REDONDO BEACH

The “South Bay” (as the beach cities south of LAX – or Santa Monica Bay – are called) is a diverse region of Los Angeles, but one most often unexplored by non-Angelenos. Those who do venture south to this coastal community often only visit the quaint seaside streets of Manhattan Beach, or take in the stunning beauty (and pricey real estate!) of Palos Verdes, or even the post-college party crowd of Hermosa Beach.

But one of the most ethnically and culturally interesting areas of the South Bay is Redondo Beach, a surfing destination with a population of Asian, Hawaiian, and Brazilian residents. Although the neighborhood is beachside, it’s still not as developed or glitzy as its nearby neighbors, and there’s a lot to discover.

Last weekend welcomed the official start of summer, and if you’re in LA, you should be within a mile of the Pacific Ocean from now until September. So strap on your sandals, and get ready for your best day in Redondo Beach!

Stop 1: Green Roast Coffee

This incongruous coffeeshop – located inside a strip mall along the main road – has loads of character and charm once you walk through the front door. It’s owned by a sweet older couple who roast the coffee beans every morning, and bake all the pastries from scratch.

The organic house pours include Ethiopian, Guatemalan and Peruvian blends, as well as a 100% Kona brew. We tried the vegan brownie, flourless peanut butter chocolate chip bite, and peanut butter fudge (definite favorite!). They also serve paleo cookies, sandwiches, smoothies and shave ice.

(1300 Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach)

Stop 2: Veterans Park

This 6.3 acre park is on the edge of the Redondo Beach boardwalk, and includes a memorial to local war veterans, a field for picnics and frisbee-playing, and a community center and playground. The park has beautiful views, and is a popular spot for families. The local farmers’ market sets up shop on Thursdays, too!

(309 Esplanade, Redondo Beach)

Stop 3: Captain Kidd's Fish Market

If there’s one thing we LOVE at MyBestLADay, it’s a seafood market! (hey, we lived in Seattle for over 5 years!) This one is located inside King Harbor, and offers fresh seafood, cooked-to-order lobster, and the chance to pick out your very own clams, mussels or crab and have them steamed. You can also order a bowl of paella, some authentic chowder, ceviche ($4.99 for large) and shrimp cocktail ($6.50), among many other yummy things.

The picnic tables in back (covered with newspaper, of course!) are the perfect summer spot to enjoy lunch and watch the boats go by.

(209 N Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach)

Stop 4: Ju's Poke

Why hop a flight to Hawaii when you can get that aloha spirit and some mouth-watering poke right here in LA?!

Again, Jus’ Poke is sandwiched between a residential neighborhood and a busy main road. But you’re not coming here for atmosphere – you are coming here for one of the best poke bowls you’ve ever tasted. The “Ohana-owned” shop is authentic (certainly not fancy!) and offers some seriously fresh fish. We ordered the spicy poke and shoyu poke with brown rice. For $9.50, you can also choose one side (we got seaweed salad and pickled cucumbers – nom!)

We recommend grabbing one of the few tables outside.

(501 N Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach)

Stop 5: Wanna Chill?

We decided to keep the Hawaiian theme going, and stop by the ever-popular Wanna Chill? for some handmade cups of frozen ice. And this is certainly not your normal after-school sno-cone. They offer over 50 flavors, and we ordered “California Surf” – pineapple, strawberry and coconut shave ice with coconut ice cream and condensed milk. Oh boy, oh boy!

The praline ice cream cone was also rich and gorgeously delicious. And Wanna Chills? offers acai bowls and smoothies.

(625 B Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach)

Stop 6: Redondo Beach Pier

The Redondo Beach Pier and International Boardwalk is the stuff of childhood summer dreams. We’re talking old school fun like an arcade, ice cream parlor, and several seafood markets. The pier was re-built in the 1990s after several major storms, and although its popularity has been challenged (especially compared with places like the Santa Monica Pier), we couldn’t think of a better way to spend a July evening. Bonus points if you see dolphins playing in the ocean!

(100 Fisherman’s Wharf, Redondo Beach)

Stop 7: A Basq Kitchen

Holy tapas, this place is good. Owned by Terranea Resort chef Bernard Ibarra (who has cooked in high-end resorts and restaurants all over the world), Basq Kitchen brings Spanish pintxos, tapas and wines to the Redondo Beach boardwalk. It may look like a tiny hole-in-the-wall as you walk up, but this open air restaurant really delivers with the small bites (patatas braves and lamp chops were our favorites!) The red sangria is a wonderful weekend drink (or heck! Any night – it’s summer!), and the place is lively and fun.

(136 N International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach)

The Details:

We recommend getting around the neighborhood on bike. You can rent them here.

A map of our day looks like this:

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