A Walking Tour of Manhattan Beach

Renowned for some of the best surfing waves in Southern California and regarded as the birthplace of beach volleyball, Manhattan Beach is a real-deal beach community. Naturally a day in Manhattan Beach can easily be enjoyed by strolling along The Strand, setting up camp on the white sand and spending hours in the water. But with great shops, restaurants and activities peppered along Manhattan Beach Boulevard, there is so much more to explore on foot. Many Angelenos prefer Manhattan Beach because it's usually less crowded than other local beaches. Come for the day or stay for the weekend - Manhattan Beach is the ideal destination for an accessible beach getaway. Read on for our walking guide to Manhattan Beach.

Primary image for Uncle Bill’s Pancake House

Uncle Bill’s Pancake House

Start the morning off with a hearty breakfast at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. Just as the name implies, pancakes are the name of the game at this quaint eatery. From Pumpkin Spice to Cinnamon Apple or Banana Nut, there’s a pancake flavor to please everyone’s taste buds. Uncle Bill’s also serves eggs, omelettes, waffles, French toast and morning wraps. Particularly noteworthy is the cheddar cheese and bacon waffle, an ideal complement to a strong cup of coffee to kick off the day.

Photo courtesy of Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium, Facebook

Manhattan Beach Pier & Roundhouse Aquarium

After breakfast, walk south three blocks to Manhattan Beach Boulevard and then west towards the ocean. A short 10-minute stroll will get you to the start of the historic Manhattan Beach Pier. For a great way to start the day, enjoy the panoramic views from the pier and take an up-close photo of skilled surfers riding the nearby waves. Make your way to the very end of the pier to check out the Roundhouse Aquarium. Admission is free and it is open daily. Make sure to see the viewing and touching tanks, along with a kid’s area full of books and puzzles. Great for family fun or adults open to feeling like a kid again!

The Strand House

After a morning of exploring the pier and aquarium, head a block east on Manhattan Beach Boulevard to the corner of Ocean Avenue to enjoy lunch at The Strand House. This bi-level restaurant has tons of windows, so the views are incredible. The Maine lobster roll, grilled fish tacos and spicy tuna tempura are among the favorites - but everything here is delicious! Leave room for dessert, especially their drool-worthy petite glazed doughnuts and vanilla coconut tres leches. The atmosphere is beachy-chic but comfortable, like dining at a friend’s beach-front property.

Optional: Rock'n Fish

If you want a slightly more relaxed lunch, head across the street to at Rock’n Fish. A menu dominated with incredible fish selections at a reasonable price point, the décor is reminiscent of an old-school fisherman’s pub complete with exposed brick, cherry wood finishing and large booths. Ask for a seating in their bright patio room to enjoy a beach view while dining. Menu items to try: Rock’N Crab Cakes, coconut crusted mahi sliders and the open faced sirloin sandwich. As for cocktails, their Cucumber Mint Lemonade and Kiwi Margaritas are a great addition to any meal.

Manhattan Beach | Photo courtesy of Imagineth, Discover Los Angeles Flickr Pool

Optional: Biking the Strand

Another great way to discover Manhattan Beach is on a bike. Choose your set of wheels to rent by the hour or for the day, and start your car-free exploration of Manhattan Beach. Cruise east and discover the Veterans Parkway for a 7.5-mile loop on the green trail. If the beach is calling your name, head back to The Strand and jump on the separate Manhattan Beach Bike Path to peddle down to Hermosa Beach or all the way up to Venice Beach.

Manhattan Beach Creamery

Manhattan Beach Creamery

No day at the beach is complete without a pit-stop for ice cream! Just two doors down from FunBunns is the delicious Manhattan Beach Creamery. Scooping up 28 flavors daily, you can treat yourself to the likes of Bananas Fosters Red Velvet, Sticky Bun Crunch or the decadent Maple Bacon Crunch. The flavors change daily, so you’ll always be in for a treat. Customize your Cream’wich by choosing from their freshly baked cookies and ice cream to concoct the perfect ice cream sammy. And yes, there are chocolate covered frozen bananas, cupcakes, candy and a plethora of sweet goodness.

Bacon cheddar biscuits at Manhattan Beach Post | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Manhattan Beach Post

Once the day has cooled off and you’ve enjoyed every last drop of sun, head over to Manhattan Beach Post, one of the most popular restaurants in the neighborhood. Known locally as MB Post, the restaurant specializes in fresh, farm-to-table cuisine served small plates-style that are ideal for sharing. This rustic space is comfortable and the communal tables add an element of fun to the whole experience. A “must-order” are the signature bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits. The rest of the menu is seasonal, so highlights are always changing. Be sure to ask your server for the best choice of cheese, meats and veggie dishes to go along with one of their stellar signature cocktails.

Zinc @ Shade

After dinner, take a stroll east on Manhattan Beach Boulevard. Turn left at Valley Drive and discover modern boutique accommodations at the Shade Hotel. Located on the first floor, Zinc @ Shade features a terrace and lounge that provide a sultry atmosphere for an after-dinner cocktail. If the skydeck is open, head up to their roof to enjoy a nightcap with a 360 degree view before calling it a day. Too tired to make it home? Check into one of their luxurious rooms and make a staycation of it.