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A Weekend Guide To Culver City, Southern California’s Hottest Urban Getaway

by Staff

While Southern California cities like Santa Monica and Malibu earn abundant acclaim for their scenic beaches, they’re far from the only destinations worth visiting across Los Angeles County. Long renowned for its close ties to the film industry, Culver City has developed into one of the region’s most charming municipalities, loaded with high-end restaurants and hotels for newcomers to explore. As you plan your next visit to the Golden State, be sure to save some room on the itinerary to explore Culver City, a historic settlement that improves with each passing year.

Where to Stay

For those in search of accommodations that seamlessly blend old-school Culver City charm with a wealth of modern amenities, it’s tough to find a better property than The Shay. Officially opened in October 2021, this polished venue serves as an inviting space for both tourists and locals alike, adorned with a roaring fireplace and work spaces to use throughout the day. While guests are welcome to take advantage of amenities like the on-property Game Room or swing by the lobby bar for a complex cocktail, the property’s 148 rooms and suites provide ample opportunity for relaxation, with the Penthouse Studio offering a private balcony and gorgeous views of the Hollywood Hills—and as an added bonus, this vibrant hotel is also a top spot for sampling classic California fare.

Perched on the top floor of the hotel, Canopy Club serves as one of Culver City’s top sunset-watching destinations, providing guests with a wealth of refreshing cocktails to sample as the sun sinks beneath the horizon. Options range from banana mai tais to the mezcal-forward Telenovela, with flavorful bites like tuna crispy rice, hamachi crudo and fish tacos all up for grabs as well. And after a dazzling sunset, guests can make their way downstairs to explore the wood-fired Italian dining scene at etta, with hearty dishes like scallop bucatini, tahini roasted eggplant and dry-aged whole branzino all gracing the menu.

Dining in Style

In addition to The Shay’s culinary offerings, Culver City has amassed a wide array of top-tier drinking and dining destinations all throughout city limits, inviting newcomers to immerse themselves in a rich tapestry of longtime favorites and recent arrivals—and for a deep dive into the Culver of yore, Tito’s Tacos is a must-try. Officially established in 1959, this storied spot has mastered the art of classic Mexican fare, providing diners with favorites like chicken tamales, beef burritos and—of course—tacos. Further east, Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken is a top spot for ultra-flavorful drumsticks and biscuits, while Destroyer is perfect for those in search of sophisticated plant-focused dining. Equipped with an all-star roster of Scandinavian-inspired menu items, visitors can sample plates like papaya-infused strawberry French toast and honey-roasted mushroom salad, each one packed full of locally-sourced Golden State produce.

In addition to a diverse dining scene, Culver City is well-equipped for cocktail aficionados as well, with Blind Barber serving as a particularly intriguing spot. A typical barbershop at first glance, this polished space gives way to a lively speakeasy during evening hours, providing visitors with booming music and cocktails like the bourbon-forward Smoke + Dagger. For a unique L.A. experience, visitors can head to Bigfoot West—a local favorite thanks to its rustic log cabin-inspired design—to sample high-end whiskies and refined cocktails, while those in search of local craft beer should be sure to pay a visit to Father’s Office. One of several locations scattered across the country, this vibrant venue is home to more than 36 different draft beers at any given time, with a wide array of hearty pub fare to pair with your brew.

Top Attractions

While some of Culver City’s neighbors are equipped with idyllic beaches, the city offers its own stunning natural feature in the form of Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. A popular hiking destination, this easy mile-long trail has been carefully cultivated to showcase native Southern California flora and fauna, with no shortage of native birds and mammals thriving across the park. After basking in the stunning scenery atop the 500-foot peak, visitors can reward themselves with a trip to neighboring STAR Eco Station, a natural history museum that doubles as a refuge for animals that were rescued from the illegal pet trade—and that’s far from the only institution worth visiting across Culver City.

Once you’ve descended Baldwin Hills, the nearby Wende Museum serves as a top destination for visiting history buffs. Established in 2002, this prestigious venue is dedicated to preserving the many cultural artifacts that survived the fall of the Soviet Union, equipped with exhibits that provide insight into life across Eastern Europe in the 1990s. Yet when it comes to true creativity, there’s no beating the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Located on Venice Boulevard, this fascinating institution is home to an incredibly diverse array of installations, with topics spanning from insect life to microminiature statues.

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