When most people think of classic movie glamour and legendary stars, they think of Hollywood. But it is Culver City, home to two major movie studios, that is known as the ‘Heart of Screenland’. From its downtown pedestrian-friendly streets lined with palm trees and trendy new foodie joints to the wackiest museum in Los Angeles, Culver City is full of surprises.
This gourmet ice cream parlor features adventurous ice cream and cookie flavors combined to make ice cream ‘Sammies,’ and the eponymous ‘Cool Houses.’ Inspired by architecture and design, the shop’s name pays homage to the Modernist design movement, Bauhaus, and to famed architect Rem Koolhass. Signature ice-cream flavors include some classic variations, like salted Tahitian vanilla bean and chocolate peppermint; however, for those who dare try something innovative, there are Peking duck, whiskey Lucky Charms, gin and tonic, and pizza flavors. Try the marbled rye cookie with brown butter candied bacon ice cream for a uniquely sweet and salty dessert experience.
Coolhaus, 8588 W Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA, USA, +1 310 838 5559
Around 40 different galleries fill the half-mile walk along La Cienega and Washington Boulevards, making up the recently christened Culver City Arts District. Go for the Saturday night openings and walk from door to door, sipping wine and munching crackers. Art spans the gamut from commercial pop to emerging artists to classic black and white photography, with a general emphasis on street art and illustration aesthetics. Standout highlights include Paul Loya Gallery, which presents wry, humorous, experimental multimedia exhibits; Susanne Vielmetter Projects, whose impressive roster of artists features prominently in the international art scene; David Kordansky Gallery’s daring contemporary exhibitions; and Bruce Lurie Gallery, which attracts the most colorful characters to its openings.
Take a break from the arts and culture of Culver City to stroll through some surprising nature spots. The Ballona Creek bicycle path is a pleasant, scenic route that takes riders on an eight-mile, mostly flat path from Culver City all the way to the ocean in Marina Del Rey. If a bike is not your thing, check out the hiking path that begins at Culver City Park and leads up to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, which offers 360-degree views of downtown LA, the LA Basin, and the Pacific Ocean. The overlook is accessible by either a steep, straight staircase (a popular local exercise spot) or an easy zigzagging loop path (for a more relaxed hike). Go early – the park closes at sunset.
Signified only by a neon sign that says ‘bar’ and a blinking neon martini glass, Mandrake is the most unpretentious hipster bar. Old episodes of Mork and Mindy are projected on the wall where a DJ spins tunes on vinyl and disco ball lights rotate around the room. Plain wooden picnic tables host smiling creative types sipping beer and cocktails. The bartenders are friendly, in a homey, tell-us-about-your-life-and-we’ll-listen kind of way. Happy hour specials include a beer and a shot for $5 and bartender’s choice cocktails.
If the ‘drunkchies’ set in before 11pm, head to Tito’s Tacos for legendary cheap, simple, crispy tacos and burritos — your basic bean and cheese, shredded beef, or chili con carne done right.