Culver City is a city on the Westside of Los Angeles County. It was given the moniker the "Heart of Screenland" during the 1930s and 1940s when it was responsible for half of America's motion picture production; today it remains home to Sony Studios (formerly MGM Studios) and Culver Studios. In addition to its role in the film and television industry the city has a reputation as a great food destination due to the huge number of trendy restaurants found in the downtown and elsewhere.
Harry Culver, a real estate developer, founded the city as a sundown town in 1913. Located along the roads and rail line that connected the beach resort city of Venice with downtown Los Angeles, the town grew fairly quickly. Culver attracted migrants from the Midwest by offering homes that included furniture and even appliances in exchange for a monthly mortgage payment.
In the 1920s the film industry arrived, with silent film comedy producer Hal Roach and Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) building studios. From the 1930s through the 1940s Culver City was home to half of America's motion picture production and was dubbed the "Heart of Screenland." Today entertainment companies that call Culver City home include Sony Studios (formerly MGM), Culver Studios (future home of Amazon Studios), National Public Radio's "NPR West" facility, the NFL Network, and a handful of smaller media companies. In 2021 HBO will move its West Coast headquarters to Culver City, followed in 2022 by the opening of a new facility housing 1,000 employees working on Apple's entertainment offerings.
Movies that have been produced in Culver City include classics such as Citizen Kane, the original King Kong, and Gone With the Wind. The Wizard of Oz was filmed at MGM studios, and the original yellow brick road is still inside the lot on Stage 27 of Sony Studios. In addition to being the home of classic films, the television show I Love Lucy was produced at Desilu Studios. More recent productions include Grease, Raging Bull, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, City Slickers, Men in Black, Air Force One and Spider-Man. In addition to I Love Lucy, television shows made on Culver City sets include Lassie, Batman, The Andy Griffith Show, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.
The city has other ties to the entertainment industry beyond the movies and television shows created at its studios. The iconic Culver Hotel was once owned by Charlie Chaplin and was later sold to John Wayne, allegedly for the price of $1 after a high-stakes poker game. The town's streets also reflect Culver City's entertainment history, with names such as (Mary) Pickford and (Douglas) Fairbanks.
Culver City was in a state of decline in the 1990s, but since that time has undergone a tremendous revival. The downtown area is now a bustling district that is home to dozens of restaurants and multiple theaters, while other districts throughout the city are gaining reputations for the culinary and artistic businesses that have set up shop.
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The Metro light rail Expo Line stops in Culver City on its way between Santa Monica to the west and Exposition Park and Downtown LA to the east. The Culver City station is at the northern end of downtown Culver City, off National Blvd between Washington and Venice Blvds, approximately a five-minute walk from downtown Culver City. Metro bus lines 33/Rapid 733 run frequently along Venice Blvd past downtown Culver City, with service to Downtown LA and Venice Beach.
Culver CityBus has several bus lines that link Culver City and surrounding communities. Routes of particular use to visitors include Line 1 to Venice Beach via Washington Blvd and Fairfax Ave, with a stop at the Expo Line Culver City station; Line 3 between the Westfield Shopping Center and Century City, with stops at West LA College, the Westside Pavilion, and the Expo Line Westwood/Rancho Park station along the way; and Line 6 between Westwood/UCLA and the LAX City Bus Center via Sepulveda Blvd, with stops at the Westfield Shopping Center and the Expo Line Sepulveda station. Service on these three lines is daily and tends to run every 15-20 minutes for most of the day. Fare is $1, with transfers to another Culver CityBus costing $0.25 and inter-agency transfers $0.40, with TAP cards accepted.
Culver CityBus operates buses in and around Culver City.
There are red light cameras throughout Culver City, and at $490 per violation the fines are some of the highest in the country.
Despite having two movie studios and several television production facilities within the city limits, the only public tour is at Sony Studios, which offers a tour rather than a theme park attraction like Universal City. In addition, a handful of museums are scattered throughout the city, each one small and focused on a particular subject - those looking for large museums geared towards a general audience might want to take the Expo line to Exposition Park, but those with special interests will find Culver City's offerings to be excellent. Two highlights include the Wende Museum, which is highly regarded for its Cold War collection, and the Museum of Jurassic Technology, which has somewhat of a cult following for its general weirdness and for its willingness to mix truth and fiction.
- 1 Culver City Historical Society, 4117 Overland Ave (Veterans Memorial Building), ☏ +1-310-253-6941, fax: +1-310-253-6942, [email protected]. 1PM-3PM on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, and by appointment. An archives and resource center preserves local history, and aims to serve everyone from young children to senior citizens.
- 2 Culver Studios, 9336 W Washington Blvd (at Ince Blvd and Lindblade Street). Located in downtown Culver City, Culver Studios was founded in 1919. Fans of classic motion pictures will immediately recognize the studio's colonial mansion from the opening credits of the David O. Selznick International productions such as Gone With the Wind and Duel in the Sun. Unfortunately public tours are not available.
- 3 King Fahad Mosque, 10980 Washington Blvd. The King Fahad Mosque was opened in 1998 and has a capacity of 2,000 worshippers, a marble facade, hand made tiles from Turkey, and a 72 ft (22 m) high minaret topped with a gold leaf crescent. The complex also contains a lecture and meeting hall, classrooms, research centers, a bookshop, a children’s playground, and a car park. Tours can be arranged in advance through their web site; visitors are asked to wear pants, long sleeves, and head scarves are recommended for women.
- 4 Museum of Jurassic Technology, 9341 Venice Blvd (four blocks west of Robertson Blvd), ☏ +1-310-836-6131, [email protected]. Th 2PM-8PM, F-Su noon-6PM. This museum is a truly unique experience, as it is an artistic mixture of fact and fiction, featuring weird and wonderful displays of things that never happened, next to strange but true practices of bygone years; it can be hard to distinguish between the two, and it's best not to try. Exhibits include micro-sculptures that fit within the eye of a needle, portraits of the canine astronauts of the early Soviet space program, and artwork made from the scales of butterfly wings that can be viewed under microscopes. An enjoyable afternoon's visit and a tribute to the weirdness of the world. The Tula Tea Room is located upstairs and serves complimentary tea and cookies, while the Borzoi Kabinet Theater has free movie screenings hourly; both open one hour after the museum, closing one hour before the museum. Photography and cell phone use (including texting and pictures) is not allowed in the museum. This attraction is actually in the Palms district of Los Angeles, although it has a Culver City address. $8 for adults; $5 for students, retired persons, unemployed individuals, or those age 13-21; $1.50 for disabled persons or military personnel in uniform.
- 5 Center for Land Use Interpretation, 9331 Venice Blvd (next door to the Museum of Jurassic Technology), ☏ +1-310-839-5722. F-Su noon-5PM. A unique organization, the CLUI is devoted to researching and illustrating how land is used and perceived. The exhibits hosted in their minuscule gallery space are small, but are usually very intriguing and often draw attention to features of the landscape you would normally overlook. The tiny bookstore (more of a bookshelf, really) is a real treat, selling some excellent texts as well as humorous postcards. Free.
- 6 Star Eco Station, 10101 Jefferson Blvd (near the intersection of Jefferson & Overland), ☏ +1-310-842-8060. Sa Su 10AM-3PM. An exotic environmental science & wildlife rescue center that is in a nondescript building, the Eco Station is a hidden attraction offering hands-on experiences with rescued tropical birds, mammals, reptiles and other critters. Most of the facility's animals are illegal shipments seized by US customs that needed a home. Hands-on tours lasting 45-60 minutes leave every hour on the hour from 10AM-3PM on weekends. Hands-on opportunities as part of the tour. Special community events throughout the year. If you are in the area for Earth Day they hold a massive celebration including hands-on experiences and special events. $8 for adults, $7 seniors, $6 for children, infants under 2 years free.
- 7 The Wende Museum, 10808 Culver Blvd, ☏ +1-310-216-1600, [email protected]. F 10AM-5PM. Also by appointment M-Th 10AM-5PM. The mission of the Wende Museum is to preserve Cold War history. The museum's exhibits and artifacts include artwork, films and personal histories from the fall of Communist Europe in the late 1980s. Much of the collection is about the German Democratic Republic (DDR). Also has materials from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Free.
The city has a wide array of sculpture, murals, and other installations that will be of interest to art lovers.
- 8 Game Show Building, 10185 Culver Blvd. From the sidewalk, you can see Terry Allen's sculpture "Golden Time", a humorous comment on work after overtime. Michael Hayden's sculpture uses cutting edge materials (holographs) producing a rainbow spectrum on the sidewalk and surrounding areas of the Game Show Building. Hayden collaborated with Game Show Building architect, Steven Ehrlich, AIA, who won a National AIA Design Award for the project.
- 9 Hobbit House, 3819-3827 Dunn Dr. The Lawrence and Martha Joseph Residence and Apartments have been aptly called the "Hobbit House," and people live in these unusual apartments. Los Angeles city historic-cultural landmark No. 624.
- 10 Jim Heimann's sculptures, 9336 W Washington Blvd (near Ince Boulevard at The Culver Studios). Jim Heimann's sculptures "Studio Pass I", "Studio Pass II", and "King Kong Gone" (1995-6), celebrate the history of Culver Studios and Sony Pictures
- 11 Plato's Cup, 9412 W Washington Blvd. Jim Heimann's sculpture "Plato's Cup" (1995) is a riff on a weathervane, which pays homage to the film industry, a former cafe at the location, and the initials of the building's owner.
- 12 Primordial Reflections, 9050 W Washington Blvd. Albert Paley's entrance gates "Primordial Reflections" (1996) provide a monumental entry to architect Jaquelin T. Robertson's Media Building.
- 13 Scan, 9050 W Washington Blvd. Jud Fine's courtyard installation "Scan" traces the history of television.
- 14 Sony Pictures Child Care Center, 3861 Clarington Ave. From the sidewalk, you can see sculptural gates and fencing, created by artist John Okulick, using the colors of "My First Sony" (red, yellow, blue). Also, Margaret Nielsen designed a mural maquette .
- 15 Wading Pool, 10202 W Washington Blvd. R. M. Fisher designed "Wading Pool" (2000), the plaza fountain, which celebrates Sony's history of filmmaking and references the set of "Lost Horizon."
- 1 Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, 6300 Hetzler Rd (off of Jefferson past Duquesne). overlook open 8AM-sunset daily, visitor center open weekdays 10AM-6PM, weekends 8AM-7PM, closed Tu. Over three hundred feet above the surrounding neighborhoods, this overlook provides tremendous views of the LA basin, as well as some short nature trails for those interested in native plants and animals. A self-pay parking lot is available at the top of the hill, but hearty souls can park for free along Jefferson Blvd and then walk up 315 vertical feet of switchbacks and steps (note: no dogs allowed on the trails). There's also a shuttle that operates on weekends and holidays from the La Cienga/Jefferson Metro Expo Line station. The visitor center features exhibits on area history and nature. Special events including twilight walks, junior ranger programs, and bird-watching are scheduled regularly. $6 for self-parking.
- 2 Ballona Creek bicycle path. The Ballona Creek bicycle path is a 7 mi (11 km) long concrete path that is popular with bicyclists, walkers and joggers. The bike path runs along Ballona Creek from the back of the sports fields in Syd Kronenthal Park on McManus Street in Culver City all the way to the ocean, where it then joins the Coast Bike Path along the beach. While some wildlife and plant life is present along the route, the creek itself was lined with concrete by the Army Corps of Engineers after the Flood of 1938. In addition to the access from either end of the path, the bike path can also be accessed at most major intersections where the road passes over the creek. During heavy rains access points will be locked as the area can quickly become unsafe, with the creek rising and submerging portions of the path under fast-moving water.
- 3 Culver City Plunge, 4175 Overland Ave, ☏ +1-310-253-6680. Open daily, hours and schedules vary. The Culver City Municipal Pool, affectionately known as "The Plunge", is a heated, Olympic-sized swimming pool that was first opened in 1949. It is open to the public (resident and non-resident) for recreation swimming, lap swimming, water aerobics, swimming lessons, and diving (1-m and 3-m springboards). Lockers and showers are available on-site. Schedules vary, so call or check the web site before visiting to ensure that the pool is available for your desired activity. $4 for adults, $2.50 for youths; passes good for fifteen visits provide significant discounts.
- 4 Dr. Paul Carlson Park. Dr. Paul Carlson Park, or, more commonly, Carlson Park, is a small park located in the Carlson Park neighborhood. It is intended for recreational use and features open grassy spaces as well as picnic and barbecue facilities. It is named for Dr. Paul Carlson, a former resident of Culver City whose martyrdom in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1964 attracted national attention.
- 5 Kirk Douglas Theater, 9820 W Washington Blvd, ☏ +1-213-628-2772. This performing arts center was built in 1947 as a movie theater with over 1,000 seats, and today the original marquee and tower are still in place, creating a striking presence in downtown Culver City. It underwent an $8-million renovation in the 1990s that created two playhouse stages, one with 350 seats and the other with 100 seats. The theater is owned by the Center Theatre Group, which also operates the Ahmanson Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum in downtown LA. There are regular performances several nights a week. Tickets $25-$50 for most performances.
- 6 Sony Pictures Studio Tour, 10202 W Washington Blvd, ☏ +1-310-244-8687. Formerly the MGM studios, the two-hour guided tour leads through stages that have seen the filming of such productions as the Wizard of Oz, Men in Black, and Spider-Man. Visitors may also see the homes of the game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. Tours are offered M-F at 9:30AM, 10:30AM, 1:30PM and 2:30PM. Reservations are recommended, and the tour is only available for visitors age twelve years and older. $50 per person.
- 7 Cruisin' Back to Culver City Car Show (downtown Culver City), ☏ +1-310-499-4840, [email protected]. Held annually in May. This car show features hundreds of classic cars, food, and entertainment, with proceeds benefiting local charities. The streets of downtown are closed and filled with stalls and classic cars, with owners competing for awards in dozens of categories such as "Best of the 20s", "Best of the 70s", "Best Paint", "Most Different", "Best Hearse", etc. The first car show was held in 2005, and it has since become a yearly event.
- 8 Culver City Farmer's Market, Main St (downtown between Venice and Culver Blvds). Tu 2PM-7PM. Held every Tuesday, rain or shine. The market offers fresh foods, flowers, crafts, and other fare. Two hours of free parking are available in downtown garages. When you walk across the alley, you are actually moving from Los Angeles to Culver City (or vice versa).
- 9 Fiesta La Ballona, 4117 Overland Ave (Veteran's Park). This annual festival is held at the end of the summer and generally lasts from Friday through Sunday. The festival features a beer & wine garden, carnival rides, petting zoo, food trucks, a farmers' market, 100 booths selling artisan wares, and live music. Free admission, rides are generally $1 each.
Culver City offers a bit of everything when it comes to shopping. The Westfield Malls, located just off of I-405 at Sepulveda, is a 200 store mega-mall. The district near the intersection of Washington Blvd and La Cienaga Blvd is a major art destination, featuring dozens of galleries. The downtown area is home to several smaller and more upscale shops, as well as the old Helms Bakery complex, now home to a variety of furniture stores. And for those looking for familiar shopping establishments, major chain stores such as Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Best Buy are also represented within the city limits.
- 1 Culver Center (Venice & Overland). Culver Center was one of Southern California's first shopping centers when it opened in 1950. Today it is anchored by a Best Buy electronics store, a Ralph's Grocery store, and an LA Fitness club. Numerous dining options as well as a Rite-Aid drug store, several boutiques, and numerous smaller stores make this is a useful destination for those that need to pick up basic necessities. Parking can be difficult: spaces that are often overlooked can be found by following the ramp onto the Best Buy roof.
- 2 Helms Bakery, 8800 Venice Blvd. The Helms Bakery on the border of Los Angeles and Culver City was a notable industrial bakery of Southern California that operated from 1931 to 1969. The buildings have now been adapted for reuse as retail shops, restaurants and upscale furniture company showrooms.
- 3 Westfield Culver City Shopping Center, 6000 Sepulveda Blvd (at the intersection of Slauson and Sepulveda), ☏ +1-310-390-5073. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 11AM-7PM. With nearly 200 stores, Westfield Culver City is a major shopping center close to the 405 and 90 freeways. The complex underwent a major expansion in 2010 and now features a Target, Best Buy, Gold's Gym and BJ's Restaurant in addition to the many smaller stores.
- 4 Choco Vivo, 12469 W Washington Blvd, ☏ +1-310-845-6259, [email protected]. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 9AM-11PM, Su 9AM-9PM. Choco Vivo is a unique chocolate shop that makes chocolate from scratch, starting with beans imported from a grower in Mexico and using a stone grinding technique dating back to the Mayans and Aztecs. Their chocolate contains no dairy, so the end result is a dark chocolate that is very different from what most people are used to. Bars are sold at $6 each that include different amounts of cacao and flavorings such as sea salt or almond. A "tasting" option is also available in the store, as well as flavored chocolate drinks, organic tamales, and chocolate-inspired gifts. Events are held frequently that range from chocolate & tequila pairings to speed dating.
- 5 Copenhagen Pastry, 11113 W Washington Blvd, ☏ +1-310-839-8900. Tu-F 7AM-5PM, Sa Su 8AM-4PM, closed M. Don't be fooled by the relatively small selection - if you show up to a party with a box of flaky Danish pastries from this bakery, you're going home a hero. The pastries are made fresh throughout the day using traditional Danish recipes, and samples are available if you are unsure of what to buy. The Kringle lines and Copenhagen lines - flaky pastries made with almond paste or custard - are the specialties. They also have wholegrain rye bread, small cakes, and other items that are worth the visit to the gym that it will take to burn off the extra calories.
- 6 Sorrento Italian Market, 5518 Sepulveda Blvd, ☏ +1-310-391-7654. Established by the former mayor (and councilman) of Culver City, this market has a reputation as the place to go for authentic Italian grocery items on the West Side. The deli offers amazing sandwiches and the friendly family owners are more than willing to help with everything from selecting a wine to choosing a dessert.
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Since the late 1990s Culver City has been undergoing a transformation and today is known as a destination for food lovers, with a huge number of unique and well-reviewed restaurants setting up shop in the city. The downtown area is home to dozens of restaurants opened by famous chefs or aspiring restaurateurs, while other foodie hotspots include the Helm's Bakery complex and the Culver West neighborhood along Washington Boulevard. For those who just need a quick bite, the standard chains are well-represented including Denny's, Chipotle, and dozens of other fast food restaurants. On a historical note, the steakhouse chain Sizzler, which today has hundreds of locations across the country, got its start in Culver City in 1958 as Del's Sizzler Family Steak House.
- 1 Annapurna Cuisine, 10200 Venice Blvd, ☏ +1-310-204-5500, [email protected]. Su-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, closed M. This Indian vegetarian restaurant serves up tasty South Indian dishes including a large selection of masala dosas. It's usually full of Indian families. Mains $6-10.
- 2 Grand Casino Bakery, 3820 Main St, ☏ +1-310-202-6969. 6AM-8PM daily. This is a simple, quaint little Argentine bakery. The Empanadas are delicious, and you can always find the big screen in the dining area tuned to a soccer match.
- 3 S&W Country Diner, 9748 W Washington Blvd (at Hughes Ave), ☏ +1-310-204-5136. Affordable, home-cooked style breakfast and lunch in a cozy, neighborhood diner. Food is good and portions are reasonably large, but be prepared for long lines in the mornings, especially on weekends. Cash only. $5-10.
- 4 Tito's Tacos, 11222 Washington Pl (west of Sepulveda), ☏ +1-310-391-5780. 9AM-11:30PM daily. Cheap (a full meal for under $5) and authentic Mexican food, individually prepared while you watch. Opened in 1959, it is known for its American-style hard-shell taco and burritos. Considered a Los Angeles-area icon, the restaurant was named to Fox News' list of the ten best tacos in America in 2014, and was ranked #1 on The Daily Meal's "Top 35 Burritos in America" list in 2015. You stand in line to order, then move aside to wait. Delicious and unusual. Noisy; you hear Spanish and English spoken here in equal amounts. Family-friendly. Park in the lot or under the freeway (feed the meters with dimes or quarters), not in the red cul-de-sac.
- 5 Gaby's Mediterranean Grill, 10445 Venice Blvd (at the intersection with Motor Ave), ☏ +1-310-559-1808. 11AM-1AM daily. Reasonably priced and very tasty Lebanese restaurant. Seating is in an outdoor patio complete with hookahs, heat lamps, candles, and a bustling crowd that mixes young hipsters with Lebanese locals. Service is friendly and the place stays busy until closing. Meals are between $8 and $20.
- 6 Govinda's, 3764 Watseka Ave, [email protected]. The unusual vegetarian restaurant operated as part of the hospitable and charitable tradition of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. A buffet luncheon or sandwiches will cost you less than ten bucks. Above the restaurant you will find a boutique filled with fine garments and unusual handicrafts and art objects from India, the spiritual home of the Krishna devotees.
- 7 J R's Bar-B-Que, 3055 La Cienega Blvd, ☏ +1-310-837-6838. The industrial location is appropriate for a barbeque place that's "Tender as Mother's Love." Real pit barbecue beef ribs, pork ribs, "rib tips", great sides, and if you have room left, peach cobbler or 7-Up cake! Three choices of sauce - they're serious when they say it's hot. The proprietor, "Robert Johnson", may or may not be the famous bluesman.
- 8 Kay & Dave's, 9341 Culver Blvd (downtown Culver City across from the Ince Parking Structure), ☏ +1-310-558-8100. Tasty fresh Mex food made without lard or trans fats. The vibe is easy-going with plenty of outdoor seating (including a firepit) and a friendly, slightly quirky staff. Happy hour specials include 2-for-one margaritas and appetizer specials. $10-20 per person.
- 9 La Dijonnaise, 8703 W Washington Blvd (in the Helms Bakery complex), ☏ +1-310-287-2770. Worth a visit if only to be served by waiters with authentic French accents, the cafe also offers excellent French cafe fare at reasonable prices. A few blocks from downtown on a corner of the old Helms Bakery complex; expect large crowds, with both indoor and outdoor seating.
- 10 Novecento Pasta & Grill, 3837 Main St (between Venice Blvd and Culver Blvd), ☏ +1-310-842-3838. M-Th 11:30AM-2:30PM and 5PM-9PM, F 11:30AM-2:30PM and 5PM-10PM, Sa 5PM-10PM, closed Su. Northern Italian cuisine on Main St. Try the homemade gnocchi.
- 11 Pho Show, 4349 Sepulveda Blvd, ☏ +1-310-398-5200. M-Sa 11AM–3PM, 5PM-2AM. Su 11AM-3PM, 5PM-10PM. Founded by three techies who wanted to be able to eat pho at a local restaurant, Pho Show serves the Vietnamese rice noodle soup to a crowded house. The soup that gives the restaurant its name is delicious, with a particularly aromatic broth that is different from other pho restaurants, and portions are generous. For those who chose this restaurant but for some reason decided against the soup, there are numerous rice, noodle and curry dishes on the menu. Beer and wine is available for dine-in customers. $7-15.
- 12 Tender Greens, 9523 Culver Blvd (downtown), ☏ +1-310-842-8300. Su-Th 11:30AM-9PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-10PM. As you might guess, the emphasis here is on the fresh salads of all types, but you can get them small, meal-sized or pair them with steak, chicken or fish. This popular chain uses local, organic produce to assemble fresh and healthy salads and soups, as well as delectable hot dishes from the grill, such as free-range chicken, Angus flatiron steak, and line-caught tuna. This eco-conscious restaurant also uses biodegradable to-go containers, reclaimed timber, and non-toxic cleaners. The atmosphere is relaxed and beautiful, with a spacious patio for outdoor dining. Portions are large, and a wide array of boutique wines and microbrews will please any palate. Friendly service. $10 and up.
- 13 Ugo, 3865 Cardiff Ave (downtown Culver City across the street from the movie theatre), ☏ +1-310-204-1222. M-Th 11AM-11PM, F 11AM-midnight, Sa 10AM-midnight, Su 10AM-11PM. A cozy Italian cafe with extensive outdoor seating and a reasonably-authentic Italian menu. This establishment specializes in Italian cafe food, so expect sandwiches, carpacchio, insalata, pasta, and gelato rather than the standard "spaghetti and steaks" fare common at most Italian restaurants. $10-30.
- 14 Akasha Restaurant, 9543 Culver Blvd (Corner of Culver and Watseka), ☏ +1-310-845-1700. Opened in 2008, Akasha features New American food, meaning that everything is delicious, organic, seasonal and local. You'll never feel trendier but welcomed. Good for dates and business meetings. There is also a well-stocked bar. Happy hour is daily from 2:30-7PM and features significant discounts on drinks and appetizers. Bonus trivia: the owner, Akasha Richmond, has been the personal chef to pop star Michael Jackson and actors Barbara Streisand and Billy Bob Thorton. $15-35.
- 15 K-Zo, 9240 Culver Blvd (downtown), ☏ +1-310-202-8890. Lunch: M-F 11:45AM-2:30PM; Dinner: M-Th 5:30PM-10:30PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-11PM, Su 5PM-10PM. Another restaurant born of Culver City's downtown renaissance, K-Zo is a sushi bar and "Japanese tapas" restaurant, offering various hot and cold bites in addition to the more standard Japanese fare. Prices are a bit higher than some other restaurants, but the food is generally excellent, service is friendly, and the atmosphere is great. For those seeking to maximize their eating dollar, happy hour is daily from 5:30-7PM. $6-15 for most sushi rolls and tapas items.
- 16 Vespertine, 3599 Hayden Ave, ☏ +1 323-320-4023. Named one of Time Magazine's "100 Greatest Places" in 2018 and given two stars by the Michelin Guide in 2020, this establishment bills itself as an experimental restaurant that aims to surprise visitors with a truly unique eating experience. Guests will first notice the building's unique architecture and artistic decor, with meals starting with a cocktail on the roof before diners are led into the austere dining area for multiple courses that can last for hours. Food is locally sourced, contemporary style dishes that hint of French cooking, and the presentation of each dish is unique to the point of becoming a focal point of the dining experience. Reservations are a must and need to be made well in advance. $75-150.
Most of the downtown restaurants also have a lively bar scene. Other bars located throughout the city include:
- 1 The Alibi Room, 12236 W Washington Blvd (1 block east of Centinela), ☏ +1-310-390-9300. Open nightly 5:30PM-2AM. Food served M-Sa 5:30PM-midnight, food truck Sundays 5:30PM-midnight. Happy hour Sa-W 11PM-2AM. This lounge is most famous for chef Roy Choi's Kogi Korean barbecue tacos ($7 for three), but also offers a unique selection of cocktails including the Cuban Mistress (rum, hibiscus, strawberry, rhubarb bitters, lemon, ginger beer) or the Breaking Bad (tequila, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, pear, fresh lemon, serrano chile infused agave). All food is ordered directly from the bar and brought to you based on the oversized playing card you'll receive after paying. The vibe is upscale hipster, with a younger, affluent crowd. It gets extremely full and very noisy as the evening goes on, so consider an early arrival if you want a cushy lounge seat and the chance to talk to your dining companions without yelling.
- 2 Backstage, 10400 Culver Blvd (near Culver and Overland at the intersection with Motor), ☏ +1-310-839-3892. Proudly advertising itself as "the best dive bar in the world" Backstage offers a high-energy atmosphere with a really fun crowd. Expect a packed house on weekends and call ahead to reserve a table if you don't want to be standing. Drinks are reasonably priced ($4 for a draft beer), the staff is extraordinarily friendly, and there is karaoke (Thursday - Saturday), pool, darts, and decent bar food to help keep the evening entertaining.
- 3 Blind Barber, 10797 W Washington Blvd (behind Best Buy), ☏ +1-310-841-6679. Bar: M-Sa 6PM-2AM, Su closed; Barbershop: M-Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-6PM. If you didn't know it was here, you'd never find this great hangout. The front is a working barbershop with a nondescript door in the middle of the back wall. Walk through that door and you're in a bar with a roaring-twenties theme. The cigarette dispenser by the bathroom sells hair product, the fans are operated on pulley systems, and a free drink is offered with every barber service. Cocktails are fancy and made by bar tenders who double as waitstaff. Snacks include numerous varieties of grilled cheese and upscale bar munchies like sloppy joe sliders or imported olives. Cocktails $10+, Beers $5+.
- 4 Corner Door, 12477 W Washington Blvd, ☏ +1-310-313-5810. Su-Th 5PM-midnight, F Sa 5PM-2AM. When it first opened in 2012 Corner Door made fried brussel sprouts famous, but their other food items are equally well done if a bit on the pricey side. What they are best known for, however, are the upscale cocktails - Beau du Bois, the bartender who has been at Corner Door since its opening, was named "2014 LA Bartender of the Year" by Eater LA and can fashion a drink for any taste. Be warned that the interior gets loud when it fills up, so arrive early or sit on the patio if you want to be able to hear the person next to you. Daily happy hour from 5PM-7PM features $7 cocktails, $3-$5 beers, and $5 wine, as well as $5-$9 snacks. Sunday night is "Burger R&D" night, featuring the weekly burger, fries and beer for $15, and $5 old fashioned cocktails.
- 5 Father's Office 2.0, 3229 Helms Ave (in the Helm's Bakery complex). This upscale pub is famous for its burger, just don't try to make any substitutions - they don't allow them, and they really mean it. There are also over 70 beers on tap.
- 6 Tattle Tale Room, 5401 Sepulveda Blvd (at the intersection of Sepulveda and Sawtelle), ☏ +1-310-390-2489. The crowd at this bar combines students from Loyola Marymount with middle-aged regulars. Karaoke every night, pool tables (free with a two drink minimum on Tuesday nights after 9PM), sports on the TV, and an atmosphere that borders on dive-bar without actually crossing the line.
- 7 Velvet Lounge, 9400 Culver Blvd (in the Culver Hotel downtown), ☏ +1-310-838-7326. Th 7PM-1AM, F-Sa 7PM-2AM. While the hotel's downstairs lobby has a bar and live music most nights, up the stairs on the second floor is a speakeasy that is slightly less crowded and offers views of downtown. Opened in 2014 after a hotel remodel, the bar's ambiance is a cross between 1920s Paris and Hollywood, making for a sophisticated yet comfortable environment. While the cocktail selection and furniture evoke the Prohibition era, sadly prices are on the high side and most definitely reflect 21st century Los Angeles.
Coffee & tea
- 8 Conservatory for Coffee, Tea and Cocoa, 10117 W Washington Blvd (across from Sony Studios), ☏ +1-310-558-0436. Family-run coffee shop that roasts their own beans daily and makes one of the best macchiato's this side of the Big Pond. They are known for their "latte art" - you have to order one in a china cup to appreciate it. A local favorite, they also have a huge variety of teas from around the world and make a wonderful Mexican hot chocolate.
Culver City has a handful of large hotels located near the intersection of I-405 and Sepulveda Blvd, with several cheaper but more rundown options located on Sepulveda near the intersection with Venice Blvd, and also along Washington Blvd. The historic Culver Hotel is located downtown and offers a more unique lodging option. Neighboring cities such as Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey and El Segundo have numerous options within a 10-15 minute drive of Culver City.
- 1 Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles Westside, 6333 Bristol Pkwy (3 miles north of LAX, visible from the 405), ☏ +1-310-484-7000, toll-free: +1-800-321-2211, fax: +1-310-590-2593, [email protected]. Opened April 2008, this hotel features 260 spacious rooms and suites in addition to 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and a full catering department. Rates range from $139 for a room with two queen beds to $299 for a one-bedroom suite.
- 2 Culver Hotel, 9400 Culver Blvd (downtown), ☏ +1-310-838-7963, toll-free: +1-888-328-5837. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and located in the heart of downtown Culver City, this hotel opened in 1924 and offers a unique lodging option with rooms featuring antique furniture. The hotel was once owned by John Wayne and served as accommodation for most of the cast of the Wizard of Oz during its filming. $89 for a room with queen beds to $299 for the John Wayne Suite.
- 3 DoubleTree by Hilton Los Angeles Westside, 6161 W Centinela Ave, ☏ +1-310-649-1776. Renovated in May 2014, rooms in this hotel are 350 ft2 and offer 37-inch flat-screen TVs, complimentary wired and wi-fi internet, cotton bathrobes, and turndown service. There are also three suites available. Hotel amenities include a business center, restaurant, lounge, 24-hour market, meeting space, coin laundry, gift shop, fitness center, and outdoor pool. Rates start around $125 per night.
- 4 Travelodge, 11180 Washington Pl (intersection of Sepulveda Blvd and Washington Pl), ☏ +1-310-839-1111. Rooms include free wi-fi, complimentary breakfast, a microwave, refrigerator and free parking. The property is a bit run-down, and would be much improved by renovations. The Metro Cafe, located downstairs, is a surprisingly good dining option, serving sandwiches and excellent breakfasts and attracting mostly non-hotel guests. This hotel is located at the intersection of two busy streets, so request a room that doesn't face the road if available. Rates start around $120 per night.
Culver City offers free internet access in several areas.
- 1 Culver City Julian Dixon Library, 4975 Overland Ave (near Overland and Culver), ☏ +1-310-559-1676. Tu-F 2PM-6PM, Sa 11AM-3PM, closed Su-M. The Culver City library offers free internet connections (wired and wireless) as well as an extensive book collection. The library underwent extensive renovation in 2015.
The cities and neighborhoods that border Culver City include the following:
- 1 Venice - Culver City's western neighbor offers miles of sand, an eclectic nightlife, and the infamous Muscle Beach.
- 2 Marina del Rey - Located west of Culver City, the "marina of the king" is home to a vast number of restaurants and hotels, and while not as touristy as some of the neighboring beach cities is nonetheless a fun spot to spend an evening.
- 3 Westchester - Culver City's southwestern neighbor is home to Los Angeles International Airport and a number of lodging options.
- 4 South Central LA - Located east of Culver City, South Central has its rough parts but is definitely worth a visit to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center, as well as the campus of USC and the sights of Exposition Park.
- 5 West LA - The west side of the sprawling city of LA forms Culver City's northern neighbor, and is home to UCLA and the Getty Museum.
|Routes through Culver City|
|North Valley ← West LA ←||N S||→ Westchester → Long Beach|
|Santa Monica ← West L.A. ←||W E||→ South Central L.A. → Downtown L.A.|