Manhattan Beach: yay or nay?
June 24, 2008 3:49 PM   Subscribe

Can you tell me what California's Manhattan Beach area is like? I'm considering a move to be closer to my workplace in the coming months.

I'm currently two hours away courtesy of LA traffic, so I've just started looking at the surrounding areas and remember hearing some good things about Manhattan Beach. Unfortunately I no longer know anyone living there, and it's proving a little daunting to find "reviews" of locations so far. Could you share some personal experiences if you have them, or recommend other decent neighborhoods around the Torrance area?

posted by Bakuun to Travel & Transportation around Manhattan Beach, CA (11 answers total)
Manhattan Beach seemed okay the last time I was in the area (last year), but all we really did was go to a mall and eat lunch at a restaurant. There seemed to be a lot of malls that were generally upscale or in the process of being remodelled.

It would probably be helpful if you described what qualities you're looking for in a place to live so that we more easily make suggestions. Just based on seeing "a lot of malls", I wouldn't want to live in that part of Manhattan Beach, but other people would be absolutely thrilled.
posted by LionIndex at 4:03 PM on June 24, 2008

i lived in hermosa beach for a year (a block up from the pier) and loved it. it's right next to manhattan beach. the vibe is mellower and not quite as expensive.
posted by violetk at 4:11 PM on June 24, 2008

Manhattan Beach is a very nice place to live but it's very white, expensive and quite homogenous in comparison with other parts of LA. If you can afford to live there, it's a very comfortable place to live. Close to LAX, sort of close to Santa Monica, kinda far from Downtown. Great air (little, to no smog as you're on the water.)
posted by gen at 4:13 PM on June 24, 2008

Fratty, surfer, anti-intellectual, cheesy. Sorry to be so blunt, but that is my OVERWHELMING impression of the area.

If you wish to enjoy any of the cultural advantages of Los Angeles, do NOT live anywhere near the south bay. It's miles away, physically and spiritually, from everything that, for me, makes L.A. worth living in.

This is just my very biased perspective. But based on your profile, it sounds like you would detest it as much as me.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:15 PM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

LionIndex: You're right, a few more details would probably help. My only real concern is living in an area that is safe and doesn't suffer from horribly congested traffic. I'll be looking into a studio apartment and trying to keep expenses down as much as possible. I can find ways to amuse/entertain myself no matter what is actually -in- the neighborhood's area, so I'm not too worried about local sights or attractions - although of course they're a bonus. I've been living in LA for 10 years, moved to the San Fernando Valley about four years ago, and now definitely want to move closer to the Torrance area to be closer to the studio I work in. Not so much interested in wading through LA's rich culture as I am just living in a peaceful environment.
posted by Bakuun at 4:29 PM on June 24, 2008

I found south Redondo Beach, near the Riviera Village area, to be a very pleasant environment--it seems to be less expensive than Manhattan Beach due to being further away from freeways, which won't be such a problem if you're working in Torrance. It's a bit quieter and less surfing-oriented than Hermosa or Manhattan, but they're still easily bikable if you want someplace with more nightlife.

As others have said, it's pretty far away from everything, but it sounds like that's not such a concern to you.
posted by fermion at 4:55 PM on June 24, 2008

Fratty, surfer, anti-intellectual, cheesy.

True for The Strand but 4 - 5 blocks off it's pretty much a fairly quiet community of white professional families.
posted by mrmojoflying at 6:40 PM on June 24, 2008

Yay. Agree with mrmojoflying. It's a completely different social group depending on what area you're in, and what hours you keep. Even the Strand. There are three distinct crowds (albeit of well-off, pretty people) depending on what hours you keep. Early morning, it's a lot of surfer and biking/jogging fitness-types. Morning through afternoon is young families; lots of moms with double strollers and a couple dogs. At night the younger single, sometimes fratty crowd is out (duh). But overall the city is very flip-flops-and-shorts relaxed.

Other notes:
-- The weather - Of course, it's slightly to drastically cooler near the beach than anywhere else in SoCal. This is great in the summer but sometimes downright chilly in the winter.
-- Air quality - You're right next to the beach so if you have allergies or smog sensitivities, it's a lifesaver.
-- Crime - Extremely safe, as much as anywhere can be. The cops look bored to me.
-- Area - Very clean. Great beach and parks. If you're sporty there is plenty to do.
-- Traffic: There is some, depending on where exactly you are and where you're going.

You pay for all this. But, great deals do pop up. (I lucked out.) Like all good housing in LA, competition is fierce - but apartment hunting strategy is a whole other topic.

Here's a link to the local paper (comes out Thursdays), it might give you a better idea of the South Bay area. Hermosa and Redondo have similar, less-elite vibes too. Let me know if you have any more questions, hope this helps.
posted by for_serious at 7:07 PM on June 24, 2008

Manhattan Beach is an awesome place to live ... provided you can afford it, because it's also one of the most expensive areas in Los Angeles. There's a reason Manhattan Beach is home to many of the L.A. area's prominent professional athletes.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:46 PM on June 24, 2008

Don't count out Torrance itself as a place to live. It has it's good and bad parts, of course, but it tends to be pretty down to earth (relative to the rest of the South Bay, at least), and if you're not that drawn to living near the beach, there's no sense in paying for it.

I always enjoyed spending time in Walteria, which is south of the Torrance Airport, around Hawthorne and PCH. It has a mix of houses and apartments.. Also the area north of the Torrance Airport (around the Madrona Marsh) always seemed nice to me. These are going to be fairly quiet neighborhoods, not much in the way of a "culture," but very livable.

Disclaimer: I've lived in the south bay, but not actually in this particular neighborhood. spent rather a lot of time there though.
posted by everybody polka at 10:45 PM on June 24, 2008

Are there any areas you'd recommend to avoid, for a spin on the question?
posted by Bakuun at 10:46 AM on June 25, 2008

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