Culver City, located in Los Angeles County, California, is an urban community of 39,000 residents surrounded by the City of Los Angeles is and centrally located on the Westside near Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Los Angeles International Airport. Culver City is particularly known for its well-run public school system, “small town” charm, growing high-tech and creative economies, and a dynamic downtown that is regionally known as a destination for restaurants, live theatre, and art galleries. Over the years, it has annexed more than 40 pieces of adjoining land and now comprises about five square miles.
Since the 1920s, Culver City has been a center for motion picture and later television production, best known as the home of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. From 1932 to 1985, it was the headquarters for the Hughes Aircraft Company. National Public Radio West and Sony Pictures Entertainment have headquarters in the city. The NFL Network studio is also based in Culver City.
The city that became known as “The Heart of Screenland” when it sprang up from farmland along the Pacific Electric Railway line to Venice and was incorporated by its founder and namesake, Harry Culver, in 1917. Even before Culver City was officially a city, the movies had come to town, with Thomas Ince moving his studios from Pacific Palisades and building the two production facilities that would become MGM Studios (and later, Sony Pictures Studios) and the Culver Studios.
While Hollywood got all the press, the film industry in its Golden Age was centered in Culver City. “Gone with the Wind,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and “Citizen Kane” were some of the towering achievements of cinema that rolled off the studio production lines on Washington Boulevard. Street upon street of neat little bungalows were built to house the army of production personnel required, and the tidy all-American neighborhoods of Culver City themselves became screen stars, providing the backdrop to movies and television shows set in cities and towns all around the country.
Culver City sits only a couple of miles from LAX and the ocean. Marina Del Rey is its closest waterfront neighbor and it is next to the low-lying Baldwin Hills. Though it’s sandwiched between the notoriously gridlocked junction of the 10 and the 405, it’s possible to go car-less thanks to the Metro Expo Line. Today, most of the city’s best things to do are centered around its two most walkable areas: Downtown Culver City, an increasingly pedestrian-friendly destination along Culver Boulevard, and the Culver City Arts District, with galleries along Washington and La Cienega Boulevards and shops and restaurants at Helms Bakery.