Beach towns in California all have their own vibe, and Manhattan Beach is no exception. While the community has great proximity to nearby cities like Venice, Torrance, San Pedro and even Los Angeles, (only 20 or 30 minutes on a good traffic day), the charm of this sea town makes it worth staying local.
Come fall, the influx of tourists has waned, the locals are back at their normal pace and the beach itself has a little breathing room. One of the great things to take advantage of during the morning or sunset hours is the strand, the strip of beachfront where you can glide easily past multi-million dollar homes on a bicycle, scooter or blades--or on foot for more lingering views. It's like your own private Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous tour, but with salt air and less pretentiousness. The vibe is laid back, and you might even catch a glimpse of an NBA player or actor hanging out on the DL.
Since Manhattan is in the central area of the South Bay beaches, it makes sense to take advantage of the tide and try some surfing. If you didn't pack a board, not to worry, local shop Nikaukai (pronounced: Knee-Co K-eye) is close by. It even has its own little café, so you can grab a coffee or burrito before or after hitting the waves. Boards and wetsuits are available for rent, along with lessons, so even if you live in a land-locked town, you can get a taste of California surf culture.
Get a true sense of the local Manhattan Beach community by visiting in October when the Hometown Fair happens. This all-weekend event that originated in 1972 is great for the whole family, kicked off by a parade and featuring the usual games and kid-friendly crafts and fun, but also a wine and beer garden for the grown-ups. Entertainment includes the annual Battle of the Bands on Sunday along with other cover and tribute bands throughout the weekend, keeping the mood lively. Grab a funnel cake or root beer float and then check out the amateur art exhibit. It all happens along Valley Drive and a shuttle bus makes parking convenient and stress-free.
If you visit Manhattan Beach in November, be sure to hit the annual Holiday Open House and Pier Lighting. This is a great time to check out local boutiques, meet the shop owners, chat with a few locals and even enjoy a glass of wine or appetizers shared at some of the locations. The mood is festive as everyone is getting some holiday shopping done among the tastefully decorated and colorfully lit Highland Avenue businesses. You'll likely find a few treasures along the way.
There's much to experience is this vibrant beach city, so be sure to do your homework on what suits your lifestyle best and enjoy your visit.
Where to stay.
The best place to hang your hat in the City of Angels is at The Sea View Inn. They offer a variety of boutique style rooms along with free Wi-Fi and a heated pool. Did you forget to bring your beach toys? No problem. The Sea View Inn has complimentary Beach Toys for the kids along with Beach Chairs, Towels and even a Boogie Board for those who want to hang ten. If you have any questions contact us.
Every room at The Sea View Inn includes a coffee maker, refrigerator, and telephone with voicemail. It is like staying at home while you are on vacation.