If Manhattan Beach has classy beachside cottages, bougainvillea-lined walk-streets, bustling sidewalk patios, friendly boutiques, surfers silhouetted against the setting sun, and all within half a mile of a portrait-worthy pier. It’s that impossibly perfect.
A bastion of surf music and the birthplace of beach volleyball, Manhattan Beach has gone chic. Its downtown area along Manhattan Beach Blvd has seen an explosion of trendy restaurants, boutiques and hotels. Yet, even with this Hollywood-ification, it remains a serene seaside enclave with prime surf on either side of the pier.
There’s a Friday farmers market near city hall, metered parking at the base of the pier and a public parking garage on Valley Dr between Manhattan Beach Blvd and 13th St.
The Perks of Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Beach benefits from ocean breezes that provide clean air and summer temperatures that are 10 to 20 °F (5.6 to 11.1 °C) cooler than the inland regions of Southern California.
The Manhattan Beach Unified School District has test scores ranked #3 in the State of California according to California Department of Education statistics. Forbes Magazine ranked Manhattan Beach Unified as the sixth best School District in the U.S.
According to a July 5, 2014, article in the Beach Reporter newspaper, the city of Manhattan Beach has the most educated residents (according to percentage of residents with bachelor’s degree or higher) than any other city in California.
Manhattan Beach Neighborhoods
The “Hill Section” is known for its high priced homes where many of the residences are remodeled or newly constructed. The steep hills allow panoramic ocean and city views.
The nearby “Sand Section” is notable for its quiet walk-street neighborhoods adjacent to the ocean. Oceanfront homes stretch along the bike path and walking lane of “The Strand”.
“Downtown” Manhattan Beach is considered the heart of the city. The area runs along Manhattan Beach Boulevard and the streets perpendicular to the Manhattan Beach Pier and Valley Drive. There are many Zagat rated casual-fine dining restaurants, specialty boutiques and retailers that create a pedestrian friendly, mixed-use downtown center. The new Metlox site includes a luxury boutique hotel, spa, restaurants, shops and underground parking.
The “Rosecrans corridor” is located on the south side of Rosecrans Avenue, east of Sepulveda, and west of Aviation. The Manhattan Beach Country Club, the Marriott Hotel and Golf Course, Fry’s electronics, retail stores, restaurants, supermarkets, and shopping centers border the Rosecrans corridor between Sepulveda and Aviation Boulevards.
The “Sepulveda Corridor” occupies the commercial zone, and is the city’s main north-south highway. The area includes the Manhattan Village Mall, which is located east of Sepulveda Boulevard between Marine and Rosecrans Avenues. The mall, built in the early 1980s, was remodeled in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The mall is anchored by Macy’s on both ends and tenants include Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Williams-Sonoma, and the Apple Store.
The “Aviation Corridor” is located along Aviation Boulevard, the zone includes several major entertainment and aerospace complexes, including Manhattan Beach Studios and the Northrop Grumman Space Park Complex. Manhattan Beach Media Campus is home to the production of many popular releases in movies and entertainment, including the Marvel pictures “Thor” and “Iron Man 2” and both sequels to James Cameron’s “Avatar” movie.