My husband and I are inveterate tourists. Whenever we go somewhere we haven’t recently visited we make a point of seeing something new and trying out different restaurants. For our foray to the new Southern California In-Water Boat Show (socalboatshow.com), held for the first time in San Pedro Sept. 22-25, I gleaned information from knowledgeable locals and reliable websites on what to see and do around San Pedro and where to eat when we are at the show. With such strong recommendations, we’re now considering making the boat show a weekend getaway.
As boaters, Arv and I always enjoy everything related to the water, especially maritime museums. We’re eager to tour the Los Angeles Maritime Museum’s recently renovated spaces and new exhibits, as well as visit our old friend, the retired 1925 fireboat, Ralph J. Scott, located behind San Pedro’s Fire Station 112, near fascinating outdoor exhibits documenting the history of fire fighting in L.A. harbor.
We last saw the battleship USS Iowa when she sat forlornly at her dock, her name painted out, at the now-closed Philadelphia Navy Yard. We recognized USS Iowa from her sadly-askew gun turret, the result of a tragic and notorious onboard explosion, as we cruised our old Hatteras up the Delaware River into Philadelphia harbor. Her fortunes have now improved and she’s been restored and transformed into a popular San Pedro naval museum open to the public.
Also on my list of must-see marine-related attractions are the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and the World War II victory ship, SS Lane Victory, which we enjoy visiting during San Diego port visits. It’s located at Berth 49 in the boat show’s Cabrillo Way Marina.
Two lighthouses are also high on my priority list. The Point Fermin Lighthouse, with its elaborate Victorian architecture, colorful gardens and museum, is among the West Coast’s oldest lighthouses, open for public tours. The more simply designed Angel’s Gate Lighthouse is best viewed by sea (why not try a harbor tour?) or from the end of the Cabrillo Beach fishing pier by Point Fermin Park.
Known as a peaceful spot for reflection offering superb panoramic views over the harbor, the Korean Bell of Friendship is cherished by locals, but less frequented by tourists. Located on a hilltop near the San Pedro marinas in Angel’s Gate Park, the bell was a 1976 gift from the Republic of Korea, honoring U.S. Korean War veterans’ contributions.
If you appreciate fine handcrafts as I do, Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles is a must-see. It’s a permanent craft marketplace situated in a converted World War II-era waterfront warehouse at 110 E. 22nd St. Its market stalls sell wares of individual designers offering a wide range of handcrafts and artisan foods and, on weekends, Crafted offers craft demonstrations and live music along with cuisine from varied food trucks.
For dining high on everyone’s list is 22nd Street Landing Seafood Grill and Bar at 141-A W. 22nd St., an easy walk from the boat show. A charming old-school Italian restaurant, also serving California cuisine, is J. Trani’s Ristorante at 584 W. 9th St., while Mishi’s Strudel Bakery & Café at 309 W. 7th St., downtown, serves homemade Hungarian pastries and crepes, both savory and sweet, as well as traditional goulash, in a ladies’ tea-room atmosphere.
For breakfast or lunch, don’t miss Pacific Diner at 3821 S. Pacific Avenue, known particularly for its omelets, French toast and biscuits.
With so many things to do and neighborhoods to explore, I know we’ll regularly return to San Pedro’s waterfront.