9.1 out of 10

Manhattan Beach

Ranked 2nd best city in California
33.8868989238296 -118.395589481249
Great for
  • Schools
  • Internet Access
  • Medical Facilities
  • Eating Out
  • Parks & Recreation
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Cost of Living
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists

Reviews

5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
2yrs+

"Coastal Living at it"s Best!"

Manhattan Beach is a small beach town between El Segundo and Redondo Beach. The population is 35,000 and every square inch of the town is utilized. It almost has a European feel with the tiny streets and the well maintained and closely built homes.

There are many wonderful reasons to live in Manhattan Beach besides living on the Pacific Ocean and having wonderful views. Here are a few of the reasons; 16 miles West of Los Angeles, 40 acres of recreational beach area in total, 3 miles south of Los Angeles International Airport, a scenic 928-foot-long pier at the end of Manhattan Beach Boulevard. Fishing is permitted all year. An average annual rainfall of 12.07 inches, and average temperature ranges from 70º F in summer to 55º F in winter.

The home prices (when writing this) ranged from $800k to $10 million. Rental prices are also steep averaging $3,000 for a 1 br 1 ba and $8,000 for a 3 br single family home. Prices vary greatly depending on proximity to the beach and condition and amenities.
Pros
  • Fun night life
  • Weather
  • Views
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"The Crown Jewel of the South Bay's "Queen's Necklace""

The South Bay's coastline is often called the Queen's Necklace because at night, it glistens with the lights along the curved coastline like a diamond necklace. Along that coast, Manhattan Beach has got to be the brightest gem of the beach!

Because of its' placement closer to LAX (but not TOO close) and to the Westside of Los Angeles and the freeways providing access to the rest of Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach residents have much less of a commute than other parts of the South Bay, especially for movie stars, star athletes, or financial/technology consulting "road warriors" who have to travel a lot. Anyone working downtown in our financial district or in Long Beach for the Pacific rim trade with Asia also finds MB very convenient for getting to where you're going.

Add Manhattan Beach's near-perfect weather (warm but not too hot), clean, smog free air due to beach breezes, and our award winning public school system (no more private school tuition!) and you really get why people are fighting to get to live here in our own little local piece of Paradise.

Manhattan Beach has 6 different "sections" or areas and these have distinct personalities and price points. The Sand Section gets its name from its obvious proximity to the beach, but all of the town is within biking distance and much within walking distance of the shore. In the Sand Section, lots are tiny (30 x 90 or even "half lots" of 30 x 45), homes are vertical, usually three stories, and you usually will only have a teeny tiny yard -- but hey, there's the beach, right there!

In the Tree Section, you have larger lots of typically 40 x 112 or 40 x 120 and larger homes up to about 3000 square feet. These streets are narrow and many times have no curbs or sidewalks. Separated from the Sand Section by the greenbelt or the Sand Dune Park, this area is mostly families and is much quieter than the busy, bustling Sand Section.

The Hill Section is the area where you are most likely to find large homes with large yards AND ocean views --- but you will also pay the price to live here. This area still has some tiny older homes, but these are rapidly being torn down in favor of 5000+ square foot homes. If you want it all, this is an excellent place to look!

East of Sepulveda, you have the gated community of Manhattan Village (perfect if you like privacy and uniformity of your neighborhood), the Manhattan Heights area and Liberty Village post war tract of smaller 3 bed/2 bath homes, and finally the Mira Costa section, named after the nearby high school, which has large, typically 7500 square foot lots together with a wide range of older smaller homes and large new 5 and 6 bedroom homes.

I've lived in Manhattan Beach since 1983 -- let me show you around and help you find which of these "sections" is the perfect one for you!
Pros
  • Huge variety of housing styles
  • Great Restuarants
  • Great Schools
  • The Beach
  • Ocean Views
  • Weather
Cons
  • Small yards compared to "back East"
  • Expensive
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"No Bad Days When You Live at the Beach"

We moved to Manhattan Beach in 1963 and in my many travels I have yet to find a better place to live. I went through the Manhattan Beach school system as did both of my daughters, have been actively involved in the PTSA at both the middle school and high school levels and continue to participate on a certain level. I can report first hand that while not issue free, the education and the care of educators will rarely be surpassed. Student test scores in all five (5) elementary schools, Manhattan Beach Middle School and Mira Costa High School are consistently the top in California and the country. In addition to formal education, the district provides a terrific After School Enrichment Program offering a wide variety of activities and subjects.

Much of what was while I was growing up has changed or is gone completely, but there are still many of those original pieces in place. Becker's Bakery for cookies and cakes (sugar surfboard cookies and jumbo oatmeal are my favorite), Ercole's (where everybody knows your name) for a drink, a burger or a game of pool, the railroad tracks are now the green belt, a terrific place to run aside from The Strand) and El Sombrero whose location has changed over the years but still never disappoints! The sunsets of today are as spectacular as those of yesterday. With progress has come great dining in a variety of restaurants, shopping at trendy boutiques, and something hot in the many coffee houses.

The community and our weather lend themselves to an outdoor life style of beach volleyball, bike rides, skating, surfing, swimming, walking, running and just plain laying on the sand. There is almost Never a day when there is not an opportunity to get out and do Something -- thus the No Bad Days at the Beach!! And for the children in the community in addition to participating in singular sports, there are clubs for volleyball, soccer, baseball (and league) and swimming. Opening day for Little League is a parade through downtown Manhattan Beach and for me the most small town feeling day of the year. Additionally, the Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair will celebrate its 41st year and I can tell you that I have been to all but one (the year my eldest daughter was born). Food, games, arts and crafts along with a chance to visit with friends it is a weekend of music fun for everyone.

There are several distinct neighborhoods in Manhattan Beach each of which has its own personality and each serviced by one of the five elementary schools (with exception of Sand Section which has an elementary school servicing the south end and another servicing the north end). Median home price at this time hovers around $1.4M.
Pros
  • Great Restuarants
  • Great Schools
  • The Beach
  • Ocean Views
  • Weather
Cons
  • A Bit Crowded
  • Traffic
  • Expensive
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
2yrs+

"Manhattan Beach - The Queen of the Beach Cities"

Manhattan Beach is a beach community in the South Bay of Los Angeles consisting of 3.88 square miles and 2.1 miles of beachfront. It is located approx. 3 miles south of the Los Angeles International Airport, just south of El Segundo, and north of Hermosa Beach. It has a very interesting history and was named after the home town of one of it's founders.

Manhattan Beach has a great beach and downtown shopping district with terrific shops and restaurants. The biggest hassle with Manhattan Beach is traffic and a lack of parking. People live here for access to the terrific beach and the seaside life style, as well as the top notch school system.

Neighborhoods:
Sand Section: This is the area closest to the ocean, with its major streets including the Strand, Highland Avenue, and Manhattan Avenue. It is generally the area bordered by Rosecrans on the north, and Valley Drive on the east. This area is noted for its higher density and numerous multi-family units compared to the balance of the city. In the area nearest the beach, the streets perpendicular to the ocean alternate between streets open to the traffic and streets closed to vehicles referred to as "walk streets". The homes along the beach front properties are referred to as "Strand" properties as they border on a large promenade along the entire beachfront. Live Oak Park and Sand Dune Park are both located in this neighborhood.

Tree Section: This is the area bordered by Sepulveda Boulevard on the east, Rosecrans on the north, Valley Drive on the West, and Manhattan Beach Boulevard on the South This area is characterized by its lush enivironment of trees. These homes tend to be on smaller lots, with most homes recently constructed built to maximize their square footage allowable per city codes, with relatively small setbacks. Most of the streets east of Pacific Avenue are named after different trees (Maple, Palm, Walnut, Pine, Elm, Oak) and the area does, in fact, have a heavy concentration of trees.

The Hill Section: This area is bordered by Manhattan Beach Boulevard to the north, Valley Drive to the west, and Sepulveda Boulevard to the east. It is known as the hill section, as homes are located on a sloping area of the city from the sand section to the relatively flat area to the east of Sepulveda. Lots in this area tend to be larger.

Liberty Village: This area is the easternmost portion of the city, and is bordered by Sepulveda Boulevard to the west, Marine Avenue to the north, Aviation to the east, and Manhattan Beach Boulevard to the South. This area is also characterized by recently built large homes on relatively small lots. It is also home to the largest public park in the city, Polliwog Park.

Manhattan Village: These homes are located adjacent to the Manhattan Village, and is bordered by Sepulveda Boulevard to the west, Rosecrans Boulevard to the north, Aviation to the east and Marine to the South. Manhattan Village, a gated community, provides both single family homes and townhouses for the area. Part of the TRW complex is located on the southwest corner of this area.

Mira Costa Section: These homes are located surrounding Mira Costa High School, the high school for Manhattan Beach, and is bordered by Sepulveda Boulevard to the west, Manhattan Beach Boulevard to the north, Aviation to the east, and Artesia Boulevard to the south. The lots in this area tend to be larger than other areas of Manhattan Beach

El Porto area: This area, to the north of Rosecrans Avenue, is characterized by multi-familty units, with beachfront properties and the other homes within a short walk of the beach. and tends to be less expensive than homes in the Sand section of the city. This area is popular with surfers and has numerous volleyball courts on the beach.

The city has its own school system, The Manhattan Beach Unified School System, with 5 elementary schools, one Middle School, and one High School (Mira Costa High). The schools rank very high on state standardized tests .

Arts and Culture:: Although the City of Manhattan Beach does not have its own arts or cultural facility, there are numerous other arts and cultural facilities in the South Bay within an easy drive. These would include the Arts and Perfoming Center in Redondo Beach, the Torrance Cultural Arts Center, and the Norris Center for the Performing Arts in Rolling Hills Estates. Numerous other Arts and Cultural centers are located in the City of Los Angeles including the Dorothy Chandler Center and the Disney Philarmonic Center in downtown Los Angeles, the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, numerous museums including the Getty Center in West Los Angeles, the Museum of Art in the Fairfax area, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Downtown Los Angeles, as well as several smaller performing arts venues in Westwood and the Hollywood area.

Taxes:
Property Taxes: The property tax rate for the fiscal year 2011-2012 is 1.068597% (computed by the standard 1.0% of the property's assessed valuation (in accordance with Proposition 13, a property's assessed valuation is the original purchase price, plus the cost of improvements, based on the value of permits pulled, plus an increase in valuation of 2% per year) plus additional tax rates for voted bonded indebtedness) plus direct assessments of approx. $500-$700 per parcel for such items as school parcel taxes, etc.. Depending on the area, there may also be a direct assessment for the under-grounding of utilities.
Pros
  • Ocean Views
  • Weather
  • Great Restuarants
  • Great Schools
  • The Beach
Cons
  • Traffic
  • A Bit Crowded
  • Expensive
  • Terrible Parking
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 1/5
2yrs+

"Manhattan Beach-- Best beach in the South Bay"

In my opinion Manhattan Beach has the best beach in the South Bay. It doesn’t get too crowded and is very clean. The sand is great and you can spread yourself out. You can actually find peace and quiet on the beach, or pick up a game of beach volleyball. The beach is also great for body surfing. There is a walkway going the length of the beach where you stroll by beautiful beach homes of the rich. Lots of beach front condos.

What’s not so great is the parking. Parking is usually metered and limited. Sometimes I spend an hour just finding a parking spot. It can be really stressful and frustrating at the same time. You can park on the streets (if you are lucky enough to find a spot), or park in the parking structures. Make sure you bring lots of coins (at least $4 or $5 worth of coins). Some of the street meters even take credit cards. Downtown Manhattan Beach can get very congested, especially on weekends. My advice is to get there super early—no later than 10 a.m. The entire Manhattan Beach area is very upscale and pricey. Shopping and eating establishments of all price levels are everywhere.


I always feel safe walking around Manhattan Beach. The city is very family friendly and has some of the best schools in the state. Manhattan Beach is a great alternative to Santa Monica or Venice Beach. It's clean, calm, and collected, without the craziness you see on the Venice Beach Boardwalk or the Santa Monica Pier. Manhattan Beach is a beautiful destination and a great place to live if you can afford it.
Pros
  • Great Restuarants
  • Great Schools
  • The Beach
Cons
  • A Bit Crowded
  • Expensive
  • Terrible Parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Great Seaside Town"

Manhattan Beach is one of those great So Cal beach cities where you can literally walk out your door and be on the beach in just minutes. Like most seaside communities, this is a super wealthy community. Unlike many of the seaside communities where beachside mansions are spread out far and wide, Manhattan beach is packed with seaside homes (many looking more like apartments than stand alone homes). Many of these look out onto narrow alleyways, like in Venice but much cleaner and safer. Some are lucky enough to stare out directly onto the ocean.

The streets here roll down to the beachside. Parking for outsiders without homes here can be a bit difficult in spots—especially on summer weekends when the beaches are crowded.

But this is not just a community for beach bums. Many families live in Manhattan Beach as well, and it is not unusual for families to choose the area because of the schools. Mira Costa High is one of the best high schools in the LA area, having an API of 9 (of a possible 10) and SAT scores a good 200 point above the national average. In addition 60% of students test proficient in Math on the STAR test and 80% in English. (The math score sounds bad but anything over 50% is great.) As you would expect in any area this affluent, there are also several private school choices as well—among them, American Martyrs Catholic School, a well-known religious school with students from all over the South Bay area.

Manhattan Beach is also one of the safest communities in the area, with a crime rate well below the national average. In terms of violent crime, the rates are similarly below the national average. Only three murders have occurred in Manhattan Beach in the last decade and even these crimes are not of the typical gang related variety. In the most recent of these, for example, the girl was murdered by a would be lover that she tried to break things off with. These are terrible occurrences but they are not the kind of violent crimes most of us worry about in more violent neighborhoods. This is definitely a much safer neighborhood than Venice, for example.

Lest you think this is just another Pacific Palisades, an upscale little seaside town with no nightlife, however, you should know that a little inland you will find lots to do without leaving Manhattan Beach. There are a number of bars for example, from cool little beach town style dive bars (like Side Door and the Shellback Tavern) to outright great restaurants (like Café Pierre and Petros)—you will definitely have no shortage of great date spots. Its sort of a young thirty-ish feel to the area, laid back but not immature.
Pros
  • The Beach
  • Great Restuarants
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Terrible Parking
  • A Bit Crowded
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5
2yrs+

"One of the best beaches in the southern LA area"

Manhattan Beach, very close to LAX and downtown LA. It is one of the three beaches in the Southern LA beach area with all of the necessities and then some for singles, couples, and families.

The temps are great year round. Warm winters and a mild summer the average temperature ranges from 70º F in summer to 55º F in Winter. Average rent really does vary but it's fairly reasonable. 1600 for a very nice 2 bedroom 2 bathroom near the beach, not too shabby!

There truly is something for everyone in this area. It sports some of the best golf courses and country clubs for those who enjoy the luxurious golf and dining experience, plenty of stores (both grocery and retail) in the area. There are gyms, shops, and markets for all age groups and family sizes. A great place to visit or call home.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids

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