Culver City holds a special spot in my heart. From its iconic movie legacy to a thriving arts scene and trendy hangouts, this guide, crafted by a proud local, will unveil the hidden gems and must-see attractions that make Culver City truly special.
1. Shop for locally grown produce and tasty treats at the Farmer’s Market
Set against the backdrop of Culver’s Main Street, the Farmer’s Market is a weekly event of fresh produce, delectable treats, and the vibrant spirit of the community. Every Tuesday from 2 pm to 7 pm, this lively market comes to life, offering an array of locally sourced delights.
While it may be smaller in size compared to larger markets like the iconic Los Angeles Farmer’s Market, the Culver City Farmer’s Market possesses an unparalleled charm and a laid-back ambiance that truly sets it apart.
As a proud Culver City local and native, I may be biased, but I have yet to find another farmer’s market that encapsulates this local essence quite like ours.
When you visit, be sure to indulge in some must-try treats. I recommend getting organic strawberries, freshly popped kettle corn, spiced pita chips with flavored hummus, and homemade kefir yogurt. These treats have become my staples over the years, a testament to the exceptional quality and taste found at the Culver City Farmer’s Market.
2. Explore Culver City’s vibrant art scene
When it comes to art districts in Los Angeles, the downtown scene often takes the spotlight. However, the thriving art community of Culver City proves that creativity knows no boundaries. For years, Culver City has been home to its own artistic haven, offering a number of art galleries, studios, and public art installations.
As a local resident, one of my favorite Culver City activities is strolling through the arts district, eagerly anticipating the discovery of new and intriguing public art pieces along the way.
Colorful murals, sculptures, and other public art adorn the streets, infusing the neighborhood with creativity and a distinct sense of character. The district’s mix of galleries, sit on the tail end of La Cienega and provides an intimate and up-close encounter with different artistic expressions.
3. Check out the Helms Bakery
Step back in time and discover the fascinating history of Helms Bakery District. Once a thriving bakery from 1931 to 1969, this location holds a significant place in Culver City’s heritage.
Known for its popular baked goods, Helms Bakery made a name for itself, even earning the honor of being the official baker for the 1932 Summer Olympics, as symbolized by the Olympic bread sign in its logo.
Today, the buildings that once buzzed with baking activity have been thoughtfully repurposed. They house a charming collection of furniture and home stores, as well as outdoor spaces for relaxation and a handful of restaurants.
4. Artbook enthusiasts must visit Arcana Bookstore
I stumbled upon this bookstore after strolling through the neighborhood and it was one of the best discoveries. There is an impressive selection of books specializing in photography, art, design, travel, and more. From collectibles and used books to rare finds, Arcana has it all.
I found myself drawn to the photobook travel section featuring Los Angeles. The books in this section transported me to the city during different eras, that brought the essence of Los Angeles to life.
5. Go on a foodie adventure at Citizen Public Market
Another great addition to Culver City is the Citizen Public Market, a food hall with a wide range of restaurants and food options. Besides the food, I love the eclectic decor and communal vibe.
Don’t forget to enjoy the outdoor roof and patios, making it one of the most fun things to do in Culver City when the weather is good.
6. Sip, savor and discover new beers at Los Angeles Ale Works
Beer enthusiasts will love this new tap room that recently opened up in the area. Located next to the Ivy Station Expo Line, Los Angeles Ale Works has quickly become a favorite among locals and visitors.
With an impressive selection of over 25 beers on tap, it’s a haven where beer enthusiasts can discover their perfect pint.
No matter how discerning your palate may be, this taproom has a brew tailored to your preferences. From crisp and refreshing ales to robust and flavorful stouts, their diverse lineup caters to every beer lover’s delight. During my visit, I had the pleasure of savoring their Pom Te and amber beer, both of which left a lasting impression.
7. Discover literary bliss at Village Well Books & Coffee
Nestled in the heart of downtown Culver City, Village Well Books & Coffee is a hidden gem that has quickly become my go-to sanctuary for relaxation, reading, and indulging in specialty beverages. Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a warm, brightly lit space filled with intriguing titles and literary delights.
When I’m not immersed in a captivating book in one of their cozy corners, I delight in exploring the diverse range of events hosted here, where they showcase an eclectic mix of authors and live musicians, ensuring there’s always something exciting happening.
While the books are undeniably the stars of the show, the coffee bar is equally enticing. Their menu boasts a delightful assortment of treats, ranging from sandwiches and tea to coffee, wine, and beer. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend trying their off-menu specialty, the “dirty chai” coffee. It’s a personal favorite of mine, and the baristas are more than happy to craft this invigorating blend of flavors just for you.
8. Chill out and relax at the Culver Steps
The Culver Steps have transformed downtown Culver City into a lively urban oasis. This beautifully designed gathering place is great for meeting with friends, indulging in ice cream, or simply taking a quick break from work.
While some may argue that the addition of the Culver Steps has led to further gentrification, I believe it has become an inclusive focal point where the community can come together, relax, and enjoy the vibrant spirit of Culver City.
9. Indulge in a memorable evening at the historic Culver City Hotel
When I think of Culver City, the Culver Hotel is the first place that comes to mind—a historical landmark that has been captivating visitors for nearly a century. This iconic establishment not only preserves a wealth of rich history but also boasts a remarkable restaurant and bar, offering an array of experiences for those seeking what to do in Culver City.
Tucked away within the Culver Hotel is a well-kept secret that not many are aware of—the upscale upstairs bar. A flight of stairs leads you to this cozy retreat featuring dark and opulent settings.
Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in their signature cocktail, the Midnight Express, a twist on an Espresso Martini that is sure to delight your senses.
10. Experience the magic of the Kirk Douglas Theatre: What to Do in Culver City at Night
Step into the rich history of Hollywood’s entertainment community at Kirk Douglas Theatre, formerly known as the iconic Culver Threatres. Since its opening in 1947, this beloved venue has played a significant role in the local arts scene.
This small and intimate theatre has witnessed countless memorable performances throughout the years. From outstanding premieres and productions, the Kirk Douglas Theatre offers a diverse range of shows.
11. Get active and enjoy the outdoors at the Culver Stairs
Looking for a fun way to stay fit and explore the city’s scenic beauty? The Culver Stairs are located within the Baldwin Hills Overlook, a state park with beautiful panoramic views of Los Angeles.
Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or a beginner looking to get active, this staircase is doable for all levels. It’s one of the must-try things to do in Culver City for fitness enthusiasts and nature lovers.