We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Recs for place to stay, eat, drink

Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
18 posts
14 reviews
Recs for place to stay, eat, drink

My wife and I are coming to LA June 9-13 and we are trying to decide on a place to stay. We are leaning towards staying at one of the beach areas (Santa Monica, Manhattan, Hermosa) and just driving into LA to see the sights (Hollywood, Universal Studios, etc.). Is this feasible or are we going to be stuck in too much traffic?? We would like to stay at a place where we can walk to restaurants and bars. We are in our early 40's so not interested in club music type places, we would prefer bars that play live music that everyone kind of knows and can sing along (80's rock, country, we are from Texas what do you expect!) We also would like to play in the water a bit. Which area should we stay in that would be best for these types of restaurants and bars, plus accessing the sights in LA? Which bars would you recommend? Which restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (nothing super fancy, but we do like nice dinners). Thanks.

Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
Level Contributor
31,634 posts
45 reviews
1. Re: Recs for place to stay, eat, drink

There are no hotels near the beach in Manhattan and Hermosa. There's a great Inn, the Sea View, but it sells out well In advance. Also, the South Bay is not convenient for LA sightseeing- too much traffic.

Santa Monica is expensive, what is your budget per night? There are some live music venues, not many

Manhattan Beach...
Destination Expert
for Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach
Level Contributor
211 posts
54 reviews
2. Re: Recs for place to stay, eat, drink

You're in luck because many of your questions have been previously answered in the Manhattan Beach forum. In general, Manhattan & Hermosa are beach towns. Santa Monica is a beach city. They have completely different vibes. Hermosa tends to skew collegiate and has more live music venues, while Manhattan is a bit more reserved and generally appeals the 30 & above crowd. Both have great restaurants concentrated in their downtown areas. Again, there are detailed recommendations listed in the forum. Weekend reservations are advised. Both Hermosa (Beach House) & Manhattan (Shade) have a nice hotel in their downtown/beach area where walking to bars & restaurants is part of their appeal.

Based on traffic patterns, there is not a significant difference between getting access to the LA sites from either place, but I would recommend downloading the WAZE app and using it when driving here.

Edited: 15 May 2015, 20:16
Manhattan Beach...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach
Level Contributor
21,864 posts
3 reviews
3. Re: Recs for place to stay, eat, drink

What is your budget for lodgings? We can be more specific to help you if we knew that. Are you thinking $250 or $450 a night?

Top of the list is The Beach House in Hermosa Beach, right on the Strand. It's a block to Plaza Hermosa where the bars and restaurants are. We go their early for dinner, some nice restaurants, but the college kids+ take over in the evening and fill the non pedestrian walk way, especially In summer trying to get inside. My kids outgrew that scene before they were 30. Jay Leno usually performs at the Comedy and Magic Club on Sunday nights. All ages are in the audience. Other big name celebrities are their during the week. Live music at Hennessey's and Patrick Malloy's, etc.

In Manhattan Beach the Shade Hotel in Metlox Plaza is in the cute downtown area where there are many innovated restaurants and bars built into original 40's & 50's buildings, and the original 1920's Postoffice. It's listed as the #6 reason to visit LA by Conte Naste. They are located a few blocks back from the beach but have a rooftop pool deck.


The Sea View Inn in the north end of MB is more in the $250 + range in summer. They are 5 buildings from motel units to Penthouse suites or 2 bed apartments with kitchens and free parking and use of bikes.


There are still lots of shops and restaurants in the north end, but only a mile to the Pier and downtown area if you take a walk along the Strand, the cement walkway. Next to the SV are the Local Yolk or Sloopy's for unique B & L, Four Sister's, Fishbar and Pancho's for dinner.

As for traffic into LA on the freeways, avoid the morning commute from 7 to 9:30 am and 4 to 7 PM. If you are going to Venice or Santa Monica it's a nice drive along the beach on Highland/Vista del Mar under the LAX flight pattern.

Cleburne, Texas
1 post
1 review
4. Re: Recs for place to stay, eat, drink

It's been a few years since I've visited but I'd recommend the Manhattan Beach area. It's a bit of a longer commute into the city but the atmosphere of MB is worth it. There are a few small restaurants and a bar or two near the beach and it is absolutely beautiful to see at sunset.

I loved Santa Monica and Los Angeles - both were beautiful, don't get me wrong. However, being from Texas myself (DFW area) I didn't want to deal with the traffic constantly and wanted to be somewhere I could "get away" from the noise and hustle and bustle if I chose to do so. The traffic getting to and from LA wasn't THAT much different than Houston traffic, in my opinion.... MB is that get away place.

If you decided to drive south into Long Beach to see the Queen Mary - or north and stay true to Los Angeles and Malibu.. it's all very lovely. If you stay in MB, try to find somewhere close to the beach...

Level Contributor
6,995 posts
57 reviews
5. Re: Recs for place to stay, eat, drink

I concur that you should stay in MB or HB, they are much less stressful and more relaxing to stay in than the more expensive locations to the north. SM is fun but severely overcrowded and the traffic congestion in summer is getting worse than NYC---almost everyone has a horror story of taking half an hour to go one mile in Santa Monica. As long as you time your drives in and out of the worst areas to avoid rush hour you will be fine.

6. Re: Recs for place to stay, eat, drink

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 23 May 2016, 09:45
Get answers to your questions about Manhattan Beach