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Day trip: 10 fun things to do in Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach Pier Photo by David Ricks

Long notable for its photogenic pier, thriving beach volleyball and surfing scenes, and direct access to a 22-mile oceanfront bicycle path, Manhattan Beach has in recent years seen a steady arrival of new boutiques and critically acclaimed restaurants.

If the foot traffic along downtown Highland and Manhattan avenues is any indication, the nearly 4-square-mile South Bay neighborhood is more than a posh suburban enclave—it’s a bona fide SoCal destination. Here are 10 fun places to explore and things to do in Manhattan Beach.

GoodBoyBob Americano

Photo by David Ricks

1. Grab an Americano at GoodBoyBob

This coffee shop expanded from Santa Monica and Culver City to its newest, Highland Avenue location. Try the house avocado toast (pictured), with beet cream, pickled carrots, and pistachios.

Uncle Bill's Pancake House

Photo by David Ricks

2. Enjoy breakfast with a view at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House

Across the street from GoodBoyBob is longtime café Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, where sweet flapjacks come with a side of ocean view.

Manhattan Beach E-Bike Rentals

Photo by Evelyn Ricks

You may also like: SoCal piers that are perfect for a romantic walk

3. Bike by the beach

Cruise along the beach path on your own bicycle or with a rental from Manhattan Beach E-Bike Rentals ($50 for 1 hour; $100 for a half day; $150 for a full day).

One Wave Surf

Photo by Tropical studio/

4. Learn to surf

Take a surf lesson with One Wave Surf, which runs 90-minute private and group classes at El Porto beach. Individual lesson, $138.


Photo by David Ricks

You may also like: Day trips to lively California beach towns

5. Grab lunch at Tacolicious

Dig into made-to-order guacamole, mushroom tacos, and albondigas at this indoor-outdoor eatery that debuted during the pandemic. Foodies will appreciate that the restaurant uses La Finca masa for its tortillas and Rancho Gordo beans.

Sweet Lady Jane's

Photo by David Ricks

6. Indulge at Sweet Lady Jane

Craving dessert? Visit Sweet Lady Jane’s Manhattan Beach outpost for a slice of its legendary triple berry cake.


Photo by David Ricks

You may also like: 10 easy ways to get 10,000 steps in Southern California

7. Shop local

Support neighborhood indie shops such as Pages, a beloved bookstore that hosts engaging author events.

Go Gently Nation

Photo by David Ricks

8. Buy made-in-L.A. goods

At Go Gently Nation, browse the gorgeous selection of made-in-L.A. children’s and women’s wear, as well as home goods by Fog Linen. Founder Kristin Coia opened up shop after she gave birth to her son and saw a need for more eco-minded kids’ wear.

Culture Brewing Company

Photo by David Ricks

9. Kick back at Culture Brewing Company

Enjoy the sunny patio at this brewery originally from San Diego. Sample the Manhattan Beach Hazy IPA, Belgian Saison, or Seven Berry Sour, among other brews. (Be sure to designate a driver if you plan to drink alcohol.)

Slay Italian Kitchen

Photo by David Ricks

10. Dine at Slay Italian Kitchen

Wrap up the day with rustic Italian fare from Slay Italian Kitchen, which is helmed by chef David Slay. Try the lemon tagliolini (pictured) or the fungi and roasted fennel pizza. The restaurant features wines from Slay’s vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills.

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