- Grab breakfast at Destroyer, a casual weekday-only spot
- Browse exhibits at the Museum of Jurassic Technology, and the Bhagavad-gita Museum
- Head west to Tito’s Tacos for lunch, a Culver City landmark serving up cheese-topped nostalgia in cardboard boxes for nearly 60 years
- Satiate your sugar cravings at Joy & Sweets, a local bakery that specializes in cupcakes and French macarons
- For a quick refreshment at Hold For Tea, located inside the Westfield Culver City Mall
- Hike the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, home to the famous Culver City Stairs
- End your Culver City adventure at Janga by Derrick’s, a local favorite for authentic Jamaican cuisine
Known best for its movie studio past as the former “Heart of Screenland,” Culver City has it all: small-town appeal, trendy culinary hotspots and vibrant enclaves of art and culture. Whether you’re looking for LA’s most iconic tacos, the strangest museum in America, or a stairway that leads to spectacular views of the city, you’ll find them all right in this charming neighborhood. Scroll through for our guide to spending a perfect day in Culver City.
Start your day with breakfast at Destroyer, a casual weekday-only spot located in the peaceful Hayden Tract area. Despite the dystopian sounding name, Destroyer is minimally elegant and quite inviting. Inside the quaint, brightly lit space, you’ll find a daily menu projected onto a wall, but instead of dish names, lists of ingredients are spelled out in white letters like futuristic haikus: “raw oatmeal, almond milk, red currant, vanilla.”
Carefully arranged on rough-textured bowls like works of modern art. the dishes at Destroyer are built in layers, ingredients hidden like treasures at the bottom where jolts of flavor await. Take their dish of baby potatoes for example. Somewhere beneath the canopy of crisp greens lies a beautifully poached egg that oozes over tiny brown-buttered potatoes, the sweetness of smoked dates subtly punctuating throughout. Or their take on a fruit and yogurt parfait, where one digs through a shield of purple-dusted blueberries and black currants into a bed of lusciously creamy yogurt and lemon custard. It’s reminiscent of key lime pie, but so much better. Their avocado confit, a deconstructed homage to the avocado toast, is also something of note. Half of an avocado is slowly cooked in olive oil till soft then finished with a heavy dusting of burnt onion powder. Warm toasted rye bread is served alongside.
There is an unplanned honesty to Destroyer’s food. The essence of each ingredient shines through then gives way to the next, a perfectly balanced symphony of flavors and textures that intermingle to create something truly unique and otherworldly. And at $7-$14 a plate, it’s a fine dining experience at a fraction of the cost.
While you’re in the area, snap a few pictures in front of the famous Love Wall a couple of blocks away, stunningly painted in red and silver as part of Curtis Kulig’s “Love Me” campaign.
The next stop for exploration awaits at the Museum of Jurassic Technology, which hides behind a small, unassuming façade on Venice Boulevard. Despite the name, don’t expect to find any dinosaur fossils, though there are countless trinkets, holograms, odd relics and more for discovery. It’s a modern-day cabinet of curiosities, a labyrinth of exhibits that will shock, amaze, delight and confuse you. That’s the most that can be said without ruining the mystery behind this gem of a museum, dubbed “the strangest in America.” Just know that a trip here will be wonderfully weird and very much worth your time. Make sure to check out the gorgeous rooftop garden upstairs, housed in a Moroccan-style courtyard complete with an aviary of cooing doves and free Russian tea service.
Continue your exploration down the road to the Bhagavad-gita Museum and discover amazingly intricate dioramas that tell the story of the world’s oldest book, the Bhagavad-gita. The 45-minute tour leads visitors through one dimly lit room after another, where life-sized dioramas with strange titles like “The Ocean of Birth and Death” and “The Precarious Condition of the Living Entity” are narrated with a low, booming voice. While you marvel over 200 elaborately costumed clay dolls preserved from the 1970s, you can learn profound lessons of ancient yogic wisdom in this rare and quirky exhibit. The Hare Krishna temple next door is open to the public, where you can witness devotees in lively song and dance
Head west to Tito’s Tacos for lunch, a Culver City landmark. Aptly nicknamed the “original Taco Bell” and “the Pink’s Hot Dogs of the Westside,” Tito’s is a legend in its own right, serving up cheese-topped nostalgia in cardboard boxes for nearly 60 years. On any given day, you’ll see a steady stream of locals lining up for hard-shelled tacos stuffed with ground beef and a mound of grated cheddar. The tortilla shells are hand-molded then fried on-site and the beef is prepared using the same recipe since it opened in 1959. Like the slogan goes, the only thing better than a Tito’s Taco is two, so grab a couple of the famous tacos with cheese and add on an extra cup of guac to go along with the complimentary tortilla chips and famed red salsa. Enjoy. It’s pure, unadulterated comfort food at its best.
Next, satiate your sugar cravings at Joy & Sweets, a local bakery that specializes in cupcakes and French macarons. Ranging in flavors like white chocolate raspberry, cotton candy and toasted coconut, their macarons are perfectly crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The cupcake varieties at Joy & Sweets are equally unique, with flavors like lemon lavender, salted caramel pretzel and horchata. Everything at Joy & Sweets is satisfyingly decadent and, believe it or not, gluten-free.
For a quick refreshment, grab a drink at Hold For Tea, located inside the Westfield Culver City Mall. Try the grapefruit tea which uses fresh-brewed green tea infused overnight with thick grapefruit slices, resulting in a sweet, citrusy beverage without using syrups or artificial flavors. The tea shop is decidedly straw-free, but every drink comes with a convenient lid for sipping.
Take your tea with you to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, home to the famous Culver City Stairs. Join the short but strenuous trek up the 282 concrete steps and you will be rewarded with sweeping, panoramic views of the city and beyond, from Downtown Los Angeles to the San Gabriel Mountains, all the way to the Pacific Ocean. There are a few landings along the stairway for taking breaks and an easier, zig-zagging scenic trail if the steps prove too intimidating. When you reach the summit, admire the wildflowers, stay for the sunset and take in the vast beauty of the city as it slowly lights up at dusk.
End your Culver City adventure at Janga by Derrick’s, a local favorite for authentic Jamaican cuisine. The bright, beachside ambiance is complete with bamboo seating and feel-good reggae tunes floating from speakers. As you take in the tropical vibe, kick back and sip on a strong, fruity mango margarita.
Start with the shrimp kabob, masterfully done and rightly so — janga means shrimp in Jamaican after all. Zesty jumbo shrimp is skewered with grilled veggies and served with a juicy lime wedge. Another must-try at Janga’s is the Jamaican beef patty, the ubiquitous staple of Caribbean street food. Handheld bites of ground beef seasoned with intense spices and enveloped in a light and flaky pastry crust make for the perfect appetizer. But make sure to save room for jerk chicken. Though there are countless ways to make jerk sauce, Janga’s tangy variation is a showstopper. Using pineapple juice as their secret ingredient, the sauce achieves a spot-on balance of smoke, spice and sweetness. Tender pieces of chicken are marinated in the jerk sauce for three days then cooked slowly over an open flame. The result is sticky, caramelized meat that falls right off the bone — as only the best chicken should. Every plate of jerk chicken comes with your choice of rice and beans, steamed kale or home-style potatoes.