Gardena is a city in Los Angeles County in Southern California. 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.
- El Camino Village remains an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County just to the west of Gardena. It is developed with nice, well kept tract houses and is home to El Camino College.
The main air transport hub for Southern California.
- Vermont Ave., Western Ave., and Crenshaw Ave., are big streets that run North and South.
- Redondo Beach Blvd. runs roughly East and West into the city.
- The Gardena Fwy. ends in Gardena, turning into Artesia Blvd.
- The Harbor Fwy. runs just to the East of the city. Off ramps include Artesia Blvd. (also the westbound 91), Redondo Beach Blvd., Rosecrans Ave., and El Segundo Blvd.
- The San Diego Fwy. runs South and West of the city. Off ramps include Vermont Ave, Normandie Ave, Western Ave, Crenshaw Blvd. and Artesia Blvd.
- 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.
Municipal Bus Lines
- Both Gardena and its neighbor city, Torrence have their own bus systems that runs through and around the city.
- Gardena Bus Lines is the city's own transit service.
- Torrence Transit
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.
Gardena isn't known very well for the things you can do in it but rather from it. However the casinos are a big draw for people.
- Hustler Casino, 1000 W Redondo Beach Blvd., ☎ (310) 719-9800, . open 24 hours. A big casino at the very Eastern entrance to the city. Hosts card tournaments often. edit
- Normandie Casino, 1045 W Rosecrans Ave, ☎ (310) 352-3486, . edit
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 variety edit
- 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
- Marie Callender's (in Tozai Plaza), 15466 S Western Ave, ☎ (310) 516-9595. 8am - 9:30pm. A classic American eatery famous for it's pies. edit
- Carrows (in Pacific Square), 1638 W Redondo Beach Blvd., ☎ (310) 516-0495. open 24 hours. A 24 hour diner. Crowded during breakfast. edit
- The Pan, 16601 S Western Ave., ☎ (310) 329-7266, . 9am - 9pm. A local favorite. A big line usually forms around lunchtime. edit
- Spoon House, 1601 W. Redondo Beach Blvd, ☎ (310) 538-0376. 11am-10pm. Japanese style pasta. Recently damaged by a car accident, but still in business. edit
- Gatten Sushi, 1530 Artesia Blvd, . 11:30am - 10pm. A revolving sushi restaurant where sushi comes on plates down a conveyor belt and by your table. edit
- Shinsengumi, 2015 W Redondo Beach Blvd, ☎ (310) 329-1335. 11am - 3pm, 6pm - 12am. A small Japanese noodle place. Quality ramen. Closed between 3pm and 6pm. edit
- Pho So 1 (in Tozai Square), 1749 W Redondo Beach Blvd., ☎ (310) 329-7365. 9am - 9:45pm. A restaurant that serves just about every Vietnamese Dish under the sun! edit
- Boiling Point (in Tozai Plaza), 15488 S. Western Ave., ☎ (310) 225-5533, . 11:00am - 11:00pm. Chinese style eatery that's good for hot spicy soups edit
- Sea Empress Seafood (in Pacific Square), 1636 W Redondo Beach Blvd., ☎ (310) 538-6868, . 11am - 10pm. Chinese buffet with good dim sum. edit
- Bowl Thai (in Tozai Plaza), 15490 S. Western Ave, ☎ (310) 323-8882, . Small, clean Thai food place with very nice service. edit
- Three Spice, 16400 S. Western Ave, ☎ (310) 323-8882, . Very small place, so parking is a little hard to find. edit
- Moon BBQ, 16334 S Western Ave., ☎ (310) 327-3355. 5pm - 12am. Buffet-style Korean barbecue. edit
- Shilla, 16944 S Western Ave., ☎ (310) 538-8848. Korean barbecue place where you cook your food right at the table. 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
- Burnt Tortilla, 1435 W Redondo Beach Blvd, ☎ (310) 217-2395, . 7:30am - 9:30pm. They don't actually burn your tortilla unless you ask. edit
- El Rocoto, 1356 W Artesia Blvd, ☎ (310) 768-8768, . 11am - 9pm. Nice interior and leather menus! Authentic and tasty. edit
- Beard Papa's (Inside the Marukai Pacific Market), 1620 W Redondo Beach Blvd Gardena, CA 90247, ☎ (310) 538-2909, . 9am -8pm. World's best cream puffs! edit
- Donut King II, 15032 S Western Ave, ☎ (310) 515-1319. Donut stop that's pretty hard to miss taken it has a GIANT donut on it's roof. Showing it's age, but still a classic American design. edit
- Bruddah's Hawaiian Food, 1430 W Redondo Beach Blvd, ☎ (310) 323-9112. 8am - 9pm. Hawaiian food restaurant with a large bar. edit
Listed are some of the bigger hotels, but there are several small, old-fashioned motels with big signs.
- Rodeway Inn, 15607 S Normandie Ave, ☎ (310) 354-1340 (fax: (310) 327-6943), . edit
- Sea Rock Inn, 14032 S. Vermont Ave (Near the Harbor Freeway (110) and Rosecrans), ☎ (310) 515 7260, . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. Nice clean hotel. $50. edit
- Gardena Terrace Inn (jap. ガーデナテラスイン), 15902 S Western Ave, ☎ (310) 817-5922, . Cheaper hotel catering to Japanese visitors and businesspeople. A big windowed garden "terrace" inside. edit
- New Gardena Hotel, 1641 W Redondo Beach Blvd, ☎ (310) 327-5757, . A big hotel with an accompanying restaurant. Parking underneath. edit
- El Camino College, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd, ☎ (310) 532-3670, . A community college popular with young people seeking to transfer to a university. edit
- Cal State University Dominguez Hills, 1000 East Victoria Street (Take the Gardena Fwy. East.), ☎ (310) 243-3696, . A University that's part of the California State University (CSU) system. edit
Gardena does have its 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. It is best to stay south of Rosecrans Ave. Do your best to avoid east Gardena as well, next to Interstate-110.
If anything bad were to happen, there is a big hospital in the city. It's very big and has its own emergency room. Also there is an urgent care clinic in the building next door.
- Gardena Memorial Hospital, 1145 W Redondo Beach Blvd, ☎ (310) 532-4200. 9am - 5pm. edit
Though not a tourist attraction in itself, Gardena is close to a lot of places to go.
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