People that live in LA. notoriously stick to their immediate neighborhood (thank you traffic!) but this is such a diverse city with many places that may not be on your radar. There are so many fun things to do in Manhattan Beach, that a trip to the South Bay should definitely be on your Los Angeles itinerary.
Whether you’re looking to relax or get active. Relax on the beach, go for a run or cycle along the scenic coastal path. In the evening, watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand or enjoy a seafood dinner at one of the many restaurants. Whether you’re visiting for a day or staying for a week, there’s something for everyone in Manhattan Beach, California.
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17 Best Things to Do in Manhattan Beach for the Day
Manhattan Beach California is one of the best places to live in Los Angeles. If you’re not lucky enough to live in this awesome beach city, you definitely can and should visit. Wondering what to do in Manhattan Beach? Here are 17 fun things to do from morning til night.
Fuel Up with a Coffee Kick
There’s no shortage of great coffee shops in Manhattan Beach, but if you’re looking for the best of the best, you can’t go wrong with Two Guns Espresso or Goodboybob Coffee Roasters.
Two Guns is the perfect place to get your fix of New Zealand-style coffee, with a flat white that will make your taste buds sing. The breakfast and lunch menu is also worth checking out – try the avocado toast if you’re feeling indecisive.
Goodboybob is another excellent spot for coffee lovers, with a range of freshly roasted beans to choose from. The outdoor seating is perfect for people watching, and the breakfast burrito is not to be missed. If you’re looking for something sweet, the pastries are also worth indulging in – even the gluten free ones are delicious!
Strolling The Strand
If you’re looking for the best free things to do in Manhattan Beach, look no further than The Strand. This world-famous boardwalk offers beautiful ocean views, as well as a place to people-watch, bike ride, and take a leisurely stroll. Better yet, it’s just steps away from the sand and surf of one of Southern California’s best beaches.
The Strand is the perfect place to start your day. In the morning, you’ll find lots of people taking a power walk. Mid-afternoon it’s completely social. You’ll probably make friends along the way. At sunset, you may start thinking about booking an appointment with a realtor so you can just have this as your life!
So whether you’re looking to burn some calories, see all the amazing beach front homes or just soak up some rays, don’t miss the coolest spot in Manhattan Beach.
Soak Up Some Rays on the Beach
You’re in California – you have to go to the beach! Get some of that California sun while relaxing on the sandy beach. Take a dip in the ocean, or build a sandcastle with the kids. A day at the beach is just what you need for your vacation.
Don’t forget a cute sun hat and reef friendly sunscreen. California sun is strong. If you are sun sensitive, you might consider bringing a beach umbrella with you.
Get a Killer Workout or Fun Playtime at Sand Dune Park
Want a soft sand workout that kicks the beach’s butt? Then Sand Dune Park is a great place to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors. This park is well loved by kids and adults alike.
While you can see sand dunes all along The Strand, there’s nothing like this huge sand hill in Manhattan Beach. Test your fitness level running up and down or watch the kids having a blast.
When you’re ready for a break, head over to the few blocks from the ocean and cool off with a refreshing swim. Sand Dune Park may not be the typical thing to do in Manhattan Beach but it will start your day with a great workout.
Manhattan Beach is Known for World Class Beach Volleyball
If you want to go out and play, you can typically find a court and join in the fun. Sometimes you can catch an AVP or CBVA Tournament and watch incredible athletes compete in beach competitions. It’s such a fun sport to watch and you’ll be right next to the action.
This Southern California pastime is one of the best free things you can do in L.A. If you’re sitting anywhere close, make sure you’re watching the game so you don’t get hit by a ball you had no idea was coming your way.
Catch Some Waves at El Porto
El Porto is a favorite surf spot with Southern California surfers. There is plenty of parking and some of best and biggest waves in the South Bay break here. But you’ll find people surfing everywhere along the coast in Manhattan Beach including right under the Manhattan Beach Pier.
While the surf conditions are pretty consistent throughout the year, California waves are typically smaller in summer and bigger in winter. Check conditions on Surfline. Catching the sunset sky while you are surfing is one of the highlights.
Learn to Surf – Manhattan Beach is a Great Place for Beginners
If you’re looking for active things to do in Manhattan Beach this summer, why not try your hand at surfing? The waves are usually smaller in the summer months, making it a great time for beginners to give it a go.
You can rent gear at El Porto Surf Shop, or sign up for lessons at one of the many surf schools in the area. One Wave Surf, Learn to Surf LA and Campsurf are all great options for both private and group lessons, as well as kids surf camps. So get out there and catch some waves!
Take a Manhattan Beach Scenic Drive in a Classic Car
If you don’t have any wheels, you can pick up something fun at Garage 77 in neighboring Redondo Beach. What sounds better than driving around in a classic convertible car on a summer day by the beach?
Go Shopping in Cute Manhattan Beach Boutiques
Manhattan Beach Boulevard is the perfect shopping street. You’ll find clothing boutiques, places to get home decor and surf shops. Find super cute dresses, jewelry, hats and more at Katwalk. For home decor with that relaxed California vibe or a great place to buy gifts, check out Gum Tree.
Spyder Surfboards has everything from swimsuits and clothes to surfboards and wetsuits. Honestly it’s just fun to walk around and see what strikes your fancy.
Check out the Local Manhattan Beach Art Scene
Downtown Manhattan Beach is also home to several art galleries, making it the perfect place to find a forever piece that inspires California dreaming year round. Or, if you’re just looking for a small gift to bring home, you’re sure to find something perfect.
The Manhattan Beach Art Center is a great place to start your gallery hopping. Each year, they host an Annual Community Exhibition where you can see Manhattan Beach through the eyes of local artists.
If you’re looking for coastal living fine art, the Riley Arts Gallery is the perfect stop. They have affordable prints and posters, as well as small gifts that are perfect for souvenirs.
And if you’re a fan of photography, be sure to check out Bo Bridges Gallery. Bo Bridges is a renowned photographer who captures the quintessential California feeling of life at the beach.
Have an Amazing Meal in Manhattan Beach
There’s no doubt about it: Manhattan Beach is a foodie paradise at eating out is one of the best things to do in Manhattan Beach at night. From fresh seafood to authentic Mexican cuisine, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And with so many great restaurants to choose from, it can be tough to decide where to go.
Esperanza Cocina de la Playa, the new hot spot in Manhattan beach for dinner and drinks. Their authentic Mexican food and extensive cocktail menu are perfect for a night out on the town. Fishing with Dynamite is known for its excellent seafood.
If you’re looking for a casual meal with friends, sit out on the patio and enjoy the view at Simmzy’s gastropub with delicious burgers and seafood. Last but definitely not least MB Post is always serving up mouthwatering farm to table dishes.
Grab a Drink at One of the Fun Bars
Manhattan Beach has some lively sports bars that are always fun especially for a big game. Check out OBs Pub & Grill for some good old fashioned pub grub and drinks, or Sharkeez for a more lively atmosphere. Or if you’re in the mood for something different, head over to Shellback Tavern for some great seafood.
And of course, no night out in Manhattan Beach would be complete without stopping by Culture Brewing Company – the first taproom in town with an urban vibe and outdoor seating. So whether you’re looking for a place to relax with a few drinks or you’re looking to dance the night away, Manhattan Beach has everything you need!
Family Friendly Activities in Manhattan Beach
Get Sweet Treats at Manhattan Beach Creamery
You can’t miss the Manhattan Beach Creamery on Manhattan Beach Boulevard with a line out the door This delicious ice cream shop offers 28 flavors of ice cream daily, made from locally sourced ingredients.
You’ll find all your favorite flavors as well as some unique choices like bananas foster, maple bacon, and heath bar coffee. The ice cream sandwiches are a must-try, and the chocolate dipped bananas are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
The shop is colorful and full of exciting sweet treats, so be sure to stop by the next time you’re in Manhattan Beach.
Have a Picnic and Enjoy the Outdoors at Live Oak Park
For the best kid friendly things to do in Manhattan beach – hit the parks. Live Oak Park is a 9-acre park is one of the city’s oldest, and it’s a great place for kids of all ages. There’s a children’s play area for bigger kids, and a Tot Lot for those under 5.
Enjoy the picnic areas, baseball diamonds, batting cage, tennis courts, or basketball. The park also features a dog park, so your four-legged friends can join in on the fun.
Visit the Sea Creatures at the Roundhouse Aquarium on Manhattan Beach Pier
If you’re looking for family friendly things to do in Manhattan Beach, the Roundhouse Aquarium is a great option. This unique aquarium is housed in a converted steam locomotive roundhouse, at the end of the Manhattan Beach Pier.
Home to a variety of marine life, visitors can get up close and personal with sea creatures through interactive exhibits and tanks. In addition to the wide variety of marine life on display, the Roundhouse Aquarium also offers educational programs and classes for all ages.
Admission to the aquarium is free but donations are always welcome. See the Christmas lights above? Manhattan Beach is also one of the best places to visit in California in December.
Feed the Ducks at Polliwog Park with Your Littles
If you have little kids in tow, they’ll love Polliwog park. This beautiful park is filled with trees, picnic areas and a few playgrounds. But the big draw for the little is the chance to feed the ducks and turtles.
There’s also a dog park and the Manhattan Beach Historical Society Museum housed in one of the original beach cottages that was moved to the park. The museum features photos and displays about the history of Manhattan Beach.
Enjoy a Summer Concert in the Park at the Polliwog Amphitheater
Summer in Manhattan Beach is the perfect time to relax and enjoy the outdoors. And what better way to do that than by attending one of the free concerts in the park? Picnic baskets in tow, blankets and foldable beach chairs in hand, locals and visitors alike can head to Polliwog Park for an evening of music under the stars.
With a range of genres on offer, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And if you get there early enough, you might even be able to snag a spot right up front! Just remember to leave your furry friends at home – this is a pet-free event.
Manhattan Beach Hotels
Now that you know how much fun it is in Manhattan Beach, you may be thinking you want to stay in the South Bay for your trip. It would be a great choice. Here are some great places to stay:
- Shade Hotel Manhattan Beach (8.5) – Is walking distance from the beach and downtown Manhattan Beach. It has a really fun vibe. They have a great rooftop deck with a pool.
- Westdrift Manhattan Beach, Autograph Collection by Marriott (8.3) – A little further from the beach but still convenient They have spacious, stylish rooms.
- The Belamar Hotel Manhattan Beach (8.1) – spacious well appointed rooms, an outdoor pool and 5 minute drive to the beach.
- The Sea View Inn At The Beach (8.2) – Perfect for surfers and families, this little Inn is walking distance from the waves and Sand Dune Park. They have free bikes you can borrow to ride on the bike path.
The South Bay is so close to Santa Monica, has so many fun activities, great food and and terrific sightseeing. Make sure you get some time in one of the best beach towns in Southern California. Whether you’re an Angeleno or visiting Los Angeles, take advantage of the exciting things to do in Manhattan Beach, California.
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JenniferFebruary 4, 2020 at 1:21 pm
I wish I was there right now. I’m sick of the cold.
JeniferFebruary 4, 2020 at 7:41 pm
I don’t know how everyone does winters! Hope it warms up soon.
LydiaAugust 4, 2018 at 9:25 am
I had no idea that Manhattan Beach is so stunning and exceptional place, Jenifer. Your pictures blew my mind and whetted my appetite. How many days would you recommend staying there?
adminAugust 21, 2018 at 7:03 pm
I’m so glad you liked it! It’s a great place to spend the afternoon or spend a relaxing week going to the beach every day. I personally like seeing as much as possible on a vacation so Manhattan Beach is a great day trip for me.
heather noireJuly 22, 2018 at 12:57 am
I loved this so much! Great style and this looks like an amazing place to visit 🙂
adminJuly 25, 2018 at 7:21 pm
So glad you liked it Heather. It’s a great place to spend the day. Thanks for reading!!
JessicaJuly 21, 2018 at 12:43 pm
There’s definitely lots of fun things to do in Manhattan beach. Thanks for sharing these tips dear. Really cute pictures you have here!
adminJuly 25, 2018 at 7:20 pm
Thank you so much for reading Jessica! I love your blog, amazing style, gorgeous photography and incredible tips! Definitely a huge fan!!
YvonneJuly 19, 2018 at 1:42 pm
I need to add Manhattan Beach to my list of places to visit! Love all the photos and the hat is so cute!
adminJuly 19, 2018 at 3:04 pm
Thanks for reading Yvonne! The hat sums up my goals this summer 😉
Anika MayJuly 19, 2018 at 10:26 am
The boutiques look so cool! Awesome travel post 🙂
adminJuly 19, 2018 at 3:03 pm
Thank you! There are so many great places to wander into that there could be a post of just great shops. Thanks for reading!!
Lise PaulJuly 19, 2018 at 5:56 am
Great issue Jen! I love Manhattan Beach – lots to do and I have bunch of friends there you’re reminding me to see 💜
adminJuly 19, 2018 at 3:02 pm
Yay!! It’s so great to make a day of it and see our friends that are outside of our immediate area. Thanks for reading!!
SimoneJuly 19, 2018 at 1:59 am
Thanks for suggestions. I might just go for the shrimp tacos!!!!! Ummm looks good!
adminJuly 19, 2018 at 2:59 pm
You won’t be disappointed. The food was amazing. Apparently the chef has a Michelin star. Thanks for reading!
FabyJuly 19, 2018 at 1:25 am
Such a great read. I wish I could do more traveling. I’ll definitely keep Manhattan Beach on my wishlist of places to visit. Thank you for sharing and I love all the beautiful pictures.
adminJuly 19, 2018 at 2:59 pm
Thanks for reading and the kind words. I definitely feel like you in that I always wish I could do more traveling!!
MP AllegaertJuly 18, 2018 at 8:20 pm
I loved this post! Have 2 sons and many friends in LA and know just what you mean about staying with your go-tos. Next trip, I’m making Manhattan Beach (where I’ve never been) a must see. And must eat — those tacos! Thanks so much for sharing.
adminJuly 18, 2018 at 8:42 pm
I’ve been challenging myself to see my city with a new perspective to broaden my horizons. I know you’ll love Manhattan Beach! Thank so much for reading.
VanessaJuly 18, 2018 at 6:08 pm
You are such a cutie! I LOVE LOVE Manhattan Beach! Hoping to come back and visit sometime next year and I’ll be sure to bookmark this post!
adminJuly 18, 2018 at 8:43 pm
So glad you like it Vanessa! Such a fun town to spend the day! Thanks for reading!!
PaulJuly 18, 2018 at 12:37 pm
Looks like a beautiful day for the beach, good picks
adminJuly 18, 2018 at 4:03 pm
Thank you and thanks for reading!
Carina HerrenJuly 17, 2018 at 6:39 am
I haven’t been to Manhattan beach! I definitely should go! I guess hubby and I frequent Venice beach and Santa Monica more when we’re in LA. It’s looks so beautiful there and the food looks soo good! 😉 Love this post!
adminJuly 17, 2018 at 3:46 pm
It’s definitely worth the trip and fun to see a different area! Thanks for reading 😊
mahryskaJuly 17, 2018 at 2:57 am
aww looks like you had an amazing time!!
kisses from the sandpits of dubai 🖤
adminJuly 17, 2018 at 4:01 am
Thank you for reading all the way from Dubai!!
Amanda VaughnJuly 16, 2018 at 8:09 pm
This looks like such a fun day! I will have to add Manhattan Beach to my list!
adminJuly 16, 2018 at 8:50 pm
It’s definitely a great part of LA that is worth a visit. When you see it, you’ll want to live there! 😉
JenniferJuly 16, 2018 at 5:37 pm
Great post! I love Manhattan Beach and hope to get over there before school starts up again for the boys. Now I’m going to try this restaurant you mentioned!! Thx! Xoxo, Jennifer
adminJuly 16, 2018 at 7:40 pm
Thanks so much Jennifer! The restaurant is so delicious. Apparently the chef has a Michelin star 😀 That Nicoise toast is not something I would ever order and it was amazing!