Looking for what to do in the South Bay of Los Angeles? You’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re looking for a day at the beach, a hot new restaurant, a dog-friendly hike or a place to catch live music, we’ve got you covered.
The South Bay stretches from Palos Verdes to El Segundo along the beach, plus several communities a little bit inland. Although it’s part of the Los Angeles Basin, the look and feel of the area doesn’t have much in common with the celebrity-obsessed culture of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. The vibe is more surf town with an upscale leaning, and the locals are laid back and love to have fun. Most people in the South Bay love to be outside and are very athletic, with surfing, beach volleyball, beach tennis and The Strand all at our front doorstep. Here’s a breakdown of what to do in the South Bay, based on your interest:
There’s a place to fit your mood in the Beach Cities every night of the week. Whether it’s dancing until the early morning, checking out a sunset with a cocktail in hand, or watching a Lakers game, South Bay Events has all your options at your fingertips.
Starting from the south, the Riviera Village has undergone a resurgence in the past few years. Farm-to-table spots such as Suburbia offer delicious cocktails, craft beer bars like Sophie’s Place and some of the best sushi and sake bombs around are at Flyin’ Fin. The Redondo Beach Pier has several more options, including Naja’s Place with 100 beers on tap, as well as hidden gems like The Slip and R10. The best place for a sunset cocktail is upstairs at Old Tony’s, offering up a 360-degree view directly above the ocean.
Hermosa Beach is the center of the action, literally and figuratively. There are dozens of spots to choose from, many of which have sizable crowds almost all day long on the weekends. The south side of Pier Plaza has such staples as Sharkeez, American Junkie, Patrick Molloys and Waterman’s. Across the plaza is Tower 12 (formerly Fat Face Fenner’s), which has been attracting huge crowds from all over Southern California since its opening in 2017. Places like The Deck and Mermaid have been around for generations and occupy beachfront real estate. There are very few places left in California where you can watch the beach volleyball action right outside of the bar’s windows.
Manhattan Beach is the upscale city in the South Bay with nightlife to match. Sip on a martini at places like Arthur J’s steakhouse or Manhattan Beach Post, or watch any game you could possibly want at Shark’s Cove. Of course, no visit to Manhattan Beach is complete without a stop at Shellback Tavern, home of Beach Trash and Fanta shots.
The South Bay has the best beaches in LA County, with clean, white sand that stretches for miles. The locals are proud that our beaches pretty much spotless, which makes for an ideal canvas to play beach volleyball, Manhattan and Hermosa Beach represent the epicenter of the sport and several pros call the South Bay their home and training ground.
The Strand is the main artery of the South Bay, and divides the beach from the city in the form of a bike path that stretches from Torrance Beach in the south all the way to Will Rogers in the north. On any given day, you’ll see bicycles, skateboards, roller skates and any other form of wheeled vehicle you can imagine cruising along the perfectly smooth surface. Joggers and dog walkers take advantage of the path as well – just make sure you stay to the right if you’re walking. Just a 1/2 mile east of the Strand is the Green Belt, which provides a more solitary alternative to the crowded beachfront. With spongy wood chips to jog on, your knees will thank you too.
The surf culture is thriving in the South Bay and industry innovators such as Spyder and Dive N’ Surf call the area home. ET Surfboards, Pier Surf and Surf Concepts are legendary local shops as well. Year-round surf can be had from Torrance to El Porto and it can get world-class at certain spots in the winter. Surf contests for all ages pop up all year long if you’re interested in testing your skills.
Palos Verdes offers some of the best hiking in L.A., with panoramic views of Catalina Island, with surprising trails through open meadows and pine forest. The area at the top of the hill where Crenshaw Blvd. ends is the main hub for hiking.
The South Bay has absolutely blown up in recent years, with an influx of dining options popping up every month. Foodie spots such as Baran’s 2239, Manhattan Beach Post and Fishing With Dynamite are putting the South Bay on the culinary map. Every variety of cuisine can be found, from authentic Pho joints to 5-star steakhouses. Check out our Restaurants section to learn more.
Surprise your significant other with a few nights at the luxury resort Terranea in Palos Verdes. This sprawling complex covers over 100 acres on a bluff directly over the Pacific. Sip champagne on your balcony or head over to Nelson’s Restaurant for some quality live music (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy recently played). The lower, adults-only pool could be at home on the Vegas strip and the food at the multiple restaurants is top-notch.
Both Shade Hotel locations (Redondo and Manhattan Beach) offer similar getaways for locals and visitors alike. Pamper yourself or join the party at the respective rooftop pools.