Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Manhattan Beach, CA

  • Published 2023/01/18

Nestled along California’s Pacific Coast, Manhattan Beach is a charming beach city in the Southwestern region of Los Angeles County.

It is one of the only three beach cities in the South Bay region, along with Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach.

This small beach community has a population of 34,668, as of the 2021 census.

Manhattan Beach is famous for its beautiful and pristine beaches, with plenty of volleyball nets and paved walkways.

This sunny city has nature trails where you can enjoy hiking or biking with spectacular views.

It is also a perfect place to shop at the boutiques downtown.

The city’s food scene is also fantastic, with terrific oceanfront restaurants specializing in fresh and delicious seafood.

With fabulous oceanfront eateries, charming boutiques, and pristine beaches, breathtaking views, and perfect Californian weather, Manhattan Beach will surely take over your heart.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the 25 best things to do in Manhattan Beach, California:

Witness a Sunset or Sunrise from Manhattan Beach

Sunset at Manhattan Beach

Chones /

Manhattan Beach is the city’s main beach and stretches over 2 miles.

With the blue ocean and sunny weather of California, this beach is a perfect place to spend an afternoon just strolling around on the sandy shore and listening to the sound of waves crashing.

It also has more than 100 volleyball nets so you can play with locals.

This wide sandy beach is located near downtown and provides easy access to gorgeous oceanfront restaurants and cafes.

Make sure to catch a sunset or sunrise from the beach to witness the beauty of this Californian beach in its full glory.

Gorgeous sunset at Manhattan Beach

Stoil Andreev /

Learn about Local Marine Life at Roundhouse Aquarium Teaching Center

Building sign of Roundhouse Aquarium Teaching Center

Steve Cukrov /

Sitting at the end of the Manhattan Beach Pier, Roundhouse Aquarium Teaching Center is a small aquarium and an educational facility that showcases and educates visitors about the fascinating local marine life.

The aquarium is managed by Oceanographic Teaching Stations, Inc., a non-profit environmental organization.

They aim to educate visitors about the importance of marine life and their habitats through interactive experiences.

The aquarium features stunning marine creatures, including sea cucumbers, octopuses, sharks, jellies, sea urchins, lobsters, sea snails, and more.

Facade of Roundhouse Aquarium Teaching Center

Steve Cukrov /

Click Stunning Photographs at Manhattan Beach Pier

Walkway of Manhattan Beach Pier

FiledIMAGE /

Located at the end of the Manhattan Beach Boulevard, Manhattan Beach Pier is a picturesque 928-foot pier.

Dating back to the 1920s, it is one of the oldest concrete piers on the west coast.

Aerial view of Manhattan Beach Pier

Sardor Kazi /

This hexagonal-shaped and red-roofed pier is one of the most beautiful piers of Santa Monica Bay and is a perfect place to click stunning pictures of the unparalleled panoramic views of the ocean and its surroundings.

The pier has also been featured in many Hollywood movies, including Point Break, Falling Down, Starsky and Hutch, and many more.

Far view of Manhattan Beach Pier

Lucky-photographer /

Go Shopping at Downtown Manhattan Beach

The road of Downtown Manhattan Beach

Harun Ozmen /

Downtown Manhattan Beach is the heart and soul of Manhattan Beach and is located just a few minutes from the beach.

The streets are lined with lovely eateries, along with award-winning oceanfront restaurants.

It is also a perfect place to enjoy retail therapy, with several local boutiques and other quirky stores to shop from.

A bar at Downtown Manhattan Beach

Eric Glenn /

Apart from eateries and boutiques, the downtown area also features charming art galleries, delis, furniture stores, coffee shops, bakeries, and so much more.

Check out Downtown Manhattan Beach and roam around, eat, and shop in beautiful tree-lined streets overlooking the ocean.

Ice cream shop at Downtown Manhattan Beach

melissamn /

Enjoy a Lovely Picnic at Live Oak Park

Live Oak Park is a lovely park located in Manhattan Beach, near the beach, which provides easy access to the waters.

It is the oldest park in the city and stretches over about 9 acres.

The park features a play area for toddlers, a basketball court, six tennis courts, baseball fields, a dog park, batting cages, and more for visitors to enjoy.

The tennis courts host various local tournaments.

The park also has a designated area for picnics with tables and barbeques.

It is the perfect place to enjoy a lovely picnic while relishing the cool ocean breeze in the perfect Californian weather.

Walk along The Strand

Trail of The Strand

emmavgerard /

The Strand is a lovely beach sidewalk that offers impressive views of the sandy beaches and the blue ocean.

It is the best way to enjoy the beauty of the fantastic Manhattan Beach.

You can walk along the path, relish the breathtakingly incredible views of the surroundings, and appreciate the ocean breeze.

Grounds of The Strand

JRJfin /

Stroll around Bruce’s Beach

Daytime view of Bruce's Beach

ChildofMidnight at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located only a two-minute walk from Manhattan Beach, Bruce’s Beach is a lovely small park popular among locals and tourists.

The park has several benches under trees’ shadows and a basketball court.

It hosts yoga classes and is also a popular place for walking dogs.

The park has large well-manicured lawns that are perfect for just strolling around and enjoying the beautiful clear skies or a lovely picnic in ideal weather.

Or you can just wander around the park and relish its beautiful lawns and pleasant ocean breeze.

Play Volleyball at El Porto Beach

Scenic view of El Porto Beach

Luc Mena /

Located in the northern part of the Manhattan Beach, El Porto Beach is a community beach.

It is top-rated among surfers because of the its massive waves.

It also has a popular paved path for biking and skating called Marvin Braude Bike Path.

The beach also has volleyball courts where you can enjoy playing volleyball while soaking in the golden Californian sunshine.

Aerial view of El Porto Beach

SeaHawk77 /

Take Surfing Lessons from One Wave Surf

Surfers at Manhattan Beach

oneinchpunch /

One Wave Surf is a local surfing school that provides private and group surf lessons in Manhattan Beach and the the Long Angeles area.

It was established in 2003 and has since been the city’s most well-liked and most famous surfing school.

They also offer surfing lessons for kids, along with adults.

The instructors are well-trained, experienced, and knowledgeable; they will provide you with the best possible surfing lessons.

The surfing school offers both long-term and single-day classes.

Spend an Afternoon at Downtown Manhattan Beach Farmers Market

Vendors at Downtown Manhattan Beach Farmers Market

Walter Cicchetti /

Manhattan Beach hosts a lovely Farmer’s Market Downtown, and it is open every Tuesday from 11 am to 3 pm.

It is the best place to sample the local produce.

Fresh produce at Downtown Manhattan Beach Farmers Market

Walter Cicchetti /

The vendors are very friendly and sell inexpensive local and fresh organic produce, including fruits and vegetables,, and ready-to-eat items such as hummus, preserves, jams, butter, cheese, yogurt, and more.

It also has food trucks from where you can eat the best of local cuisine.

Food at Downtown Manhattan Beach Farmers Market

Walter Cicchetti /

Get Ice Cream from Manhattan Beach Creamery

Storefront of Manhattan Beach Creamery

Eric Glenn /

Manhattan Beach Creamery is the best place to get ice cream in the city.

This place hand-makes all of its ice creams with local and fresh ingredients.

Along with their in-house incredible ice cream, this creamery also serves candies, cupcakes, frozen bananas, macarons, acai bowls, and much more.

Make sure to try their signature ice cream sandwich- Cream’wich.

Entrance door of Manhattan Beach Creamery

Eric Glenn /

Eat Mouth-Watering Fresh Seafood at Fishing with Dynamite

Fishing With Dynamite is a local restaurant that specializes in fresh and delicious seafood-focused food.

The menu of this eatery is diverse and features several dishes from various cuisines.

Some of the must-try words of this great restaurant are Yellowtail Tacos, Fish And Chips, Grilled Octopus, Peruvian scallops, Oyster Sampler Platter, and Key Lime Pie.

Dine with a View at Nick’s Manhattan Beach

Exterior of Nick’s

Eric Glenn /

Nick’s Manhattan Beach is a modern taverna that serves delectable comfort food in an elegant setting.

It is only a few minutes’ walk away from the Manhattan Beach Pier.

The service is excellent; the servers are friendly and attentive and will not disappoint you.

Don’t forget to try the fried asparagus, Scottish salmon, seafood enchiladas, Chilean sea bass, and California omelet.

Facade of Nick's

Eric Glenn /

Appreciate Lovely Views from Sand Dune Park

Playground at Sand Dune Park

The Luxury Level /

Sand Dune Park is a popular workout spot and has been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers.

It has dunes on steep slopes used by professional and amateur athletes to work out.

It is also an excellent spot for children to play with sand and climb dunes.

Stairs trail at Sand Dune Park

Jengod, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The view from the top of the sand dunes is fantastic; you can see the entire city in its full glory.

Apart from sand dunes, the park has picnic areas and nature trails that feature the local flora.

Trees at Sand Dune Park

Jengod, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Check Out the Local Art Scene at Manhattan Beach Art Center

Manhattan Beach Art Center is the heart and soul of the city’s culture and arts.

It hosts educational programs along with exhibitions and displays.

The center aims to showcase contemporary urban art that people can understand and relate to.

The exhibitions are well-curated and frequently change to showcase what’s new.

Entry into the Manhattan Beach Art Center is free and has free parking.

Visit the art center to check out and appreciate the local art scene of this delightful town.

Take Your Little One to AdventurePlex

AdventurePlex is a playground designed specifically for children to make physical activities more fun and engaging.

The facility covers an area of over 16,000 square feet and offers classes, adventure camps, and fun activities featuring tunnels, mazes, rock walls, and more.

This place also hosts private birthday parties with catering.

Make sure to visit the AdventurePlex with your little ones and let them have the time of their lives playing around.

Support Local Artists at Riley Arts Gallery

Located on Manhattan Avenue, Riley Arts Gallery is an incredibly curated gallery, and it showcases an extensive selection of pieces of art by local South-Bay-based artists.

It was opened in 1999 and has since been a significant part of the local art scene.

The art displayed includes photographs, fine arts, sculptures, paintings, and much more featuring coastal themes.

The staff is very knowledgeable and friendly and will answer all your questions regarding the artwork and local art scene.

Visit the Riley Arts Gallery to appreciate and support the stunning work of local artists.

Stay at The Belamar Hotel

Welcome sign of The Belamar Hotel

ZikG /

Located less than a mile away from Manhattan Beach on Sepulveda Boulevard, The Belamar Hotel is the best hotel to stay in Manhattan Beach.

It provides modern amenities with a retro style to make your stay as worthwhile and luxurious as possible.

Some amenities include bicycle rental, allergy-free rooms, an outdoor pool, a fitness center, valet parking, special diet menus, and much more.

Due to its proximity to the beach, the views from here are incredible.

Book a Calming Weekend Stay at Sea View Inn

In Manhattan Beach, California, Sea V, easys a stand-alone hote, and athe sea.

The hotel was originally a one-building business until purchased in 1980.

It now features 38 spacious, well-lit, newly renovated rooms spread across nine buildings.

Sea View Inn is a charming and eccentric combination of rooms, studio flats, and opulent suites with breathtaking views.

It offers many fun and complimentary facilities, including bicycles, boogie boards, towels, beach toys, umbrellas, chairs, and a heated pool.

All bedrooms are equipped with complimentary Wi-Fi, a coffee maker, a Simmons Posturepedic mattress, a refrigerator, a hair dryer, air conditioning, and more.

Explore the Various Food Options at the Strand House

Strand House started Manhattan Beach’s food revolution in 2011 when it opened for business.

A few South Bay families came up with the idea for this classy yet welcoming family-run restaurant out of their passion for excellent cuisine, wine, and friends.

Travelers from across the world and residents indeed come for the 180-degree panoramic vistas of the Pacific Ocean, but they remain for Chef Craig Hopson’s Coastal California Cuisine.

The abundance of food accessible all year round in Southern California is highlighted on the menu.

The greatest local farmers and purveyors are the ones their chefs personally source from each week as they stroll the farmer’s market.

To satisfy its customers, The Strand House offers a thoughtful and skillfully created wine and beverage menu.

Play Golf at Westdrift Golf Course

The top golfing location in the city is the Westdrift Golf Course, which is situated on Manhattan Beach’s northern border.

The lush environment of Westdrift, constructed into a natural mountainous landscape, is captivating.

Westdrift Golf course, spread across 24 undulating acres, has palm palms, lakes, and cleverly placed sand traps.

Most times, Pacific Ocean gusting winds claim at least six holes, making the game hard for players of all skill levels.

Head to the clubhouse to unwind, have a delicious dinner, and sip a refreshing beverage.

Hang Out at Simmzy’s

Simmzy’s, a family-owned business, sources its products from local farmers, ranchers, and brewers.

The outdoor dining at their original site offers a fresh sea breeze and is just a few feet from the beach.

Simmzy’s captures Manhattan Beach’s beach ambiance, laid-back summer mood, and positive energy.

They are the ideal place to watch sports, hang out after a surfing session, and take the family out since they blend well with the modest city.

Try one of their burgers, such as the sophisticated Billionaire Burger or the traditional Simmzy’s Burger, or one of their numerous sandwiches, including crispy rockfish or grilled chicken.

Shop at Metlox

Among the most excellent things to do in Manhattan Beach alongside friends and family for a memorable family day out is to explore Metlox.

At the entrance to Downtown Manhattan Beach in California, Metlox is a distinctive retail and dining location.

It has a town square designed in the European style where high-end stores and restaurants are surrounded by manicured courtyards, fountains, a fire sculpture, and public art that honors the legacy of the Metlox Pottery manufacturing factory that inhabited the location starting in 1927.

All visitors enjoy the breakfast, lunch, or evening meals that Metlox provides, along with coffee and smoothies.

Locate a lovely spot and unwind with your friends.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go Sightseeing in Hollywood

Signage of Hollywood

Maks Ershov /

Manhattan Beach is located only a half an hour drive away from Hollywood.

You can take a one day trip and go sightseeing for the fantastic Hollywood Boulevard where most of the Hollywood movies are filmed.

View of Hollywood Walk of Fame stars

Sergii Figurnyi /

Or you can go and see another myriad of places such as visit the icon of Hollywood’s golden era TCL Chinese Theatre or stop by the Hollywood Walk of Fame or see the world-famous wax statues at Madame Tussauds Hollywood or appreciate stunning views of the city from Griffith Observatory.

Make sure to take a detour and check out the world-renowned town of Hollywood.

Wax figure of Thor in Madame Tussauds Hollywood

Anton_Ivanov /

Try the Delicious Drinks at Big Dean’s Ocean Front Cafe

Big Dean’s Ocean Front Cafe is a beach bar located adjacent to the pier.

This bar serves inexpensive and delicious drinks and local food along with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options to cater to their wide range of customers.

It is a great place to enjoy a chilled beer and tasty, filling food for lunch while relishing the stunning views of the ocean.

Final Thoughts

Amazing beaches that are much quieter than those in Los Angeles’ more famous tourist areas, as well as a wide variety of pubs and restaurants, make Manhattan Beach the perfect destination for a peaceful getaway.

If you’re feeling sporty, you may play beach volleyball on one of the many accessible courts, stroll, or jog along the beautiful coastline.

Thanks to the paved paths, visitors and residents may easily approach the ocean to enjoy people-watching, sunbathing, or swimming.

Numerous restaurants are available, providing anything from seafood to Mexican meals.

You can discover everything you desire right here at Manhattan Beach!

Best Hotels in Manhattan Beach

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