When it was incorporated more than a century ago, the city of Inglewood in south-central Los Angeles had a population of just a few hundred residents.
Back then, the area was much more rural despite its proximity to LA’s downtown area, but over the years, Inglewood’s population has steadily grown to nearly 120,000 residents.
Conveniently located near many of the city’s most prominent attractions, its closeness to a number of main highways and LAX makes getting around convenient.
For those who’d rather not fight the traffic themselves, Inglewood and LA feature extensive public transportation networks. Some of the state’s most scenic beaches and showbiz attractions are just a few kilometers away.
1. The Forum
During the summer months, the heat in Inglewood can be downright oppressive.
Though outdoor attractions abound in the LA area, it’s always a good idea to have a few indoor options in your back pocket.
The forum is one of the area’s premier live entertainment venues; it’s located on West Manchester Boulevard in Inglewood.
The facility features seating for nearly 20,000. Throughout the year, it hosts big-name performers in a wide range of genres.
Tickets often go fast for the biggest shows, so check their website and buy yours early to avoid a heartbreaking sold-out situation.
2. Randy’s Donuts
Though they don’t typically rank highly on most visitors’ itineraries, donuts just happen to be one of Inglewood’s big draws – and it’s all because of Randy’s Donuts on West Manchester Boulevard.
Rumor has it that Randy’s is one of the world’s most famous donut shops. It’s hard to miss because there’s a huge fiberglass donut on the rooftop of its scenic downtown location.
Randy’s has figured prominently in movies, television shows, and music videos over the years, making cameo appearances in blockbuster hits like Iron Man and the video for ‘I Love LA’ by local singer Randy Newman.
Their donuts are made fresh daily using a well-guarded recipe.
3. California Science Center
Science centers are great vacation resources, especially for those traveling with little ones in need of constant engagement and entertainment,
The California Science Center is located on Exposition Park Drive in LA, just 15 minutes northeast of Inglewood off Interstate 110.
Though it has changed names a few times over the years, the center has been open since the early ‘50s. Its exhibits touch on a wide variety of topics, including art and culture, the natural world, space, engineering, and technology.
It’s spread across nearly 500,000 square feet of space divided into four distinct areas, and generally keeps guests occupied for between two and three hours.
4. Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen
Apparently, Southern Californians are among the most heavily caffeinated people in the country, because there are coffee shops of all shapes and sizes on nearly every corner.
For those looking for a world-class cup of coffee in a trendy local setting, there’s no beating Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen on La Brea Avenue in Inglewood.
Previous guests have noted that their drinks were light-years ahead of what’s served at the big national chain coffee houses. Their menu includes lots of tasty food items, like freshly-baked goods and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.
Non-coffee drinks are available, as are alternative sweeteners like agave nectar syrup.
5. Loyola Marymount University
Whether you’re looking to take in a men’s basketball game, a women’s volleyball match, or just stroll around an idyllic campus on a sunny afternoon, college campuses are underappreciated community resources that warrant a closer look when visiting a new area.
Loyal Marymount University was recently voted as having one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, and it’s just two kilometers west of downtown Inglewood.
The university has an on-campus student population of about 3,000 and features prominent bluffs that offer visitors impressive panoramic views of the city.
To see what’ll be going on when you’ll be in the area, check out the school’s website – or just swing by and ask a student or two.
6. Hawthorne Aquatic Center
For families traveling on budgets, the Los Angeles area isn’t exactly the country’s cheapest destination. But for savvy visitors, there are still reasonably priced options if you know where to look.
Inglewood’s Hawthorne Aquatic Center is located on Inglewood Avenue. It’s the perfect place to spend a few hours frolicking in the water and lounging in the shade when the Southern California sun is at its hottest.
The center features changing rooms and bathrooms with showers. For those introducing babies and toddlers to the water for the first time, there are designated areas that are off-limits for older, more rambunctious kids.
7. Exposition Park
There’s really no beating LA’s Exposition Park for its abundance of amenities and year-round activity options,
The park’s entrance is located on State Drive, just ten kilometers northeast of Inglewood. One of its main attractions is the stunning rose garden that was originally planted in the late 1920s.
Due to its convenient location and stunning beauty, the rose garden is a popular destination for picnickers, nature lovers, amateur photographers, and engaged couples looking for one-of-a-kind pre-wedding photo ops.
The park also hosts a regular farmers market and is home to the LA Memorial Coliseum and the city’s Natural History Museum.
8. Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen
For more than four decades, Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen has been one of the LA area’s most prominent traditional home cooking eateries. Like many of the city’s most notable attractions, it’s located on East Manchester Boulevard in Inglewood.
The kitchen’s soul food is served in a cafeteria-style setting that is more reminiscent of the ’20s and ’30s than it is of today’s full-service restaurants.
Dulan’s owner began his career as a restaurateur in the ’70s with a burger joint in nearby Marina Del Rey before discovering the colossal demand for soul food among locals.
Dulan’s is most well-known for its authentic recipes, quality ingredients, friendly service, and overly generous portion sizes.
9. Westchester Golf Course
At just a tick over 4,300 yards, Westchester Golf Course is about 1/3 shorter than most traditional 18-hole courses, making it a perfect fit for golfers looking to squeeze in a full round without spending four or five hours on the course.
Golfers appreciate its well-manicured greens and fairways, pre-round putting and chipping areas, and the fact that it offers enough lighting to permit rounds after sunset when other courses are closed.
Westchester is located just north of LAX a few kilometers west of Inglewood. It has a decidedly more casual feel than many of the area’s courses.
10. Autry Museum of the American West
Back in the days before it became one of the West Coast’s biggest cities, LA was part of the great American West that was largely wild, rural, and untamed.
The Autry Museum of the American West is one of the area’s premier historic attractions. It was founded in the late-‘80s to preserve and promote the region’s unique culture.
Besides its impressive permanent collections of western memorabilia and artwork, the museum offers a variety of year-round programs, including live entertainment, guest speakers, temporary exhibits, and family-oriented fairs and festivals.
The museum is located in LA’s Griffith Park, about 20 minutes north of Inglewood.
11. The Original Farmer’s Market
The area around Inglewood has no shortage of year-round farmer’s markets, but as they say, there can only be one true original.
The Original Farmer’s Market is located on West 3rd Street in LA, about 15 kilometers north of Inglewood. Unlike most of its counterparts, it’s open nearly every day.
The market features dozens of individual vendors selling everything from fresh meat, produce, and seafood to souvenirs, used books, homemade jewelry, health and body products, and gourmet prepared food items like cheese, wine, and local honey.
Many visitors choose to dine before or after shopping. There are nearly 40 eateries ranging from takeaway street food to sit-down restaurants serving Mexican, Middle Eastern, and French fare.
12. Burbank Aviation Museum
Though it’s most well-known for its show business attractions, Burbank is also home to one of Southern California’s most extensive aviation museums.
The Burbank Aviation Museum is located on North Ontario Street, about 20 minutes northeast of Inglewood, depending on traffic.
The museum is run by a non-profit organization comprised of civic-minded history and aviation buffs. Their impressive collection of restored vintage and contemporary aircraft draws a diverse crowd of locals and out of state visitors of all ages.
Exhibits touch on aviation history, engineering, aeronautics, and stories of the men and women who have worked in the industry over the years.
13. Venice Beach
For visitors to Inglewood looking to experience one of California’s most iconic beach scenes, Venice Beach is just a few kilometers west, nestled between the Pacific Ocean and scenic Marina Del Rey.
There’s really no better place to spend a morning or afternoon, walking, dining, and people-watching than on the seaside town’s popular boardwalk.
Venice Beach’s boardwalk is full of trendy shops and eateries, and it draws an eclectic crowd from all walks of life.
The town of Venice Beach is home to lots of art galleries and studios, as well as skate and surf shops that are great places to pick-up mementos like hats and t-shirts.
14. Sony Pictures Studio Tour
For many visitors to Southern California, not taking advantage of at least one studio tour would constitute a careless misuse of valuable vacation time.
For those staying in Inglewood, there’s none more convenient than the Sony Pictures Studio, which is located on Washington Boulevard in Culver City, just a few kilometers north of Interstate 405.
Hooking up with a guided Sony Pictures Studio Tour allows visitors to enjoy unique insights from an insider and an impressive collection of movie memorabilia, much of which dates back to the Golden Age of cinema.
Tours last a few hours and are offered most days of the week.
15. The Wende Museum
Museums are generally a dime a dozen in Los Angeles. Though many of them have world-class collections (including priceless works of art), they’re often hard to distinguish from one another to the untrained eye.
For those looking for a museum with its own unique niche that hasn’t been done to death, visiting the Wende Museum in Culver City would be a great way to spend a few hours.
Its collection comprises tens of thousands of items relating to the Cold War-era and the former Soviet Union and its satellite countries, including Poland, Romania, and Hungary.
The museum is just a few blocks from the aforementioned Sony Pictures Studio in Culvers City, so consider hitting them both in the same day.