Nestled in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County, the city of Torrance draws large numbers of visitors thanks to its exceptional year-round weather, cooling sea breezes and 1.5 miles of pristine beach. Watersports enthusiasts are well catered for here, while the city is also home to a number of eminent cultural institutions, including museums, art galleries and a venerable Historical Society.
Just a 15-minute drive from LAX Airport, Torrance makes for a great day-trip for visitors to Los Angeles, but it also stands up to a longer stay too. If you’re thinking of spending any length of time in the city, and would like to start putting an itinerary together, we’ve picked out some of the best things to see and do here.
1. California Museum of Fine Art
Affectionately known by locals as ‘Cal Muse’, this is Torrance’s flagship cultural institution and one of the most acclaimed arts museums anywhere in California. Home to collections by artists from across the globe, the museum is both a working gallery and a place where you can learn more about the history of art in California and beyond through an array of fascinating and thoughtfully curated exhibits.
LOCATION 1421 Marcelina Avenue
2. The Dudes’ Brewing Co
This independent, family-owned and operated craft brewery specialises in innovative approaches to classic beer styles. With five locations across Southern California, The Dudes’ offers a rotating selection of seasonal creations along with test brews and permanent styles appealing to both casual beer drinkers and craft beer fanatics. The tasting room at their Torrance brewery offers a unique experience with 24 craft beers on tap, all brewed on site. The tasting room is open 4 days a week Thursday through Sunday.
LOCATION 1840 West 208th Street DATE Thurs-Fri 3pm-10pm; Sat-Sun 12pm-10pm
3. Torrance Historical Society
Anyone keen to immerse themselves in the cultural, social and physical history of Torrance should head to this remarkably detailed and comprehensive society institution. Here you’ll find fascinating permanent exhibits and regular rotating galleries, along with a range of fun events including walking tours that invite visitors to traverse the streets and see places of interest across the city as part of an organised and guided group.
LOCATION 1345 Post Avenue DATE Weds, Thurs & Sun 1pm-4pm
4. Torrance Beach
Perhaps the jewel in Torrance’s crown is its beautiful beach, which is a match for any other stretch of sand in California – and there’s some seriously stiff competition in that regard. Overlooking the beautiful Palos Verdes peninsula, the wide and sandy beach offers breath-taking views and is lined with bars, cafes and restaurants. But its biggest draw is that despite its allure it manages to remain remarkably uncrowded, ensuring there’s no need to play sardines to recline on a sundbed.
5. Toyota Auto Museum
Petrol heads visiting Torrance are in for a quirky treat thanks to the presence of the Toyota Auto Museum. Providing a potted history of the Japanese manufacturer’s 50-plus years in operation, the museum is a veritable goldmine of car curiosities and fascinating facts, all told through a variety of exhibits and auto related memorabilia that chronicle the brand’s journey from its origins to the current day. Guided tours of the facility are available on appointment.
LOCATION 19600 Van Ness Avenue
6. Torrance Farmers Market
This large and bustling market takes place twice weekly when it throngs with visitors looking to pick up the best local produce you’ll find anywhere in Torrance. From locally grown fruit and veg, to fresh seafood, to delicious home baked goods, the sheer variety on offer here is simply superb. The atmosphere is also warm and welcoming, with plenty of good-natured chat taking place among patrons and vendors.
LOCATION 2200 Crenshaw Boulevard HOURS Tues & Sat 8am-1pm
7. Torrance Park
To escape from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, Torrance Park offers the perfect respite. This large, tranquil public space is spread over some 10 acres of lush greenery, featuring a huge variety of amenities including picnic areas, barbecue pits, kids’ play areas, baseball diamonds and basketball courts. The park is large enough so that it never gets uncomfortably busy, ensuring you’ll always be able to find a tranquil spot in which to relax and unwind.
8. Torrance Art Museum
Since opening its doors in 2005, Torrance Art Museum has gained a reputation as one of the region’s premier spaces for contemporary visual art. Located within the Torrance Cultural Arts Center, the museum is spread across two gallery spaces, both featuring works by talented visual artists from the local area and beyond. The venue also plays host to regular educational programmes, along with artist talks, lectures, and symposia.
LOCATION 3320 Civic Center Drive HOURS Sat 5pm-9pm
8. Madrona Marsh Preserve
A corner of wilderness in the city, Madrona Marsh Preserve is the perfect attraction for those who enjoy the great outdoors at its rough and ready best. Less than a mile south of Torrance city centre, the area boasts an incredible array of plants and wildlife, including frogs, birds and snakes. Regular events such as bird walks are held here, and there’s also a Nature Center nearby where visitors can learn more about ecology and the life of marshes and wetlands.
LOCATION 3320 Civic Center Drive HOURS Sat 5pm-9pm
9. Western Museum of Flight
Another superb transport-themed Torrance museum is the Western Museum of Flight, which is home to an impressive assortment of aircraft dating back to the earliest days of aviation. Among the stand-out exhibits are the YF-17 Cobra and the extremely rare YF-23. As well as real life aircraft, there are also plastic models on display along with a large collection of evocative photographs. Small but perfectly formed, the museum normally takes around a couple of hours to explore, making it the perfect venue in which to while away some time during an afternoon downpour.
LOCATION 3315 Airport Drive HOURS Tues-Sun 10am-3pm
10. Festival of the Kite
Each year Torrance plays host to a fun-packed festival that celebrates the age-old past-time of kite flying. Taking place at Redondo Pier, the free-to-enter festival sees a myriad of beautiful, colourful kites of all shapes and sizes take to the sky under the watch of their diligent helms-person. Prizes are awarded in various categories from the youngest kite flyer to the “youngest at heart”. There are also dance and martial arts performances, live music, and even a hot dog eating contest.
LOCATION 100 Fisherman’s Wharf, Redondo Beach DATES March each year
By Paul Joseph