Travel

Culver City

Establishment neighborhood
Wild Child Gym
9715 Washington Blvd., Culver City
This open environment gives kids ample space to do what kids do best: romp around. It’s also a cool place to hang out while your little one is busy in one of Wild Child’s signature classes (no sad-looking, primary-colored gymnastics mats in this joint). Wild Child is an environment where both kids and parents can enjoy spending time. Filled with ropes, ladders, rockers, and balance beams, the space is well-lit, full of light wood and natural elements—a set of hanging bars made from tree limbs, for example—and even has a thoughtfully curated shop that’s a last-minute gift gold mine. But the game changer here is the way the incredible staff engages the kids in play. Play groups and “wild play” times are broken into age groups, from Droolers to Cruisers to Super Bruisers and beyond, and classes channel that wild-child energy into creative, strategically led movement and exploration. Check the online schedule for class times and events—and bookmark the site for your little one’s next birthday party.
Chiqui Social
8530 Washington Blvd., Culver City
A social club for kids is a cute idea—but a social club for kids growing up bilingual (and their families) is brilliant—and much-needed in Los Angeles. Founder Lizet Alvarez wanted to create a community to support Spanish learning and a dual-language lifestyle for her own chiquitos. This summer, Chiqui has expanded its online schedule to include an awesome virtual camp where for one hour daily on a weekly basis, kids travel (virtually) to a new Spanish-speaking country and get a full cultural lowdown through arts, crafts, and conversation with their camp pod. On Wednesdays, there’s a Spanish music class, and Mondays center on tiny linguists with a Spanish storytelling class for kids ages two and up. There is an in-person day camp option with strict safety measures in place, including masks (while inside), one-parent drop-off, temperature-taking, and rigorous handwashing. Check the site or sign up for the newsletter for full details.
Platform
8850 Washington Blvd., Culver City
With the long-awaited completion of the Expo Line, a train that connects Culver City to both Downtown and Santa Monica, the area is in the midst of a period of immense growth. Platform, an indoor/outdoor space devoted to shopping and eating, is right next to the train stop. But calling it a straight-up mall feels off. In place of the usual shop suspects, there’s a Monocle pop-up, a Janessa Leone boutique, a Tenoverten nail salon, and the only Westside outpost of Poketo. And while you won’t see a food court, what you will find are a dozen or so restaurants—both casual (Loqui tacos, Van Leeuwen ice cream, Boba Guys) and not (Margot). The pièce de résistance is Roberta’s, Brooklyn’s finest, where they know how to sling a pizza.
Palihotel Culver City
3927 Van Buren Pl., Culver City
It feels like every time we loop through Culver City, the cityscape has changed. Literally. New towers and rooftops and parking lots are quickly swallowing up desirable chunks of real estate surrounding Platform. We craned our necks, parked the car, and rushed into the lobby when we saw that one of these new structures was a Palihotel. Tucked behind the ArcLight, the Art Deco forty-nine-roomer is a stunner. Guest rooms are dressed up in cozy tartans, warm woods, and clean white subway tiles with the kind of contemporary art and photography you wish were shoppable. Restaurant Simonette echoes a swish French brasserie, and the bar and lounge areas are retro and so cool. The mid-century modern sofas demand a faceplant, or at least some postwork wine with a colleague, and the inner courtyard—shaded by a lone, towering tree—is one of the most serene in the city.
Roberta’s Pizza
8810 Washington Blvd., Culver City
In NYC, Roberta’s pizza is the OG. In LA, it’s the new kid who became the prom queen. Roberta’s, and its roster of signature pastas and pizzas, originally came west as a pop-up at Platform. But like so many East Coast transplants dipping their toes in the Pacific, Roberta’s decided to stay. A good thing, considering locals have developed a mean Bee Sting habit. (A Bee Sting is when you make soppressata and mozzarella into a pizza and top it with chili and honey.) The cacio e pepe here nails the cacio to pepe ratio, and the kid’s pastas are so good, adults know to order a second for themselves.
Jaffa
10306 Venice Blvd., Culver City
It's named after a city in Israel, a city that co-owner Nancy Vrankovic says is eclectic and artsy and hip. Which is exactly what Jaffa is: a colorful and unique restaurant serving outstanding modern Israeli food. The sweet potato hummus is everything you want hummus to be—smooth, whipped, creamy, drizzled in olive oil, and served with fresh puffy house-made pita. The spiced chicken shawarma bowl boasts layers of salty and sweet and herby flavors—cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne, cinnamon—that come from hours of roasting. And the charred eggplant, soft and buttery with perfectly blackened edges drenched in umami-rich tahini, is our spirit food dish. And there is too such a thing.
Aldea Home & Baby
3825 Main St., Culver City
It’s perfectly logical that after nurturing a thriving community of parents and kids in San Francisco’s Mission District, kid’s store Aldea founder Johanna Bialkin would set her sights on an equally family-oriented LA neighborhood: Culver City. That’s because community is just as big a part of the Aldea ethos as sustainability (most toys, clothes, and furniture reside on the eco-friendly spectrum), creativity (there are things here we’ve never seen anywhere else), and aesthetics (Oeuf, Monte, and Aelfie are just a few of the design-y brands on offer). There are weekly wine nights (for parents), story time (for kids), mommy-and-me yoga classes, live music, and more (for parents and kids). Walk through shelves upon shelves of giftables and Iittle nooks you’ll want to lift directly from the store and plop in your home as is—and the good news is that you totally can, by setting up an Aldea registry.
Vespertine
3599 Hayden Ave., Culver City
An eighteen-course meal spanning several hours inside of an architectural marvel to a score composed by This Will Destroy You may not be for everyone. While one person says it was the best meal of her life, the next might say they could hardly sit through the experience. Coming here is just as much about showmanship as it is about food. But one thing’s for sure: You’ve never had dinner like this before. Chef Jordan Kahn (formerly of Red Medicine, currently of Destroyer) took over architect Eric Owen Moss’s “Waffle” building in 2017 with the intention of opening a fine-dining restaurant that has a function for every floor. Enter on the ground floor; get on the elevator to the kitchen and look around; get back on to the twenty-two-seat dining room. (If you notice a particular scent, it’s likely the custom fragrance Kahn developed to round out the dining experience.) Once there, sit back in the greyscale banquettes and wait for the show to begin—each course is: dramatic. You won’t see the same custom-made plate twice and the food that sits on it is to be appreciated with…
WMN Space
10764 Washington Blvd., Culver City
This all-ladies clubhouse is welcoming (to women) and airy, perfect for healing, supporting, and learning from other women. If you’re imagining the stodgy members-only clubs of yore, don’t. WMN is deliberately unfussy. Founded by doula Paula Mallis, WMN Space offers everything from pre- and postnatal workshops, to meditation and movement classes, to full-moon circles. The roster of in-house specialists includes a vaginapractor (if you’re not familiar, it’s essentially a chiropractor for your vagina), healers, hypnotists, as well as talk and body therapists.
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