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Weekend Getaway: Hermosa Beach

Hermosa Beach Pier

Just because we live in, on, and surrounded by beach cities here in North County San Diego—doesn’t mean we don’t crave a beachy weekend away now and again. If you hate the word staycation but want an escape that’s reachable within a single tank of gas, consider breezy Hermosa Beach only an hour and a half away from Oceanside.

Hermosa Beach is a pedestrian-friendly middle beach town sandwiched by two other ocean front cities in the South Bay of greater Los Angeles. Manhattan Beach is to the north, and Redondo Beach is to the south. Best known for beach volleyball and Pier Ave nightlife, if you haven’t been recently, consider a shopping getaway on Pier Avenue that’s topped off with a sun-kissed stroll on the Strand. Hermosa is home to 200 plus retail boutiques, specialty shops, restaurants, cafes, and outdoor activities, with only a little more than 18,000 residents.

What to Do in Hermosa Beach

What to Do in Hermosa Beach

Shopping on Pier Ave 

What I love about shopping on Pier Avenue is that the shops are predominantly independently owned, a big difference from shopping at a Westfield or even an upscale strip mall. Take your time walking down Pier ave from the upper end (the west-most side) to the lower end (where Pier Ave meets Hermosa Ave) and enjoy popping in and out of an eclectic array of boutiques suitable to both women and men. You can trust that items in these shops have been carefully curated by their local owners.

Start at Gum Tree, a casually chic home decor and gift shop inside of a 1911 craftsman cottage run by a husband and wife team with a must-go to cafe in the back patio (and Gum Tree Kids across the street). If you’ve ever been to Australia, you’ll be happy to know that Will has brought their traditional meat pies back to Southern California. Linger if you want, but there are more gems down the street.

Things to Do in Hermosa Beach

New to Upper Pier —

Beach & Beverly is the new hotspot to find stylish fashion from local designers. Go for the most current Boho wear than can take you from casual coffee sessions to special occasions and evenings out. Don’t miss the Compartés Chocolate bars – they’ll make a great gift. Beach & Beverly is the sister store to Wicked+, a men’s market and general store for home goods, local tees, hats, and lifestyle amenities including the Hermosa Beach bag (shown below and exclusive to Wicked). Ask the founders, brothers Brian and Colin Cooley, about how each piece came to find it’s place in their store. There’s a story for every one.

Hermosa Beach Bag

Now cross the street again and you’ll find SolBaby. The essential children’s store for crafting your child’s hippest outfit, or coolest birthday gift. Serving kids 0-8 years old, you’ll find onesies, dresses, shoes, tees, books and music the kids can definitely rock. Get trendy, baby. Peace out.

Now, stash the shopping and rent a bike and cruise the Strand.

Hermosa Cyclery specializes in beach cruisers, skates, and beach gear. Need a trailer or kids’ bike? How about a tandem or trail bike? No problem. All you have to think about is where to go and they have a map for that. Manhattan Beach is only a 15 minute ride away and less than two miles. If you’re looking for a longer ride, you can take the bikes all the way to Santa Monica Pier to the north or Palos Verdes to the South.

Motion Bicycle is a full service bicycle shop too. Check out the colors on their cruisers—tres cool. They tout plenty of free parking and after a ride, you just might want to buy a bike from them, too.

Where to Eat:

Abigaile Grab a drink and watch the sunset at this buzzing restaurant for adventurous foodies and craft beer fans alike. Great care goes into where the food is sourced and how Chef Tin Vuong prepares. Most talked about for their PIG pop tarts, escargot poppers, and luscious brunches with bottomless mimosas, there is plenty of farm to table fare for vegetarians, too.

Located in Hermosa Beach, just a block off the sand and strand, Día de Campo is a modern surf lodge, of sorts, catering to those who want to disconnect, leave the day behind and gather with friends and strangers over flavorful food and drinks. Don’t miss their Bandito Power Hour for deals on tacos, brussel sprout nachos, tortas, and cervezas. Every Tuesday you can find $ oysters.

Where to Stay:

Beach House Hotel If you want to splurge on an beach front suite, the Beach House is your spot. It is the number one hotel for Hermosa Beach on TripAdvisor, but the location does all the talking. It gets a mix of business clients as well as Southern California locals celebrating special occasions. Ask for a room on the second floor if you don’t want to be that close to the people walking by on the Strand. But it’s not just a pretty view, they have valet parking and spa services, too.

Portofino Hotel Redondo Beach
 If you’re looking for an ocean view, but don’t need the buzz of a boardwalk, consider a room at the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach. The hotel overlooks the marina and continues to bring guests back for return visits because of it’s location, attentive service, quality onsite restaurants, and rich history.

The Belamar If you are willing to trade the ocean view for a more reasonable hotel rate, but still like your hotel to have style, The Belamar is your spot in Manhattan Beach. It is more inland and across from a shopping mall, but impressive in their modern decor, and helpful staff. They’re close to all three beach cities and earn an extremely high rating on TripAdvisor. I haven’t been in ten years, but I’d go back in a heart beat.

Photo Credits: Hermosa Beach Pier, Beach & Beverly

Jen Leo: Jen Leo writes the nationally syndicated Web Buzz column for the Los Angeles Times and co-hosts the podcast This Week in Travel. She loves trying new restaurants and discovering local makers as she bounces between her homes in Carlsbad, CA and Charleston, SC with her husband and 7 year-old daughter. Follow her travels on Twitter and Instagram, and her daydreams on Pinterest.