Spotlight on California: Manhattan Beach by Kimberly Fisher

As you drive down the stretch of open sandy beach from LAX Airport, you notice the idle calmness. Street names slowly change from normal city signs into the descriptive “Seagull”, “Shell”, and “Marine”. The air changes from overly heavy and dense to salty and crisp. Every sense you have let’s you know that you have arrived in the cozy little seaside town of Manhattan Beach. Located a mere 15 minutes from the airport, this quick So Cal getaway has everything you need for a relaxing, fun, and perfect day.


Start off with a quick bite from the unique North End Café. Located in a festive, green structure on Highland Avenue, this casual local eatery specializes in high quality, boutique breakfasts and lunches. For breakfast, the Eggs from Hell are popular, as is the Alicia for lunch. Coffees’ are another forte, ranging from espressos to lattes made to order.
Dinner is elegance meets beachy modern in the Zagat rated Petros Greek Cuisine and Lounge. The classic Mediterranean menu features mouth watering feta crusted lamb, moussaka, and the petros horiatiki salad in a warm, sophisticated environment. Make sure to save room for the decadent deserts. The baklava and baby Greek doughnuts literally melt in your mouth.
The Manhattan Beach Pier was built in 1922 and extends 928 feet in length. At the end, enjoy the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium and explore the Shark Tank, Touch Tank, and several species of fish and baby sharks. Fishing off the pier is year round, as is biking and roller blading on the famous “Strand”. If you happen to stop in around August, the famed Manhattan Beach Open is “The Wimbledon of beach volleyball”, or seize the Mardi Gras like moments of the International Surf Festival’s 6 Man Tournament, where teams dress up in costume as they battle it out on the courts.

Shopping has a little bit for everyone, from classic to distinctive. For the name brand shoppers, downtown Manhattan Beach sports the flagship True Religion Jeans Store, as well as a Sketchers, Island Sport, and Michael Stars. For the perfect souvenirs, step into Riley Arts or Cacao Couture Chocolates.

In the mood for something different? Try out an afternoon of painting your own pottery at Color Me Mine or Impromptu cooking classes at Chefmakers Cooking Academy…don’t worry, it’s all about the experience as an iron chef and not the end result. Experience the on going festivals, free concerts, and breezy picnics at local Polliwog Park. The 18 acre park features a amphitheater, large pond, wildlife refuge, gazebos, The Rose Garden, play areas, little league fields, bar-b-q’s, a 9 hole disc golf course, and the Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden. With something for everyone to do, the park is a great way to spend the rest of the day.
Grab a cocktail at a favorite local hangout, The Sharks Cove. This comfy sports bar features several beers on tap, wines by the glass, boutique cocktails as well as friendly, laid-back service. A short walk from the beach, this casual vibe will have you relaxed and stress free.


Lay your head down to rest on luxurious linens; flip on your flat screen television, and fix your eyes at the stars through your open balcony at the Shade Hotel. The ultra-boutique hotel perfectly balances exceptional design, unparallel service, and a relaxing environment. Happy Travels!

If You Go:

North End Café, 3421 Highland Ave. MB, CA 310.546.4782
Petros, 451 Manhattan Beach Blvd. #B110 310.545.4100
True Religion Jeans 451 Manhattan Beach Blvd. #D118 310.406.3882
Sketchers 1121 Manhattan Ave. 310.318.3116
Island Sport 221 Manhattan Beach Blvd. 310.546.7173
Michael Stars 1114 Manhattan Ave. 310.376.8700
Riley Arts 1007 Manhattan Ave. 310.372.3681
Cacao Couture Chocolates 1012 Manhattan Ave. 310.374.4500
Color Me Mine 451 Manhattan Beach Blvd. #C130 310. 545.6512
Polliwog Park Corner of Redondo and Manhattan Beach Blvd.
The Shark’s Cove 309 Manhattan Beach Blvd. 310.545.2683
Shade Hotel, 1221 N. Valley Drive 866.SHADE77