Manhattan Beach is one of the best places to spend some time during your visit to Los Angeles. This iconic beach town is the home of beach volleyball in the United States and one of the first true beach cities between Los Angeles and Orange County.
Most of the best things to do in Manhattan Beach suggested here are on the beach so make sure to pack sunscreen and water! The city’s small downtown is great as well and there are lots of great shops and restaurants to check out during your visit to the area. If you are looking for places to stay in the area check out my accommodation guide.
You can also use this handy map to help you find the best places to stay in Manhattan Beach:
Getting Around Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Beach is located a couple miles south of Los Angeles so a bit isolated from most of the public transportation in the city. I would recommend renting a car if you are going to visit but you won’t be needing to drive around all day to do everything the city has to offer. The downtown area is very close to the beach so once you park on a street spot or in a lot you will be able to get around on foot for most of your visit.
Best things to do in Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles
Walk the Manhattan Beach Pier
The Manhattan Beach pier is a short but beautiful pier that has a small but fun aquarium at the end of it. This is a great activity for kids as the aquarium is interesting but should not take too much time to enjoy. The pier has amazing views of the ocean and more likely than not you will see people fishing off of it.
Also featured on the pier are the plaques of the winners of the annual Manhattan Beach Open beach volleyball tournament so keep a lookout for volleyball legends like Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes. The pier is a very iconic part of Manhattan Beach and right near downtown so it will be hard to miss!
Ride Bikes Along The Strand
The Strand is a 2.1 mile stretch of beach that encompasses all of Manhattan Beach. The Strand has an amazing section of the Marvin Braude bike trail with gorgeous beach to the west and incredible beachfront homes to the east. A great way to spend some of your day in Manhattan Beach is renting some bikes and seeing all of this iconic beach for yourself. If you want a longer ride, the entire Marvin Braude trail is over 20 miles and you cant take it all the way to the Pacific Palisades north of Los Angeles. The Strand ends in Downtown Hermosa beach which is a great place to bike around and see all that Hermosa has to offer. There aren’t very many better activities in Manhattan Beach than riding bikes oceanside!
Explore Downtown Manhattan Beach
Wondering what to do in Manhattan Beach when you need a little downtime from all the activity? Downtown Manhattan Beach is one of the best city areas to walk around in all of Los Angeles! The shops and restaurants all look amazing and you can truly spend an entire day just wandering the downtown which merges beautifully with the beach.
The city hosts a farmers market on Tuesdays which can be another fun stop in your visit to the area. Take in the California Sunshine and amazing weather outside in one of the best beach cities in the world. The closeness to the beach and laid back feel of the town make this a very fun place to spend a day!
See a Show at The Comedy and Magic Club
The Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach is one of the best comedy clubs in the country and a great place to spend a night in Manhattan Beach. The club attracts a lot of top tier comedy talent with Jay Leno having hosted a residency here on Sunday nights for the past couple years. The crowds are famously good and the laid back beach atmosphere makes this a great place to spend an evening. The club also has a variety of magicians who perform so check the schedule and find a show that sounds fun!
Play Beach Volleyball
It would not be a Manhattan Beach guide if I did not suggest you play some beach volleyball during your visit. The town is a staple of the United States beach volleyball scene with most professional players calling it home and an annual tournament which is always the biggest domestic tournament. The city has lots of very well maintained courts and you might get lucky and see some professional players practicing next to you! There are also programs in the area that can give players of all skill some valuable instruction, check out Better at Beach for clinics and coaching.