In addition to San Pedro being one of the largest and busiest deep-water ports in the nation, it offers a wonderful vacation. Cruise ships, red car trolley, a maritime museum, Korean Freedom Bell, beaches, an aquarium, a WWII historical site, a pleasure harbor, lighthouse, whale watching and Ports o' Call shopping are a few attractions in this wonderful city offering some of the best views of the ocean in all of Southern California.
Along with Wilmington and Terminal Island, San Pedro forms Port of Los Angeles, serving not only the economies of the world with its import/export facilities, but also the tourism industry with around one million people leaving harbor each year on cruise ships. It is also home to some of the largest fishing fleets anywhere.
Tourists and local visitors can fish for free off the San Pedro pier. Extending 1,200 feet into San Pedro Harbor, the pier (built in 1969) features parking, wheelchair access and a location inside the north end of the Los Angeles Harbor breakwater. Anglers sometimes find mackerel, white croaker and even a halibut. Location: Cabrillo Beach Pier, 3730 Stephen White Drive, San Pedro, CA 90731
San Pedro is located at the eastern end of the rocky Palos Verde peninsula. It was named by Spanish navigator Sebastian Vizcaino in 1602. In 1771, monks who began moving to a newly established San Gabriel Arcangel mission 40 miles inland were prohibited from conducting business with other countries and were restricted to two ships a year carrying goods from Spain’s House of Trades. Despite restrictions, San Pedro prospered. 100 years later when railroads connected the west to the rest of the U.S. in the mid 1800's, the shipping industry skyrocketed. Never slowing down, it continues to thrive and grow.
Along the shore are palm trees swaying in the breeze but gazing out to the port you see Vincent Thomas bridge and cargo cranes dotting the skyline. With Pacific Rim importers such as Japan and China moving cars and other goods to a hungry, consumer oriented nation, San Pedro's Port of Los Angeles is extremely important to world economies.
Things to do in San Pedro include Ports O' Call, a village designed in New England style. Restaurants, shops and boat excursions around the bay, day trips to Catalina Island and helicopter tours depart from there. There are also several museums and numerous historic landmarks and houses to visit.
Red Car Trolley Ride - Take a 1 and a half mile journey on a replica Red Car that once carried passengers from the mountains to the sea throughout Southern California. As you ride the rail, you'll pass by several museums, statues, and often see large cruise ships in the harbor. Connecting the Red Car to Cabrillo Beach is a shuttle that runs throughout the day during, Friday - Monday, to coincide with the scheduled runs of the Red Car. For a mere $1, you can ride the Red Car all day for free. And you can take the shuttle to the beach for free, as well. Parking for both are available at a free lot on Harbor and 22nd Street.
The Los Angeles Maritime Museum near Harbor and 6th Street is filled with historic displays and a gift shop loaded with items. Give yourself time to see several floors of models, actual items from historic boats and ships and photos and information. Next door to the Museum, you can see two ships being built. And in front of the building are memorials to Marine Merchants and war veterans.
Other things to see in San Pedro include the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Point Fermin Lighthouse, beaches and dozens of historic houses and buildings.