Torrance is an hidden gem of a city tucked away in Los Angeles’ South Bay, just 10 miles south of LAX and 17 miles north of Long Beach Airport — making it an easy visit from anywhere accessible via plane and a fantastic drivable getaway from many SoCal cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego.
Torrance hosts some of the finest beach sands in SoCal, as well as a rapidly expanding craft beer scene, fantastic food, and one of the largest shopping malls in America. It’s been used for famous filming sites such as She’s All That and Interstellar.
There’s truly something in Torrance for every age and interest. Read more about how to spend 48 hours in one of LA County’s most underrated cities, below…
Early Morning: Visit the Farmers’ Market at Charles Wilson Park
Start off your day with a trip to the largest farmers market in the Los Angeles South Bay, the Torrance Farmers’ Market. This year-round market takes place every Tuesday and Saturday at Charles Wilson Park, and features a fresh selection of California-grown produce, live music, prepared foods, pastries, flowers and other specialty vendors.
It was one of the biggest farmers markets I’ve ever seen! There was ample parking, and people were friendly. It was a nice place to spend a relaxing Saturday morning.
Mid-Morning: Have Breakfast at the world famous Torrance Bakery
After roaming around and taking advantage of buying some fresh local produce at the farmers market, check out Torrance Bakery in historic downtown Torrance. This family-owned and operated bakery has been in business for more than three decades, crafting unique sweet treats and bakery snacks dating back to 1984.
It’s so legendary, that it’s said even professional sports teams and celebrities order their goodies from here. I was lucky enough to get a behind the scenes tour of how the masterminds bake and decorate their frosting covered masterpieces — and it was fascinating. There’s so much creativity that goes into crafting a cake — from the baking, to the frosting, to the final decorations… every step takes time and concentration, and when the cake is done it truly is a work of art.
You have to try one of the “Brownie Cookies” which are exactly what they sounds like — and they’re delightful. The “Petit Fours” are also legendary. I’d try to explain why, but you really must just come experience them for yourself.
Check out the Shopping Opps at the Del Amo Fashion Center
No doubt you’ll be indulging in some treats at the bakery — so it’s a great idea to walk it off afterward, in a walk at the state-of-the-art, multi-level shopping destination, the Del Amo Fashion Center. This complex is one of top 10 largest malls in America. As part of Del Amo’s upscale shopping and entertainment experience, the center features more than 2.7 million square feet of shopping, several top notch eateries, a four-level parking structure that can accommodate nearly 2,000 cars and an indoor and outdoor aesthetic (this IS California, after all) with live music and bistro lights to add some playful ambiance for shoppers.
I literally got lost inside the mall itself, and when I finally made my way out I was nowhere near where my car was parked — which is my own fault for not writing it down, ha! Make sure to take a note of where you leave your car if you drive.
Afternoon: Beer Tasting and Lunch at one of Torrance’s Dozen Craft Breweries
Torrance is known for its dozen distinctive craft breweries, and the scene is only continuing to grow.
First, check out Smog City Brewing Co. Taste exclusive, award-tasting taps at this family-run craft brewery which has been named “Best brewery in the South Bay” and featured in national outlets.
Second, check out Yorkshire Square Brewery which embraces the history of British brewing while also looking forward to the future of the craft. They join the ranks of an honored brewing tradition that has been practiced for generations.
They’re known for their “cask ales” which stand out because they undergo secondary fermentation to create a fresh, full flavor and velvety texture.
Finally, Absolution Brewing Co. is all about the community. “Pure pleasure and no guilt” is the motto. They use the purest basic ingredients (water, yeast, hops, and grain) to make the best of brews, sometimes seeking out the freshest local ingredients to create a fun twist on flavor. I’d recommend getting a flight, so you can try each one of their beers and enjoy the diverse tastes they create.
Absolution makes a mean red ale, and a great hazy IPA. Also be sure to try the sours, “The Jucci Tart” series. They taste so good, you won’t even know it’s booze.
There’s the Juuci Tart: Blackberry & Blueberry Sour (divine) the Juuci Tart: Strawberry Rhubarb (slightly more sour but just as awesome) and my favorite of the series, the Jucci Tart: Orange, Pineapple, Vanilla & Lactose which literally tastes like a creamsicle in a can.
Evening: Watch the Sunset at Torrance Beach
Stretching 1.5 miles, Torrance Beach is situated between Redondo Beach and Malaga Cove on the Santa Monica Bay and is known for being the most “crowd-less” beach in the South Bay (and perhaps in even all of LA).
There’s a 22-mile beach trail called The Strand that runs along the beach (it actually goes from Santa Monica all the way down to here, in the South Bay), welcoming outdoor enthusiasts like bikers and walkers to explore the coast of LA County along a safe, straight, flat, and paved path.
Be sure to check out Miramar Park too, which is directly adjacent to Torrance Beach and features a collection of quirky sculptures to look at.
Night: Enjoy Dinner at Madre! Oaxacan Restaurant & Mezcaleria
Madre! is a fabulous place to grab a drink and bite to eat in Torrance, offering authentic and fresh Oaxacan fare in a playful, lively setting in the heart of Torrance. Owner Ivan Vasquez has been growing his empire of Oaxacan restaurants with the power of mole and mezcal (it’s actually more of a “superpower”).
Madre! features an exciting selection of fusion drinks and tasty dishes from recipes passed down several generations with all the love and the spirit found in the heart of Oaxaca.
I enjoyed an EL CHAPO Y KATE ® which was a delightful combination of Tequila Blanco, Prickly pear liqueur, agave, cucumber, lime, spicy bitters, and spicy salt. For dinner Conner and I shared the ensalada oaxaquena with chicken (which was very generously portioned), and the Mole negro which was also enormous, and is made with chicken picadillo, coloradito with shredded beef, mole rojo with carnitas, salsa verde with chorizo and cheese. YUM.
If you’re an Angeleno but you’re not able to drive down to the South Bay — no fear. There are also Madre! locations in WeHo and Culver City.
Overnight at The Bluestem
Bluestem Hotel is Torrance’s first boutique hotel — and it’s really cute. The property was named for the swaying, long grain grass that bears the same name, since it’s “firmly rooted” in Southern California’s cool, coastal vibe down in the South Bay.
There’s a lovely outdoor courtyard area with a fire pit to relax, and a clean, modern and chic vibe that makes the hotel somewhere you can feel taken care of while enjoying spending a night right in Torrance.
Morning: Breakfast at King’s Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant
King’s Hawaiian, which you probably recognize for its world famous sweet King’s Hawaiian Bread baked since 1950, first moved to Torrance in 1977 from Hilo, Hawaii.
Ever since, the Torrance outpost of Kings Hawaiian has served as a full-service bakery and restaurant, with a unique selection of Hawaiian local food and traditional American dishes along with fresh baked goods.
I got the Pancake Combo, which was two old-fashioned buttermilk pancakes served with two eggs and a choice of bacon, Portuguese sausage, fried spam, or turkey sausage. It was enormous, and delicious!
Conner got the “Hawaiian Breakfast Burrito” made with scrambled eggs, fried rice, Portuguese sausage, and cheddar cheese in a flour tortilla. It was served with fresh guacamole, sour cream, and house-made salsa on the side. Also enormous, and also very delicious.
Along with our meal, even though it was 9 a.m., we had to indulge in some of the sweet treats sold on-site at the bakery. They’re known for their
“Paradise Cake,” the “king” of cakes, which is three fantastic layers of chiffon cake (guava, passion fruit, lime) filled with tropical whipped cream and topped with guava, passion fruit, and lime fruit glaze. We also tried the “Dream” cake — chocolate chiffon cake filled and topped with whipped cream and covered with fine chocolate shavings. Then “volcanos,” which is croissant dough filled guava, dobash, or chantilly — and the cinnamon pull-apart bread, raised dough rolled in cinnamon and sugar topped with a glaze drizzle. I don’t think I could pick a favorite.
Mid-Morning: Explore the Local Museums
First, make a stop at Western Museum of Flight which is a non-profit, educational institution dedicated to preserving and displaying aircraft history and artifacts of Southern California’s aviation heritage. I’m not a huge airplane fanatic like Conner is, but I thought this place was astoundingly interesting.
The Air Museum’s educational programs offer visitors of all ages the opportunity to see real airplanes that made aviation history. The South Bay is a hub for aircraft design and creation — the LA Space Force Base is just miles away and there are numerous relevant other government facilities nearby here in the South Bay, so everything here is the real thing.
The Western Museum of Flight’s collection includes numerous Warbirds, aircraft and target drones, piston and jet aircraft engines, aircraft components, aircraft ejection seats, World War II instruments, aircrew accessories, and an extensive model aircraft collection. They’ll even let you sit in one of the old planes they have on display to get a firsthand look at what flying these bad boys would have looked and felt like.
Afternoon: Explore Torrance High School
To date, Torrance has served as the just-right backdrop for more than 200 film and TV series episodes. Among the most recognized landmarks is Torrance High School. Visitors can get flashbacks to popular TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Beverly Hills, 90210 just to name a few, while you’re here.
Dinner: Food at The Brews Hall @ Del Amo
The Brews Hall @ Del Amo is the city’s first multi-concept brewery and food hall. Here, visitors can find two breweries, four restaurants and a full bar, all under one roof!
Grab a drink at BUZZROCK Brewing Co., which features craft-style beers with a rock and roll vibe. There’s also George Lopez Brewing Co. — which yes, was created in partnership with THE comedian George Lopez and serves authentic Mexican-style beers.
The restaurant list includes George Lopez’s Chingon Kitchen featuring Mexican cuisine and an eclectic collection of sides, as well as Colin Cowherd’s The Herd Burger which was created in partnership with sports personality Colin Cowherd.
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