In the South Bay, it becomes apparent that L.A. County is utterly spoiled with gorgeous shoreline: Some of the prettiest oceanfront in Southern California is in the picturesque beach towns of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach. Visitors are drawn to the scenery, laid-back attitude and active lifestyle, which includes swimming, sailing and beach volleyball, plus cycling and in-line skating along the beachfront path called the Strand. This is a major “happening area”, you add this to your Los Angeles tour plans, and you won’t be disappointed. Quaint San Pedro, on the south side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, is Cruise Central. Long Beach is well known for its regal longtime resident: the permanently berthed, historic Queen Mary.
The Manhattan Beach populace seems armed with both discretionary income and a fun-focused life philosophy; stars such as L.A. Laker Luke Walton call this ritzy community home.
Most of the action is downtown, along Manhattan Avenue and Manhattan Beach Boulevard. Popular restaurants include Café Pierre (317 Manhattan Beach Blvd.). Boutiques reflect the intersection of beach lifestyle and luxury tastes. Manhattan Beach Brewing Co. is steps from the sand.
To the south, Manhattan Avenue jogs west and becomes Hermosa Avenue, leading to lively Hermosa Beach. The intersection of Pier and Hermosa avenues is the dining and entertainment epicenter; west of Hermosa Avenue, Pier Avenue becomes Pier Plaza, a pedestrian promenade.
In the early 20th century, visitors went to Redondo Beach for its offshore gambling aboard ships reached by water taxis and for dancing in big-band ballrooms. The ambience has changed, yet the city—at the southern end of Santa Monica Bay, below the breathtaking cliffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula—is just as visitor-friendly.