Gardena is a city in Los Angeles County in SouthernCalifornia. The community originally evolved from part of the Spanish land grant, the Rancho San Pedro, given to Juan Jose Dominguez around 1800. It was officially incorporated on September 11, 1930. It combined the rural communities of Gardena, Moneta, and Strawberry Park into a Municipal Corporation, Sixth Class City. Farming became Gardena's main industry early in the twentieth century especially strawberries.
Today Gardena is a residential and industrial city. It has a very diverse population, with noticeable East Asian influences. In fact, many business cater specifially to these people and have their signs in those languages.
The Metro Silver Line, which runs on the same route as the Harbor Fwy., is just to the East of the city. It begins at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and ends at the Harbor Gateway Transit Center.
Metro Local lines 125, 130, 210 run through the city.
Gardena is fairly well laid out and predictable. However, like many Southern California cities, the streets can become very packed and hard to navigate during rush hour. This is especially true for Artesia Ave. as many commuters use this a shortcut between the 91 and 405 freeways.
Note: Railroads do run through the interior of the city and neighborhood roads only have a bell to warn you of a coming train. Big roads like Western Ave. and Vermont Ave. especially can be blocked for 15 minutes at a time sometimes..
Gardena is one of the many cities in Southern California that was heavily developed by suburban planning after World War II. Most of the city is pretty drab and businesslike, but if you look, you can spot houses and businesses that still retain some of their 1950's era design aspects. Some houses, like a few on Denker & Dalton Ave. are even pre-World War II. At night, you might see the clouds of smoke billowing from the nearby refineries in Carson and Torrance. Illuminated from the bottom by orange lights makes it an interesting sight, despite the air quality being a little worse for the night.
There are many stores that specialize in selling goods that would be hard to find anywhere else.
Marukai Pacific Market, 1620 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., ☎ (310) 464-8888. 9am - 9pm. A grocery store serving all Japanese groceries, produce, and goods.edit
99 Ranch Market, 1340 W. Artesia Blvd.. 9am - 9pm. A Chinese grocery store that serves mainly Chinese groceries. Strong fish smell.edit
Book-Off USA, 1610 W. Redondo Beach Blvd. #8, ☎ (310) 532-5010, . A secondhand bookstore serving mainly Japanese media and electronics.edit
Daiso Japan (formerly Marukai), 1360 W. Artesia Blvd., ☎ (310) 532-2257. 10:00am - 9:00pm. A quiet store that sells interesting Japanese household items and snacks. Everything is almost always under $1.50 edit
Marukai Market, 1740 Artesia Blvd., ☎ (310) 660-6300, . 9:00am - 9:00pm. A big, two story store that sells just about anything that you could find in a store in Japan.edit
Aside from the many chain restaurants that reside here, (i.e. Starbucks, McDonalds) there are a surprising amount of unique restaurants for a city like this. They are as diverse as the people who live here and is a big draw for people from surrounding cities. This is far from a complete listing and there are many places to go. Note that dining can be hit or miss sometimes as far as quality and service are concerned.
85 Café & Bakery, 1386 W. Artesia Blvd., ☎ (310) 329-8585, . 7am - 10pm. Serves great fresh baked Asian-style bread buns and cakes. Also good for boba milk teas, iced coffee, and smoothies.edit
Honeyboba. A hip cafe that serves just milk teas in wide cups.edit
Caffébene, 15420 S. Western Ave., ☎ (310) 715-1243, . Mon. - Thurs: 7am - 11pm, Fri. - Sat: 7am - 12am, Sun: 11am - 10pm. A new coffee house that's definitely a competitor to Starbucks. A big draw for Korean visitors. They have coffee, sandwiches, and sweets. You should try the misugaru drinks!edit
Yami Teahouse (in Gateway Plaza), 1451 Artesia Blvd #1, ☎ (310) 768-1868. 11:30am - 10pm. A place that specializes in iced milk teas and has a very wide varietyedit
OKO Cafe (inside Pacific Square), 1610 W Redondo Beach Blvd, ☎ (310) 323-6889. 11am - 11:30pm. A hip Japanese restaurant. Known for it's iced milk teas, it also has noodles and teriyaki cakes.edit
King's Hawaiian; The Local Place Bakery & Cafe, 18605 S Western Ave., ☎ (310) 523-3233, . 7am - 10pm. A great Hawaiian food place run by the same company that makes the bread. edit
Bob's Hawaiian Style Resturaunt, 15926 S Western Ave Gardena, ☎ (310) 515-2250. The outside looks a little shabby but the inside is very lively, the food is pretty good. Live Hawaiian music on weekends.edit
Gardena does have it's fair share of crime, but for the most part you can go out at night (even late.) Just have common sense and you shouldn't encounter any trouble. Police helicopters do sometimes hover over the city and box in neighborhoods if the police are pursuing a suspect. Regular people just mind their own business and as these events end as quickly as they begin.