During my first couple of visits to Los Angeles I did the usual tourist stuff: Hollywood Boulevard, Santa Monica, Malibu, Venice Beach, the Getty Museum. It was fun, but I didn’t fall in love with the city.
Both times I left feeling like I didn’t get a feeling for LA as a liveable city. With traffic-choked highways, smoggy air, average beaches and too many strip malls, it felt lacklustre and disjointed to me, and I was generally underwhelmed.
But then on my last visit, I finally made it to the South Bay of LA and everything changed.
Gorgeous beaches, windswept cliffs with magnificent views, walkable streets lined with delicious restaurants and cosy cafes, board walks and surf shops and friendly, laid back locals. The South Bay of Los Angeles just blew me away and suddenly, I loved LA.
For the first time, I could actually picture myself living in Los Angeles. Who knew?!
The South Bay is a southern region of the Los Angeles Metropolitan area and stretches south from LAX Airport to Long Beach along Santa Monica Bay.
It includes fifteen cities as well as portions of the City of Los Angeles, and it is one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the U.S. Oh, and if you haven’t gathered already, it’s awesome.
I have partnered with Expedia.com.au to bring you my South Bay highlights – the reasons why you shouldn’t miss the South Bay, Los Angeles:
Why You Shouldn’t Miss the South Bay of Los Angeles
Manhattan Beach is my favorite place in the South Bay of Los Angeles and somewhere I now dream of living one day.
This beachside city is home to a very pleasant and walkable downtown, filled with colorful buildings housing trendy cafes and healthy food joints, a picturesque pier with a small aquarium at the end, and a gorgeous stretch of white sand beach that screams California, with tall palm trees and iconic lifeguard stations.
Once you visit Manhattan Beach, you may never want to leave: The good vibes here are infectious.
Hermosa Beach is the slightly grungier sister city to Manhattan Beach, and is home to the palm tree lined Pier Avenue, home to many surf shops and laid-back bars and restaurants. Hermosa Beach attracts more of a younger crowd, and is the place to watch surfers doing their thing, or have a big night out on lively Pier Avenue.
The beachside path that is known as The Strand connects Hermosa Beach to Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach, and is the perfect place for a beach front bike ride. Hermosa Beach is a lively and fun spot in the South Bay of LA.
Redondo Beach is another beautiful beach city in the South Bay of LA. The beach at Redondo is backed by tall sand dunes covered in plants, giving it a more rugged and natural feel than the beaches at Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach.
Redondo Beach is also an excellent spot to grab a drink and some fresh seafood at the iconic Redondo Beach Pier, which is like a city on stilts over the water, with many options for dining, shopping and entertainment.
Palos Verdes Peninsula
The Palos Verdes Peninsula is a green oasis in the South Bay of Los Angeles, with a stunning cliffside drive that is regularly voted as one of the best in America. You can hike to secret beaches, explore a haunted lighthouse, wander tide pools and even ride horses on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
The best way to enjoy the natural attractions of the Palos Verdes Peninsula is with your own set of wheels – that way you can take your time and stop off at the myriad viewpoints that look out over the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. You will feel like you are a world away from the busy streets of LA.
San Pedro is the southern boundary of the South Bay, and is home to the Port of Los Angeles, the busiest cargo terminal in the United States.
The local Cabrillo beach is popular with families, and there are numerous museums located in San Pedro including the Los Angeles Maritime Museum and the Fort MacArthur Museum which are both worth a look.
But the highlight of San Pedro is the Korean Bell of Friendship and its stunning setting, with gorgeous views from the clifftops out to sea – especially at sunset.
These are just a few of the wonderful places that make up the South Bay of Los Angeles, go check them out for yourself and I’m sure you will love the South Bay as much as I do.
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