Manhattan Beach, California

Manhattan Beach
County: Los Angeles     Elevation:  120 feet    

Manhattan Beach is located in Los Angeles County, just 3 miles south of Los Angeles International Airport and 19 miles southwest of Los Angeles on the southerly end of Santa Monica Bay.  It is one of the three beach communities of the Los Angeles South Bay (Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beach).

A scenic 928-foot-long Manhattan Beach Pier is one of over 100 piers in California and is located at the end of Manhattan Beach Boulevard. It offers free pier fishing all year. Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium at the end of the pier is free to the public. It includes a huge Shark Tank, Touch Tank with tide pool animals common to Southern California, tanks with lobsters, baby sharks and  brightly colored, non-native fish and invertebrates. Open to the public Saturdays & Sundays 10 a.m. to sunset, Monday through Friday 3 p.m. to sunset and group and education tours offered. Call: (310) 379-8117.

Enjoy a 9-hole public golf course, surfing and beach volleyball, and Sunday afternoon concerts in Polliwog Park during the summer months.  The city is host to the Old Hometown Fair, Holiday  Fireworks Festival, International Surf Festival, running and bike races, volleyball  and tennis tournaments and many other events.

For those born to shop, this is the place. Manhattan Beach has it all: the unique, the unusual, the  outrageous and the classic. A shopper's delight with an array of shops, boutiques and major department stores.

The newest television and film production facility in Southern California, Manhattan Beach Studios, is the first studio built from the ground up in California in 60 years. The 550,000 square foot project consists of fourteen art deco sound stages, office space, and related facilities. The first phase is complete and is being leased by 20th Century Fox, with the TV show "The Practice." 


A brief history of Manhattan  Beach- In its earliest days, Manhattan Beach was part of the  ten-mile ocean frontage of Rancho Sausal Redondo, which means "Round Clump of Willows." At one time the area was called "Shore Acres" by George Peck, who owned a section of the north end of town. 

In 1901, Stewart Merrill bought the south portion and called his section Manhattan after his old home, New York City. Peck and Merrill, unable to agree on a city name, flipped a coin and Manhattan won. 

The first downtown building was built by Merrill around 1901, a small frame building later used  for city offices. The official date of incorporation was December 2, 1912 and endorsed findings  were filed December 7, 1912. Planks were laid in the sand on Manhattan Avenue for vehicles and along the Strand and side streets for pedestrians. 


Two wooden piers were build in 1901, one at Center Street and one at Marine Avenue. The Center Street pier supported a wave motor to generate power for the Strand lighting system. Purportedly, part of the wave motor lies buried in the sands at the shore end of the present pier.  The next pier was built on the same site and extended about 922 feet into the ocean. Engineer A.L. Harris developed the concept of the circular end for less exposure and damage to the pilings by the waves. The pier was completed and dedicated on July 5, 1920. 


After World War II a large influx of people came as a result of the desirability of the area for year-round living. Servicemen visiting during the war returned to live here. The development of  the defense industry brought many people to the South Bay to reside and work. Much of the land east of Sepulveda was developed to house the influx of people. 


City Area: 3.88 square miles
2.1 miles of beach front, 40 acres of recreational beach area in total
49.1%, or 1224 acres, of Manhattan Beach's city wide land area is residential
Average annual rainfall of 12.07 inches
Average temperature ranges from 70º F in summer to 55º F in winter


Where to stay: Manhattan Beach hotels number a modest sum of less than 10 at the time of this writing.  Shade Hotel is the luxury boutique hotel a short distance to the beach. Manhattan Beach Marriott offers comfort that the chain is recognized for and also is one of the top hotels. People like it because it reflects the stylish life that LA and Manhattan Beach are known for.




El Segundo < Manhattan Beach > Hermosa Beach

Photos Copyright Debbie Stock