Manhattan Beach is known for its clean, wide, sandy beaches and attracts over 3.8 million visitors annually. Along the Strand at the eastern edge of the beach, a concrete bike path is reserved for bicycles. The bikeway extends north to Santa Monica and south to Palos Verdes. A separate 2.1 mile walkway, reserved for pedestrians, runs alongside the bike path. Restrooms and shower facilities are provided adjacent to the Strand paths. Beach volleyball, swimming, body boarding and surfing are popular activities among residents and visitors. Popular surf spots include the Pier and El Porto. Lifeguard stations are located along the entire length of the beach and the beach is cleaned and groomed daily by crews from LA County Beaches and Harbors Department.
CNN Money named Manhattan Beach #1 as the “2011 Best Places For the Rich and Single”, while The Travel Channel named Manhattan Beach the 9th sexiest beach on earth for its 2008 “21 Sexiest Beaches” show. Manhattan Beach has also been nicknamed the “Pearl of the South Bay” for its beauty and desirability.
There are several public parks in the city. The largest and most popular is Polliwog Park located on Manhattan Beach Boulevard, two blocks west of Aviation Boulevard. Polliwog Park has a small lake, open-air concert amphitheater, playground equipment, picnic tables, restrooms, and a fenced dog exercise area. It is also the site of the Manhattan Beach Historical Society Red Cottage, which is home to the city’s collection of historical artifacts. Marine Avenue Park, west of Aviation Boulevard on Marine, has several lighted ball fields, basketball courts, and an indoor racket ball facility. Live Oak Park in the downtown area has ball fields, playground equipment, tennis courts and picnic tables.
An area known as the “Green Belt” or “Veteran’s Parkway” is a pedestrian-friendly walkway that runs adjacent to Valley Drive and Ardmore Avenue near downtown Manhattan Beach. Nearly 20 acres total and comprising 3 miles in length, the wood-chip walkway is a popular trail for runners and dog-walkers.
Residents have divided the city into several distinct neighborhoods, including the “Sand Section”, “Hill Section”, “Tree Section”, “Gas Lamp Section”, “The Village”, “Manhattan Heights”, “The Knolls”(East Manhattan Beach), “Liberty Village”, “Poet’s Section” (Shelley, Tennyson, Longfellow, Keats), and “El Porto” (North Manhattan Beach).
The “Hill Section” is known for its high priced homes where many of the residences are remodeled or newly constructed. The steep hills allow panoramic ocean and city views.
The nearby “Sand Section” is notable for its quiet walk-street neighborhoods adjacent to the ocean. Oceanfront homes stretch along the bike path and walking lane of “The Strand”. “The Strand” section of Manhattan Beach includes some of the most expensive real estate per square foot in the United States.
Manhattan Beach benefits from ocean breezes that provide clean air and summer temperatures that are 10 to 20 °F (5.6 to 11.1 °C) cooler than the inland regions of Southern California. The Manhattan Beach Unified School District has test scores ranked #3 in the state of California according to California Department of Education statistics. Forbes magazine ranked Manhattan Beach Unified as the sixth best School District in the U.S. According to a July 5, 2014, article in the Beach Reporter newspaper, the city of Manhattan Beach has more educated residents (according to percentage of residents with bachelor’s degree or higher) than any other Los Angeles suburb.
Many high profile individuals in the sports and entertainment industry live in Manhattan Beach due to its oceanfront desirability, top performing school district, and commuting distance to Los Angeles. GQ Magazine named Manhattan Beach one of the nation’s six best beaches in their July 2014 issue.