This LA 'Hood Should Be Your Weekend Destination

this LA hood should be your weekend destination
Ayara Luk
Ayara Luk

The best part about living in LA is the close proximity to so many other great parts of the city. The worst part? Freeways that become parking lots that make it impossible to get anywhere on weekdays without losing your mind. Case in point: South Bay.

The South Bay neighborhoods have so much more to offer than beachfront views, volleyball courts, and gorgeous, sun-kissed locals but you’ll probably want to make a weekend out of it to make your drive worthwhile -- so check out this handy guide of things to do all around the South Bay and start planning your next weekend staycation.

Barran's 2339
Barran's 2339

Have dinner at Baran’s 2239

Don’t judge this tiny strip mall joint by its unassuming exterior or the fact that it’s adjacent to a vape bar -- it’s what ends up on your plate that counts. The new-ish Hermosa Beach farm-to-table eatery sources only the freshest produce and ingredients from Weiser Farms and makes everything from scratch, from the piping hot, doughy focaccia bread with umami butter to the handmade pasta, every plate that comes out of the kitchen is made with the utmost attention to detail. They also have a pretty stellar wine list spanning California, New Zealand, and everything in between. Pro tips: the shaved brussels sprout salad and the truffle linguini. Boom.

la beer tour
Smog City Brewing

Take a tour of South Bay breweries

Downtown isn’t the only LA neighborhood hub that’s home to craft breweries; the South Bay has plenty of places to throw back a pint of pilsner (try saying that three times). LA Beer Hop will do all the heavy lifting and plan your tour for you, so you can do all the drinking -- you’ll get picked up at a metro stop, go on a four to five hour tour and taste a flight of beer at three local breweries which may include El Segundo Brewing, Smog City Brewing, or Strand Brewing Co.

Burger City Grill
Burger City Grill

Build up an appetite for Burger City Grill

Make room for this monstrous burger (and the two hour nap that follows). This colossal sandwich is what meat lover dreams are made of -- a juicy beef patty sitting underneath a heaping pile of New York deli-style pastrami and the works topped with the restaurant’s signature bun. Wash it all down with a hand-scooped shake made with chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla ice-cream topped with fresh whipped cream, and then ask for a wheelbarrow because you’re going to need one to get out of here.

Manhattan Beach Post
Manhattan Beach Post

Enjoy a boozy brunch at Manhattan Beach Post

Chef David LeFevre is no stranger to Manhattan Beach. With three outstanding restaurants under his belt, he’s earned his culinary stripes in this beach town, but if you can only make it to one of his establishments, you can’t miss MB Post. It’s practically a Manhattan Beach staple. Make a reservation (you’ll need one) for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or all three -- because after one meal, you’ll want to try every damn dish that comes flying out of those kitchen doors). While the brunch menu is seasonal, you’ll want to look out for the bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits, the corned beef cheek hash with fried egg, and the truffle honey laced fried chicken.

the strand house sunset
The Strand House

Catch the killer sunsets from The Strand House

Manhattan Beach has some pretty jaw-dropping sunsets and the best place to get a front row seat is a table by the glass windows on the second floor of The Strand House, where you can gaze at nature’s rainbow with a cocktail in hand. The restaurant is a local favorite and gets pretty packed on game days but if you get there early enough and snag a table, you won’t ever want to leave.

bike along the strand
Flickr/Kent Kanouse

Bike ride along The Strand during the golden hour

Did you know that the Marvin Braude Bike Trail (aka The Strand) is a 22-mile path that goes from Will Rogers State Beach all the way down to Torrance County Beach? It’s arguably the easiest (and most beautiful) way to get a workout in and be reminded of why you love LA. BYOB or rent one at Perry’s Cafe and pedal along the path and enjoy the sparkling Pacific Ocean views as you cruise by all the beach towns.

mitsuwa marketplace
Mitsuwa Marketplace

Stock up on Japanese produce at Mitsuwa

This Japanese market is the closest thing you’ll get to Tokyo. Peruse the aisles and enjoy the Japanese food porn from the 5,395 types of ramen noodles, tofu, and sake to the actually-good coffee in a can.

Rock n' Juice
Rock'n Juice

Kickstart your morning with a juice

A juice cleanse is practically a rite of passage in LA so what better time to start one than the beginning of a new year? Rock’n Juice is a tiny juice bar in Torrance, founded by two cousins who grew up on an organic farm in Greece and brought their passion for fresh produce and rock music to LA with rock-themed cold-pressed organic juices, bowls, and smoothies. Order a Proud Mary or Beet it and rock on with your bad self.

Mickey's Deli
Mickey's Deli

Nosh on a sandwich for $1.50 from Mickey’s Deli

No, it’s not 1953, and yes, sandwiches these cheap still do exist. This Hermosa Beach deli serves its Famous Sauce Sandwich for $1.50 (for a small, but like an Italian size “small”) which is just warm bread slathered with homemade sauce (cheese optional) -- but isn’t that basically what pizza is? And for $1.50 how can you complain?

Manhattan Beach Creamery
Manhattan Beach Creamery

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Manhattan Beach Creamery

Whatever your sweet tooth craves, you will inevitably find it here. Candy? Check. Ice cream? Yep. Cupcakes? Oh yeah. You’ll probably end up getting the Cream’wich, which is ice-cream sandwiched between two homemade cookies, to create the perfect marriage of creamy and crunchy sweetness in one bite.

Ayara Luk
Ayara Luk

Get a taste of Thai food at Ayara Thai

This hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant near LAX is getting a long overdue makeover in February (and practically doubling in size) so make sure to get your Thai fix here before they close for renovations. If you miss the original, check out the open-while-the-shop’s-being-fixed pop-up called Ayara Lūk, located just around the corner, and open for dinner. There, the restaurant will be featuring featuring a rotating menu of Ayara Thai favorites and new modern twists on classic Thai dishes like Massamun oxtail curry braised for 6 hours, and roasted duck flatbread with organic duck breast. The pop-up will be open from Monday-Saturday from 5:30-10:30pm and remain open until renovations are complete at the original Ayara Thai restaurant.

laurel tavern los angeles
Courtesy of Laurel Tavern

Dine at South Bay newcomer Laurel Tavern

The popular Studio City gastropub has finally opened a second outpost in Hermosa Beach. The casual bar took over the former Game Changers sports bar and gave it a facelift with exposed brick walls and wooden beams running throughout. The menu includes snack favorites like chicken wings, wood grilled artichoke, a meat and cheese board, and of course burgers and salads if you’re extra hungry.

Barsha Wines and Spirits
Barsha Wines and Spirits

Taste wine at Barsha Wines

Strip malls seem to be where all the hidden gems are tucked away in the South Bay. This cozy, rustic wine shop and tasting room, founded by a husband and wife duo, has a great selection of wines, craft beer, and bourbon. Sample a flight of small-batch wines and pair them with any of the delicious tapas or impressive cheeses that you can also purchase in the retail section.

Shade Hotel Manhattan Beach
Shade Hotel

Book a room at the Shade Hotel

If you need a place to crash, this luxury boutique hotel has two locations in the South Bay -- Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach. The Manhattan Beach location is situated just two blocks away from the beach and gets ridiculous views of the sunset from the rooftop Skydeck. Oh, and all the rooms are equipped with Tempur-Pedic beds so if being by the ocean wasn’t enough to knock you out then maybe sleeping on (what feels like) clouds, will.

The Comedy & Magic Club
The Comedy & Magic Club

The Comedy & Magic Club

The Hermosa Beach comedy club gets a pretty decent lineup, including Jay Leno, who frequents the club often, and Jerry Seinfeld who also sometimes pops in. Of course, there is a two item minimum, but the food is actually better than most comedy clubs so you’ll actually want to order the mushroom ravioli and mozzarella sticks.

Rock'n Fish Manhattan Beach
Rock'n Fish

Eat fish tacos at Rock’n Fish

This Manhattan Beach restaurant and bar is everything you crave in a casual beachside eatery -- beer, bros in flip flops, and a fine selection of seafood. You can’t leave without trying the blackened fish tacos and the unlimited fresh out-of-the-oven sourdough bread.

The Boy & The Bear - Coffee Roastery
The Boy & The Bear - Coffee Roastery

Sip on pour over coffee from The Boy and the Bear

This trendy black and rose gold-themed coffee shop in Redondo Beach not only looks super sexy but they pour a strong cup of joe. The artisanal roastery focuses on single origin coffee direct traded straight from Columbia farmers to your cup, and does a pretty good job of putting the spotlight on the coffee and not much else.

saint rocke concert los angeles

Take in a show at Saint Rocke

The South Bay’s premiere rock club is a great spot to see major touring bands in a tiny-for-them room: The spot often books acts that regularly headline much larger places in LA proper, like the Troubadour and the Fonda; they also regularly book great tribute bands. Upcoming shows include alt-country pioneers Old ‘97s and the Pearl Jam tribute band Vitalogy.

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Leila’s dream is to move to Manhattan Beach one day. For now, pedaling along The Strand from Marina del Rey to Manhattan Beach is the closest she’ll get. Find out what spots she hits up on her South Bay adventures on Instagram and Twitter.