Less than four miles square in size, the number of houses and commercial businesses snuggled into its borders belies Manhattan Beach’s diminutive dimensions. With roughly 35,000 people living here, things can get a bit over-crowded (and under-clothed. Hey, it's the beach.), especially closer to the waves where all the exciting happenings are happening. Fortunately, the vastness of the Pacific Ocean helps alleviate any claustrophobia. Plus, people are generally pretty warm and welcoming regardless of where in the city you lay down your beach blanket.
Though it was already mentioned, steeling yourself for the sticker shock on everything from a loaf of bread to a gallon of gas to organic deli sandwiches is imperative. The cost of living in the South Bay which includes three cities: Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach is astronomical. MBs COL is a solid 81 percent higher than the nation’s average, and a feather ruffling 37 percent higher than California’s average. And surprise, surprise, most of that comes from the cost of housing. Are you sitting down? Youre looking at homes that cost on average 137 percent more than other California homes. Yes, other CALIFORNIA homes, a state not known for its restraint in pricing property. Rentals are a bit more reasonable, thankfully, but if you’re not making six figures youre going to have a rough, and likely impossible, go at living here.
Most movers and shakers residing here don’t work in the city, they tend to work in downtown L.A. or somewhere thereabouts. That means a car is pretty darn essential, and parking is a huge pain in the butt in most neighborhoods (but you’re living somewhere with a garage, right?). But, you never have to worry about de-icing or cold weather-proofing anything, since temperatures are downright idyllic nearly every day of the year. Oh, and forget about that gym membership. Locals sport enviable bodies, but they acquire them from exercising outdoors, playing volleyball, surfing, biking, running, and performing other movie-approved activities, like beach yoga.
Cost and car hassles aside, Manhattan Beach is an amazing place to live. People travel from all over the state to visit the shore, lie out in the sun, gulp down shots at beachside bars at sunset, and catch sight of famous folks like Dave Coulier and Thomas Pynchon. Is the beach not quite your bag, baby? There are dozens of excellent parks too. Oh, and you’re crazy.
Manhattan Beach is home to several neighborhoods with charming individual qualities. Pay close attention to the little details and weigh your priorities. There are some less expensive eastern spots, but they’re very quiet, so be prepared for that lifestyle. If you love the beachside party scene, expect to pay several million for a home, and several thousand a month for rental properties.
Sand Section: Home to The Strand and its eight-figure homes, this area is for serious ballers only. It’s all waterfront property with few apartment rentals in sight. Sure, there are rental properties, but you’re probably not renting here unless you already own several multi-million dollar homes around the world.
Hill Section: Guess where this neighborhood is? It’s a great place for renting an apartment. The larger lots and ocean views appeal to quieter types who prefer more parking to more bars. The easy access to freeways and PCH are a hit with professionals too.
Tree Section: They’re very literal in MB, and the tree section is so named for the abundant Eucalyptus trees and streets named Pine, Oak, and Elm. More of that easy freeway access here, and there is a less expensive selection of rental homes and apartments, for those of you hoping to catch a small break.
Mira Mosta Section: There are quite a few fabulous homes here, known as the Mansion Area, but there are deals, especially with townhouses for rent.
Manhattan Village/Liberty Village/Manhattan Heights: These spots tend to get all lumped in together. They feature a lot of planned, gated communities, townhouses, and single-family homes. A bit on the boring side, but if youre into that and greater square footage, go here.
The Manhattan Beach Open Volleyball Tournament is hosted every August. Whether you’re into the sport or not, its a fabulous event locals and visitors rush over to watch. Get used to spending most hours not working outside; there are over 40 acres of recreational area in MB, including parks, beaches, and biking trails. Walking the pier and Manhattan Beach Boulevard, the main strip downtown, is a popular weekend activity. Plus, it’s where all the restaurants, shops and bars are located. Tired of the sound of crashing waves? L.A., Hollywood, and other popular cities are 10-20 minutes away. There’s really nothing you can’t have or do in Manhattan Beach, you just can’t be broke to enjoy it.