The most upscale of the South Bay beach towns, Manhattan Beach's vibe is urban, with lots of volleyball nets, a cheerful pier and surfers - the sand filling the gap between the surf and oceanfront homes, with paved walkways for pedestrians and bicycles.
It's best in spring and fall - or winter if it isn't raining. Summer days (May through July) are sometimes plagued with all-day fog, especially in June.
Scenes from Manhattan Beach
Enjoy some of our best shots in this Manhattan Beach Photo Tour
Manhattan Beach Points of Interest
- Manhattan Beach Pier: The red-roofed, hexagonal-shaped building at the end makes it one of the prettiest piers on the Santa Monica Bay, and it's also home to a small but fun aquarium
- The Strand: Our favorite Manhattan Beach pleasure is a simple one. Just walk down to the beachside sidewalk and take a stroll. You can walk for miles in either direction and never run out of things to see.
- Beach Volleyball: The sand bristles with nets, and in August, the pros arrive for the Manhattan Beach Open Volleyball Championships
- Downtown Manhattan Beach: Manhattan Avenue and Manhattan Beach Boulevard are lined with lots of fun shops and places to eat.
Manhattan Beach Tips
- It's almost impossible to avoid paying to park in Manhattan Beach. Bring lots of quarters for the meters (and patience to find one to park at). If parking places are full near pier, try the parking lot north of Manhattan Beach Blvd off Highland, which is a bit less-known (but also requires change for the meters).
- Several shops in downtown Manhattan Beach rent beach gear, boogie boards and so on.
- You'll find public restrooms at several locations along the waterfront.
Manhattan Beach Review
We rate Manhattan Beach 4 stars out of 4 for the prettiest pier, most active beach area and best shopping of the South Bay beach towns.
POLL: What do you think of Manhattan Beach as a tourist destination?
Getting to Manhattan Beach
The Manhattan Beach pier is at the end of Manhattan Beach Boulevard. Exit I-405 on Hawthorne Boulevard north and turn left onto Manhattan Beach Boulevard.