There are several seasonal and year-round activities in the South Bay area. Many of them can be enjoyed for under $20. Here are just a few:
The strand from South Hermosa to North Manhattan offers wonderful waterfront and beach activities for all ages. Try your hand at kite flying. Walk the beaches and collect shells. Rent a windsurfer or a try paddle boarding. You might like to rent a bike and get some exercise on the well-defined ocean-side paths. You can also bring your camera and look for water life like the playful dolphins. If you are a fishing enthusiast opportunities abound in this area.
If you’ve always wanted to try surfing then South Bay offers great twenty-foot waves in the winter and comfortable temperatures between sixty-five and seventy. Not quite so adventurous? Then you might want to rent a boat or take surfing lessons. The local surf shops will be happy to help.
Whether you have money to spend or just enjoy window-shopping, spend some retail therapy time in Hermosa Beach. It’s a 1.3-mile area full of surf shops, jewelry stores, clothing store full of the latest California fashions for all ages.
If you’ve never tried lawn bowling then South Bay is a good place to try it. Experienced visitors and first timers are always welcome at the Hermosa Beach Lawn Bowling Club at Clark Stadium.
If biking and surfing are not your “cup of tea”, how about beach volleyball? Even if you want to watch rather than play then head on out to Manhattan Beach for the Six-Man competition at the end of July or the Manhattan Beach Open at the end of August. After you watch a few games, you will be tempted to try playing the sport that got its start here!
If you’re excited to learn more about the area’s sea life, then head out to the end of the Manhattan Beach pier to the Round House Aquarium. You’ll find sharks, halibut, sea bass, eels, and other local sea life. They are encased in the floor-to-ceiling aquarium. The kids will get a thrill out of being able to actually touch sea creatures like: sea stars, sea anemones, and crabs. The aquarium is free and you can easily spend a half day there!
Popular with locals and tourists alike, the Manhattan Beach Pier is a great place to catch some of the best views in South Bay. Located in the heart of Manhattan Beach at the end of Manhattan Beach Boulevard, the pier is more quiet and peaceful than many of its more developed cousins in Southern California.
Whether you're out for some exercise, guiding a tour of out-of-town friends or just have some free time to kill, the pier can offer a quaint experience. It's a great place to watch the surfers, enjoy the waves, add a bit of distance to your run or bike ride or simply sit back and people watch while you relish the ocean breezes.
What really makes Manhattan Beach Pier special are the breathtaking views, particularly at sunset. Take in the wide beaches that stretch for miles in both directions, sand volleyball games, beautiful Manhattan Beach homes on the hill and the rising Santa Monica Mountains to the North. The pier is popular among photographers and is a great backdrop for any sunset photo, even if you're an amateur.
Manhattan Beach Pier is popular among both pier fishers and surfers. If you're not adventurous to get in the water yourself, chances are you will be able to watch the surfers navigate the waves. Fishing off the pier is popular and anglers will find common surf species, including mackerel, barracuda and white seabass in the deeper waters.
At the end of the 928-foot pier sits its only building, the Roundhouse Marine Lab and Aquarium, a gem of a spot to take the kids.
A big advantage for the pier is its proximity to downtown and many local shops and boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants, making it a great stroll after dinner.
For more on what you might do on your trip to the pier, check out the city website or Downtownmanhattanbeach.com and see what the Yelpers suggest.
Next time you're out and about with the family in South Bay, put the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium at the end of the Manhattan Beach Pier on your list of things to see.
The Roundhouse is a non-profit organization committed to promoting the study of the oceans, beaches and marine life of Southern California and the impact humans have on the environment. A visit is free, along with a suggested donation, and the unique experience is one kids won't get anywhere else.
The aquarium features rotating displays and exhibits, as well as a shark tank, a living reef tank and a tide pool touch tank with species native to Southern California that you actually get to touch, like starfish, sharks, eels and other fish. While the aquarium is small and quaint, it is also more than a diversion for the little ones, it's a great opportunity to learn about the world around them.
Roundhouse also hosts a number of classes, parties, field trips and community events held regularly throughout the year focused on education and learning about the environment, including festivities like a Fun Run, Coastal Cleanup Day and [Manhattan Beach Cleanup and Heal the Bay IPA Tasting http://www.healthebay.org/event/manhattan-beach-cleanup-and-heal-bay-ipa-tasting]. One of the biggest events is the eight weeks of Science Summer Camp, where kids ages 4-10 can dig for sand crabs, build sand sculptures and learn about the ocean and marine animals.
For more information visit the [Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium website http://www.roundhouseaquarium.org/index.html] and check out their [Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Roundhouse-Marine-Studies-Lab-and-Aquarium/64031319675].
Next time you sink your toes into the sand at Manhattan Beach, know that there’s some history behind it. At one time, the white, fine-grained sand from the South Bay was used to help create one of the most famous resort beaches in the world.
The area now known as Manhattan Beach once had a problem: Too much sand. Manhattan Beach is built on sand, and as civic development was underway after the turn of the 20th century, a broad sand dune ran the length of the city, some standing 50 to 70 feet high.
As it turned out, during the early 1920’s developers in the Hawaiian Islands just happened to be in the market for sand. They found it in Manhattan Beach.
According to a 1973 article from The Daily Breeze, Marshall and Bob Kuhn of Kuhn Bros. Construction Co. and Builders Materials Co. made a deal with Hawaiian officials to ship sand to Waikiki Beach, which suffered from erosion problems. So the Kuhn brothers hauled the sand up from the beach and loaded it on to railroad cars, where it was transported to the harbor in San Pedro and shipped by barge or ship to Hawaii.
According to Bob Kuhn, his company was the sole provider of sand to build Waikiki and other beaches.The sand exporting lasted until the 1970's. The sand at Manhattan Beach had other destinations, such as the base of the Los Angeles Coliseum and to help build the Pacific Coast Highway. But as fate would have it, Waikiki Beach would not be what it is today without an assist from Manhattan Beach.
A mainstay of the Redondo Beach community, Veterans Park is an oceanfront relaxation space that is enjoyed throughout the year by locals for community events.
Veterans Park, located just south of the Redondo Beach Pier, is home to the Veterans Park Community Center, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a popular host for weddings, banquets and special events. Many other community events take place at this park, from activities at the Veterans Park Senior Center to the Redondo Beach Farmer's Market every Thursday.
The park is spread out over 6.3 grassy acres with ocean views, featuring vast areas for picnics, mature shade trees, a band stand for small concerts and a play area for kids, with plenty of equipment and a sand area. Because of the stunning views, you will often see photo shoots and camera crews filing at Veterans Park. Beach access is just a staircase away at Veterans Park, making it a popular destination for local scuba divers and classes alike, as it is known as one of the easiest shore dives in California.
For more information, including an interactive map, visit the City of Redondo Beach website.
Polliwog Park is a hidden gem in Manhattan Beach, with something to offer almost everyone.
Whether you just enjoy sprawling out in the sun or chose to be a little bit more active, the beautiful 18-acre park located on the corner of Redondo Avenue and Manhattan Beach Boulevard, the largest in the South Bay, has been entertaining residents since 1964.
Polliwog Park is centered around a large pond, which is bordered on one side by a natural wildlife refuge that is home to waterfowl, fish and turtles, and also features an amphitheater for events, a rose garden, three gazebos, a 9-hold disc golf course, two playing fields, barbecue pits, the Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden and the city's Historical Museum.
Among the several play areas for kids is a main playground with a large lighthouse play structure that has three slides, a sand area, and a separate area with play equipment for younger children.
Polliwog Park has an outdoor exercise area and plenty of trails to wander the park and enjoy the scenery, as well as areas that are dog-friendly, including a dog run.
On top of all the other features, Polliwog Park features many free events, including the free summer-long Concert in the Park series that runs from June through Labor Day. For more information, including a calendar and special events, visit the City of Manhattan Beach website.
In 1992, South Bay residents with professions in business, horticulture and landscape design got together with a local organization called V.O.I.C.E. (Volunteers and Organizations Improving the Community’s Environment).
Concern over the environment brought them together, and they came up with an idea of how to teach resource conservation to the community in a fun and positive way. Their creation was the Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden.
The Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden is an educational tool in the community to build awareness and solutions for sustainable gardening techniques that use the California native plants in a pursuit to conserve our natural resources. A non-profit public education organization, they provide tours, classes, volunteer opportunities and Sunday bird walks, in addition to the free garden that anyone can enjoy for free from dusk until dawn.
Take a tour
To learn more about the Garden and organization, tours are offered per request. Individuals can receive a tour during our Friday work day between 9:30 am and 11:30 am or group tours can be arranged for other times.
Friday morning 9:30-11:30 am
Take a class
Some classes have included “Success with succulents,” “How to compost the garden,” and “Sustainable Landscaping.” See their website for the most up to date schedules.
Sunday Bird Walks
During the last three years over 130 different bird species have been recorded in Polliwog Park. Learn to ID these birds by sight and sound.
Because MBBG incorporates only water-wise plants including many CA natives, and practices Earth-friendly gardening prohibiting chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides, it has earned a Certified Wildlife Habitat designation by the National Wildlife Federation. Different birds, insects and other critters can be seen.
Location: 1236 N. Peck Ave. Manhattan Beach, CA
(West of Polliwog Park)
Check the Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden’s website for more information.
Among the hidden gems of the South Bay is Angel's Gate Park, a breezy hilltop sanctuary that is the home to the Korean Bell of Friendship, one of the largest bells in the world.
A gift from the Republic of Korea to the American people in 1976 to celebrate the bicentennial, the Korean Bell of Friendship would be a unique sight anywhere in the world. The 17-ton, 12-foot high work of art, made of copper and tin, has a diameter of 7 ½ feet and an average thickness of eight inches. The Daily Breeze looked back at its history, including how it took 30 craftsmen 10 month to build the Korean temple that houses the bell.
The chance to actually hear the bell will take some timing. It is struck just five times a year on New Year's Eve, Korean American Day (January 13), the Fourth of July, Korean Liberation Day (August 15) and every September in celebration of Constitution Week.
It was also rung on Sept. 18, 2001, a week after the attacks on the World Trade Center, and again on the first anniversary in a special memorial ceremony.
The backdrop to the Korean Bell of Friendship is perhaps one of the most breathtaking views in all of Southern California. Bring a blanket and a picnic to enjoy the open, grassy space and don't forget a camera to capture the views overlooking Point Fermin Park, the ocean and on a clear day the Catalina Islands. You will also be able to gaze up at the many kites likely to be in air, taking advantage of the ocean breezes.
There is plenty of parking at Angel's Gate Park, which also includes a playground for kids and basketball courts. Visit the [Department of Recreation & Park ] for more information, or check out what Yelpers shared about their experience visiting the Korean Bell of Friendship.
Surprise your houseguests with a local treat in your bathroom soap dish: Lemongrass Essential Oil Salty Manhattan Beach Soap. You can purchase Local Manhattan Beach resident Sandy Lynn's handmade soaps in her Soap Exchange shop on Etsy and gathers the salty ocean water herself from the south side of the Manhattan Beach Pier.
Salt is known to have many health benefits including fighting skin infection, drawing toxins out of the body, reducing skin irritation and helping the skin to maintain proper moisture.
Sandy's Manhattan Beach soap contains saponified olive oil, palm kernel oil, ocean water from Manhattan Beach, and is lightly scented with lemongrass essential oil. Each bar is approximately 4.5oz and comes wrapped in natural jute or cotton packaging.
South Bay has a little something to offer for everyone. Whether you are new in town or want to explore your own city, here is a list of 10 things you must do while in the South Bay area.
1) The Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach
Opened in 1978, this place is known as a “Shrine to Comedy”. Such comics like Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, and Daniel Tosh from Tosh.0 have all hosted and called this place home. Jay Leno is a frequent of The Comedy and Magic Club every Sunday night at 7pm.
2) Manhattan Beach Post Restaurant
World-renowned chef, David LeFevre, serves up some of the best-reviewed culinary cuisine in the area, located just one block from the Manhattan Beach Pier. The rustic menu consists of small-shared plates and handcrafted cocktails. From the Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits to the Truffle Honey Laced Fried Chicken you will not leave hungry or disappointed.
3) South Bay Farmers Markets
Purchase the freshest produce from local farmers six days out of the week. You can find farmers markets all over the South Bay area, check out which location is closest to you. Farmers Market Schedule
4) K1 Go Kart Racing
Located in the heart of South Bay, K1 Go Kart Racing offers you an adrenalin rush on their indoor racecourse. Compete head to head with family and friends on their electric go-karts taking you up to speeds of 60mph.
5) Abigaile Restaurant & Brewery
Once a church then turned rehearsal space for punk/hardcore bands, now restaurant and brewery. Abigaile is a communal gastropub in Hermosa. Offering up a unique and delicious cuisine with home brewed beer, this place still pays homage to its past with its eclectic rock n roll bar décor.
6) Point Vicente Lighthouse & Interpretive Center
The second Saturday of every month the Lighthouse is open to the public with free admission. Climb the Lighthouse for 360 views or pack a picnic to enjoy next to the ocean.
7) Hang Gliding at the Beach
At the Dockweiler State Beach in El Segundo you can meet with Joe Greblo of Windsports to learn the art of hang gliding. Just after 20 min of instruction you will be airborne with an instructor at your side the whole time to see views of South Bay.
8) Terranea Resort
Whether it's just to feel like you are away from it all on this lush coastline resort setting, get a round of golf in on its oceanfront fairways or to take in the culinary variety at its numerous restaurants, Terranea Resort is a lovely place to spend the day.
9) Frascati Trail
Check out this fun easy hiking trail just off Palos Verdes Drive East. Get in touch with your adventurous side and explore the small waterfall just off the Frascati trail.
10) Catalina Island
Take the Catalina Express from Long Beach to Catalina Island for a fun day trip. With 30 daily departures, explore the shops and restaurants on this rocky island with just an hour long boat ride from Long Beach.