The Astute Recorder



Angels Gate, Los Angeles Harbor, Lighthouse

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Photos: Angels Gate (Los Angeles Harbor Lighthouse). By Judy Asman.

Travel to Angels Gate Lighthouse

(June 23, 2009)—Built in 1913 to guide ships in from San Pedro's breakwater, Los Angeles Harbor Lighthouse (nicknamed "Angels Gate") serves as a lovely backdrop to Southern California pier fishing, windsurfing or a day on Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro.

Situated at the end of the 9,250 foot-long breakwater, Angel's Gate Lighthouse affords no direct access and therefore no tours. The closest one can get to this 73-foot Romanesque tower is via a self-directed boat or while standing on Cabrillo Pier ( where I was when I took the photo above). Yes, bring your telephoto lens.

While Angels Gate seems untouchable, it could not be more of a symbol of civic pride to the residents of San Pedro. Banners displaying the picturesque structure line Gaffey Street, even though this main drag leads directly to Point Fermin Lighthouse, a sister lighthouse in town. Numerous books about the region, not to mention tourist literature, often feature Angels Gate as the city's icon. And lighthouse lover or not, one can see why.

The structure sits on top of a 40-foot concrete square and, with steel framework, is said to have lasted through a 1939 five-day storm, where crushing waves sent the structure leaning toward the shore.

In 1971, Angels Gate became automated and its third-order Fresnel lens was replaced by an acrylic solar power green light. If you are avid about viewing these fascinating multiprismed inventions, fear not. On June 16, 2009, the Los Angeles Maritime Museum just down the road from Cabrillo Beach, unveiled the repaired lens, and it is now on display on the museum's second floor. Donna Littlejohn of Daily Breeze wrote a lovely article about this. »

For some terrific close-ups of the lighthouse, check out Lighthouse Trek. »

Angels Gate Tours

Unfortunately there are no tours offered and no access to the breakwater that leads to the lighthouse. Highly dangerous!

Water Recreation

Directions to Angels Gate, Cabrillo Beach


San Pedro. Rich in multiculturalism, history and character. Its appeal lies in its role as a port town, while representing the big and bustling city of Los Angeles. While many areas of the town are short on glamor—in fact, some blocks are straight-up in the hood—its prominence as the heart of L.A. maritime makes for a fascinating visit. Now for the fun part: Downtown, Harbor-side or picnic eats.

For Picnics: Grocery Stores & Delis

  • Slavko's. This Croatian-owned deli offers fried chicken and potato munchies that are quite popular among locals. Very sweet people there. The food pays homage to the Croatian local flair. Beer and Wine. 1224 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro, CA 90731. 310-832-5723. $. Accepts credit and debit cards.

  • A-1 Imported Grocery. Established in 1947, A-1 is favored for its sandwiches, catering platters and general, on-the-shelf food items. Deli offers Italian fare. Wines. 348 W. 8th St. San Pedro, CA 90731. 310-833-3430. $ - $$. Accepts credit and debit cards. Street parking.

  • The Sandwich Saloon. People rave about this low-key sandwich joint. 813 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro, CA 90731. 310-548-5322. $. Accepts Mastercard, American Express and Visa. Hours: M - F 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Street parking.

  • Ono Hawaiian BBQ. Fast-casual and take-out with traditional-style plate dishes. Teriyaki chicken, Spam musubi and Hawaiian BBQ beef are some of the features with macaroni as a popular side. No kalua pork. 121-141 N. Gaffey St., San Pedro, CA 90731. 310-547-1888. $. Accepts debit and credit cards. Small parking lot.

  • Vons. 1221 Gaffey St., San Pedro, CA 90731. 310-832-7063. Hours: 5 a.m. - midnight.

Sit-down: Breakfast / Lunch

  • Rex's Cafe. An excellent pick for gourmet breakfasts and light lunches. The pleasant atmosphere is thanks to the artwork and contemporary décor. 2136 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro, CA 90731. 310-519-7190. $$. Accepts debit and credit cards. Street parking.

  • Nosh Cafe. Quaint with unique breakfast and lunch dishes. 617 S. Centre St., San Pedro, CA 90731. 310-514-1121. $$. Accepts debit and credit cards. Street parking.

  • Omelette and Waffle Shop. As the name implies, the popular breakfast joint offers plenty of omelette and waffles dishes prepared to your liking. 1103 S. Gaffey St. San Pedro, CA 90731. 310-831-3277. $$. Accepts debit and credit cards. Hours: M - Sat. 6 a.m. - 2 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m. - 3 p.m .

Sit-down: Lunch / Dinner

  • San Pedro Fish Market and Restaurant. With 40 years under its belt as an adored family-owned fish market and eatery, the San Pedro Fish Market and Restaurant is always a madhouse. But worth the wait and an experience to savor. "Pick your fish and choose your dish" is its motto as you can choose your own fresh seafood and have them cook it to your liking based on their menu. Harbor-side dining is a plus and menu includes Mexican cuisine. Mariachis sometimes provide entertainment outdoors. 1190 Nagoya Way, Berth 78, Ports O’ Call Village, San Pedro, CA 90731. 310-832-4253. $$ - $$$. Accepts debit and credit cards. Ample parking.

  • Acapulco Mexican Restaurant y Cantina. Here, you can top off any L.A. lighthouse visit with a margarita, chips, salsa and a harbor-side view. The brunches are popular on Sundays. 750 Sampson Way, Berth 83, San Pedro, CA 90731. 310-548-6800. $$. Accepts debit and credit cards. Ample parking.

  • Ante's Restaurant. With Croatians comprising a significant piece of the San Pedro population, Ante's is an excellent choice if you're seeking proximity to downtown, Cabrillo Beach and the harbor, as well as a local cultural flair. The menu has traditional American dishes alongside the featured cuisine of the Dalmatian coast. 7729 S. Ante Perkov Way, San Pedro, CA, 90731. 310-832-5375. $$ - $$$. Accepts debit and credit cards. Hours: Tues. - Sun. 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.

  • Papadakis Taverna. A family-owned Greek restaurant that has dazzled locals since 1973. Elegant surroundings and an extensive wine menu. A perfect spot for the Mediterranean dieter. 301 West 6th St., San Pedro, CA, 90731. 310-548-1186. $$ - $$$. Accepts American Express, Visa and Mastercard. Hours: Tues. - Sun. for dinner at 5 p.m.

  • Whale & Ale. And then there's the British pub and restaurant not far from the harbor. Fish and chips, shepherd's pie and bangers and mash are just a few of the classic English dishes you'll find on the menu. Enjoy a pint and a hearty meal in a dark-wood, Victoriana setting. There is usually entertainment. 7327 W. 7th. St., San Pedro, CA, 90731. 310-832-0363. $$ - $$$. Accepts debit and credit cards. Hours: Call for regular hours. Happy Hour: M - F 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.

  • San Pedro Brewing Company. Hand-crafted ales and lagers, some award-winning and a fun menu that includes everything from finger appetizers, porterhouse and fish dishes. Festive atmosphere. Proudly owned by UCLA Bruins. 331 West 6th St., San Pedro, CA, 90731. 310-831-5663. $$ - $$$. Accepts debit and credit cards.

  • Neil's Seafood. Neopolitan and Southern Italian Cuisine. You can finish off your lighthouse visit in style over a rack of lamb grilled with garlic and rosemary, gnocchi with vodka sauce or mezze luna aragosta (pasta shells stuffed with lobster). Antipastis and a lovely wine menu. 383 W. 5th St., San Pedro, CA, 90731. 310-548-3495. $$ - $$$. Accepts debit and credit cards. Hours: M - F 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. (lunch); Sun. - Thurs. 5 p.m., 9 p.m., F - Sat. 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. (dinner)

  • J. Trani's Ristorante. Another option for Italian cuisine, J. Trani's is an 85-year old family establishment with a nice selection of margharitas and other pizzas, delicate appetizers and inviting lamb and steak entrées. The calamari fritti features local calamari. Captain's Wine List consists of premier wines. 584 W. 9th St., San Pedro, CA, 90731. 310-832-1220. $$ - $$$. Accepts debit and credit cards.


Hotels / Resorts


The Queen Mary. The 1,019.5-foot liner arrived in Long Beach, Calif. on Dec. 9, 1967. To this day, it is a popular attraction for Sunday Champagne Brunches, weddings and general tours. 1126 Queen's Highway, Long Beach, CA 90802. 800-437-2934.

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. An educational experience and perfect for family fun. Very close proximity to Angels Gate Lighthouse. 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro, CA 90731. 310-548-7562.

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