This article highlights the many wonderful things to do in Hermosa Beach, California.
Not long ago, I decided to write more about the places I frequent the most, the ones I consider part of my community. Today, it is the turn of Hermosa Beach, one of the lovely beach towns located in Los Angeles County.
I stop by Hermosa almost weekly. Therefore, I am more than happy to share my knowledge about what to do, see and eat in the city!
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About Hermosa Beach
Los Angeles is known for its enormous population, heavy traffic, and clouds of smog.
As a long-time resident, I can assure you not all of Los Angeles fits that description. Within the county, the cities of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach (sometimes El Segundo is included) form a community with the characteristics of a small town.
Think about them along the lines of sun, surf, and sand. The waterfront is not overdeveloped and goods and services are provided by small, locally owned businesses. In other words, we live in our cocooned paradise but have first-hand access to the big city amenities (if we want to go there).
Hermosa Beach is the smallest of the Beach Cities in terms of land area (1.4 square miles) and population (about 20,000). If you want to experience Los Angeles beyond, Hollywood, Santa Monica and Venice Beach, I encourage you to take the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to Hermosa Beach.
Beach Town Gear
As I spend a lot of time on beach towns, I have my gear packed and ready to throw in the car. Here is an idea of what I take to the beach.
- Walking Shoes – Comfortable walking shoes are a must. My go-to brands are Clarks, Tevas, and Sketchers.
- Flip Flops – Flip flops are a must on any beach trip. I am partial to the Tevas brand. >>Take a look at these beautiful flip flops
- Water Sandals – If you want a more polished look, check out these leather-made salt water sandals.
- Sweatshirt – A sweatshirt is a must to keep me warm during chilly mornings and nights. >Click to see this California appropriate option here
- Sun Block – Do not leave the house (or the car) without applying sunblock. I repeat, always wear sunblock when outdoors. >Buy sunblock here
- Lip Balm with Sunscreen – Protect your lips by applying a balm with sunscreen. >Get one of the best lip balms here
- Wide Brim Hat – A wide brim hat is a great way to protect your scalp, face, and neck. The ones manufactured by FURTALK come with an anti-UV function. >Buy this amazing hat here
- Sunglasses – These are another must when it comes to protecting from the sun. A polarized, sporty pair works better outdoors. >Take a look at this wonderful pair
- Towels – This is the accessory I always forget about. WETCAT’s Turkish Towels take minimum space and dry fast. >Buy a Turkish towel here
- Foldable Chairs – Portable chairs allow you to set camp at the beach, park, winery, and even a parking lot. A classic Coleman portable chair is a solid choice. >>Buy portable camping chair
- Beach Blanket – For laying on the sand, a beach blanket is necessary. Good ones are waterproof, sandproof, and light. The blankets manufactured by Wekapo fit several adults and are durable. >Buy this nice beach blanket here
- Soft Cooler Bag – A soft cooler bag with enough capacity is great for having drinks and some food items at hand. I love my CleverMade collapsible cooler bag. >Take a look at my cooler here
- Water Bottle – Do not forget to bring water! Keep yours cold by taking a beautiful Hydro Flask water bottle. >Check out the insane options here
- THERMOS Tumblers – I have been a fan of the THERMOS brand since I received a tumbler as a gift. The tumblers keep drinks hot for hours. >>Buy THERMOS insulated tumblers here
- Dry Bag – Keep your valuables (and electronics) protected by bringing a dry bag. >These dry bag is awesome
- Beach Bag or Large Tote – Carry all your gear on an amazing beach bag. Get one with tons of pockets (I love pockets). >>>Check out my beach bag top pick
- Camera – I have never gotten used to taking pictures exclusively with my phone. I prefer to use the Sony Alpha a6000. It is compact and takes gorgeous pictures. >Buy Sony Camera here
- Tripod – A compact tripod to take your photos and videos to a different level. >>Check out this popular option here
- Portable Power Bank – It is a pain to keep phones charged on beach trips. Having a power bank is a lifesaver. The Anker portable charger can charge a phone 5 times. >Buy this incredible power bank here
Things to Do in Hermosa Beach
As mentioned, Hermosa Beach has a small surface area and, consequently, most of the action happens Downtown which, by the way, is next to the water. The things to do, see and eat in this guide are concentrated on Downtown.
Stroll the Pier
This 1,000 feet (300 meters) pier is an integral part of this city’s identity. Even if we are in the area for lunch or dinner, we will make some time to stroll the pier. Follow the lead of the locals and take in the views of the Santa Monica Bay and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. In addition, you will be able to see the piers our sister communities (Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach).
Fishing from the pier without a license is allowed.
Walk or Bike The Strand
The Strand is a 22-mile paved path extending from Pacific Palisades (close to Santa Monica) to Torrance.
The section belonging to Hermosa Beach has a length of about 1.5 miles. You can choose to walk or bike as much of the path as you want.
One of our favorite things to do is the “Pier to Pier” walk. This refers to the 2 miles section between the Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach piers (4 miles roundtrip). This is a great way to see what is happening at the beach and, at the same time, exercise. Plus, there are plenty of places to eat and drink at both ends of the walk.
The walk from the Hermosa Pier to the Redondo Pier is 2 miles long. This is another nice walk. However, when going south, we prefer to use our bikes and make it all the way to the end of the path in Torrance. This is an easy, 4 miles trip (one way).
If you do not have your own wheels, you can rent some at the Hermosa Beach Cyclery. They have cruisers, hybrids, tandems, trikes, skates, scooters, boogie boards, umbrellas and beach chairs in stock.
Take a Dip in the Ocean
Hermosa has about 1.5 miles of a sandy beach.
The strip of sand is relatively wide. The stretch closer to The Strand is used for volleyball, paddleboarding and other sports. The rest of the sand is claimed by families or individuals sunbathing or picnicking.
The beach is more crowded close to the pier. Walk a bit away from the pier if you are in search of a more secluded spot.
Showers, restrooms and potable water are available next to the pier and at 24th Street. There are NO shady areas at the beach.
Relax at Noble Park
If you prefer not to deal with the sand messiness (or if there is somebody on your party with mobility issues), you can set headquarters at Noble Park. This green area is right in front of the beach and does not get crowded.
Discover the Treasures of Pier Avenue
Have you noticed a lot of towns have a main thoroughfare? Well, Hermosa is not the exception. Pier Avenue, extending from the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to the ocean, has dozens of eateries, coffee shops, apparel stores, a wine shop, hair salons and much more! There are plenty of options for those interested in dining or shopping.
This street has a terminus at a pedestrian space called the Pier Plaza. This area is known for its many bars and its party atmosphere. It is a cool place to be, but my recommendation is not to stay for your entire time there. The restaurants and stores are more interesting in other parts of the avenue.
Visit the Hermosa Beach Museum
I am a big fan of history and because of that, I try to learn about a community’s past every time I visit. Local museums provide an excellent opportunity to do exactly that.
The Hermosa Beach Museum showcases memorabilia and other objects pertaining to the history of the City of Hermosa Beach. In this museum, you can learn how the city has been involved in surf culture, the jazz movement in the South Bay and the punk music phenomenon.
Admission is free (donations are welcome). The museum is open Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and weekends from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Go Mural Hunting
For a small town, Hermosa Beach has an excellent collection of art displayed on its streets.
Most of the colorful murals gracing downtown can be attributed to the Hermosa Beach Mural Project, a non-profit dedicated to enhancing the appearance of businesses and public areas through art. Their goal is to complete 10 murals in 10 years. So far, 7 have been completed.
Let’s take a look at the murals!
Hermosa Splash Circa 1909 (Location: 140 Pier Ave)
Hermosa Beach West Coast Jazz (Location: 1007 Hermosa Avenue)
Hermosa Swimwear Evolves (Location: 500 Pier Avenue)
Hermosa’s Great Wave (Location: Hermosa Avenue & 14th Street)
Lifeguards in Hermosa (Location: 13th Street and Hermosa Avenue)
Here is information about the two additional murals of the project (do not have photos now).
Volleyball in Hermosa (Location: 13th Street and Beach Drive)
Hermosa Beach Pier Plaza Circa 1924 (Location: 14th Street and Hermosa Avenue)
There are other works of art in the city not related to the Mural Project. The Sunny Southern California mural is located at the end of Pier Avenue.
J. Harpham’s underwater, hand-painted tile mural is located on 10th street and The Strand.
Exercise on the Greenbelt
Granted, you may not want to spend your vacation exercising. However, I know there are a lot of folks who want to stay healthy even while traveling.
The Greenbelt or Veterans Parkway is a 3-mile long path extending from Hermosa Beach to Manhattan Beach. This shaded path, full of benches and picnic tables, may be of interest to those staying in the city for some time (a week or more).
The walk is considered easy and you will pass Downtown Hermosa and Manhattan Beach and make it all the way to Manhattan Beach Village (Shopping Mall). The path runs parallel to Valley Drive.
Get a Taste of Australia
No, I am not daydreaming.
Turns out one of the Gum Tree Café owners is from Australia. He and his Southern California wife met in New York. After the couple’s first daughter was born, they decided to move to California and open a café.
Gum Tree serves sandwiches and salads made with organic and locally sourced ingredients. The Aussie touch is on the meat/chicken pies, vegemite toasts, flat whites and tim tams served. Their coffee, chai lattes and lemonades are delicious too. I love this place and highly recommend it.
And, that is not all, the café is only a part of the business. They have a store selling the most amazing books, cards, jewelry and home accessories. If you are in town, go and look!
Shop (or Window Shop) to Your Heart’s Content
I am not a big shopper. However, Hermosa has some unique stores that are worth a visit. I promise the goods on some of these stores will make you laugh hard.
Curious … is my favorite store on Pier Avenue. In this gift shop, you will find furniture, gift, cards, books, candles and much more. But, these are not ordinary goods. Think along the lines of unicorn masks, mermaid tails and tons of political incorrectness. Really love to spend some time here.
Grizzly Clothing and Wicked+ sell a nice selection of goods too.
If you are into antiques, the Star Antique Market is for you. This red barn brings together 65 eclectic antique dealers under one roof. Featuring a wide spectrum of vintage items and collectibles, like European antiques, California pottery, jewelry, glassware and one-of-a-kind historical items, Stars has no problems filling it’s 7,000 square feet of space.
Pay a Visit to the Famous Lighthouse Café
In all honesty, I learned about the history of The Lighthouse Café when researching this article.
Even though the establishment has the word “café” on its name, this place was one of the central West Coast Jazz clubs from the 50s to the 70s. Several records have been made onsite. Live music is presented daily. Check the website for details.
In addition, the café was featured in the movie La La Land.
Get Fresh Produce at the Farmers Market
Every Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., the Hermosa Beach Farmers Markets is set up in the Pier Plaza. This must be one of the most scenic markets in the area since it has the beach as a background.
The market features fresh fruits, vegetables and fish, jams, preserves, honey, flowers, baked goods, BBQ chicken and much more!
Another market takes place every Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 1035 Valley Drive (in the downtown area).
Beach Skate Park
If you are visiting Hermosa with kids, you can pack their skateboards and give them some use at the city’s skate park. There is plenty of space to skate on The Strand but the park may be a bit more fun.
Location: 710 Pier Avenue
The Comedy and Magic Club
This is probably one of the most popular venues in South Bay. Many renowned comics such as Gabriel Iglesias and Arsenio Hall have performed and continue performing here. As a matter of fact, Jay Leno performs weekly (most Sundays).
And, let’s not forget about the magic. I have magician friends who describe the tricks performed as impressive.
The club is open Tuesday to Sunday. Food is served on site and reservations can be made. Find more details here.
The organizers of Fiesta Hermosa state this is the largest arts and crafts fair in Southern California. Every Memorial and Labor Day Weekend (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) they bring together 300 artists including painters, photographers, jewelers, sculptors, and artisans. There is a food court, mechanical rides and petting zoo.
I have attended the festival for years and still find it fun. It is a great way to spend a day if you are in the area.
Thousands of people come down to the beach for Fiesta Hermosa. Make parking arrangements if you are thinking about visiting (park at designated lots and ride a shuttle or arrive via Uber).
Hermosa Beach Restaurants: What to Eat
There are a lot of things to do in Hermosa Beach but, in my opinion, the food alone is a reason enough to visit the city.
There are tons of options along Pier Avenue, Hermosa Avenue, and The Strand. You will have no problem finding something delicious.
My biggest tip is to eat between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Many restaurants offer great specials during this time. On top of that, some restaurants have special during weekends. This is a good way to save some bucks!
Good Stuff and Martha’s 22nd Street Grill are excellent options for breakfast. They offer various healthy choices and have outdoor seating next to the beach.
Do not forget to check out the Australian vibe at Gum Tree Café.
During weekends, the following places have delightful options for brunch:
- Dia de Campo – owners describe this place as a modern surf lodge, fish house, and raw bar. I describe it as modern Mexican food done right. For brunch, they serve burritos, clilaquiles, chile verde, hanger steak and chicken & churros. All of these have a surprising twist.
- The Hook & Plow – the local California dishes serve here include short rib hash, pear and burrata salad, and roasted pork sandwich
- Crème de la Crepe – this beach favorite offers options such as crepes, waffles, French toast, omelets, and benedict eggs
- Palmilla Cocina Y Tequila – this establishment takes Mexican food to the next level and serves dishes such as crab benedict, mole negro enchiladas, and salchichon scramble
Lunch and Dinner
Here is a sample of where to have lunch and dinner in Hermosa Beach. Notice this is a limited list since the options are many.
- Greenbelt – Dishes: kale chicken Caesar, braised short rib pizza, truffle fries
- The Standing Room – American-Korean fusion burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers
- Steak & Whiskey – Dishes: a variety of steaks, lamb osso buco, stuffed chicken breast
- Tower 12 – Big selection of burgers, sandwiches, pizza, and other favorites such as wings, meatballs, and pastrami sliders
- Fritto Misto – The Italian food here is outstanding and the portions are huge.
The following establishments offer quick and cheap eats.
- Red and Louie’s Pizzeria
- Paisanos Pizza and Pasta
- Brother’s Burritos
- American Junkie
- The Habit
- Paradise Bowls
And, if you are at the beach, you need some ice cream to deal with the heat.
- Paradis Ice Cream
Hermosa Beach Parking
Parking next to the beach is available on a multi-level structure, lots and individual spots. Payment is through a meter. Be aware that many of the parking spots close to the beach have a 2-hour limit.
There are free parking lots with 6 to 12-hour limits next to the Hermosa Beach Community Center and at Valley Drive and 11th Street.
Hermosa Beach Weather and Seasonality
Hermosa Beach is blessed with an excellent year-round weather. In summer, temperatures reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter temperatures oscillate around 60 degrees.
Even though the weather is pleasant all the time, some businesses observe shorter operating hours during winter. Other businesses are only open during the weekends. If you are visiting during this season and have your eyes set on a particular place, make sure it is operating during your visit.
The beach gets crowded during summer weekends. I recommend arriving early to secure a parking spot.
More of the South Bay
Guys, I have tons of articles about the South Bay. After all, this has been my home for years.
I invite you to learn more about this awesome part of Los Angeles.
If you are interested in a particular town, here are some destination specific articles I have written:
Redondo Beach Pier: What to Do, See and Eat
Terrific Things to Do in Torrance
Hermosa Beach: Things to Do, See and Eat
If you are a fan of nature, I encourage you to discover the beautiful Palos Verdes Peninsula, one of Los Angeles’ best-kept secrets.
More of Los Angeles
Oh, and Los Angeles is cool too!
One Day in LA: Itinerary for First-Time Visitors
More of Southern California
What other things to do in Hermosa Beach do you recommend? Let me know in the comments section.
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