Far enough away from LA’s city center, but close enough to take in a Lakers game, the city’s South Bay is embraced by Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach; also the city’s best kept secret.
The Strand in Manhattan Beach winds along the ocean among stunning homes and vast stretches of beach. The town is dotted with cafés and boutiques, the water with surfers, and the sand with beach volleyball nets and sun worshippers.
To the south, Hermosa Beach is central to the coast’s surf culture, emanating eclectic vibes with a myriad of shops and considerable nightlife options. The Lighthouse Café, known for its cameo in the movie La La Land, is the town’s music hotspot featuring jazz, reggae, and more.
Hermosa Ave shifts into North Harbor Drive and you’ve hit Redondo Beach, one of California’s premiere beach communities with its landmark pier and breathtaking panoramic ocean views.
We put together a guide for this string of sunny beach towns that gift locals and visitors with delicious cuisine, activities and convenient locale that eliminate the exasperation of having to drive on the 405.
Quickly becoming a Southern California food mecca, the South Bay is defining a new dining scene with its surge of upscale eateries and Michelin-starred chefs. The biggest bonus is the proximity to the beach, reduced driving time, and bike paths all within reach.
Fishing with Dynamite
This refreshing and crowd-pleasing seafood bar is another welcomed Manhattan Beach culinary arrival from Michelin-starred Chef David LeFevre. The diverse and exceptional menu includes favorites like the “Mothershucker” platter and a twist on a classic brunch favorite, Crab Benedict. Those who can’t get enough of LeFevre’s soulful genius can check out his new charmer of a steakhouse Arthur J., or enjoy a boozed-up brunch at Manhattan Beach Post.
The Boy and Bear
This shop is a go-to among Redondo Beach locals, known for its quality coffee and airy space, complete with perfectly situated twin leather couches that allow for easy and communal conversation. The owner, Andres Piñeros, really cares about coffee. Sourcing the coffee from Columbia, Piñeros works directly with farmers rather than intermediaries, allowing farmers to be paid well for their distinctive and delicious product.
This endearing throwback spot incorporates furnishings that mirror the laid back, easygoing vibe of Hermosa Beach, complete with substantial food like a BBQ Braised Sandwich and Old School Pot Pie that appeals to the “hungry surfer.” Offering views of the ocean and an inviting wraparound outdoor space, this spot provides a dreamy beach backdrop with an inventive and fully stocked bar.
This family-run gem is an authentic ode to the warmth and heavenly cuisine of Italy, including homemade gnocchi and melt-in-your-mouth grilled scallops. For those that can’t get enough of their authentic handmade pastas, foodies can stroll to the Riviera Village Sunday Farmer’s Market to pick up their own. The Happy Hours here are a local favorite, with an unrivaled $3 off all starters, beer and cocktails…Daily.
While most beaches like to boast about their soft sand, beaches in the South Bay are recognized as the most delicate and softest sand in the world. Need proof? The sand at Manhattan Beach was once exported to Waikiki Beach, Hawaii. In addition to the sand, there are an abundance of activities among this gorgeous stretch of beach.
Redondo Beach Pier
The pier is a popular landmark in the South Bay, where locals take leisurely strolls to work off the fried seafood. The pier is sprinkled with delightful gift shops, fine dining, art festivals, concerts, and even free yoga classes. On rare occasions, a glance off the pier means you just might spot a whale, and chartered excursions are available for a closer look.
This well-preserved lagoon plays the part of a natural waterpark, complete with snack bars, fountains, volleyball courts and grassy picnic areas. The lagoon water is filtered, allowing for crystal clear views of the bottom, and the water is less cold than the surrounding Pacific. In August, the lagoon presents a Friday film series, so be sure to bring a beach chair or blanket.
Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends bring Fiesta Hermosa, the biggest arts and crafts fair in Southern California. Over 300 artisans descend upon downtown Hermosa Beach for the fair that includes live music stages, a diverse food court, bungee jumping, and a wine and beer garden that leaves visitors with an abundance of activities to navigate.
Marvin Braude Bike Trail
The 22-mile bike path known as the Marvin Braude Bike Trail runs all the way from Santa Monica and continues down to Torrance County Beach. The path winds through each beach town and is the ideal way to people watch or take in a stunning sunset. If you don’t have your own wheels, you can rent a cruiser from Hermosa Cyclery or Helen’s Cycles.