When people visit California for either the first time or a short duration, they often want to see as many of the local sights as possible. Southern California has a plethora of unique locations for people to discover that may invoke feelings of awe and inspiration. Such common tourist spots include the Disneyland Resort, the Santa Monica Pier, the Queen Mary, Catalina Island, Hollywood, and much more. However, these represent the more impacted popular locations that thousands of people visit daily. What about the hidden spots that only true locals know about? How would out-of-town visitors discover the true hidden gems of Southern California? For that, they have to turn to the locals that grew up here in Southern California that had the time growing up to seek out these hidden gems. For this post, we turn out attention to San Pedro, the city at the southern tip of the city of Los Angeles.

San Pedro has gone through significant change over the past decade. They started as a small beach community, but turned into a working-class suburb with the inception of the Port of Los Angeles. Today, San Pedro has many maritime places to visit along the water’s edge, where most travelers often spend their time as opposed to the inner city centered on Gaffey Street. While San Pedro has all of these tourist places, San Pedro also houses many other sights that visitors tend to overlook. To find these spots, head to the southern-most tip of San Pedro.

Down at the edge of San Pedro lies a mostly residential community that hides many hidden gems that visitors would love to find. If you take Pacific Avenue all the way south, you will encounter a fence at the end. Little do many know that this marks one of the few entry points to the hidden gem known as Sunken City. In the early 20th century, this used to sit level with the street just before it, holding houses at the water’s edge. The engineers did not account for the ocean wearing away at the foundation, and a landslide eventually occurred, taking down roads, pipes, and houses. Today, Sunken City represents a colossal engineering oversight that has turned into a haven for locals to come hang out in. The government has fenced this area off due to the dangerous condition of the land here, so entering the Sunken City means trespassing. However, this has not stopped people from continuously entering the Sunken City to hang out in.

As mentioned above, the fence at the end of Pacific Avenue represents one of the entrances to Sunken City, provided an individual has the athletic capability to climb and jump over the fence. As for the most commonly used entrance, head west to Gaffey Street, then turn left into Point Fermin Park. At the end of the road lies Walker’s Café and a fence that blocks off entry to the Sunken City area. Smaller individuals may locate recesses under the fence to slide under. For everyone else, trace the fence all the way to the right towards the sea, and climb over the concrete barrier as well. The fence will angle downwards with the rocky cliff, but ends rather soon. At this end, most individuals can use the recesses under the fence to slide to the other side. Larger individuals will have to completely scale around the fence. Passing the fence represents the most difficult part of the Sunken City hike, so once you pass the fence, you can relax for a bit! Once at the main landslide area, you will discover the ruins of the city that once existed, now covered with graffiti and likely with a bunch of people hanging out down there. Descend the cliff to check out the area, and relax down here and enjoy the view.

If you do not feel like trespassing, check out the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium nearby. This aquarium only costs $5 to enter, and never has the crowds that the Aquarium of the Pacific does, so you can enjoy nature more peacefully. This aquarium also hosts the famous Grunion Run for those who want to experience a natural phenomenon. If visiting during low tide, check out the Tide Pools nearby to see the marine life in real time.

Those interested in history will want to head up Gaffey Street a bit to locate the Korean Bell of Friendship. While you cannot actually ring or touch the bell, it makes for a neat landmark to visit. The surrounding area that now resembles a park hides an old WW2 bunker, as well as old turret stations. Walk around this area, and you will see remnants of war around. Head just a bit north of here to locate the Fort MacArthur Museum, complete with more war artifacts and bunkers.

While San Pedro has lots of discover besides the typical tourist attractions, lots of other places have hidden gems like this that many do not know about. Get with locals to have them explain to you about things to see or check out locally that most often overlook.


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