A Weekend in Los Angeles– HERMOSA BEACH

Growing up in Los Angeles, I am surprised that I haven’t gone out that often to explore the sights and sounds of this massive, sprawling city. I attribute it to the fact that I live in a suburb of the city, which is quite far from the main sights that visitors usually frequent whenever they’re in town. That said, it wasn’t until I was in college (and beyond) that I started to venture out and be a “tourist” in my own city.

I have actually written about some of my adventures in Los Angeles before, but that was merely dedicated to food, as the city serves some of the most multi-cultural cuisines I’ve ever experienced (you’re free to read the posts starting here). For the sake of this post and others following, I will focus on the sights and attractions, so as to offer a more-comprehensive look into what this metropolitan area has to show, both for locals and visitors.

Hermosa Beach, California

Located in the South Bay region of Los Angeles, Hermosa Beach is among one of the three proclaimed “Beach Cities” in the area, with the likes of Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach. It’s also the smallest of the three by far, at a mere 1.43 squared miles (3.70 squared kilometres). Given it’s small area, it makes for an easily-accessible walk around town to enjoy on a warm, summer’s day.

Hermosa Beach.

Compared to Redondo and Manhattan, Hermosa Beach is the liveliest of the bunch, as it’s known for a more-thriving nightlife, especially along Pier Avenue and Hermosa Avenue. Whereas the other two beach cities are more residential and family-oriented, Hermosa Beach is louder with a younger crowd, from teens to thirty-somethings living it up with the waves and pubs all day long.

Much of the action is concentrated on Pier Avenue, especially the Promenade on Pier Avenue where it boasts a small strip of bars and boutique stores a block away from the beach itself. You don’t have to walk too far to find entertainment, all the while spend the afternoon riding waves or otherwise sunbathing on the white, sandy shores. It’s especially vibrant on a sunny afternoon, with people of all ages enjoying the warm weather and good vibes.

I don’t live too far from Hermosa Beach, yet I rarely went there when I was younger. I only had one, brief afternoon there last summer, but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to return to it once more. After parking my car a few blocks away from the beach, I took Pier Avenue all the way down to the shore.

Pier Avenue itself is a highlight of Hermosa Beach. There are plenty of classy, charming, and cute boutique stores along its winding, slightly-hilly path, as well as a few family-owned cafes that are perfect for a pick-me-up during the midday slump. The closer you get to the pier, the more bars will be apparent. Hermosa Avenue itself also has a good amount of restaurants and boutique shops, although not nearly as many as on Pier Avenue.

The Promenade is where it’s at, though. This short, pedestrian walk is lined with the iconic palm trees of Los Angeles, as well as bars and souvenir shops. This is where the locals and tourists congregate, and I liken it to a smaller version of the more-famous Promenade in Santa Monica.

The Promenade.

Along Pier Avenue and Hermosa Avenue are several noticeable mural street art. Commissioned by the non-profit Hermosa Beach Murals Project in 2009, the city aims to create large artworks that recount its history as a notable beach town. The goal was to complete ten murals in ten years, and they recently finished their last one. They can be found on street corners and parking lot structures, so it’s important to keep your eyes peeled for them! I only managed to find six of the ten murals, but they were nevertheless a lovely sight to see.

Mural #1: “Beatnik Alley.”
Mural #2: “Lifeguards in Hermosa (before 1935).”
Mural #3: “Hermosa Beach Pier Plaza Circa 1924.”
Mural #4: “Hermosa Beach West Coast Jazz.”
Mural #5: “Hermosa Swimwear Evolves.”
Mural #6: “Punk and Skate in Hermosa -70’s & 80’s.”

Cross the strand, and you’ll reach the beach itself. It’s a fairly-vast strip of white sand, with a massive pier that you can walk upon or under (although it’s important to be careful with the latter, depending on the tide!). This is where you can surf, swim, play volleyball, or otherwise soak up the sun on a warm day. Friends, couples, and families are all welcome, and plenty of them take advantage of that.

The Pier.
Under the Pier.

I greatly enjoyed my brief revisit of Hermosa Beach. Based on the vibrant atmosphere, I can imagine that it would be even more so after a beautiful pink-orange sunset and the bars opening up at night. It’s small, yet compact, and you can definitely live out your LA fantasy in a more-local environment, as compared to more-touristy beaches like Santa Monica or Venice. It’s worth a try!

Thanks for reading, and more adventures in LA to come soon!

— The Finicky Cynic

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4 thoughts on “A Weekend in Los Angeles– HERMOSA BEACH

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