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Culver City: Neighborhood Profile

An Overview of the Culver City Area of Los Angeles

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The Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City Los Angeles

Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Stringer/Getty Images

  • Centinela Ave. in the South
  • Mar Vista in the West
  • Palms and Venice Blvd. in the North West
  • Ladera Heights in the East

See: Culver City Zoning Map for more detailed parameters

Culver City: A Brief History

As the name implies, Culver City was founded by Harry H. Culver, in 1913. The following year, despite Palms having become part of Los Angeles proper, Culver City voted to remain independent. The area is best known as a historical film studio center with its first studio having been built in 1918. It also houses Ballona Creek, the largest storm drain in the Santa Monica watershed.

During the ‘20s, Culver City was also known for its bustling nightlife. In 1924 the Hotel Hunt (today, the Culver Hotel) was constructed by Harry Culver as well. The building’s first two floors ultimately housed his offices. The famous Helms Bakery, an industry baker (the official bakery of the Summer Olympics of 1932) opened its doors in Culver City in 1931.

The most notable historical studios in the area are Culver Studios, MGM, Sony Pictures Studios and Hal Roach Studios. During the ‘40s, the latter made training movies and became colloquially known as “Fort Roach.” Famous Hollywood films like Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz and Citizen Kane were filmed throughout the screen-lands of Culver City (not to mention classic TV shows like The Andy Griffith Show).

Beyond film, the ‘50s saw a slew of car dealerships open up on Washington Boulevard. In 1951, Culver High opened its doors. During the ‘60s, the MGM back lot and its environs were sold. In the middle of the decade, the first condominiums went up in Culver City (Studio Village Townhouses). And in 1969, the Helms Bakery closed its doors. In the ‘70s, the MGM sets were razed in order to make room for further development.

In 1996, Culver City’s downtown area (which houses the world’s shortest Main Street) was the subject of a redevelopment plan. At that time, Sony relocated to the site of the former MGM studios, bringing more work to the area. The following year, the police station and a transportation facility broke ground. During that same period, the Culver Hotel re-opened.

Culver City Today

Culver City’s downtown may be petite but today it is a bustling center-point of an area that has undergone many changes. Ask any local and they will tell you that the neighborhood went from being a forgettable 'drive-around' area to a cool and cultured destination in its own right.

In the post-millennial era, art galleries, and new eating and drinking venues started to crop up in greater numbers in Culver City--which has become more or less hippified and renewed to attract a whole new generation of Angelinos and visitors.

In 2004, the Kirk Douglas Theatre opened in Culver City as a performing arts venue. Two-thousand-and-seven saw the opening of Culver City’s permanent Skateboard Park.

The quarter is also home to dance and photography studios like Smashbox (where LA Fashion Week takes place), wine bars, cooking schools, architecture and design firms and trendy eateries like Wilson and Ford’s Filling Station (owned by Harrison Ford’s son Benjamin).

Historical Sites and Areas of Culver City

  • Culver City Main Street
  • The Culver Hotel
  • The Culver Studios
  • Hal Roach Studios (the Landmark Industrial Tract)
  • Heritage Fountain at Culver City Hall
  • St. Augustine Catholic Church
  • Veterans Memorial Park

Culver City Area Restaurants and Bars

  • Annapurna Cuisine
  • The Apple Pan
  • The Bluebird Bakery and Cafe
  • Ford’s Filling Station
  • Govinda’s Natural Foods
  • Johnnie’s Pastrami
  • Natalee Thai Cuisine
  • Sizzler
  • Tito’s Tacos
  • Wilson

Films and Television Shows Shot in Culver City

  • The Aviator
  • Batman
  • Bewitched
  • CHiPs
  • City Slickers
  • E.T.
  • Fun With Dick & Jane
  • Grease
  • Lassie
  • Mad About You
  • Matchstick Men
  • Raging Bull
  • Superbad
  • The Wonder Years

Local Businesses and Organizations

  • The Actors’ Gang
  • Allied Model Trains
  • Culver City Firefighters Association
  • Culver City Historical Society
  • Culver City Public Theatre
  • Culver City Youth Health Center
  • Culver Ice Arena
  • Culver-Palms Family YMCA
  • Fox Hills Shopping Mall
  • Kirk Douglas Theatre
  • Los Angeles Youth Programs, Inc.
  • Museum of Jurassic Technology
  • Sony Pictures Studios

Schools in the Culver City Area

  • Antioch College
  • Culver City High School
  • Culver City Middle School
  • El Rincon Elementary
  • Farragut Elementary
  • La Ballona Elementary
  • Le Lycee Francais de Los Angeles
  • Notre Dame Academy Girls High School
  • St. Timothy School
  • West Los Angeles College

Real Estate Facts

  • Population: 39,896
  • Overall school district performance: 773 (below statewide target of 800)
  • 92% of other LA area houses are less expensive
  • House prices: $509 per square foot
  • Condo prices: $349 per square foot
  • 79% of other LA area condos are less expensive
  • Crime index (measures violent crime reported - lower number is better): 1-, approximately 40% lower than the LA County average

Facts pulled from: LA Life: Culver City

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