The Astute Recorder



Point Fermin Lighthouse, San Pedro, Los Angeles

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Photos: Point Fermin Lighthouse and the Korean Friendship Bell in early afternoon. By Judy Asman.

(June 15, 2009)—The charming structure that is Point Fermin Lighthouse went into operation in December 1874. The San Pedro Bay protector owes its stick-style Victorian architecture to Paul J. Pelz, a 19th-century draftsman for the U.S. Lighthouse Board. Between 1873 and 1874, six stick-style lighthouses were built in the U.S. Three are still standing, the other two being East Brother Lightstation in the San Francisco Bay and Hereford Inlet Lighthouse in New Jersey.

Point Fermin Lighthouse rests on the southern end of Point Fermin Park—a 37-acre recreation area with ample picnic tables, a walking trail and plenty of lawn for families to enjoy outdoor celebrations. The park is surrounded by the proud port town of San Pedro, where ethnic communities range from Latino to Croatian and African-American. In various pockets of the town, one will find eateries reflecting this multiculturalism.

In this three-part series covering Los Angeles lighthouses, I will talk more about eateries in San Pedro's downtown area in the Angel's Gate Lighthouse segment. For now, there are venues just north of Point Fermin and south of Point Vicente that are excellent for sit-down dining and take-out for picnics.

Near the lighthosue entrance, overlooking the coast, are a couple of picnic tables, where you can enjoy the best of all worlds.

Lighthouse Tours

If Point Fermin is anything, it is rich in interesting trivia and history. When the lighthouse went into operation, its lightkeepers consisted of two women. The last two keepers were also women. Also, more interesting history about its Fresnel lens and the lineage of keepers. This lighthouse is a must-tour.

  • Days and Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Every hour on the hour. Closed Mondays.
  • Admission: Free but donations requested. Group tours book in advance.
  • Phone: (310) 241-0684
  • Website:

Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Children who are under 40 inches tall will not be admitted into the tower.

Directions to Point Fermin


There are so many restaurants in San Pedro, it should be easy to find one that suits your taste, whether you're seeking an elegant sit-down, ethnic fare, fast-casual or waterfront experience.

Dine-in & Take-out

  • Chicago for Ribs. Located just minutes away from Point Fermin Park, you can dine in or take out baby back ribs, burgers, salads and hearty sides. Chicago for Ribs' menu has plenty of appetizers and offers a casual-dining, family atmosphere. 1637 West 25th Street, San Pedro, CA 90275. 310-832-7427. $11 - $25. Accepts debit and credit cards. Hours: M - Sun., 11:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.

  • Sorrento's Pizza House. Sorrento's is by far a local favorite. People love the cheesy pizzas, generous toppings and pasta selections. Beer and wine on the menu. 2428 S Western Ave., San Pedro, CA 90732. 310-832-2820. $$ Accepts Visa and Mastercard. Hours: Call for hours.

  • Fantastic Cafe. Within this coffee-house, order-yourself environment, you won't go wrong with a classic cheeseburger and fries. Or choose from a family-friendly menu that includes chicken entrĂ©es, Mexican dishes and breakfast specials. 1633 W. 25th St., San Pedro, CA 90732. 310-832-4742. $10 - $15. Accepts debit and credit cards. Hours: Open all day, everyday, but call for specific hours.

  • Pronto's Fresh Mexican Grill. A family-owned establishment, which opened in 1984, this eatery features gigantic burritos, generous combo plates and authentic Mexican flavors. 2420 S. Western Ave., San Pedro, CA 90732. 310-832-4471 or 310-832-4429. $$. Accepts debit and credit cards. Hours: Everyday, 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.

  • 710 Grille . Popular for its hot wings (voted the "Best in LA" in 2007), burgers, and rootbeer floats, 710 Grille promises a down-home vibe that's fun for the whole family. Tasty salads are also on the menu for the healthier eaters. Some days children eat for free, call for more info. 710 S. Weymouth Ave., San Pedro, CA 90732. 310-519-9464. Most dishes $6 - $8. Cash only. Hours: T - Sun. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Street parking.

  • In N' Out Burger. This fast-food, drive-through burger joint is a West Coast legend. It would be no surprise if eating at In N' Out Burger was an important stop during your visit to California. Why not rope it into a lighthouse picnic! 1090 N. Western Ave., San Pedro, CA 90732. $. Cash or debit cards. Hours: Sun. - Thu. 10:30 a.m.-1:00 a.m., F - Sat. 10:30 a.m. - 1:30 a.m.

For Picnics: Grocery Stores & Delis

  • South Shores Meat and Deli. Croatian-owned, the store is noted among locals for high-quality meats and tasty sandwiches. 2308 S. Western Ave., San Pedro, CA 90732. 310-831-0044. Hours: Call for hours.

  • Vons. 1440 W. 25th St., San Pedro, CA 90732. 310-832-8459. Hours: 5 a.m. - midnight.

  • Albertsons. 1636 West 25th St., San Pedro, CA 90732. 310-831-1161 . Hours: 6 a.m. - midnight.

  • Trader Joe's. This store is several miles away from Point Fermin Lighthouse but a worthwhile drive if you're seeking inexpensive ready-made sandwiches, wines and snacks. Near In N' Out Burger (above). 28901 Western Ave., #243, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. 310-832-1241 . Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Quaint Dining

  • Think Bistro. Contemporary, European-inspired cuisine serving everything from crepes and crab cakes to popcorn shrimp and asparagus salad. Beer and wine. 1420 W 25th St San Pedro, CA 90732. 310-548-4797. $$. Accepts American Express, Visa and Mastercard. Hours: Sun. - Thur., 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., F - Sat. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.


Hotels / Resorts


Korean Friendship Bell. This exquisite donation from the Republic of Korea is less than a mile from Point Fermin Lighthouse. The structure honors Korean War veterans while respecting good relations between the former opposing countries. Hopefully this monument will stand the test of time as far as what it symbolizes. Placed in 1976. 3601 S Gaffey St. San Pedro, CA 90731. 310-548-770.

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