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.
As the South Bay increases in popularity, buyers enticed by the low-maintenance vibes and high-quality views are snapping up properties at breakneck speed (with several properties being offered all cash). We’ve put together some listings below for those that want in on the beach views or cool ocean breezes.
Manhattan Beach, California
5 Bedrooms | 7 Bathrooms
Located on the famed Strand, this Louie Tomaro-designed property features sleek details including a dramatic 3-level floating glass staircase, and custom pocketing beachside Fleetwood doors that bring the ocean into every room. Two kitchens (including a Strand level party kitchen) 3 outdoor fireplaces, high-end screening room, Zen inspired yoga studio and professional gym. Equipped with full service elevator and 5-car vaulted lift garage.
Palos Verdes Estates, California
6 Bedrooms | 8 Bathrooms
Stunning and luxurious contemporary home located in the Lunada Bay community of Palos Verdes Estates. Floor to ceiling windows provide unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean Features include wine cellar, full personal gym, master bedroom with fireplace and 2 story walk-in closet, and a luxury kitchen. Enjoy the private backyard, two wrap-around balconies, and official full-sized tennis court that overlooks the ocean.
Manhattan Beach, California
5 Bedrooms | 4.5 Bathrooms
This classic French Chateau located only 4 blocks from the Manhattan Beach Strand boasts attention to detail throughout, including soaring ceilings, 3 hand-carved limestone fireplaces, gourmet kitchen, skylights, solid wood windows, shutters and doors, and solid walnut flooring throughout the home. A Hollywood-style custom movie theatre, home library, and wine cellar make this home unique and perfect for entertaining.
5 Bedrooms | 5.5 Bathrooms
Luxurious custom home in the Seaside neighborhood of South Torrance features hardwood floors, custom cabinetry with marble and granite counter tops, formal dining, and Home Office. The master bedroom includes a fireplace and large walk-in closet while the gourmet kitchen boasts professional Thermador Appliances. The living room has 12-foot bi-fold doors leading to a heated pool, spa, fire pit and enclosed poolside Casita. The 2-car garage is wired for an electric charging station with room for RV & Boat parking.