Redondo Beach, California

Last updated: March 2020.

Tips:

  • Redondo Beach is the quietest and least touristy town out of all the beach cities. It’s very spread out but I believe the heart of it is in the Hollywood Riviera.
  • Weather: the summers can be very hot (but the ocean breeze makes it cooler than inland temperatures) and from November till July the weather is very inconsistent. You may have heard of May Grey and June Gloom, it’s a thing!
  • Where to stay: tricky question as there aren’t many hotels in the good spots. The Shade Hotel and Portofino hotel and Marina are probably the nicest options and are located within the marina. The Holiday Inn Express, Ramada Limited, Redondo Inn & suites, The Redondo Beach hotel and the Crown Plaza are other options.
  • Redondo Beach Farmers Market is located in front of Veterans Park (close to Redondo pier) every Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. There’s another Farmer’s market on Sundays in the parking lot beside Trader Joe’s (1761 Elena Ave), from 9-2pm.
  • Fun facts about the Hollywood Riviera: it is in the City of Torrance, but has a Redondo Beach zip code (90277) and unlike many other Torrance communities, “The Riviera” (as some residents call it) has a distinct feel that sets it apart from neighboring communities. The original developer of the Hollywood Riviera was entranced by the movie business and felt that the seaside properties would be a natural location for the Hollywood “set” to buy and build. A few movies were made in the thirties and a few smart producers bought properties, but the Hollywood scene never materialized. More here.
  • Redondo Beach has the longest strip of beach in my opinion! You can walk above it along the wide side walk on Esplanade or you can take the stairs or the steep ramps down to the Boardwalk (on the sand- shared bike and pedestrian path). It’s typically less crowded than Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach. Parking is easier to find on the side streets but there is metered parking along Esplanade. There are multiple restrooms along the boardwalk (often closed during winter) as well as Lifeguard stations. Keep your eyes open for dolphins, seals and stingrays!
  • Where to eat In the Hollywood Riviera:
    • Rockefeller: California food, cozy atmosphere and friendly staff
    • Riviera House: California inspired seafood menu, delicious cocktails and cute decor
    • Crème de la crèpe: french bistro
    • Rebel Republic: bar serving okay food, gets a good crowd for Happy hour
    • Turquoise: very tasty mediterranean food
    • Locale90: delicious pizzas & salads!
    • Gabi: European inspired cuisine. Great cocktails. Delicious brunch on weekends!
    • Matty’s Crawdaddies:  new restaurant-Cajun/Creole comfort food.
    • Green Temple: vegetarian menu with cute patio.
    • Kalaveras: Mexican restaurant, Taco Tuesday specials and others all week long.
    • HT Grill: great outdoor patio & fire pit. Specials every day.
    • Flyin Fin: best sushi in the area but quite small and don’t take reservations.
    • Hook and Plow : Fresh food, Cute outdoor patio with firepit.
    • Little Sister: Lunch, Happy Hour & Dinner. Asian fusion.
    • Punch Bowl: Juice shots, smoothies, shakes.
    • Bettolino Kitchen: Italian restaurant
    • Saks on the beach: great spot to grab a sandwich, açaí bowl or coffee for the beach.
    • The Bull Pen: (from their website) For 70 years The Bull Pen has been serving its Famous Bull Pen Burger along with Prime Rib, Steaks, and Seafood to 3 generations of customers. Good older scene, cozy get’s lively on weekends. Live bands.
    • The Bottle Inn :  an Italian restaurant that hosts a casual and informal wine tasting every Thursday from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. They also have fruit, artisan cheeses and homemade bread matched with the wines. Wine is available at retail discounted prices and they charge a nominal $10.00 per person unless you stay for dinner.
    • Good Brunch spots: Riviera House*, Yellow Vase, HT Grill*, Rockefeller*, Locale90 & Gabi* (on weekends only*)
    • Good coffee: Hifi, Rockefeller and Yellow Vase. There is also the Coffee Cartel but I’m not a fan of their coffee.
    • Many other smaller restaurants for quick bites (Riviera Mexican Grill and Beach Bowls Acai Cafe) or chains such as Good stuffBuca di Beppo, and Rock & Brews.
  •  Where to get drinks In the Hollywood Riviera:
  • Food/drink shopping: Trader Joe’s, Vons and Bevmo are the main places to go.
  • The Redondo Riviera has a lot of nail bars, hair salons, dry cleaners as well as little shops.
  • Gym’s around the Hollywood Riviera: Soul fitness, Pilates South Bay, White House Pilates, RockIt Body Pilates, and other little studios.
  • Notable restaurants & bars outside the Hollywood Riviera:
    • Sushi Chitose: BEST KEPT SECRET IN THE SOUTH BAY. This is a traditional, japanese owned, sushi joint. Reservations recommended if you want to sit at the bar in from of sushi chefs. I recommend doing the Omakase (chef’s menu).
    • Sister’s Barn Eatery: BBQ everything!
    • Ramen Shack Takumiya (whole in the wall delicious, well rated, no-fuss ramen place), RAKKAN Ramen (newer ramen spot)
    • Wildflower Café: Cozy breakfast spot with many gluten free options.
    • La Terraza: cute new coffee shop
    • Mama D’s: Local’s favorite low-key Italian joint
    • Phanny’s : known for their breakfast burritos- served all day.
    • Ortega 120: mexican food, tequila tastings and more.
    • Hudson House: cozy tapas like mexican inspired restaurant.
    • Redondo Pier: Old Tony’s for a Mai Tai with a view (and you can bring the nice glass home as a souvenir), King Harbor Brewing Company, Naja’s Place (for the widest selection of beers on tap I’ve ever seen in the area), Pacific Fish Center & Restaurant( for fresh shucked oysters, fresh fish, poke, fish and chips and more) and R/10 Social house (neighborhood gastropub offering farm-to-table food, and handcrafted cocktails).
    • Redondo Marina: Shade Hotel restaurant, Bluewater grill, Captain Kidd’s Fish Market (super casual setting, eat in or take out).
    • For a fantastic selection of ice creams, Handel’s.

Impressions:

Redondo Beach is an interesting city because if you look at it on a map, it is shaped very oddly. It has a long stretch of beach but also is pretty wide and spreads inland.

I knew of Redondo Beach before moving here (August 2018) but I always thought it was boring. Upon visiting my current apartment, I walked around the corner and discovered the Redondo Riviera and fell in love instantly.

The sunsets are definitely the best in the SouthBay, and I’d like to think Redondo gets the nicest views. So many people run, walk (many with their dogs), bike along the Esplanade and admire the sunsets. There’s a beautiful sense of community and love when you look around and people are talking to each other, sitting on benches or the wall, looking into the distance and waiting for the sun to set.

I will always remember my first morning in my apartment when I walked to the Esplanade sidewalk and sat down with my mug full of fresh brewed coffee. Yes I live 2 blocks from the ocean and I can walk over with y mug! I remember just looking at the ocean, the waves and the surrounding mountains and thinking how beautiful and peaceful it was. As I was observing two older men walking by me (and thinking- wow this is the life I want at their age) one said ‘Good morning!’. I looked around, thinking he was addressing another one of his friends coming from the opposite direction… and then he looked right at me and said ‘ I’m saying hello to you my dear’. I was shocked. Never in my 5 years living in Hollywood had anyone that I didn’t know addressed me with a warm good morning. I was convinced then and there that this was my home.

I can walk and bike to the grocery store, restaurants, coffee shops, the gym and the beach. The local crowd is more mature than Hermosa Beach (more of a party town vibe) so the nightlife is existent but mellow. Amy, the barista at Rockefeller, knows my name, greets me with the most genuine smile and prepares my cappuccino exactly how I like it: this may sound stupid to you, but to me I knew I’d found my home the day she said ‘Hi Sara, the usual? I’ll bring it right out to you on the patio.’ This is the lifestyle I dreamed of when I moved to California in January 2014! The pace of living is slow, healthy, beachy and very much relaxing. There is no traffic, easy parking, pedestrian and bike friendly drivers, sunny patios, live music in different restaurants every night, smiley people… it’s basically the best kept secret, ideal beach town!

Come check it out! I promise you’ll never want to leave.

 

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