Socal’s family-friendly seaside getaway
PERCHED ALONGSIDE the Pacific Ocean with a glorious coastline and lively pier, Redondo Beach is an ideal venue for living the California dream, if only for the weekend. Just seven miles from LAX and not far from Los Angeles’ top attractions, historic Redondo Beach is a magnet for those who love the coast.
Typically sunny and in the 80s in summer and comfortable the rest of the year, the beach is less crowded than better-known sands in Malibu and Santa Monica. Popular activities include sport fishing, whale watching, diving, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, biking and beach volleyball.
Redondo Beach rose to prominence early in the 20th century when George Freeth came from Oahu and introduced surfing to the mainland. Known as the “Man Who Can Walk on Water,” Freeth attracted thousands of spectators who gawked in amazement as he rode his eight-foot-long wooden surfboard from sea to shore.
Today the Redondo Beach Pier attracts visitors with events including a kite festival on March 11, a classic car show on Sept. 30
(redondopier.com/events), and the annual Redondo Beach Lobster Festival, Sept. 28-30
On the second Saturday of each month there are free yoga sessions on the pier, which has more than 50 shops, rides and restaurants, and there are more choices on the pier’s adjacent International Boardwalk.
Chef Tin Vuong recently opened Suburbia, a restaurant in Redondo Beach’s Riviera Village featuring global specialties. There are lots of American standards too.
The city’s cultural anchor is the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. The 1,457-seat venue hosts performances by the Los Angeles Ballet, a slack key guitar festival, and theatrical musicals such as 2018’s highlight, Mamma Mia!, featuring ABBA’S songs, Aug. 3-12.
For lodging, a top pick is The Portofino Hotel on the waterfront, with ocean views in Redondo Beach’s marina. The hotel’s Baleen Kitchen reopened last summer after a complete redesign. A new upscale hotel called Shade, with yacht-chic design elements and a rooftop pool, overlooks the marina.
While staying in Redondo Beach, don’t miss The SEA Lab, a marine science education center (lacorps.org/programs/sea-lab). If you’re in Redondo Beach between November and April, try to spot gray whales migrating between California and Mexico. You can often see the behemoths from shore. To get closer, book a whale-watching tour on a boat such as the Indian (rbwhales.com).
But perhaps the best way to enjoy Redondo Beach is to simply relax in the sand, watch the waves curl and enjoy some California dreamin’ in one of the state’s premier beach towns.