Looking for a last minute summer getaway idea? Manhattan Beach, CA may be the perfect option.
Here is a “locals” guide to Manhattan Beach, California. Before it was put on the map by 90210 (you may remember Luke and Brenda at their beach house, it was in MB), 90266 was our hometown.
All of us, mom, sister and I, were born and raised in Manhattan Beach. There aren’t too many us, “Locals”, as we are proudly called. Manhattan Beach, like most of California is populated by transplants: those that swear they just had to get out of their home state. Everyone wants to bask in the year round sunshine and movie stars. Those of us that have called it home, love it for so many of the same reasons everyone holds a fondness for their hometown. It’s home.
So if you are looking for a great place to visit this summer — or honestly any time of the year — we can hook you up with our gem of a town, MB.
Hotel Hermosa — this hotel is technically in Hermosa Beach, but it’s just on the border and well within Manhattan Beach territory. Other places that you could stay would be Shade and Bellamar. We love these places for their relaxed, beach-y, fun, and youthful vibe. They execute SoCal style with sophistication. What’s the fun in going to Cali and staying in a boring, dingy hotel, when you can immerse yourself in the local style? But at the end of the day, you’ll really be spending your time scoping out the sights with hardly enough time to just bum around a hotel.
Love the local style but want to take it a step further? If you go the Airbnb route, you can live like a local and unpack your bags in this sweet little Surfer Pad:
When you’re finally ready to leave your totally rad pad, the first thing to do is shop for some beach duds. Though be warned, shopping in MB isn’t like shopping your local beach boardwalk. Here, we’ve got style. Although The Birdhouse is no longer and LeChat has since closed, shopping in Manhattan Beach is still top notch and beach chic. Another favorite of ours, 3rd Gallery, is still there, just not operated by the original owners. My mother considers herself an MB OG and is still a purist when it comes to shopping her local favorites.
Wrights 232 Manhattan Beach Blvd Manhattan Beach, CA. 90266
We have been shopping here since it opened, when my sister was just 2 years old, 29 years ago. It is a totally hip fashion boutique. Wright’s is a “free spirit eclecticism” with a fusion of American tribal craft + modern bohemian style. Impeccable Nest has always been a fan.
Gum Tree 324 Manhattan Beach Blvd Manhattan Beach, CA. 90266
Another favorite of ours, Gum Tree is a collection of all things eclectic and artisan, and is the perfect way to achieve that California lifestyle. Even though we’re not within driving distance of this wonderland shop nowadays, we still turn to their online emporium for home decor, gifts, toys, jewelry, and other artisan goods. If you do have a chance to visit the brick-and-mortar location, be sure to stop into their cafe for some SoCal grub that will fill you up.
Here is another area that is missing some of our hometown favorites, like Koffee Kart, Beach Hut, Zeppy’s Pizza, Hibachi, Café Pierre…again my mother could go on and on listing all the by-gone places of her youth. But we have some new faves, and a few oldies-but-goodies, to keep you well fed with MB soul.
Now that is enough of the bold exciting new-to-the-hood places, we are talking nostalgia here, so let’s introduce you to OUR MB.
Sloopy’s 3416 Highland Ave. Manhattan Beach, CA. 90266
My mom came here with her peeps in high school and, years later, it was still the popular place for my high school crew, too. In fact, it basically looks the same as it did when it opened in 1967 — pretty groovy! They still have some original menu items like, raspberry and peanut butter shakes and the Mother Nature sandwich. This is where California got the avocado and sprouts “hippy food” rep and we wouldn’t change a thing.
This is your place for breakfast. I mean if Koffee Kart was still around, it could be a toss up, but with this place still standing, it’s a must-visit. Skip it for lunch, though, strictly breakfast.
If you wanna hang with the locals and grab a cerveza, try Ercole’s or Shellback. And a visit wouldn’t be complete without having some Mexican food! We have some originals for you to try. Pancho’s has been here since 1976. There is also El Tarasco and El Sombrero (‘El Som’) — households are usually divided between which one of these two is the best. We were an ‘El Som’ family but since they changed locations, we have to say El Tarasco because they have been rockin’ the same location since 1965.
All things center on the beach, yet specifically here is what you do. “No life east of Sepulveda.”
No visit is complete without a stroll down the pier. It is where you can watch volleyballers, surfers, swimmers, fishing, and visit the Roundhouse Aquarium or cafe at the end of the pier. The Pier is what defines Manhattan Beach. If you go in December, there is a tree lighting celebration and fireworks. No fireworks allowed in July, but we have firework display for Christmas. Fireworks or not, the pier should be at the top of your list.
The Strand and bike path
If the pier is a must visit, then no day is complete without a walk on The Strand. All along the beach is a walking/jogging path, it is called The Strand. Bring your coffee, your dog, a group of friends, whatever…it is your daily zen. The bike path runs adjacent to the strand and you can follow this beyond Manhattan Beach North or South to explore the coast. Dude, you gotta rent a strand cruiser and check this out.
Volleyball + Surfing
Beach volleyball began in Manhattan Beach. To grow up in Manhattan Beach you had to play volleyball and/or surf, most likely both…or like why exist. Both of these sports are part of the curriculum at school. It is just the way of life here. Good luck getting a spot to watch one of the many professional volleyball tournaments, like the Manhattan Beach Open that happen throughout the summer. Be sure to start the day with a Bloody Mary at the Shellback if you do…or just stay there all day and watch it on TV while it happens just to your backside on the sand. You’re gonna wanna say you did. You’ll be toasting the volleyball gods, Sinjin Smith and Karch Kiraly. Or catch a glimpse of Misty May and Kerri Walsh. Just a few of the volleyball legends this town has produced. Yowza!
Concert in the Park
Every Sunday evening from July until Labor day weekend, Manhattan Beach-ites leave the sand and held to Polliwog Park for our Summer Concert in Park. Bring blankets, chairs and edibles from Trader Joes to chill and listen to tunes. I’ve been to many concerts in the park, but nothing compares to this one. It is totally dope.
Old Hometown Fair
Manhattan Beach waits for this weekend all year long. It all happens the first weekend in October, commences with our infamous 10K, you just don’t belong if you haven’t earned an official MB Old Hometown 10K t-shirt. Our design hubby, born and raised in Goffstown, NH now considers himself a “local” after he earned his 10K t-shirt. After the run, it is all about the crafts, games, art show, food and the beer garden. Or if you are a “local” it is all about the beer garden and a pepper belly. The beer garden is where we all meet up with our childhood friends and reminisce about the good ole days. Or in the case of our design hubby, you make up stories just to fit in and be cool…it’s that hood. Not gonna lie, we try and make a visit for that weekend, it’s that awesome.
You’re probs totally jones’in on heading to our beach town and wondering “so why did you move to New Hampshire?” Yeah, we get that a lot. Our standard answer is TREES. New Hampshire is beautiful and laidback in it’s own way. We love that the ways in which our SoCal and New England cultures blend to impact our design aesthetic. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Want to see for yourself what we mean? Check out our portfolio and see for yourself how West Coast and East Coast can meet. Shop this MB look too!
Loving the Manhattan Beach vibe and want it in your home? Check out these awesome CA prints from our artist crush, Christine Flynn!
We've got summer on the brain...for realz these days, so it only made sense to create a moody, beachy blue board for mood board Monday. Sconces/Wallpaper/Sofa/Print/Rug/Chair/Coffee Table Now, all we need is some summer weather, the beach right outside of our front door, and a margarita in our hands...that's impeccable.
Where has the summer gone? We know, everyone says this. But seriously, we can't believe it is already September. Mid-September at that. So... Nothing better than a quick little vacay to help savor the last bits of summer. And the girls love going to the "hotel, motel, HO-LI-DAY INN...say what?" And a few days in…
Whomever said, "you can't go home again", has not been to the Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair. Sure, we live in New England now, the leaves are turning and nothing is quite like New England this time of year. But...we travel to Manhattan Beach, California the first weekend of October to go to our Hometown…