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The Long-Weekend – Wilmington, CA

Wilmington ITINERARIESThe Long-Weekend

Here’s a sample plan for a three-day historic get-away

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The Long-WeekendDay One

Thursday Night

Check into your stateroom aboard the historic Queen Mary in Long Beach. Each room has its own unique personality that offers a glimpse into what transatlantic travel was like during the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s.

After check-in, grab a drink at the Observation Bar & Art Deco Lounge. The setting is 1930’s sophistication and style. Original artwork still hangs above the bar, which is lined with art deco tables, chairs & décor.

Stay aboard for dinner, and you’ll have two excellent choices – Sir Winston’s Restaurant & Lounge or Chelsea’s Chowder House & Bar. Chelsea’s is a modern take on a British fish house, while Sir Winston’s is true fine dining – for more special occasions.

  • THE QUEEN MARY – HOTEL (LONG BEACH)

    Once a world-class ocean liner, the Queen Mary Hotel offers guests unique accommodations. Whether it’s the authentic polished wood paneling, the original 1930s artwork, the Art Deco style or the operable porthole(s), there’s no question that the Queen Mary Hotel...

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  • The Chowder Barge

    Yes, it is actually a restaurant on a barge. It will take an adventurous spirit to find, but it is well worth the effort. The clam chowder is excellent and beer prices are refreshing.

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The Long-WeekendDay Two

(Friday) – Historic Wilmington – Drum Barracks & Shopping

You will have time in the morning to have a good walk and then return to the ship to enjoy coffee and a light breakfast at the Midship Market Place.

The Drum Barracks Civil War Museum tours start at 11:30 a.m. and it will take you 15 minutes or so to drive from the Queen Mary. Parking at the Drum Barracks is free and immediately adjacent.

After the tour, be sure to swing by the Powder Magazine, which is just a few moments away. Or if you have children with you, definitely save some time for them at the Drum Barracks Park, across the street from the museum.

If you are ready for lunch, Shamrock Seafood, the Maya or Santa Luna are all quite close and delicious. See the “Where to eat” section for more on these. Alternatively, a tea and light food can be had at Hojas Tea House.

After lunch, it is time to bargain hunt while you keep an eye out for other historic buildings on Avalon Boulevard. See the Shopping section of this web site, and you will find Sante Fe Seconds, el Mago, Pepe’s Pants, and Home Treasures, are all very close to the suggested lunch places.

As 4 pm rolls around, it is time to check-in to the Best Western on Pacific Coast Highway and the 110 Freeway. You will want to stay close so you won’t have far to drive to see the Banning Mansion in the morning.

Dinner. If you are in the mood for authentic Mexican food, then go to Los Tres Cochinitos. Or for a super fresh salad bar and delicious pizza, Red West Pizza is close by. The Chowder Barge is a good call for seafood in a unique and casual setting.

  • DRUM BARRACKS MUSEUM SHOP

    Visit one of the original 22 officers residents, which served as one of the union military posts during the civil war from 1861 to 1871. The ceramic military coffee mugs that look like the hold fashioned speckled blue, are...

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  • SHAMROCK SEAFOODS

    The only disappointment with this place is it is only open from 8:30 AM to 4 PM, Mon-Fri. The variety and freshness of the fish is world-class and their signature sauce has been marveled at by some of LA’s...

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  • SANTA FE SECONDS

    Located on the corner of Historic Avalon and G Street, in a 1930s building. This overstock warehouse boasts department and club store merchandise at amazing prices. It’s where the locals shop for great deals. Ever wonder where...

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The Long-WeekendDay Three

(Saturday)– The Banning Mansion & the Wrigley Historic District

The Best Western is two minutes by car to the Ken Malloy Regional Park, which is excellent for a morning walk. (See the description and links in the “Sports & Recreation” section)

Breakfast options. Definitely go to Hojas Tea House if you didn’t go for lunch the prior day. It is on the way to the Banning Mansion. Other alternatives include, the Maya and Santa Luna. The Marina Café is a bit out of the way, but if you allow 20 extra minutes and are adventurous to find the Wilmington Marina, you will enjoy the view of the boats while you eat. Eat a big breakfast and skip lunch today, it will save more time for touring.

The Saturday tours at the Banning Mansion begin at 12:30. Parking is immediately adjacent and free. The tour is one and half hours, but you could easily spend three hours there. Make sure to tell your docent at the start of the tour that you want to see the barn at the end of the tour. If you run long in the house, the barn main not be shown. Allow enough time in your schedule to circle back to the Improbably Gateway and museum shop, and to view the film in the visitor’s center.

After the Banning Mansion Tour, be sure to walk or drive slowly through the three blocks of homes immediately to the South – this is the Banning/Wrigley Historic District. The camphor trees lining Lakme Ave are a particularly beautiful accent to the eclectic architecture, built by the chewing gum magnate.

On your way to your next hotel in San Pedro, stop at Saints Peter’s and Paul Church. The architecture, olive trees, and statues are exquisite. And you may be lucky enough to go inside to look around, and say some prayers.

Then continue down to the very end of Avalon and you will arrive at Banning’s Landing and a statue of Phineas Banning. This is where the Port of Los Angeles began (the Improbable Gateway). Phineas started the first railroad in Southern California right in this place. He envisioned what has become one of the largest ports in the world, America’s Port®.

If you have children with you or you need another walk, cross Harry Bridges Boulevard on Avalon, and make a left on C Street. You will pass through the industrial arts district (and see the Wilmington Iron Works that has been there since the 1920’s). After a quarter mile, you will find the very large Wilmington Waterfront Park.

Once in San Pedro Marina, check-in to the Double Tree Hotel and take a stroll around the marina. Have a drink and dinner at the 22nd Street Landing, Seafood Restaurant Grill & Bar.

  • HOJAS TEA HOUSE

    This is a lovely, family owned teahouse that specializes in loose-leaf tea, tea lattes, and handcrafted tea blends. They help you find the best tea for your needs and taste buds. Food-wise, the bagels are amazing, and they have...

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  • BANNING MANSION TOUR

    Experience a docent lead tour of the Greek Revival style Mansion, built 1864 in the Victorian Era. See the architecture, Victorian interiors, children’s toys, impressive stagecoaches, black smith’s studio, barn and rose garden.

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  • BANNING’S LANDING – THE WILMINGTON WATERFRONT

    Stand in the place where the first locomotive in Southern California moved cargo from what is now the incredible America’s Port ®. Check the events section of this site for special events that are frequently hosted at the Waterfront.

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  • SAINTS PETER & PAUL CHURCH

    The view of this gorgeous Romanesque church will lift your spirits and provide beautiful photos. The church was established in 1865 in Wilmington, Los Angeles, California, and is one of the oldest parishes in the Archdiocese of Los...

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The Long-WeekendDay Four

(Sunday) – San Pedro

Start with an early walk toward Cabrillo Beach, the opposite way you went the evening before. After returning, drive to either Rex’s or the Lighthouse Café for Breakfast.

Next, kick off the day with a tour of the USS Iowa and then have lunch at one of the many choices at Port’s O’Call.

And then in the afternoon, stop by Crafted before you depart for home.

  • Rex’s Café

    This is a breakfast and lunch place only and their focus has paid off. Everything tastes homemade. The line to get in on the weekend is worth it. Put your name in and bring the paper to read.

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  • BATTLESHIP USS IOWA MUSEUM

    Visit the Battleship USS Iowa Museum at the Los Angeles Waterfront for a unique interactive family experience. The Battleship IOWA Museum is a Top 10 regional attraction and rated one of the "Best Cool Exhibits to See With...

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  • SAN PEDRO PUBLIC MARKET (FORMERLY PORTS O’CALL)

    This is where the locals go to enjoy fresh lobster, crab and fish – with plenty of al-fresco dining options on the warmer days. If you are in between meals, the souvenirs shops make nice stops on a stroll...

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  • CRAFTED at THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES (San Pedro)

    This is a year-round handmade marketplace featuring works by SoCal’s best artisans and craftspeople. This is a great place to get one of a kind or limited production gifts. Some of our favorites are, candles, preserves, jewelry, and photography....

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Adjust as your schedule permits. These sites and restaurants are only the highlights. Wilmington and the Port of Los Angeles offer much more to explore.

Explore More Wilmington Itineraries