The Best Things to Do in South Bay LA for a Weekend Getaway
There are so many fun things to do in the South Bay area of LA! There’s truly nothing better than spending a fun and relaxing weekend with your friends bouncing around Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach. As a local to the area, I’m here to give you all the tips you’ll need to have an epic weekend. Grab your friends and a beach towel and start planning your trip to LA!
One thing I love as much as traveling is being home in Hermosa Beach. It’s truly such an amazing place with so much to do, perfect weather and friendly people. The “South Bay” area of Los Angeles is comprised of (from North to South) El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach. Whether you’re an LA resident and want some tips on things to do in the South Bay, or if you live in a different state entirely and want to travel out here for the weekend – the South Bay beach towns are definitely worth the trip!
This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you book through my links, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for the support!
South Bay Los Angeles Trip Overview:
PTO/Vacation Days Needed: 0-2
Check out my video (in partnership with Civic Couch) here!
How to Get to South Bay Los Angeles:
Only about 5 miles from LAX, the South Bay area is just a quick Uber ride away. Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach are only about 1-2 miles apart and you can easily bounce around these beach towns by riding a bike or walking on the beach boardwalk called The Strand.
Where to Stay in the South Bay Los Angeles:
While there are laws in place that prohibit short-term rentals (no Airbnbs here – sorry!) there are quite a few great hotels in the area. I recommend staying at Shade Hotel Redondo. The hotel overlooks the marina, has a rooftop pool, great happy hour at their waterfront restaurant, AND they give you free champagne upon arrival. Also, they provide you with free beach cruiser bike rentals which is a huge plus!
Things to Do in South Bay Los Angeles for an Epic Weekend:
1. Cruise the Strand
The Strand is essentially a beach boardwalk that runs all the way from Redondo Beach up north to Santa Monica. One of the most popular things to do in the South Bay is to bike, walk or rollerblade on The Strand, admiring the awesome houses and beautiful beach along the way. If you’re in need of a bike rental, check out Hermosa Cyclery right by the pier. They also have free air stations where you can stop by and fill up your bike tires if needed!
2. Beach Activities
You’ll notice almost everyone in the South Bay is super active outside on the beach. There are plenty of acitivities on the sand to choose from, the most popular of which are volleyball and beach tennis.
Take a Volleyball Lesson
Hermosa and Manhattan Beach are huge volleball hubs, and many pro-players have come from this area. There are often volleyball tournaments happening on the sand near the pier on the weekends, which are really fun to watch. If you want to get in on the action, I recommend taking a volleyball lesson! I’ve taken lessons from both Jesse Websterand Mark Burik (VolleyCamp Hermosa)and both were great experiences!
Beach Tennis is a newer sport that is gaining popularity. There are courts on the sand near Hermosa Pier. Check out the schedule on the Beach Tennis website to see when they give lessons!
3. Get Out on the Water
Surfing is one of the most iconic things to do in the South Bay area of LA. One of the best surf spots is El Porto (North Manhattan Beach). There’s a parking lot down near the beach off of 45th street. You can rent a surfboard at El Porto Surf Shop
If you are new to surfing, you should take a surf lesson! I’ve taken one from Camp Surf in El Porto and had the best time!
Take a Sailing Lesson
South Bay Sailingoffers sailing lessons or a sunset cruise out of the Redondo Marina. Make sure you also check Groupon – there’s often deals for sailing lessons here!
Another fun way to get out on the water – you can rent a paddleboard from Tarsan in the Redondo Marina! Here you can either stay in the protected harbor and check out the local sea lions, or paddle out to the ocean. You can rent a board for 90 minutes for $35. They also offer lessons if you are a beginner!
4. Picnic on the Beach
One of my favorite things to do in Hermosa Beach or Manhattan Beach is to chill on the sand and have a picnic! Pick a spot a few blocks away from the pier to avoid the crowds. Pick up a sandwich from either Mickey’s or Boccatos (they are both delicious!), grab some beach blanets and pack a cooler! You technically aren’t allowed to drink on the beach, but it’s not heavily enforced so as long as you’re low-key about it you should be fine.
After all the outdoor activities – you deserve some relaxation! One of my favorite spots is Trilogy Spa in Manhattan Beach. They have the cutest rooftop where you can hang out after your treatment. Pro tip: bring some champagne to drink on the roof! If you’re looking to get a mani/pedi – check out Polish by SandSpa. They have a location in both Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach.
There are SO many good restaurants in the South Bay. Here’s a list of some of my faves (in no particular order):
Best Restaurants in the South Bay Los Angeles (in my opinion):
Tower 12Also a popular bar, but has great food and is located right on Pier Ave in Hermosa Beach. My favorite things on the menu are the Burrata Toast, the Cauliflower Tempura and the burger. Really fun, young California vibe.
Steak & WhiskyIf you’re looking for more of an upscale dinner, Steak and Whisky is delicious and conveniently located on Pier Ave.
AbigaileA bit pricey, but the food is really good. They also brew their own beers here. There’s a cute rooftop bar on top called Alta House, which i’ll talk more about later.
Fritto MistoIf you’re looking for a no-frills Italian restuarant with hearty portions and tasty food – this is it! Pro tip – bring your own bottle of wine for a super minimal corkage fee (if you buy if from the Uncorked wine shop next door, it’s free corkage). My favorite thing on the menu is the Jumbo Ravioli. So good!
Bottle InnAnother great Italian restuarant with a fabulous wine selection and a cute outdoor patio
Manhattan Beach PostFarm-to-Table shared plates with a community vibe. The cheddar bacon biscuits are to die for! Definitely call ahead for a reservation.
IzakayaOne of Chef Katsuya Uechi’s restuarants. Amazing sushi!
Calo Kitchen & TequilaThis upscale mexican restuarant is on the border of Manhattan Beach and El Segundo, and features an extensive tequila menu, muddled margaritas and delicious food!
Fishing with DynamiteThis is one place I still have yet to try, but it is known to be one of the best seafood restaurants in all of LA!
Rockefeller – This gastropub features $15 bottomless mimosas with 4 different juice options. Need I say more? The food is really good too. They have a location in Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beach.
Serve on 2nd (Hermosa Beach)- Also has a bottomless mimosa deal, delicious food (try the muffin of the day) and cute beachy decor
Martha’s (Hermosa Beach)- diner-style feel but with a cute patio and great Eggs Benedict! Also try the White Corn Scramble. So good!
Brothers Burritos (Hermosa Beach)- my favorite breakfast burrito place in town. I normally get it to-go and eat it on the beach!
Uncle Bill’s Pancake House (Manhattan Beach) – This place has been here for over 50 years and is a Manhattan Beach staple! Be prepared for a long wait, though.
Paradise Bowls(Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach) – if you’re looking for a healthy grab-n-go breakfast, Paradise Bowls has awesome acai bowls and smoothies.
7. Check out the Shops in Manhattan and Hermosa Beach
There are lots of cute boutique shops in Manhattan and Hermosa Beach, both near the pier areas. My favorite shop is called Right Tribe in Manhattan Beach. This one is a bit of a hole-in-the-wall shop that features unique trinkets, plants, crystals and homemade leather goods. Love it!
8. Go to a Comedy Show
One of my favorite things to do in the South Bay is to go to a comedy show at the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach! This place has been here for ages and is a popular favorite both for comedians to perform here and for locals to attend shows. My favorite are the "10 for 10" shows on Friday and Saturday nights, where 10 comedians each go on stage and perform for 10 minutes each. It’s such a great show!
9. Go Out for Drinks
There are plenty of great spots to go out for drinks in the South Bay. Here is a list of some of my favorites!
The Deck, Hermosa Beach
This dive bar is my favorite spot in the South Bay for both day drinking and night time. It’s located right on The Strand, so if you’re there in the day time you can watch volleyball games on the beach from inside. Here you can play pool, shuffleboard, or participate in the frequent flip cup games that end up happening on the long table on the back patio. The bar serves beer and wine only, but also has jell-o shots!
Alta House, Hermosa Beach
This rooftop bar is trendy and affordalbe (they have happy hour deals on Friday nights!) and is a beautiful spot to watch the sunset. It’s located above Abigaile restaurant, and features food from Abigaile on the menu as well.
Tower 12, Hermosa Beach
Go here in the early evening before there’s a line and it gets too crowded! This spot is one of the trendier bars in Hermosa Beach, but has cool decor, live bands and fun people. There’s also a great view of the pier area from the deck of this bar:
King Harbor Brewing Company, Redondo Beach
I love biking here in for a beer in the day time, as there’s a great view of the Redondo Marina from inside this open-air taproom.
Sea Level at Shade Hotel, Redondo Beach
This spot has great happy hour deals and also has a beautiful view of Redondo Marina, with fire pits in case it’s a chilly evening!
Ercoles, Manhattan Beach
This cash-only dive bar hasn’t changed in quite some time, and I like it that way! There’s a pool table in the back, and their burgers are also delicious, as they source the meat from the Manhattan Meat Market next door.
Shellback Tavern, Manhattan Beach
Another fun dive bar close to the Manhattan Beach Pier that’s super popular among locals
North End Bar & Grill, Hermosa Beach
Located off the beaten path compared to the rest of the bars, this dive bar is great for watching sports as it has a lot of TVs. There’s also a pool table and a pretty extensive food menu.
Laurel Tavern, Hermosa Beach
This gastropub is a great spot for cocktails! They have the best spicy margarita in town.
10. Enjoy Some Live Music!
There are quite a few spots to listen to live music in the South Bay:
Pancho’s, Manhattan Beach
This Mexican restuarant in north Manhattan Beach has an AWESOME live band on Friday and Saturday nights. This rock cover band features talented musicans, some of which have played with Fleetwood Mac, Alice Cooper and Styx. The whole audience will be up dancing and singing along!
The Standing Room, Hermosa Beach
This bar/restaurant in Hermosa Beach features live music several nights of the week, featuring talented cover bands across a wide variety of genres
This intimate concert venue features a calendar full of great shows
Lighthouse CafeFun fact- this place was featured in the movie La La Land as the jazz bar! They have live music here every night of the week, and have a jazz brunch on Sunday’s.
Hermosa Beach Summer ConcertsIf you’re here in August, there’s normally free concerts on the sand at Hermosa Beach Pier every Sunday evening!
11. Get a Customized Ice Cream Sandwich
There’s this spot on Hermosa Pier called The Baked Bear where you can pick your ice cream flavor, and the top and bottom of ice cream sandwich (brownie/doughtnut/different flavors of cookies) and then get it warm-pressed before digging in. It’s SO good!
12. Check Out The Aquarium on the Pier
The Manhattan Beach Pier has a small roundhouse aquarium on the end of the pier. It just got remodeled this year, and features some great exhibits of fish that are local to the area. Also – it’s free to enter!
13. Take a Yoga Class
One of my favorite things to do in the South Bay is to take a yoga class at Yoga Loft in Manhattan Beach. This small yoga studio is overlooking the ocean and the Manhattan Beach Pier, so you can literally watch the surfers and listen to the waves crashing during vinyasa. The view from your mat is incredible!
14. Watch the Sunset From a Lifeguard Stand
The sunsets in the South Bay are INCREDIBLE! One of my favorite spots to watch the sunset is from the lifeguard stands. The beach is pretty empty at this time and it’s so peaceful!
Looking for other weekend getaways in Calfornia? You might enjoy reading these posts!