15 Best Things to Do in Hermosa Beach, CA

Hermosa Beach, CA
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Idyllic, bustling, and charming—these are just some of the adjectives that best describe the city of Hermosa Beach, California.

It’s one of the famous beach cities on the Golden State’s South Bay, so its motto is aptly “The Best Little Beach City.”

While it’s a tiny place compared to Manhattan or Redondo Beach, it still offers many destinations and events.

From art festivals to triathlons, from scenic seaside destination to cozy cafes, there’s a lot of places and experiences waiting for thrill-seeking adventurers.

So for your next weekend trip, why not make this vibrant town your top choice?

Here are the 15 best things to do in Hermosa Beach, CA:

Watch the Sunset at Hermosa Beach Pier

View of Hermosa Beach Pier
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While walking along the sands of Hermosa Beach, your eyes would surely be drawn to the large pier extending into the Pacific.

Hermosa Beach Pier is a thousand feet long, and it’s made entirely out of concrete to withstand erosion from the harsh sea breeze.

It was built during the 1930s, but the initial structure was made of wood, so it did not last long until briny air and water degraded and washed it away.

View of Hermosa Beach Pier
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Today, the entire length of the pier is paved with asphalt, with tiled pavilions built in intervals.

These serve as shade for fishing, sightseeing, and small picnics, and you’re welcome to stay in these shelters during your visit.

One of the best times to go is during sunset when the colors of the late evening sky play on the dark blue waters surrounding the pier.

View of Hermosa Beach Pier
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Find Unique Artworks at Fiesta Hermosa

The arts and crafts industry is well alive in the city, and no other event highlights this heritage than Fiesta Hermosa.

This occasion celebrates the community’s flourishing music and art scene, which has been around for five decades.

Taking place during the Memorial and Labor Day weekend, the festival attracts thousands of people from all walks of life.

Here, you’d find rows and rows of stalls offering the finest works by local artists, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, artisanal furniture, jewelry, and pottery.

There are also live music events where talented local bands serenade shoppers as they browse the displays and small galleries.

For those who want more thrilling activities, there will be carnivals rides, rock climbing walls, bungee jumping platforms, and more.

So you’re guaranteed a fun and exciting time during your visit!

Stay Awhile at Valley Park

Valley Park is a quaint destination on the northern edge of the city—a perfect place where the whole family can have a quiet and relaxing time.

While only 5.33 acres in total area, this outdoor destination is packed with beautiful sceneries and many modern amenities.

There are ADA-compliant playgrounds, picnic benches, barbeque areas, and other attractions that the whole family can enjoy.

For those who want more sporty activities, you’re welcome to shoot a few hoops at the basketball courts or play whatever game you fancy on the open fields.

If you’re lucky, you might even catch a performance art event held on the small amphitheater on one end of the park.

Groups usually stage small theater productions and live concerts to entertain the visitors and locals alike.

Play Under the Sun at Hermosa Beach

Lifeguard at Hermosa Beach
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Your top destination should be the land feature that gave the city its name: the beautiful Hermosa Beach.

It’s actually a segment of the longer shore that spans the coastline of South Bay—a flat expanse of ivory sand that goes on for miles.

A Surfer in Hermosa Beach
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Many people come here to sunbathe, play sports, feel the westerly winds from the Pacific, and relax under the bright California sun.

In fact, beach volleyball has become a popular sport here because of the perfectly level sands.

You’re welcome to join one of the several matches being played on various spots of the beach.

Volleyball Nets at at Hermosa Beach
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Nearby, there are many restaurants and bars that offer refreshments and snacks for those feeling peckish after hours on the sand.

At night, most of the beach lights up with live concerts, small parties, and other events that make the nightlife a vibrant and exciting scene.

A Sealion at Hermosa Beach
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Immerse in History at Hermosa Beach Historical Society & Museum

Amid the sights and bustling atmosphere of Hermosa Beach lies a hidden history that most people might not even know about.

This storied past is preserved and celebrated at Hermosa Beach Historical Society & Museum, a small facility founded in 1987.

During your tour of the museum’s halls, you’ll find more than 3500 items that offer a glimpse of the city’s past.

There are photographs, artifacts, reading material, ephemera, newspapers, and other collections that chronicle a rich maritime, agricultural, and colonial heritage.

Other notable displays include the athletic scene of the city, which you can see on the Surfer’s Walk of Fame and Volleyball Hall of Fame.

Explore the Sights Along The Strand

The Marvin Braude Bike Trail, or more popularly known as The Strand, is a paved trail that spans more than 22 miles along this region’s coastline.

It’s a well-maintained path that brings you to several iconic spots, including Hermosa Beach.

A segment of it runs parallel to the city’s coast, classified as a Class 1 bicycle path wherein cars, and other motorized vehicles are not allowed to pass.

So there is no danger for cyclists and pedestrians who want to explore the length of the South Bay coastline.

It’s also a favorite destination for skateboarders, roller skaters, regular pedestrians, and even photographers.

That’s because the path has sections that offer uninterrupted views of the beach and the Pacific ocean, especially during sunset.

So if you’re not a fan of sand but would still want to see spectacular vistas of Hermosa Beach, then The Strand is an ideal alternative.

Shop Fresh Produce at Hermosa Beach Farmers' Market

For those looking for quality fruits and veggies during their stay a Hermosa Beach, make sure to stop by the Hermosa Beach Farmers Market.

Open every Friday, this community event brings together local farmers, gardeners, and horticulturists so they can showcase and sell their most recent harvests.

It’s a great way to see all the fresh produce farmed in this region of California.

You’ll find a wide range of seasonal vegetables, fruit cultivars, premium root crops, and many other products within the many stalls.

There are also vendors offering artisanal furniture, baked goods, fragrant flowers, preserves, and many other handmade items.

Make sure to mingle with the sellers and local shoppers to get tips and recipes or to make new friends during your visit.

Listen to Jazz Music at the Lighthouse Cafe

View of the back side of Lighthouse Cafe
Coolcaesar, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Those who have watched the iconic film La La Land will be familiar with the interiors of the Lighthouse Cafe, as some scenes were filmed in this Hermosa Beach institution.

The establishment is a seminal West Coast jazz venue, hosting live concerts and musical events since 1949.

You can also catch a local or nationally recognized artist performing reggae, punk rock, and songs in other genres aside from the soothing jazz numbers.

View Inside Lighthouse Cafe
InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, California, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While talented singers and instrumentalists serenade you, enjoy the delicious and refreshing food and drinks on their menu.

Just don’t expect lots of coffee options, as the main staples here are cocktails of all kinds and the savory California seafood cuisine.

They are the perfect complement to a night of music and merriment.

Join a Charter to the Pacific Ocean

Since the vast Pacific Ocean is already nearby, why not venture out into the deep waters and have some fun?

There are many businesses within and nearby Hermosa Beach that offers charters to the nearby seas and out into the deeper waters off the Californian coast.

For those who like to stay near land, you can join a sunset cruise to enjoy the late afternoons and early evenings on the water.

It’s a great way to see South Bay light up as the darkness falls.

But for those who are feeling more adventurous, the high seas are the perfect destination for some thrilling adventures.

You can try catching some of the large game swimming within the depths, such as mackerels, yellowfin tunas, and mahi-mahi.

With the help of a seasoned fisherman or captain, you might even bring home a catch that you’d be proud to show off!

Try Not to Throw Up at Hermosa Beach Iron Man

When people think of events like Iron Man marathons, they usually picture fit men and women training for a strenuous and demanding race.

While Hermosa Beach Iron Man has some of those, but it really is for the rowdy crowds and people who won’t back down to any challenge.

It’s a famous (or infamous—depends on who you ask) event that brings together thrill-seekers and fitness buffs for a raucous and rambunctious race.

The steps are simple: run a mile on the beach, surf a mile into the ocean, and return to the beach to chug a six-pack beer.

If you throw up, you’re disqualified.

It really is just an elaborate excuse to party on the beach, and boy do the tourists and locals enjoy it.

But it’s all for a good cause, as ticket and merchandise sales are donated to charitable organizations.

So if you want an unforgettable racing experience, make sure to attend this event!

Join the International Surf Festival

Another festive sports event on the Beach Cities is the International Surf Festival, a gathering that promotes the sport in this region of California.

Each city takes turns hosting this event, but many activities are held simultaneously at various spots along the coastline, so it’s an all-encompassing activity that involves all the cities.

The highlight, of course, are surfing competitions that bring together the best surfers in the world to conquer the swells and emerge on top.

Thousands of participants, from as young as 8 to as old as 80, also come to join the other events aside from the surfing contests.

These include relays, swimming competitions, and volleyball tournaments—all to promote physical fitness amongst all age groups.

So if you’re planning to join these thrilling events, make sure to visit Hermosa Beach during August!

Let the Kids Play at South Park

As the name implies, South Park is one of the southernmost outdoor attractions in Hermosa Beach, located near the city’s borders.

Don’t compare it to the infamous South Park show just yet—it’s a family-friendly and pristine destination that is unlike its more controversial namesake.

So you’re welcome to bring the kids here!

In fact, many of the amenities are aimed towards children, such as the stone slide and the water fountain play area.

There’s also a wide, grassy open space perfect for games and physical activities that don’t need any equipment.

On the northeastern side, there’s a community garden where residents can rent plots and grow their own fruits and vegetables.

Children are encouraged to visit this small area to learn where the plants they eat come from and participate in small gardening exercises.

Dine Beside the Beach at Hennessey’s Tavern

To cap off your adventures in Hermosa Beach, visit one of the city’s beloved seaside dining establishments: Hennessey’s Tavern.

It sits on Pier Avenue, right where it meets with the Strand and Hermosa Beach Pier, so it’s a convenient and easy-to-find location.

This Irish-style pub offers breakfast foods, refreshing drinks, and bar bites inside a cozy and traditional space.

You’re welcome to order their signature burgers along with seafood dishes made from freshly caught ingredients.

Have your meal in their outside seating area during the sunset for a truly magical beachside experience.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Once you’re done with your adventures in Hermosa Beach, make sure to visit these other attractions just a few minutes away.

Have a Fun Family Time at Seaside Lagoon

View of Seaside Lagoon
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Seaside Lagoon is a safer swimming option for those who find the Pacific too wild or unpredictable.

It’s located on Redondo Beach and built as a protected lagoon filled with saltwater and surrounded by white sand.

For those who are bringing kids, this is the perfect alternative if the actual seas are too wavy or dangerous during your visit.

View of Seaside Lagoon
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Test Your Endurance at Sand Dunes Park

View of Sand Dunes Park
Andrew Hecker, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on neighboring Manhattan Beach, Sand Dunes Park is an unusual attraction that attracts thrill-seekers, fitness buffs, and even kids.

It’s basically one huge slope made of pure ivory sand, reaching 100 feet at its highest point.

Many people come here to work out, as the slope offers challenging terrain for runners, football players, and other athletes involved in physically demanding sports.

You’re welcome to visit with a reservation and try climbing the intimidating yet beautiful slope.

Final Thoughts

While small, Hermosa Beach offers a wide range of destinations, events, and activities for adventurous tourists.

There's an endless list of choices for every preference, from long-standing jazz clubs to art festivals, from beachside parties to fishing charters.

Reference this list so you won’t miss these top spots!