15 Best Things to Do in Gardena, CA

Gardena, CA
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Gardena is in Los Angeles County, located 15 miles south of Los Angeles and adjacent to numerous primary transportation links.

In the late 19th century, initial settlements occurred in the city, converting the area into a network of homes from several vast rancho estates.

During its incorporation on September 11, 1930, Gardena was just a tiny farming community that developed into an active and flourishing residential and business community.

It integrated the rural cities of Moneta, Strawberry Park, and Gardena into just one city.

Previously Southern California’s berry-growing capital, it is now known as the “Freeway City.”

It was bordered by freeways of the Artesia in the south, Harbor to the east, and San Diego to the west.

Gardena was inhabited initially by Gabrielino Indians and later by Spanish and American settlers.

The city came from a part of the approximately 43,000 acres of Spanish land grant — Rancho San Pedro — conferred to Juan Jose Dominguez around 1800.

Besides historic landmarks, the city has many parks, shopping centers, restaurants, cafes, and nature centers.

Find out the best things to do in Gardena, California.

Explore Japanese Culture at Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute

Founded as the Moneta Gakuen or Japanese language school, Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute began in 1912.

It survived WWII, welcoming Japanese and Japanese Americans placed in internment camps.

In 1967, it was officially designated as Gardena Valley Japanese Language School.

In 1968, it changed its name to Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute to integrate more services of the organization and function.

You can join the institute’s various exciting activities, such as physical fitness, dance, arts and crafts, music, recreational games, and health and educational classes.

Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community center on W 162nd Street, inviting you to experience Japanese culture.

Take a Stroll through the Gardena Willows Wetland Preserve

Before people settled in Gardena, the Gardena Willows Wetland Preserve consisted of several hundreds of square miles of marshland called the Dominguez Channel.

Rainwater drains through this channel out to the ocean past San Pedro and Wilmington, where the Willows and Harbor Lake used to connect.

The primary people in the area were the Gabrielino Indians, deriving their names after the Mission San Gabriel.

However, most preferred to be called by their name, the Tongva.

Wander the preserve and see green herons, white-tailed kites, mourning doves, downy woodpeckers, American robins, and more.

Located on W 170th Street, Gardena Willows Wetland Preserve also boasts beautiful red admirals, western tiger swallowtails, western pygmy blues, monarchs, marine blues, and mourning cloaks.

Enjoy a Family Day at Rosecrans Recreation Center

Are you looking for a family-friendly recreation facility with cultural, sports, and fitness programs?

Look no further than the Rosecrans Recreation Center on W 149th Street.

These programs include Camps, Afterschool, Education Tutor, Dance, Fitness Exercise, and more.

The Recreation Center features a lighted baseball diamond, an indoor and lighted basketball court, a children's play area, and a lighted synthetic soccer field, among others.

Rosecrans Recreation Center covers 71,400 square feet of space, providing picnic tables and a kitchen for a great snack or lunch after a game or participating in a program.

Try Your Luck at Hustler Casinos

Why not drop by Hustler Casinos and try your luck?

Play all-time favorite games, like blackjack, three card poker, Pai Gow poker, no collection EZ baccarat, Limit and No Limit Texas Hold’em, and much more.

Food is no problem because you can buy some at Larry Flynt’s Bar & Grill, which offers excellent food from around the world in sophisticated and pleasant surroundings.

You’ll love Coco's fast and delightful cuisine, especially Boar’s Head Meats and Fosselman’s Ice Cream.

Located on W Redondo Beach Boulevard, Hustler Casinos also houses Corky’s Snack Bar, which serves light bites and authentic sushi.

Check Out Harry's Marine Life

If you’re fond of sea creatures, you might want to visit Harry’s Marine Life.

An aquarium teeming with vibrant fish and other colorful marine species is a sight for sore eyes.

Their staff can walk you through the store and help you find the one you’re looking for or what will fancy you.

You can check on their bestsellers, such as the mocha storm clown, green mandarin dragonet, royal gramma, firefish goby, red-legged hermit crab, and clown fish.

Harry's Marine Life also has corals, shrimp, snails, starfish, anemones, and more, located on Alma Avenue.

Taste Authentic Japanese Cuisine at Fukagawa Restaurant

You don't need to visit Japan to taste its flavorful dishes because you can savor them in Gardena, California.

Fukagawa Restaurant has served the Japanese community in the city for over 30 years and provides locals and visitors with the authentic taste of Japanese cuisine.

It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, specializing in fried rice, tempura, curry rice, udon, teriyaki, soba, seafood-based dishes, and many more.

You can celebrate your anniversary, business, bonenkai, birthday, or date with your loved one.

Located on W Redondo Beach Boulevard, Fukagawa Restaurant guarantees an authentic taste of delectable Japanese food.

Master Drifting at K1 Speed

Driving is fun but more fun at K1 Speed, located on S Vermont Avenue, offering entertainment and memorabilia collections.

Enjoy pure electric racing at Arrive and Drive Indoor Kart Racing which goes on a first-come, first-served basis, so arrive early and experience the excitement.

If you’re a newbie, you’ll get a briefing session regarding rules and safety before you can drive.

Drift Night is back to allow racers to master the art of drifting and driving drift karts sideways.

K1 Speed guarantees every racer enjoys indoor karting with a thrilling experience where you can celebrate birthdays, group parties, and corporate events.

Push Your Limits at Sky Zone Trampoline Park

Sky Zone Trampoline Park is the best place to bring your friends or loved ones to experience different activities and enjoyment.

You can jump, flip, and spin with all your might and play against your friends or family members.

Try the Freestyle Jump, Skyslam, Foam Zone, Skyhoops, Skyjoust, Skyline, Drop Zone, Warped Wall, Ninja Warrior Court, Challenge Zone, and Air Court.

Check out Sky Zone Trampoline Park’s birthday packages, including party invitations, party host, private party areas, supplies, and more.

Have Fun at Gardena Bowl

Whether you want to bowl, play billiards, eat, or drink, you’ll always be a winner at Gardena Bowl, located on S Vermont Avenue.

This fantastic bowling alley allows you to spend time with friends, colleagues, or family members to create a matched team based on your skill level.

After a friendly game, you can grab a bite or get something to drink while bowling or playing billiards.

Its coffee shop serves American and Hawaiian as well as Asian favorites.

Bring your friends or loved ones to Gardena Bowl and have the best time of your life.

Treat Your Dog to South Park Doggie Adventureland

Treat your pets to a place where they can enjoy their time outside playing and mingling with other dogs all day.

Take them to South Park Doggie Adventureland, Earth's biggest doggie theme park on W 190th Street, with over 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor playgrounds.

It features a 22-foot swimming pool, a doggie football/soccer field, and private owner lounges and offers services including playcare (daycare), dog training, staycare (boarding), and dog grooming.

Apart from the grass turf play areas and custom dog playground equipment, your pet can also take advantage of a water park splash zone and a waterfall with its pond.

South Park Doggie Adventureland would like you and your dog to join seasonal Paw Social Club events, such as PAWLYMPICS games and PAWLLOWEEN FESTIVAL.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Beat the Heat at Hermosa Beach

Sunny day at Hermosa Beach
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Summer in California is just around the corner, and the best way to beat the heat is by heading to the beach.

Located along Hermosa Avenue and 33rd Street, Hermosa Beach has nearly two miles of ocean frontage with 94 acres of public beach.

It’s one of the most well-known beaches in LA County because of its exceptional surf, swimming areas, and different volleyball nets along the sand.

Beach volleyball at Hermosa Beach
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Great amenities at the beach include showers, playground equipment, restrooms, and adjacent restaurants.

Hermosa Beach is only a 21-minute drive from Gardena via W Redondo Beach Boulevard.

Surfing at Hermosa Beach
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Visit the Beach Boys Historic Landmark

Daytime view of Beach Boys Historic Landmark
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Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson are siblings better known as the Beach Boys.

The Beach Boys grew up in a house on the corner of West 119th Street and Kornblum Avenue in Hawthorne, California, 11 minutes from Gardena.

The Beach Boys Historic Landmark now stands where their childhood home was, which became part of a Southern California freeway.

The site is around five miles from the surf and sand they sand about in their famous song “Surfin’ U.S.A.”

The house was demolished in the 1980s to give way for the freeway construction.

However, it is considered a California Historic Landmark; the state added a streetscape in 2004.

Spend the Day at Disneyland Park

Aerial view of Disneyland Park
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Nothing beats the fun and enjoyment at Disneyland Park on Disneyland Drive in Anaheim, California, 30 minutes from Gardena.

As “the Happiest Place on Earth,” this multiple-themed park has many beautiful attractions and thrilling activities.

Try different Disneyland rides such as Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Mad Tea Party when you enter Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

Meet famous cartoon characters in Mickey’s Toontown and personally meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and others.

Buildings at Disneyland Park
Boris Dzhingarov, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Disneyland Park has a lot in store for you.

A day might not be enough to enjoy it all.

So, come back and try the 60 attractions, including Star Wars, Fly the Millenium Falcon, Space Mountain,  and more!

The grounds of Disneyland Park
Boris Dzhingarov, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tour the Magnificent Queen Mary

Exterior of the Queen Mary
Harun Ozmen / Shutterstock.com

Tour an elegant and majestic ship full of history, adventure, romance, and paranormal activity.

The ship is at Queens Highway in Long Beach, California, 32 minutes from Gardena.

Meet the magnificent Queen Mary, built in 1930 in Clydebank, Scotland.

It was the most extravagant and technologically advanced ocean liner during World War II.

Interior of the Queen Mary
Grzegorz Czapski / Shutterstock.com

Nicknamed a “haunted ship,” this troopship will give you goosebumps when you hear its story from the expert tour guides who also experienced the paranormal within the ship.

To know more about these “hauntings,” you need to start with the Haunted Encounters Tour and hear the ghostly tales of this luxury ship.

The Queen Mary also offers the Steam and Steel Tour that will take you approximately 25 feet below the water line.

You can walk across Boiler Rooms 1- 4, the Turbo-Generator Room 1, and Water Softening Plant.

Aerial view of Queen Mary
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Visit the Western Museum of Flight

Aircrafts at Western Museum of Flight
Motohide Miwa from USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Don't miss the Western Museum of Flight on Airport Drive in Torrance, California, 24 minutes from Gardena.

It’s a non-profit educational institution committed to showcasing artifacts of Southern California's aviation heritage.

The Museum provides educational programs to children, allowing them to see and touch the aircraft that made aviation history.

Aircraft on the grounds of Western Museum of Flight
Cdw1952, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

See the North American F-86 Sabre Jet, British Aerospace Harrier T.4 Jump Jet, the 1942 Model C-3 Link Trainer, the 1942 Northrop JB-1 "Bat" World War II "Buzz Bomb," and more.

You can also purchase various aviation products in their Gift Shop.

Buy die-cast display models, hats, new and used aviation/military books, posters/prints, and more.

Final Thoughts

Are you tired of the same old scenery and activities

You and your family can visit Gardena for a memorable and unique experience.

Enjoy the best things to do in Gardena, California!

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