The sea soothes you in ways nothing else can. Whether you’re staring in awe at the vastness of the ocean, letting the tide roll over your toes along the shoreline, or gliding along the top of the water in a luxury cruise liner; there’s something about being near the water that brings out the best in you.
That’s precisely why the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Pedro - Port of Los Angeles is the perfect place to spend a day or two before heading out to sea on your cruise. You’ll depart from the Port of Los Angeles (AKA America’s Port®) at the World Cruise Center in San Pedro soon enough, but first, you’ll get to soak up incredible views, stroll along gorgeous hotel adjacent beaches, and even learn a whole lot about the ocean you love so much.
Just 30 minutes after collecting your luggage from LAX, you feel the power of the sea working its magic upon arriving at the Mediterranean style hotel, which is perfectly positioned between the serene Cabrillo Marina and the equally tranquil Cabrillo Beach. From the only waterfront hotel in San Pedro, you can see nothing but endless water and countless boats, which adds up to pure bliss by your calculations.
The friendly concierge greets you with a cookie, before directing you to your room, which boasts a private balcony looking over the hundreds of boats housed at Cabrillo Marina. Inhaling deeply as you take in the stunning vista from your room, you feel your blood pressure drop ever so slightly, and smile.
You’d frankly be perfectly content to sit on the balcony forever. However, your proximity to so many oceanic-related activities is too convenient to pass up. The concierge suggests you start with the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, which is less than two miles away and features more than 700 ship and boat models, including an 18-foot scale of the Titanic, along with nautical art galore. Her suggestion was spot-on, and in addition to admiring the models and art, you’ve now completed a crash course in the history of the Port of Los Angeles.
With a cursory understanding of local history intact, you’re ready to immerse yourself in learning about the lives of the critters lucky enough to call the sea home. A short rideshare away, you find all that you’re looking for and more at the Frank Gehry-designed Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.
Just adjacent to the expansive Cabrillo Beach Coastal Park, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is home to the largest collection of Southern California marine life in the world. Dedicated to marine science education, aquaculture research, and—lucky for you—community recreation, you decide to start your tour at the Susanne Lawrenz-Miller Exhibit Hall which showcases the diversity of the Pacific’s three major environments: Rocky Shores, Sand and Mud, and Open Ocean Ecosystems. With a better sense of the world beneath the water you’ll be sailing on in less than 24 hours, you head outside to explore the surrounding Cabrillo Beach Tidepools.
After ample time crouching and peeping for critters living in the lively pools, you carefully continue on your way, watching for slippery rocks, as you make your way to the Point Fermin Lighthouse. As the first navigational light to help guide ships into the bay, the Point Fermin Lighthouse was built in 1874. As such, the lighthouse maintains its charming early Victorian architectural style.
Feeling as though your thirst for all things oceanic is finally being quenched, you decide to head inland a bit, as you’d be remiss if you didn’t see the Korean Bell of Friendship at Angels Gate Park. To your delight, it’s only a ten-minute walk from the lighthouse. And it’s worth every step.
The stunning, intricately-designed Korean Bell of Friendship is housed in a pagoda structure, supported by 12 columns representing the twelve designs of the oriental zodiac. The 12-foot-tall bell was presented to Los Angeles in 1976 to commemorate the U.S. Bicentennial, to honor veterans of the Korean War, and to symbolize friendship between the nations. The bell and the setting are made even more beautiful due to their backdrop, offering some of the best water views in Los Angeles overlooking the L.A. harbor and the Catalina Channel.
As the sun begins to wane over the horizon, you decide there’s nowhere you’d rather watch the sunset (while enjoying a cocktail, obviously) than from the outdoor patio at the DoubleTree’s onsite restaurant and lounge, 2800 Kitchen & Lounge. The California cuisine is the perfect end to your day on the waterfront, and things only get better back in your room.
As you climb into your king-sized Sweet Dreams® bed, and look out over the water, you realize that although your cruise doesn’t start until tomorrow, after just one day exploring the waterfront, you already feel as though you’ve already been on vacation for a week.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Pedro - Port of Los Angeles
2800 Via Cabrillo Marina, San Pedro 90731