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sightseeing, Things To Do

13 Fun Things to Do in Culver City If You’re In the Neighborhood

February 20, 2017 by Jarone Ashkenazi

Culver City has really blossomed over the last few years, thanks to the redevelopment of Downtown Culver City and the arrival of the Metro Expo Line. Highly pedestrian-friendly, it’s a destination that offers a multitude of options every single day.

Whether you want to tour a classic movie studio, explore great shopping or dining, or want to enjoy some culture in your spare time, here, in no particular order, are super some fun things to do in Culver City.

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Enjoy!

Culver Hotel Lobby

Lobby at the Culver Hotel. Image via Culver Hotel

1. The Culver Hotel

A focal point of Culver City, the Culver Hotel is a historic landmark that offers a grand estate feel in their recently renovated 46-room-hotel. The grand lobby’s carefully detailed ambiance, complete with high ceilings, vintage armchairs, and classic movie projections, offers nightly live music from up-and-coming artists. Through the lobby and up the stairs, you’ll find the hotel’s magical Velvet Lounge, perfectly reminiscent of a 1920s speakeasy with a twist of Parisian boudoir. Open Thursdays through Saturdays after 8 p.m., it holds plenty of secluded corners to enjoy an aperitif or bottle service.

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2. Museum of Jurassic Technology

Technically located in the Palms area, on the corner of Venice and Bagley Avenue, the Museum of Jurassic Technology was founded by husband and wife David Hildebrand Wilson and Diana Drake Wilson in 1988. Hidden behind a windowless storefront, the museum contains an unusual collection of exhibits and objects with varying, uncertain degrees of authenticity. The museum challenges the very nature of what a museum is, while its Tula Tea Room, a Russian-style tea spot, offers Georgian tea, cookies, and crackers to patrons.

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Museum of Jurassic Technology

Outside the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Photo by Sascha Pohflepp via flickr cc

3. PLATFORM

PLATFORM, part of the Hayden Tract in Culver City, offers a collection of 120,000 square feet of curated merchants, chefs, and creative companies from around the world. Offering L.A. the perfect wellness experience, you can look no further than this local neighborhood for a blissful day. Begin your morning with a fresh juice at Juice Served Here before you endure a coveted SoulCycle class for a killer sweat sesh. Then head over to Aesop for a refreshing facial and a manicure at Tenoverten. Cap off your perfect day with a healthy lunch at Sweetgreen or an acai bowl at São Acai.

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4. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

From 8 a.m. to sunset, adventurers are welcome to take on the 282 steep, concrete stairs to the top of Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Before embarking on the hike up to the peak (you can also drive it, if you’re not feeling as adventurous), check out the exhibits telling the story of this once drilled and exploited land. At the 500-foot peak, sit on a park bench and take in the 360-degree city views of the entire Los Angeles Basin, the Pacific Ocean, and surrounding mountains.

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Climb Culver City Stairs

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook Trail. Photo Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

5. Sony Pictures Studio Tour

Want to feel like a star for a couple of hours? Sony Pictures in Culver City offers a two-hour guided walking studio tour which gives guests the real experience of a working movie studio. Tours run Mondays through Fridays and tickets, which must be reserved, are $45 per person. Guests can visit the famed sets of game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, along with sound stages where iconic movies like The Wizard of Oz were filmed.

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6. Helms Bakery District

Helms Bakery, built in 1931, operated as a bakery until going out of business in 1969. It sat empty for a few years but was eventually restored. This adaptive reuse of a historic structure is filled with award-winning restaurants, design and home furnishings stores, and more. Located just one block east of the Metro Expo Line, this is a great spot to meet friends for a day of food, furniture shopping, and fun.

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Helms Bakery District

Street view of Helms Bakery District. Photo by Joe Wolf via flickr cc

7. Hobbit House

Located in downtown Culver City, the Hobbit House was created by former Walt Disney Studios artist Joseph Lawrence. Once a single-family residence, it was redesigned into several units, with one recently renting for $1,695 a month. Built in the whimsical storybook architecture style, the house has no right angles. It features sweeping shingled roofs, along with diamond-paned windows.

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8. Culver City Arts District

Located on Washington Boulevard between Helms and Fairfax Avenues, as well as La Cienega Blvd. between Venice and Fairfax Avenue, the Culver City Arts District invites guests to explore, experience, and enjoy their unique collection of contemporary art galleries, artist studios, boutique restaurants and specialty services. Among many others retailers and galleries, some standouts include Arcana: Books on the Arts, FP Contemporary art gallery, gastropub Father’s Office, and acclaimed Asian fusion eatery Lukshon.

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9. Kirk Douglas Theatre

A distinctive Streamline Moderne structure that was originally a movie palace, the Culver Theatre opened in 1946. In 2004, after an $8 million restoration project that preserved its historic exterior and added two new stages, it reopened as the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Located in Downtown Culver City, the Kirk Douglas Theatre hosts many of Center Theatre Group’s world premieres and most adventurous works.

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10. Culver City Farmer’s Market

Every Tuesday from 2 to 7 p.m., rain or shine, Culver City Farmer’s Market offers a great selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other fine foods. Located on downtown Culver City’s Main Street, it’s one of the smaller farmers markets in Los Angeles, but boasts a reputation for the superior quality of its vendors. Free two-hour parking is available in structures nearby.

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11. The Actors’ Gang at the Ivy Substation

Founded in 1981 by a group of young artists and guided by Artistic Director Tim Robbins, the Actors’ Gang offers vibrantly entertaining plays in a century-old electricity substation. Accomplished actors and guest performers from Jack Black, John Cusack, John C. Reilly to Jackson Browne and Sarah Silverman have been involved in their entertaining productions.

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12. Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area is one of the largest inner-city parks and regional open spaces in greater Los Angeles. The Culver City-adjacent park (it’s technically next door in Ladera Heights) is home to a lotus pond, fishing lake, baseball and soccer fields, sand volleyball court, more than seven miles of walking and hiking trails, plus a ten-station workout course. Along the way, enjoy views from the South Bay and the Pacific Ocean to Downtown and the San Gabriel Mountains.

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Kenneth Hahn View of DTLA

A view of downtown from Kenneth Hahn Recreational Area. Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

13. Wende Museum

Established in 2002, the Wende Museum is a Cold War art museum, historical archive, and educational institution located in the former United States National Guard Armory building. The museum’s collection includes over 100,000 objects, propaganda posters, and more from the Soviet Union and the former Eastern Bloc.

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