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Everything you need to know about Manhattan Beach, CA.

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

You are obviously on this page because you either just moved to Manhattan Beach, CA or you are visiting this beach town. Either way, I am so excited to tell you all about this beautiful city.

If you are looking for specifically food-related information in Manhattan Beach, check this shorter article.

Otherwise, read along.

Manhattan Beach is an affluent town of about 40,000 people. It is one of three ' Beach Cities'. It is part of an area called ' South Bay' but technically, South Bay is part of Los Angeles County. The temperates here are moderate year long due to the city's proximity to the Pacific Ocean. If you are comfortable in a wet suit and like to surf, you can enjoy the waves practically all year round.

The Beach

The beautiful beach is a fantastic community resource and is generally less touristy than the Santa Monica, Hermosa or Malibu beaches. The pier is clean and beautiful and is just gorgeously decorated around Christmas. The cherry on the top is the Roundhouse Aquarium right on the pier. The beach is pretty long and stretches about 2.1 miles. There is a walking path and a bike path throughout this entire way with clean restrooms along the way. Sunrise and sunsets on the beach are probably among the best in the country!

TIP: If you want to rent bikes, drive a little further to Hermosa Beach to Hermosa Cyclery, which is right by the beach in Hermosa. Park in the parking lot or on the street.

You can grab a quick bite at one of the restaurants on the beachfront too. For your bike ride, you can drive south to Redondo Beach or you can drive north to Manhattan Beach or all the way to El Segundo.


The best kept secret in town are the Sketchers Fireworks. They happen right on the pier! They were canceled in 2020 due to COVID but generally, every year they delight residents during the holidays.

The second best kept secret in town is the Pumpkin Race that the whole city gears up for! It takes place downtown, right by the beach front. The next annual PUMPKIN RACE will take place Oct 2022 and it is always quite a spectacle to see. The town gives out free kits and residents make their own pumpkin racers and race them downhill.

Kids love to check out the 'Light Gate' in front of the library. This structure was installed in 2015 by artists Mags Harries and Lojos Heder. As viewers move around and through the sculpture, it shift from transparency, to prismatic refraction, to mirror reflection. On two days of the year, the sun sets perfectly through the Light Gate sculpture.

Beach Volleyball is a thing here! The city is known for its beach volleyball tournament, the Manhattan Beach Open (by AVP) which has been played since 1960s. The Open is the only professional volleyball tournament in which amateurs are able to "place into" the event through pre-qualifying rounds. It draws well over 60,000 people and it is a very prestigious event. It usually takes place in August.

Santa comes every year in Manhattan Beach. Even the adults believe in him!

The cops honk a holiday tune to alert people to step out of their home to greet Santa. It is the cutest event ever!

The Sand Castle Design Contest in Manhattan Beach is also a fun event. 2022 is their 60th year.


Manhattan Beach consistently ranks as one of the best small towns in America. It has a beach town feel - A laid-back, relaxed vibe! Given its proximity to the beach and the quality of schooling, Manhattan Beach is no doubt expensive. The cost of living here is high - Property prices are high, groceries are priced higher, utilities are tad more expensive than other parts of the state.

According to Pay Scale, Manhattan Beach's housing expenses are 436% higher than the national average. The beach-front homes are priced higher than most other homes in the city. As of April 2020, the median price of a Manhattan Beach home is $2.5 million. Most homes here are single-family but there are newer townhomes near busier streets. In general, it is harder to find apartments to rent but reach out to a real estate broker, and you may get lucky!

Manhattan Beach is divided into 5 sections:

The Sand Section

This part of MB is by the coastline. Great beach views, smaller lots and pretty pricey. Parking is a headache but if you are just visiting, this is where you should be. Lots of rental properties on Air B&B. Homes that are west of Highland Avenue are most expensive. Downtown is this area.