15 Best Things to Do in Torrance, CA

Torrance, CA
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You can find the city of Torrance in the Los Angeles metropolitan area in Los Angeles County, California.

Since it’s in California, Torrance enjoys the state’s warm climate, seeing only an average of 12 inches of rainfall every year.

You’ll have to drive 34 km southwest from downtown Los Angeles to reach Torrance.

What makes Torrance a unique and fun city to visit?

First off, it has 30 parks, which take care of your outdoor hangout needs.

Likewise, Torrance consistently makes it to the list of the safest cities in the entire Los Angeles County.

The city of Torrance gets its name from the real estate developer Jared Sidney Torrance, who visited the area in the early 1900s.

He had the brilliant idea of building an industrial-residential community just south of Los Angeles.

So, he and his team of investors hired Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. to design their vision.

In 1912, they completed the community.

Torrance is also home to one of the largest shopping centers in the country, the Del Amo Fashion Center, which grew in the city.

Do you want to know more about Torrance, CA?

Here’s a list of the best things to do in the city:

Learn Aviation History at the Western Museum of Flight

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

Your kids will love visiting the Western Museum of Flight in Torrance.

After all, the museum features exhibits and important artifacts that show off Southern California’s rich aviation heritage.

That means you’ll find collections of aircraft parts, target drones, jet engines, ejection seats, World War II avionics equipment, and crew accessories.

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

Most importantly, you’ll see a wide collection of model aircraft.

Likewise, the museum allows guests to peek inside their ongoing and completed aircraft restoration projects.

If your kids are as crazy about airplanes as you, then the Western Museum of Flight is an unmissable destination.

They can even touch the planes.

A drone on display at Western Museum of Flight
Extrapolaris, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

See the Animals at the Madrona Marsh Preserve and Nature Center

Who knew there was a pocket of nature inside a metropolitan city?

Bring your family to the Madrona Marsh Preserve and Nature Center in Torrance for an afternoon of fun with nature.

The city of Torrance owns the property and maintains it forever as a wildlife preserve since it is one of the last vernal wetlands left in Southern California.

What can you do there?

You can go for a walk and try to spot birds.

Over the past 40 years, the preserve has seen more than 275 native and 50 non-native birds, so you won’t run out of wildlife.

Just make sure to bring binoculars.

You can also let your inspiration take its course and paint, draw, or take photos of the flora and fauna you find at the preserve.

Look at the View from the Los Arboles “Rocketship” Park

The tall rocketship statue at Los Arboles “Rocketship” Park
SnapASkyline / Shutterstock.com

Local schoolchildren named the park “Los Arboles” in 1956, and you’ll see exactly why when you go there.

The term “Los Arboles” means “the trees,” and it provides you with a majestic panorama of the entire Los Angeles basin.

On clear days, you can even see as far as Santa Monica Bay, the Getty Center, and the Griffith Park Observatory.

You can even see the Hollywood sign if you’re lucky.

Make sure to bring your camera.

The developer H. Kessel donated the land to the city in 1956.

Four years later, the city broke ground in the park. In 1964, construction on the park finished.

Today, the park offers play areas for kids, including the towering four-level Rocketship.

If you’re interested in artwork from another country, visit the Chen Art Gallery in Torrance for a beautiful collection of Chinese art over the centuries.

This museum takes its name from the renowned pharmacist and herbalist Dr. Tei Fu Chen, whose family collection comprises the gallery’s exhibits.

During your visit, you’ll find thousands of artifacts showcasing Chinese history spanning 5,000 years.

Pottery taken from the Neolithic era to pieces from the early 20th century sit inside the museum.

Likewise, its permanent collection includes a dynasty imperial throne room from the Qing dynasty, a Ming dynasty bedroom, and jade carvings.

They also feature gilt bronze Buddhist statues, treasures from a scholar’s studio, snuff bottles, and a cloisonné.

Admission to the museum is free.

You will need to call in advance to book a tour, however.

Learn to appreciate the world’s diversity of cultures by starting here.

Learn Local History at the Torrance Historical Society and Museum

Exterior and entrance doors of Torrance Historical Society and Museum
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In 1973, a group of citizens founded the Torrance Historical Society.

Six years later, the society then opened the museum to the public.

The museum operates from Torrance’s first main library building, completed in 1936.

During your visit, you’ll find several expanding collections of artifacts, books, documents, and photos revealing the story of Torrance’s past.

A few trees outside Torrance Historical Society and Museum
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This place should reward historical curiosity and open-mindedness.

The Torrance Historical Society wants visitors to learn more about the city’s history and its roots in the San Pedro Rancho.

Admission to the museum is free, and it’s also open to the public.

Join the Torrance Historical Society’s Walking Tours

Join the docent and other visitors in exploring the Historic Old Torrance.

You’ll drop by each of the important historical landmarks and sites in this old city founded in 1912.

What are these landmarks?

First off, the walking tour takes you to the original Jared Sidney Torrance Memorial Hospital to investigate its cornerstone.

Then, you’ll find out why the layout of downtown looks like a “Y.”

You’ll also visit the oldest church building that still opens for services.

The tour will cover eight blocks.

You’ll go on an easy but brisk walk, lasting for an hour and a half, so bring some water.

Wear comfortable shoes.

The walking tour doesn’t require reservations, and it’s free and open to the public.

Immerse Yourself in Culture at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center

You can do so many things at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center that it might be tough to figure out where to start.

Still, you need to visit this place only to admire its design combining the smoothness of modernity and the lushness of nature.

The center has banquet and meeting rooms for events and conferences.

Likewise, it contains performing arts studios, a 502-seat theater, and a pair of outdoor plazas.

Go outside to check out the authentic Japanese garden.

Are you running out of ideas about where to hold your next corporate meeting or family gathering?

Look no further than the Torrance Cultural Arts Center.

Sample Craft Beer at the Absolution Brewing Company

What’s a holiday if you don’t indulge yourself a little?

Check out the Absolution Brewing Company in Torrance for delicious handcrafted artisanal beers.

The brewery uses only the freshest New World ingredients to create their classic Old World recipes.

During your visit, you can order from 22 taps, which include varieties of stouts, ales, and IPAs.

Likewise, they also offer ales aged in premium whisky and bourbon barrels, giving you that extra sting with every sip.

If you get hungry, you can always hit up their food trucks.

You can also play cornhole and other fun games at their games room when you’ve run out of things to talk about.

Get Some Sun at Torrance Beach

Colorful sunset at Torrance Beach
Angel La Canfora / Shutterstock.com

Your California visit is incomplete without a trip to the beach.

That’s why you should block out one day in your trip to visit Torrance Beach, the only beach in the city.

A ramp leading down Torrance Beach
Angel La Canfora / Shutterstock.com

This relatively unspoiled 1.5-mile stretch of coastline offers a great variety of beachside entertainment.

Bring your surfboards or swimming attire and splash around in the sea.

People walking around Torrance Beach
Angel La Canfora / Shutterstock.com

Otherwise, you can simply enjoy the majestic views of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

When you get hungry, take your pick out of the over 400 eateries available nearby.

Torrance Beach is also the starting point of “The Strand,” a popular bike path in Southern California.

This beach trip will surely exhaust you, but the fatigue will be worth it.

Calm waves crashing at Torrance Beach's shore
Angel La Canfora / Shutterstock.com

Check Out the Masterpieces at the Torrance Art Museum

Feast your eyes on some sumptuous collections of contemporary art at the Torrance Art Museum.

There’s nothing wrong with getting a little culture during your vacation, right?

During your visit, you’ll find two gallery spaces featuring a variety of exhibitions.

Likewise, the museum offers programs, symposia, lectures, and artist talks.

If you want to see visionary pieces from Southern California artists, or if you just want to chill inside a truly cosmopolitan space, then the Torrance Art Museum is your best bet.

Spend the Day at the Charles H. Wilson Park

This park gets its name from former US Congressman Charles H. Wilson, who helped the city of Torrance buy the park from the government in 1974.

Before the purchase, the space was once a United States Naval Annex.

Wilson helped buy the property because he had always wanted a space in the area where people of all ages could play sports or join leisure activities.

Over the years, Charles H. Wilson Park has enhanced its recreation area by adding more and more facilities.

You can enjoy a nice lunch at their picnic areas and barbecue grills.

Likewise, you can play various sports like tennis and basketball, or play games like horseshoe.

You can also run the .91-mile fitness course.

Otherwise, you can hit up the batting cages or visit the roller hockey rink.

Shop ‘til You Drop at the Del Amo Fashion Center

Exterior of Del Amo Fashion Center
Harun Ozmen / Shutterstock.com

If you want to lose yourself shopping in one of America’s largest shopping malls, the Del Amo Fashion Center.

Surround yourself with its distinctly chic atmosphere while making sure to explore the mall’s three levels.

Various luxury brands have stores in the mall, making it the top retail attraction in the entire South Bay.

Name sign of Del Amo Fashion Center
CrystalMage / Shutterstock.com

Likewise, the mall also has over 200 stores, and several restaurants when you inevitably get hungry.

The mall’s design also helps set it apart from other typical malls.

It uses the abundant natural light of California to bathe its interior with a sun-kissed glow, and you’ll find palm trees lining the walkways.

Make sure to drop by this mall for a family-friendly diversion.

Escalators inside Del Amo Fashion Center
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Grab a Snack at the Torrance Bakery

The iconic Torrance Bakery opened to the public in 1984.

Since then, the family-owned shop has provided sumptuous snacks to Torrance residents and visitors.

You can enjoy their signature sandwiches, pastries, and other tasty goodies.

They have also earned the reputation of being the best pastry and cake makers in town.

Today, the Torrance Bakery has expanded into two locations, with space totaling 14,000 square feet.

Likewise, the restaurant now has a separate Sandwich Shop and a Wedding Cake Showroom.

Over the years, the Torrance Bakery has partnered with various big companies such as Mattel, Marriott Hotels, Honda, and Exxon Mobil.

They have also won National Retail Bakery of the Year in 2007 from Modern Baking magazine.

Since 1993, the Daily Breeze has also named Torrance Bakery as the best bakery in its “South Bay’s Best” special issue.

You’ll never regret popping in here for a snack.

Climb Up the Wilson Park Annenberg Tree House

Bring your friends and family to enjoy the Wilson Park Annenberg Tree House, the first treehouse in a California public space that’s universally accessible.

This 2,500-square-foot wooden house opens itself up for the enjoyment of everyone who climbs it, regardless of physical ability.

Likewise, when you climb it, you’ll enjoy a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area.

This treehouse signifies the support of the city of Torrance to the physically challenged people.

The city of Torrance takes pride in its various social programs and parks, and this treehouse is just one example.

Make sure to spend a day of inclusive fun with your kids or buddies at the Wilson Park treehouse.

Final Thoughts

If you simply want to get a taste of sunny and pleasant California, you might want to visit the small city of Torrance.

It’s everything you could want to see in California in a microcosm: you have beaches, natural attractions, cultural centers, and flavorful restaurants.

Step out of the cold and into the hot beaches of California.

Visit Torrance today!