someday soon, however, you beach-craving property hunters will realize we’re the last unexploited bit of coast in these parts and then there’ll go the neighborhood. Until then, however, I offer you the top 5 ways to spend the day in Pedro – since you’re all already thinking about whale-watching – which we got a lot of here – (and before you get here, practice saying “Peeedro” and not “Paydro.”

1.) Go for a run along Point Fermin and Royal Palms. In the last 5 years or so, the city has invested a lot in making the cliffside sidewalk runner/walker/cyclist friendly. Start down by Walker’s Cafe a local biker joint featured in Chinatown. Meander past Pt. Fermin lighthouse, and make your way down Paseo Del Mar. Wearing beach-friendly shoes? Take the low road and expore the tidepools at the water’s edge below.

2.) Now that you’re hungry – grab breakfast at Pacific Diner. The Hangover Special is good even on weekdays and it’s one of the few places offering Monte Cristos daily (okay, except weekends). My mom recommends the oatmeal. Mmm, mmm.

3.) Float on your back like a sea otter at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, home to the city’s best – and only – collection of local marine life. It’s biome fun for the whole family as you learn about sea life at the rocky shore, the sandy bottoms, and the deep waters off the L.A. Coast. Be sure to ask for information on the next grunion run. Fish sex is fun for the whole family.

4.) Take a walk through historic downtown San Pedro – bounded by Pacific and Center Streets and about 4th and 7th Streets. Explore the local art scene which grows daily with each new gallery opening and exhibition. Check the calendar – is it the first Thursday of the month. You’re in for a treat.

5.) Catch a movie, concert, or spoken word event at the historic Warner Grand Theater – once the scene of major Hollywood premieres, this hidden treasure is the South Bay’s Pantages Theater – an art deco heaven, neighborhood style. Upcoming screenings include Sixteen Candles, Monsoon Wedding, Repo Man, and The Big Lebowski. If live music is your thing – the Golden State Pops Orchestra is the newest kid on the block and gaining quite a following.

No, I’m not on the Chamber payroll, and we don’t really have a separate tourism department or anything – but I’m in town on spring break, playing hooky from the Metroblogging SF and have to show some Pedro love. I did most of the things on this list today. Never gets old.

As Sean said once – it’s a long drive from some parts of the city. But when the weather’s nice – it’s a hell of a field trip. And while you’re at it – make sure to stick around after dark and check out the bridge lights. Enjoy!

10 Replies to “Picture Perfect Pedro”

  1. Right on. I grew up in Pedro, but now live in Philly, so I find myself all too often in the position of defending LA in general to the East Coasters, and Pedro the West Coasters. But damn, do we have some great vistas.

  2. I went Geocaching in San Pedro last summer near Pt. San Fermin. I discovered the Korean Friendship Bell and Fort MacArthur. My first time to Pt. San Fermin was to see a Shakespearean play. (http://www.shakespearebythesea.org) The theatre company’s home base is San Pedro, and put on most of their plays at that park. Great view. Pity the lighthouse was closed for renovation at the time.

  3. Wow, Christiana, you sure hit all the stops! BTW, some of the info in that “1stthursdays” link is severely out of date (like at least three years old!)You should be able to find more current listings in the LAWeekly or someplace like that. (I wish I could be more helpful, but Google keeps spitting back that same antique link…)

  4. Argh – I HATE out of date websites. Badly done on them. . . . .

    Frankly, though, other than the handy linking aspect, 1st Thursdays doesn’t need a website: the 1st Thrusday of any month, just show up on 6th street below Pacific (take the 110 South till it ends, easiest out-of-towner directions would be to stay on Gaffey where the freeway ends and hang a left on 6th or 7th Streets, drive down a few block (past Pacific Ave) and park.). There are usually dinner specials at the restaurants, vendors outside, and at various points in the past there has been live music and/or a car show – but those things seem to be hit or miss.

  5. The bell! The bell! The Korean Friendship Bell!

    I love Pedro, but I have to say, the bell is my favorite place to go there. Perhaps my favorite place in L.A. to go, period.

    Great post. Time for a Pedro run, methinks…

  6. nice post. except for perpetuating the myth that San Pedro is so damn far away. it isn’t. by Fresno or St. Paul standards it may be a long drive, but give me a break, this is LA. i make it from Point Fermin to Culver City for work every day without being killed by gypsies, pirates or stagecoach robbers. really.

    then again, forget what i said. keep perpetuating the myth. it’s nice to live in a secret spot.

  7. I absolutely don’t support the Pedro Is Far Myth. I was just poking Sean for his comment to that effect.

    If Pedro is “too far,” then all the places from which it is too far are too far themselves – if that makes sense. I salute your Culver City commute – 405 isn’t exactly peachy keen.

  8. Moved to Pedro 5 years ago and we love it. I work in Chatsworth so the 405 is my second home. Walking three blocks to get to the Marina and viewing Catalina from the Vons parking lot make it more than worth it. But, we don’t want the word to get around…

  9. Sounds lovely… but now I have to worry about Peedro/Paydro? Perhaps next there will be a backlash against those who don’t pronounce L.A. “Los An-ha-less?”

  10. It’s “Peedro” because it’s Portuguese, not Spanish. In the same way Cabrillo beach is pronounced Cab-ril-lo, not Cab-ri-o. Locals may point it out if you get the pronunciation wrong, but they are probably just trying to be helpful.

    Curoiusly, I’ve lived in Pedro for almost a decade, and I don’t know Portuguese folks.

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