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!