Gardena is a city of about 60,000 people situated in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County. The city was once known as Berryland because of its reputation for being the berry capital of the region. Today, it’s known for its central location, nice weather, and abundance of cultural attractions.
The city of Los Angeles is only 15 miles away from Gardena. Easy access to that city and the cities of Athens, Torrance, and Hawthorne means visitors can reach many attractions, including the coast, where some of California’s best beaches are.
Gardena is also home to a range of restaurants, cafes, parks, and shopping areas, including Gardena Gateway Shopping Center, Strawberry Square Shopping Centre, and Gardena Marketplace.
There are plenty of festivals and events in the Gardena area too, such as the Strawberry Park Days Fiesta.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Gardena, California.
1. Savour the Flavours of Japan at Fukagawa Restaurant
Japanese culture is very much alive and well in Gardena, and you can get a taste of this culture and the cuisine at Fukagawa Restaurant.
As soon as you walk in the door and take your seat at a Pagoda-style dining area, you feel like you’ve been transported to Japan. For over 30 years, this eatery has been serving traditional, authentic Japanese cuisine in a warm and friendly environment.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served each day. On the menu, you can find a wide variety of items, including appetizers, udon noodles, soba, tempura, teriyaki, katsu, soups, salads, and many rice and seafood-based dishes.
2. Learn About Local History at the Hawthorne Historical Society
The main goal of the Hawthorne Historical Society is to collect, preserve, and display items related to the history and culture of the nearby city of Hawthorne and other nearby towns and cities.
Inside this museum, you’ll see a variety of exhibits showcasing many items, including artefacts, documents, and old photos.
3. Tee Off at The Links at Victoria Golf Course
If you’re seeking a golf experience with a fun and challenging course and all the amenities you would expect from a top facility, The Links at Victoria Golf Course is only a few minutes away from Gardena.
This 18-hole course is suitable for all skill levels, but the challenges, such as bunkers and a variety of tees, will keep even the best players on their toes.
The practise facilities include a driving range, putting green and chipping area. Lessons are available, and a pro shop is on-site.
After a long day on the course, Victory Cafe offers a cosy and laid-back atmosphere in which to relax with some good food and drink.
4. Visit the Western Museum of Flight
The history of Aviation is not very long, but it certainly is interesting; visitors of all ages can learn more about it at the Western Museum of Flight in nearby Torrance.
This museum’s primary purpose is to showcase the history of aviation and the aircraft that made flight possible.
Inside the museum, you’ll see a variety of historic military and commercial aircraft. Some of the artefacts on display include drones, aeroplane accessories, and instruments.
5. Enjoy Live Entertainment at the James R. Armstrong Theater
The James R. Armstrong Theater in nearby Torrance provides visitors with the opportunity to enjoy quality entertainment in a time-honoured setting, featuring plush seating and state-of-the-art acoustics.
Throughout the year, a wide variety of performances are showcased, including symphonies, plays, musicals, and much more. Snacks and beverages are served in the lobby.
6. Explore a Rare Ecosystem at Madrona Marsh
Madrona Marsh is a very unique place to visit because it features a 43-acre vernal marsh, which is quite rare when it comes to local ecosystems.
As you explore the marsh, you’ll see the plant and animal life that thrives there. Throughout the year, a variety of events take place, such as guided hikes, nature walks, and bird-watching excursions.
7. Browse the Torrance Certified Farmers’ Market
The Torrance Certified Farmers Market is the place to be to get a taste of local culture and find quality, local items.
At this market, you’ll find fresh, local produce from dozens of farms located all over California. Other items that you’ll be able to purchase include locally-grown nuts, eggs, honey, homemade sweet treats, herbs, coffee, flowers, seafood, bread, and salsa.
Food vendors selling a wide variety of snacks, homemade meals, and beverages are also on-site.
8. Go on a Shopping Spree at Del Amo Fashion Center
Whether you want to splurge on high-ticket items you wouldn’t normally buy or hunt for great deals on top brand names, Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance is where you’ll find everything you need.
This three-story, 2.6-million-square-foot complex is one of the biggest malls in the country, and you’ll find more than just retail stores inside. A movie theatre, fitness centre, and food court featuring a wide variety of food options are just some of the services available.
Some of the stores you’ll find in this mall include Macy’s, Adidas, American Eagle, Kate Spade New York, and TJ Maxx.
9. Enjoy a Family Outing at the Mulligan Family Fun Center
There’s fun to be had for all ages at Mulligan Family Fun Center in Torrance. This recreational facility features both indoor and outdoor amusements, including a large indoor Lazer Tag arena.
Outdoors, there’s a go-kart track, bumper cars, paddle boats, a climbing wall, and an 18-hole miniature golf course with many features, including castles and waterfalls. A variety of arcade games are also on-site.
10. Learn About the History of Printing at The International Printing Museum
The International Printing Museum in nearby Carson is where you can learn all about the history of the printing press.
This history is brought to life through a variety of exhibits featuring artefacts and other items related to printing. The museum has one of the biggest collections of antique printing presses in the country.
Guided tours are available at the museum, and a variety of educational events take place throughout the year.
11. Admire Beautiful, Local Art at the Torrance Art Museum
The Torrance Art Museum aims to educate visitors about the importance of art and how it shapes history and culture. The museum does this through exhibits and educational events.
The on-site exhibits showcase modern and engaging art. They change with the seasons and always feature local artists from the Southern California region. Some of the artists that have been featured recently include William Bradley, Yasmine Diaz, and Kayuko Kono.
Guided tours are available with advance notice, and many events, including educational programs, take place at the museum throughout the year.
12. See Gardena and Surrounding Area from the Air with JJ Helicopters
Los Angeles County is a sprawling and diverse area full of large cities, coastline, and wide-open green spaces.
This diverse landscape isn’t as noticeable from the ground as it is from the sky, but you have the opportunity to see the area from above during an aerial tour with JJ Helicopters.
There are a few tours to choose from, including a fly-over of Santa Monica Beach, Hollywood, or Los Angeles Proper. You can choose a deluxe tour that features an aerial tour of all these locations and more. Sunset flights and custom trips are also offered.
13. Sample Local Craft Beer at Eureka Brewing Company
At Eureka Brewing Company in Gardena, you can kick back with quality, locally-brewed craft beer in a comfortable and inviting taproom, or you can sample the beer while you tour the modern brewing facility and learn how the beer is made.
This brewery is known for creating unique and delicious craft beers using the highest-quality natural ingredients available. Some of the beers you can try include Pils of Creation, West Coast Drift, Bay Crusher, and Super Bloom.
A variety of events take place at the brewery throughout the year.
14. Find Unique Treasures at the Torrance Antique Street Faire
The Torrance Antique Street Faire only takes place once a month, but if you’re in the area when it takes place, it’s well worth a visit.
The market itself is unique in that it takes visitors back to the old days when the streets of downtown Torrance were filled with markets and vendors selling everything under the sun.
This particular market specializes in antiques. If you’re looking for a unique item for yourself or a gift for a loved one, you’re bound to find something at this market.
Hundreds of vendors set up to sell a wide variety of items, including antique furnishings, jewellery, books, toys, and memorabilia.
If you miss the market during your visit, you can always visit their retail store, which is open all through the year.
15. Get a Taste of Chinese History and Art at the Chen Art Gallery
While beautiful Chinese art is prominently displayed at the Chen Art Gallery in Torrance, a wide variety of historical Chinese artefacts are also on display, so you get to learn about the art, culture and history of China.
The collection, which once belonged to Dr Tei Fu Chen, features more than a thousand artefacts and artworks from the last five thousand years. Jade carvings, statues and pottery are just some of the fascinating items on display.
The best way to experience this gallery and museum is to take a guided tour with a knowledgeable historian.