When I first moved to Los Angeles in January, the city was at its peak with the COVID crisis. Things were largely shut down or at least severely limited. My first couple of months in L.A. were spent in my apartment, doing work meetings and school via Zoom. I waited in a lot of IKEA lines to furnish my apartment and made a lot of Target and Ralph’s runs, but otherwise, it was my apartment and not much else. It was too chilly to even go to the beach.
Fun fact: 55℉ in Los Angeles is a different kind of cold. At that temperature in the south in January, we wear t-shirts and shorts. Here in L.A.? I learned there were not enough layers in the world to keep me warm. The humidity was virtually non-existent and it was rainy and gray. Where I’m at in the South Bay we also have the ocean breeze and the marine layer to make it even more fun.
Once things started to open up and the weather got a little better, I started to explore. I try to venture to a new part of Los Angeles most weekends and I’m going to start sharing more about my adventures around L.A.
I live on the border of Manhattan Beach and I’ve fallen in love with this town. It’s a quintessential beach town, laid back yet polished. Parking is readily available, although you do tend to have to pay for it. Unlike a lot of L.A. though, parking is relatively affordable. I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $5 for several hours of parking if I wasn’t able to find free street parking.
(Pro Tip: Read the street signs in case it’s street cleaning day and make sure you know when your parking expires. Manhattan Beach WILL give you a parking ticket. Trust me on that one…)
I spend a fair amount of time in Manhattan Beach. I go for walks along the Strand or spread a blanket on the sand. It’s been an unusually chilly summer – confirmed by a lifelong South Bay resident, so it’s not just me – so I have yet to do so while wearing anything less than long sleeves, but I’ll take a cool, breezy day at the beach any day.
Here’s how I would recommend spending a day in Manhattan Beach.
Breakfast at The Local Yolk. My brother and I stumbled across The Local Yolk by accident. He took me to brunch for my birthday and we were initially planning to go to The Strand House, but last minute decided to try The Local Yolk. It was an excellent choice. It’s only open from 6:30am to 2:30pm and has a diner vibe. I ordered The California omelet and Logan got the Santa Fe Chicken omelet. He opted for the fruit side, but I went all in and got the roll.
Let me tell you about that roll.
I will risk a gluten rash outbreak for that roll. It is large and warm and utterly delicious. I cannot express to you how good that roll is. The list of things I will risk my celiac disease for is short, but these rolls are on it and I make no apologies.
The omelets also come with hashbrowns and the plate is massive. Neither of us finished our meal. We were both so full and the coffee was great as well. We sat out on the sidewalk and had a slight view of the ocean – the restaurant is a block or so off the sand.
Go shopping. There are so many cute stores in Manhattan Beach. There are some bigger named stores like Free People and Vineyard Vines, but I try to keep it local. Vuori and Aviator Nation both have stores there (although you can now buy both lines in Nordstrom!) and I’ve found some cute stuff at Waverly and Splendid.
Gum Tree is a personal favorite for unique gifts and stationery. I’ve picked up a few cute items for my apartment here as well. Manhattan Grocery is a fun little shop to pick up a few groceries, snacks, a bottle of wine… – stop in here – or at the Manhattan Beach Farmers Market if its a Tuesday between 11am and 3pm – and pick up something for lunch before you head to…
The beach. You can’t go to Manhattan Beach and not go to the beach. Stroll down the pier, walk along the Strand, set up shop in the sand, or stroll in the surf. Or, do what I do and do all of the above. Bring a volleyball if you want and try to snag a beach volleyball court – or join a game that’s already going on. I’ve found people in Manhattan Beach to be overwhelmingly friendly.
The Strand makes for a great walk. I’ve walked from pier to pier a few times. You can go from Manhattan Beach Pier to Hermosa Beach Pier in 2 miles, or all the way down to Redondo Beach Pier in about 3.5 miles. Just remember you have to walk back! I love the walk along the Strand personally as I like to people watch and take in the homes. Spend an hour or hours at the beach before you head back up the street for a little more shopping or dinner.
Dinner. There are several great places to eat in Manhattan Beach. If you want something casual, The Kettle is the place to go. I’ve had both lunch and dinner here and neither disappointed. Brewco is another great option for a casual vibe. The Strand House is excellent for a nice night out and they have great cocktails. Love & Salt is an Italian-inspired restaurant that I haven’t been to (yet!), but that gets recommended to me so often that I A) need to go ASAP and B) feel confident including it here. Most of these restaurants have a view of the beach which is perfect at sunset.
Dessert. After dinner, you need dessert. And as far as I’m concerned, the only place to get it is the Manhattan Beach Creamery. There is an assortment of ice cream, sundaes, acai bowls, and so many other sweet treats. Be warned that there is often a line, but it is oh so worth it.
Take your dessert for one more walk on the beach to end your day in Manhattan Beach. If you happen to see me around – I’m there a lot – make sure you say hi!