map

Sunken City

icon-location-red

0.00/5 - (0 Votes)

Attractions Details

📌 Address

San Pedro, CA 90731, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

0.00/5 - (0 Votes)
expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit Sunken City during the golden hours of sunrise or sunset for a breathtaking view that many locals enjoy – it's less crowded and the play of light on the ruins and the ocean is simply mesmerizing. Also, wear sturdy shoes and watch your step; the ground can be uneven, and it’s not an official tourist spot, so the area is not maintained."

What is Sunken City?

The Sunken City, perched on the coastal bluffs at the southern tip of Los Angeles in San Pedro, is a starkly beautiful vestige of a natural disaster. What was once a neighborhood in the 1920s—known as Point Fermin—is now an otherworldly scene of fragmented streets, broken pipes, and crumbled foundations leading precipitously down to the ocean. Such a place attracts photographers, graffiti artists, and the curiosity of locals and visitors alike. This area gained its nickname, “Sunken City,” due to the slow but relentless landslide that caused these homes to tumble into the sea over time.

Our Most Popular Tour:

All-Inclusive
Chicago Historic Pullman Company Town Private Walking Tour

Take a trip by train out of Chicago to America’s first company owned town 'Pullman' and now a National Monument. Built in 1880 by George Pullman -...

US$189/pp Learn more

It might not be an official tourist spot due to safety concerns and its status as technically off-limits, but the raw beauty and urban decay of Sunken City exert a magnetic pull. The juxtaposition of urban ruins against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean makes for a dramatic and thought-provoking exploration into the transience of human constructs when faced with the formidable forces of nature.

History of Sunken City

The history of Sunken City is as fascinating as its rugged landscape. The area was developed in the early 1920s and featured bungalow homes and beach cottages that overlooked the Pacific. However, not long after its development, geologists discovered that this coastal bluff was unstable. In 1929, the land began to slip away, gradually at first, then accelerating. After a major landslide in 1932, the neighborhood had to be evacuated as several homes had already been destroyed or were teetering on the cliff's edge.

Reinforcement strategies were deemed too expensive, and the area was abandoned to nature. Over the decades, the ruins of Sunken City have been slowly claimed by graffiti and street art, becoming an iconic spot for those who dare to venture beyond the fences erected to keep the public out. While it's not advised to go past these barriers, curiosity and the desire for adventure lead many to walk among these ruins, contemplating the impermanence of man-made structures.

Why is Sunken City Important?

Sunken City stands as a poignant reminder of the powerful impact of geological processes on human habitats. It's a place that invokes reflection on the tenuous balance between nature and the built environment. Moreover, it has become an accidental sanctuary for alternative art—a canvas for graffiti artists whose work adds another layer of culture and history to the already complex narrative of the site.

In a city like Los Angeles, where urban sprawl and ceaseless development can seem omnipresent, Sunken City offers a rare glimpse into the other side of growth—the remnants of what happens when nature reclaims its space. It's important culturally, as it connects visitors with a past era of Los Angeles that many are unaware of, and environmentally, as it serves as a case study for coastal erosion and the geological vulnerabilities that can lead to such destruction.

Things to Do & See at Sunken City

Though officially closed to the public, many still find their way to the crumbling streets of Sunken City to appreciate its raw beauty and eerie silence. If you do decide to explore, you’ll likely wander through mosaics of street art, marvel at the geological upheaval beneath your feet, and enjoy panoramic ocean views that stretch out to Catalina Island on a clear day. Photography enthusiasts find it particularly compelling, capturing the stark contrast of nature's might against human endeavors.

Our Top Trending United States Tours:

  • All-Inclusive

    Chicago Historic Pullman Company Town Private Walking Tour

    US$189/pp Learn more
  • All-Inclusive

    Chicago Downtown Highlights Private Walking Tour

    US$189/pp Learn more
  • All-Inclusive

    San Francisco Instagram Tour: The Most Famous Spots

    US$449/pp Learn more

Those who appreciate history might seek out old photographs and compare them to the current state, engaging in a sort of temporal exploration. However, if you're considering a visit, it's essential to be mindful of the legal restrictions and the inherent risks of venturing into an unstable and unsanctioned area. One can view Sunken City from the safety of the surrounding park areas, which offers observation spots for those who prefer to stay on the right side of the law and be safe.

While there are no formal activities like guided tours or informational boards, the place itself encourages visitors to ponder the powerful forces at play in our world. If taking in Sunken City's atmosphere from a safe distance, you can also enjoy Point Fermin Park nearby, providing picnic spots, walking paths, and another vantage point for absorbing the area's beauty and contemplating its history.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Sunken City in Los Angeles?

The Sunken City in Los Angeles is a coastal area that experienced a landslide in 1929, resulting in a number of houses sliding into the sea. It is now a popular spot for urban explorers, though it is officially closed to the public due to safety concerns.

Can you visit the Sunken City in Los Angeles?

Officially, the Sunken City in Los Angeles is closed to the public and visiting is not recommended due to it being a hazardous area. However, some urban explorers do visit the site, often trespassing to do so.

Where is the Sunken City located?

The Sunken City is located at the southernmost tip of San Pedro in Los Angeles, near Point Fermin Park.

Why did the Sunken City sink?

The Sunken City sunk due to a geological landslide that took place in 1929, which caused the land including several homes and infrastructure to slide into the ocean.

Are there any plans to restore or secure the Sunken City?

There have been discussions over the years about securing the site for safety reasons, but due to the instability of the area and high costs, there have been no major restoration or security projects undertaken at the Sunken City.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

San Pedro, CA 90731, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps