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About Culver City, CA

Deep in the heart of Los Angeles, Culver City has long been a hot spot for movie production as home to MGM Studios, now Sony Pictures. After the area was used as a Civil War camp, Culver City was properly incorporated in 1917; the first film studio opened there in 1918. Culver City has also been home to the Hughes Aircraft Company and Culver Center, one of the first shopping malls in Southern California.

The Community of Culver City

In addition to its history as a hub for movie studios, Culver City has worked over the last decade to establish itself as a trendy, artsy community with the creation of the Culver City Art District and its many restaurants and galleries, located in the eastern part of the city. Central downtown also has many spots for dining and shopping.

What to Do in Culver City

Sony Pictures offers movie fans and interested visitors weekday tours of its studio and the chance to browse through a new studio museum. Visit soundstages -- including, for game show fans, those used for Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune -- and try to spot big name stars.

If you enjoy seeing creatures but aren't a fan of zoos, check out the Star Eco Station, home to many varieties of rescued animals as well as an environmental science museum. When U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers confiscate illegal and endangered animals, they bring them here for rehab and, when necessary, a permanent home. You'll have to take a guided tour that lasts about an hour and is available only on weekends.

The Wende Museum of the Cold War houses artifacts from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe under the Iron Curtain. With a focus on art, the space is well organized, and the exhibits are interesting even if you're not especially knowledgeable about the Cold War era. Be sure to see the poster exhibit. Open to the public Friday through Sunday with free admission.

One Place You Shouldn't Miss in Culver City

"Interesting..." but in a good way -- that's the Museum of Jurassic Technology with its vast assortment of curiosities. Part art, part collection and completely quirky, the museum's exhibits will make you think. Plan to enjoy the included tea service on the second floor. Open Thursday through Sunday.

Dining in Culver City

Famous chef Jordan Kahn's Vespertine, sometimes called the best restaurant in L.A., is in Culver City and is priced on the higher end but is worth every penny for the elegantly crafted tasting menu. Also, try Kahn's nearby restaurant, Destroyer, that serves breakfast and lunch with no need for reservations. The beef tartare and winter squash soup are favorites, though the menu changes regularly.

For one of the best deli experiences outside New York City, visit Johnnie's Pastrami, which, as the name suggests, serves a fantastic hot pastrami sandwich. Their amazing dill pickles are to die for.

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