Destination Branding | Culver City

The New York Times (surprisingly) has a wonderful story on the reemergence of Culver City as L.A.’s newest food and art mecca. Anchored by the historic Sony Pictures Studios (once MGM) and the re-purposed old Helms Bakery building (now a vibrant design center), the once down-on-its-luck neighborhood is L.A.’s newest Westside hotspot, full of art galleries, architectural firms, and eclectic restaurants

I’ve got strong ties to Culver City.  My maternal grandparents lived just across the border in Mar Vista, my paternal grandfather was a chauffeur for MGM, my father was a propmaker there, I earned my M.B.A. at Loyola Maryount University (which sits on the bluffs above it), and my favorite treat as a youngster was a Helms Bakery doughnut fresh off one of their iconic yellow-and-blue trucks.

When you think about it, it should come as no surprise that Culver City has made a comeback. It’s ideally situated just east of the diverse attractions of Venice and Marina del Rey, in between the now-upscale cities of Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach (my greatly-changed hometown). It’s freeway-close to LAX and the rest of the Westside. And it’s still (relatively) affordable.

The city itself has made some wise decisions, actively promoting this kind of development and positioning itself as “The Heart of Screenland,” complete with 1950s-style street signs and palm-lined boulevards. If you’re in town, it’s well-worth a visit.