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Fly into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which is about a 20-minute drive away. Shuttles, buses, taxis, and rideshares service LAX and will get you the rest of the way to Manhattan Beach. You can also pick up a rental car, but they aren’t necessary for getting around the city and nearby hot spots. Rideshares and taxis are easy to find, and Beach City Transit buses connect Manhattan to neighboring communities. If you plan on sightseeing in Los Angeles, the choice between a rental car or a combo of alternative transportation options will depend on where you want to go and what you want to spend.
During the summer, Manhattan Beach pulses with surfers in wetsuits, beachgoers in bikinis, and sidewalks buzzing with outdoor diners and shoppers. The rest of the year isn’t too different: Southern California’s pleasant climate means the beach is active year-round, although winter is cooler and mornings are marked by marine layer — low-lying clouds that scuttle in from the ocean. Every year, usually in August, bleachers are erected on the sand and tens of thousands pour in for the Manhattan Beach Open, the only professional volleyball tournament in which amateurs can qualify to play.
The city’s pier juts 900 feet into the water, offering panoramic views of the beach and surf. With bright blue railings and distinctive glass globe lights atop cement pedestals, it has a retro flair. You can fish off the pier year-round, as well as tread the Volleyball Walk of Fame, a series of bronze plaques commemorating the winners of the Manhattan Beach Open. Its tip offers superior sunset viewing, and benches lining the pier allow for leisurely wave-gazing any time of day.
This popular pathway runs along the top of the beach and connects Manhattan to nearby Hermosa Beach in the south — the city’s shaggy surfer cousin — and Santa Monica to the north. It’s perfect for a leisurely stroll or pedal, so hop on this trail to ogle the palatial beach homes that guard the beach.
This glass and metal art installation at 14th Avenue and Highland Avenue is shaped like a giant keyhole — a big, flat orb with an opening in the center. Twice a year, on January 27 and November 14, the sunset aligns with the keyhole, and a gleaming ray of light courses through the center. The sculpture’s decorative glass panels create colorful prism-like refractions year-round.