This village is a popular spot in the South Bay for shopping and eating. It feels like a quaint New England fishing village ... More
Ports O' Call Marketplace
This village is a popular spot in the South Bay for shopping and eating. It feels like a quaint New England fishing village with a splash of Mediterranean style thrown in for good measure. There are plenty of interesting shops selling everything from nautical-inspired gifts to clothing to gourmet food. Ports O' Call Marketplace is really great trip for kids who can stroll along with you while snacking on cotton candy or popcorn.
I remember going to Ports O' Call back in the 1980's with my family. It was a pretty cool place to go. There were lots of shops and places to eat at.
I just went back there a few weeks ago and that place is on its last legs.
The shops are gone. The ambiance is gone. The charm is gone.
Now in its place are 1000's of illegal aliens (most of whom which live in the section 8 housing nearby). The place has mariachi music and everything is "en Espanol". The children were out of control, running around as the parents sit back and chatting in their native language drinking beer and listening to the mariachi bands.
If you have never been to Tijuana, Mexico, but are too scared to go because of the drug violence, then take a trip to Ports O' Call in San Pedro. You basically get the same exact experience.
The entire South Bay is going downhill and Ports O' Call is the proverbial canary in a birdcage.
If you're looking for a nice, safe family outing, try Manhattan Beach or Hermosa Beach. If you're looking for where all the people who illegally crossed the border from Mexico into America hang out, then Ports O' Call might be right up your alley!
I lived on a boat in front of the Ports o Call Resteraunt in the late 70's, It was realy cool, knew everyone, great vibe, clean and fun place to hang out. Now it's completly dead and stinking. looks like down town skid row. I like slummin too but this place is now a complete hole and needs to be nuked. Stay away or you'll wish you did.
Been here many times, great brunch (huge selection), really yummy dishes with variety. The fish is great and so is the steak. Had the shrimp fettucini last night and it was really delish.
They have huge banquet rooms, too.
The waitress Gabby was super nice and attentive (but not too much so). We ate in the bar which is roomy and classy. Great wine selection (I had the pino griggio). They have great bread, butter and pesto! My friend had the ceasar salad.
Will definately continue to come here!
Stopped by after visiting the Aquarium of the Pacific, we had not been to Ports O' Call in decades and our fond memories of the themed village with its many unique shops was quickly replaced by the realization that the Ports O' Call of old was no more, many of the stores were either closed or the building not there anymore. We were disappointed that the old sea shell shop was long gone.There is none of the themed feeling that you are in a New England fishing village anymore. Nothing says New England fishing village to me like churros and mariachi singers.Well I guess we should have left this one in the fond memory slot in our brains instead of the bitter after taste the current location left with us
I have been twice and had a great time. Food is great (did encounter rude customer service in some restaraunts), people are friendly and there are people of all color, shapes and sizes.
The place in some areas may be a little dirty but thats what happens when a lot of people visit a location. Plus there are many small shops up the street. There is an aquarium near there as well and redondo beach is close too. It's in a great location.
I'm sure this place has changed since the 1970's but what hasn't? See for yourself what this place has to offer.
I remember back when there were a lot of things happening around the area. Friendly and clean. Now it's nothing but a place of undisciplined, uneducated and dirty people (with the exception of some people going to the remaining expensive restaurants.) Clean and well dressed people are gone and replaced by the "home dressed" families with undisciplined children running around and parents neglecting their children.
Visited ports o' call Aug 8, 2009 on a whim. Had been there in 1975. It was kind of like remembering how fun and magical going to Grandma's house was when I was 5 years old. So much to do. So much to explore. Such elegance. Sorry to say, visiting now is like going to see Grandma in the nursing home. She is bedridden. has Alzheimers, and is not long for this world. DEPRESSING!!!!
Very sad to say, the magic of this place is clearly gone. The street musicians playing sea chanties on hammered dulcimer are gone, replaced by drunken guys playing accordion and guitar to themselves at the fish market. Announcements, clientele, music, and stores are largely all Hispanic now. Many stores like Wing's Oriental Gifts were closed all day, and some stores have signs saying they're closed for the next few months. The wonderful seashell and bookstore is gone, the oceanic decor store that sold door beads is gone. The candy store didn't have any of the old maple leaf candies I was seeking. Even the wonderful nearby shell store The Sea is gone. There was nothing I wanted to buy anywhere, nowhere I wanted to eat, and few things I wanted to photograph. I also had to wait a full half hour to get a sandwich made after I ordered at the fish market. I might revisit on a date or for a harbor excusion, but otherwise this place has little interest to me anymore. In contrast, my first trip in 1970 was wonderful, and even in the mid-'80s the place was decent.
I remember this place from visits going back forty five years. Much of the atmosphere is lost, with significant portions of the village torn down. What were once narrow, meandering streets through Old California, Tiki-Polynesia, and New England, are now clusters of buildings with gaps between them, and the gaps are cheap looking park or plaza type spaces.
To be sure, some businesses from the beginning are holding on, but if not closed for the week, seemed to be operating in much diminished circumstances. Most of the rest of the storefronts were simply empty, and beyond that, torn down. I found myself wondering "What happened?" and "Why?". I knew that the area hadn't been attracting the crowds in recent years, but to see it as it is now, is a dismal sight. Clearly, some vision is needed if the attraction is to survive much longer, otherwise the best option is to tear it all down. I can't think of a reason why anyone who'd never been there before should take the time to come down to this sad stretch of the water front. For those of us who have the memories, bring your old postcards, or Google Earth it to see what's been lost.
Given the struggling nature of Downtown San Pedro, I don't think I'll be venturing that far in from the coast on my next few trips. No stars, no value, no enthusiasm for a place that as a kid was as much a draw for me as Disneyland. Grandma's dead, San Pedro is limping along, Ports O Call village needs intensive care.
Yeah sometimes it gets crowded, but come on.. thats what this place is about. Seeing smelling doing new things. Taking your family out and enjoying the interaction. You cant beat the Fresh fish and seafood. Yeah it gets dirty so come prepared, take along an old newspaper to line the tables bring napkins and whatever else you might need.. its not Disneyland.. but in its own way it makes you smile with the friendly locals,dancing, singing ,the relaxed atmosphere.. Take a chance and go. What do you have to lose?, except the experience. I recommend picking up some shrimp @ the seafood counter order some veggies and potatoes dont forget the garlic bread, or my favorite, going to the fish counter picking out your fish of choice and having it cooked to order. I like my whole fish fried.. Can ya say YUM-O! :)
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