This trendy beach town spanning 2 miles (3 kilometers of Pacific Ocean shoreline bears no resemblance to the Borough of Manhattan. Manhattan Beach attracts visitors with its wide ribbon of soft, white sand, consistent waves that draw local surfers, a commercial village of boutiques and restaurants, and some of the county’s priciest real estate.
Some 4 million visitors flock to Manhattan Beach each year, with the sandy shoreline serving as its main attraction. This South Bay beach town offers a decidedly more laid-back vibe than Santa Monica or Venice Beach. If you can tear yourself away from the sand, explore the city’s SoCal food culture on a guided walking tour through downtown, tasting dishes from the city’s best restaurants. For the best views of Manhattan Beach, stroll out to the end of the city pier, or take a whale-watching excursion off the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Many Los Angeles helicopter tours fly above Manhattan Beach for a bird’s eye view of the affluent homes.
Things to know before you go
- Manhattan Beach is the most affluent of LA’s beach cities, making it a quieter spot perfect for families and couples.
- Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a beach umbrella, as the shore here doesn’t offer much shade.
- Find the best variety of shops and boutiques along Manhattan Beach Boulevard.
How to get there
Manhattan Beach is just 10 minutes from Los Angeles International Airport along the Pacific Coast Highway. The best way to get there is by car; park at one of more than 300 metered spots around town. To get there by public transportation, take the Metro C Line (formerly known as the Green Line) from Los Angeles.
When to get there
While less crowded than Venice Beach or Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach can still get busy during the summer months, especially on weekends. If you’re driving, arrive early to find a parking spot. The town hosts a couple of popular events each summer, most notably the International Surf Festival and the Manhattan Beach Opens beach volleyball tournament.
One of the best ways to explore Manhattan Beach is to walk or cycle along The Strand (officially the Marvin Braude Bike Trail). This paved path stretches for 22 miles (35 kilometers) from Will Rogers State Beach to Torrance Beach to the south. From Manhattan Beach, the town of Hermosa Beach is just a couple of miles (3 kilometers) south along a particularly scenic portion of the path.
- Things to do in California
- Things to do in Santa Monica
- Things to do in Long Beach
- Things to do in Anaheim & Buena Park
- Things to do in Santa Barbara
- Things to do in La Jolla
- Things to do in Palm Springs
- Things to do in San Diego
- Things to do in Pismo Beach
- Things to do in San Luis Obispo
- Things to do in Paso Robles
- Things to do in Las Vegas
- Things to do in Sausalito
- Things to do in Nevada
- Things to do in Arizona
- Venice Canals (Venice Canal Historic District)
- Venice Beach
- Marvin Braude Bike Trail
- Santa Monica Beach and Pier
- Heal the Bay Aquarium
- Santa Monica Place
- Watts Towers
- Los Angeles Montana Avenue
- Third Street Promenade
- Los Angeles Palisades Park
- Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (LA Coliseum)
- Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM)
- California Science Center
- University of Southern California (USC)
- Museum of Tolerance (MOT)