So what do you do with your out of town friends and family escaping the colder weather for beautiful Southern California? Unless you love crowds, Disneyland is out of the question. In fact, you don’t have to go very far from home to be a great host or hostest. Here are 5 options places to take your out of town guests during the holidays.
The beach, the obvious choice – With an average temperature of 68 degrees it’s hardly winter in the South Bay. You can’t go wrong pretty much anywhere from El Segundo to Torrance. The winter swells tend to focus on our local beaches, so head to one of the main Lifeguard stations and check in with one of the guards before jumping in the water. Or get the best of sand and sea and go to the Hermosa Beach pier where the sand berm doubles for a sledding hill. Bring a boogie board to sled on or rent a disc from one of the local surf shops and you’ll have entertainment for the kids for hours. Afterward, there are plenty of great food options to eat and do some people watching.
Take a hike – Despite being known mostly for our beaches, there are many options if you want to hit the trails. Locally I like to start in Ladera Linda off of Palos Verdes Drive South and wind through the miles of trails with panoramic views of Catalina Island and out to Santa Barbara Island on a clear day. If you want to get out a little farther, Sycamore Canyon in Malibu is a favorite. If you want even more of an adventure, the Mt Lowe Trail is a good reason to head east and plan a day near Pasadena. Check the weather before you head out – it’s So-Cal but you can still get into some weather. Visit alltrails.com for more information and other hiking options in LA.
Go for a bike ride – I don’t know too many other places where you can ride a bike along 20 miles of beach with few traffic interruptions. Start at the Torrance Beach parking lot or any point along the beach and go as long or short as you like along the bike path. If you need to rent a few bikes, check out Marina Bike Rentals in King Harbor or Hermosa Cyclery just north of the Hermosa Pier. There are lots stops along the way if you need a break or a snack. For breakfast or lunch, check out Martha’s at 22nd Street in Hermosa Beach.
Visit a Pier – There are lots of options and many things to do. There’s free fishing along all piers (fishing licenses are not required from all public fishing piers). The Redondo Beach Pier has fishing, people watching, and many dining options from fresh fish at Captain Kidds, 99 beers on Tap at Naja’s, or Mexican food at the Original El Torito. The Hermosa Beach Pier goes the farthest out in the water and gives you a nice perspective of the South Bay when you turn around and look east. Finally, the Manhattan Beach Pier is a great place to watch the surfers up close or visit the roundhouse aquarium to see the local sea life. There is a snack shop at the end of the Manhattan Pier, but if you prefer more of a sit down meal, some of my favorites are Simmzy’s or the Kettle on Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Visit a museum – If the weather’s a little cool and you need an excuse to leave the bubble and head into LA, there are many options unique to LA. One of our family favorites is the Petersen Automotive Museum on Wilshire. It’s not far from the La Brea Tar Pits which is another LA favorite. The Natural History Museum is a lot of fun to see the growing exhibit of dinosaur fossils, and the Space Shuttle Endeavor is right next door at the California Science Center. Finally, The Huntington Library in San Marino offers beautiful gardens and it can be timed with a visit to see the Rose Parade floats being built in nearby Pasadena.
My bonus idea for the Christmas Season is to just head over to the Seaside Ranchos Neighborhood in Torrance, just east of Prospect and take a walk and see all the christmas lights. We like to eat dinner at the Riviera Mexican Grill first and then park at Tulita Elentary School on Prospect and just walk from there.
Enjoy the great times and new memories with your guests and have a happy and merry Christmas!