Since I’m not a SoCal native and Mauricio is from San Diego county, typically when we venture out it’s usually in the San Diego area. I can count on my hands how many times we’ve visited Los Angeles tourist attractions, and it’s a shame because there are tons of things to do in LA.
So, last Saturday when LA Waterfront invited us to visit, we hopped in the car to explore the LA Waterfront, and heading towards LA did not disappoint. First of all, the Los Angeles Port is the largest port I have ever seen. The Port of Los Angeles moves more containers than any other port in the U.S. It is massive and an extraordinary sight to see. Driving from Orange County to San Pedro Bay, which is the LA Waterfront, we got to go straight through it. It really is the gateway to the world for Los Angeles.
A Stop at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
Our first stop was to visit the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, it’s across the street from a family friendly beach and adjacent to Cabrillo Beach Coastal Park. I knew FLO would love visiting the aquarium. He is currently very into the ocean and its inhabitants.
We read the same books all about the ocean every night, with him naming all of the sea creatures, so he was super excited to see some marine life for himself. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is perfect for the little ones to explore, but I must admit the adults can also learn a lot from the aquarium.
All of the tanks only house marine life native to Southern California, and while the fish tanks were incredible to see, especially the jellyfish tank, the best part is definitely the saltwater aquarium touch tank.
We got to touch and see a variety of starfish and the most amazing sea urchins—they were incredibly sharp and FLO was scared at first, but then he warmed up to touching all of the marine life and it was all we could do to hang on to him.
On the other side of the open tank at the Aquarium were a few Sculpin fish and a Tiger shark. Fernando could’ve spent the entire day there, but it was also getting close to lunch time.
[ For more behind the scenes of our aquarium adventure, check out my story highlights on Instagram!]
One of my favorite exhibits at the Aquarium was dedicated to whales. I can never get enough of these magnificent creatures, and the photo above was just such a fun way to share how tiny we humans are compared to these massive creatures and also how much of the ocean is still unknown to us.
Lunch at the San Pedro Fish Market
For the most part, LA waterfront is a quiet escape. The aquarium wasn’t too crowded, and we wondered where everyone was on this sunny Saturday afternoon. That was until we got to the San Pedro Fish Market. If you are a seafood lover, this has to go on your must-do list when at the LA Waterfront. The space was overwhelming, but in the best way possible.
This fish market has nearly 10,000 reviews on Google and almost 5 stars. Mauricio and I instantly knew this was where we needed to head for lunch, and so did about 3,000 people—but don’t worry the market is huge, and you get to dine outside with ocean views, the best way to eat seafood, in my opinion. They also sell the biggest beers and Micheladas I’ve ever seen. Also, the best combo while eating seafood, right?!
If you look closely under the San Pedro Fish Market sign it says “home of the world famous shrimp tray,” —so that’s pretty much a clear message as to what the market is known for and what to order.
Tips for how to dine at the San Pedro Fish Market
The market works several ways. You can stand in line and buy your seafood—which includes everything from mussels to crab and lobsters and fish—and then find a grilling station, where someone will cook your purchase for free!
Or, you can simply buy your seafood and order a la carte from the menu. The lines are long, but they move quickly and it’s fun to take in the excitement of the place.
We opted for ceviche, first and then walked around a little to decide which place we wanted to try. We also instantly knew we’d be back with friends and family. Our folks would love this place and it’s kid-friendly with arcade games to keep everyone occupied.
Above is a typical tray of seafood, meant for two, or four or probably six. It’s delicious and they even sell their own spices and hot sauce.
We ordered fish and chips for FLO.The fish was incredibly fresh and crispy, so he couldn’t wait to dig in. Mostly, because we also promised him ice cream for after lunch.
If you’re thinking of visiting the LA Waterfront, I couldn’t recommend it enough. For older kiddos there is also a Battleship Museum, and a trolley can take you around the LA Waterfront, so you don’t have to worry about parking—which was also free by the market!
We can’t wait to go back! Who wants to split a tray of seafood with us, at our next time at the San Pedro Fish Market? Many thanks to the LA Waterfront for inviting us to visit and sponsoring this post. It was the best kind of adventure playing tourist in Los Angeles.