Redondo Beachs Main Attractions

Redondo Beach, California is a small town made famous by a Beach Boys Song. All the members of the iconic band were residents of  nearby Southern California cities, and were well aware of Redondo’s main attraction: the surf.

Still, there’s much more to the city than a line of lyrics in “Surfing USA”. With a vibrant night scene in several neighborhoods, dozens of shops and commercial districts, numerous parks, a harbor, and an historic pier, there are plenty of things this beach city has to offer. 

Facts about the Town

Redondo Beach was always been a place where people went for vacation. During the late 1800s and early 20th century, Los Angelinos flocked to the beach and pier during the heady days of summer. Some of these visitors or tourists took up temporary residency in one of many beach homes that once populated the coast line.

At the time, the city – often referred to as the “sticks” or “boonies” was considered an ideal place to visit rather than to live. Today, Redondo Beach is an ideal place to live. Aside from its nightlife and beach activities, the city has a great library system, vital industries (aerospace, in particular), and a superior public school system.  

With a population near 60,000, it is a fairly pact town, given its square miles. And, despite its growth and popularity in recent years, the city has managed to hold on to its turn-of-the century charm. There are several neighborhoods that still retain century-old craftsmen cottages and Victorian-style homes.

Redondo resides in the southern section of the Santa Monica Bay (often called South Bay by locals). Much of its coastal neighborhoods are hilly, due in part that it was built on top of the ancient El Segundo Sand Dune system. It borders Hermosa Beach to the northwest; Lawndale to the northeast; Torrance to the east; Palos Verdes Estate to the southeast; and a sliver of Torrance’s Torrance Beach to the southwest.

Beach Life

There’s no doubt, the beach is Redondo Beach’s main attraction. For locals, the southern coastal beach area (Rat Beach and the Avenues) is a prime surfing spot. During the summer, the area from Rat Beach to the pier is crowded with sunbathers or beach volleyball players.

The beach area is not merely the sole possession of the surfers and sunbathers. Near Veteran Park and the pier kite enthusiasts and scuba divers use this area.

Kite flying has become extremely popular. In fact, during the second weekend of March, the city holds its Festival of the Kite. It is a free event put on by the city, and it offers prizes in various categories.

Also, on the beach, is the Strand. The Strand is a 20 mile bike and pedestrian lane that starts in Torrance Beach and ends in Santa Monica. This route is popular with bicyclists, in-line skaters, runners, and pedestrians throughout Southern California.

Redondo Beach makes up a majority of the first leg of the Strand. It also passes through another important neighborhood in the city; the King Harbor area.

King Harbor

King Harbor is a manmade harbor for recreational boats. It is also a major tourist and commerce region of the city. Many of the attractions within the harbor’s boundary attract visitors from around the world.

The Harbor’s boundary consists of Redondo Beach Pier – a historical horseshoe shaped pier – to the south and stretches a mile and half to the Hermosa Beach border. By far, the pier and its surrounding area are the most popular.

Since 1889, the pier has evolved. Natural disasters (winter storms) and manmade ones (a major fire) spurned these changes. At one point in the early 20th century, the current site of today’s pier was the site of two piers known as Wharf #1 and Endless Pier (Wharf #2).

Today, the wooden and concrete pier is home to several businesses including a nightclub, exclusives dine-in restaurants, and numerous shops. Also, the south and west ends of the pier are reserved for fishing.

Fishing from the pier has its perks. Considering its location – at the mouth of the harbor’s entrance – the southwest end of the pier is open to the ocean. Also, it is not far from a deepwater canyon where there’s an abundance of aquatic life.

The horseshoe pier is not the only pier within the harbor area. A much smaller one, a “sports fishing” pier, is a launching point for commercial fishing boats. It is popular among for fishing enthusiasts who want more open, deep waters.

Another popular section of the harbor area is a protected inlet between the two piers. This place is often called International Court – for its international-themed restaurants and bars – or the Fun Zone. Fun Zone actually refers to the large arcade – called Fun Factory – found on the west side of this rectangular inlet.

Among the popular places in this section is Naja’s Place. It is a prime watering hole for the locals, boasting of having 88 different beers on tap, 13 hi-definition TVs, live bands, and a dance floor. It doesn’t matter what day it is, there’s a party seemingly going on at Naja’s Place.

Another important attraction within the harbor area can be found on Portofino Way. Several high-end restaurants can be found in this area. Also, Seaside Lagoon, a large public saltwater pool is located here. This place is popular with families. On top of having a pool, it has its own sandy beach, picnic areas, diving boards, and play areas for children.

Further up this road is the Portofino Inn, which is popular among vacationers and the numerous celebrities who want to escape to the coast.  

Riviera Village

Tucked away on the southern end of the city is the neighborhood of Riviera Village. This particular area has several shops, bars specializing in wine or smokes (cigars, mainly), and coffee shops.

The biggest event in this neighborhood is Founder’s Day, held in late spring. Here, Avenue I is cordoned off for three days, in which carnivals rides and booths are set up.

Like most places in Redondo, Riviera Village is not far from the beach.

North Redondo

Artesia Boulevard is an important street in the North Redondo neighborhoods. Here, several aerospace businesses can be found within a few blocks of it.

The home to Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities main theater is nearby. Here, Broadway productions, concerts and speaking engagements are held.

Further east on the Hawthorne Boulevard/Artesia intersection is the city’s largest shopping center, The South Bay Galleria. This three-story enclosed mall is a popular destination among residents of the neighboring South Bay cities.

Other Attractions

Redondo has several parks. Some of these parks have unique features. Wilderness Park, off of El Camino Real (Sepulveda), was a former Nike missile site that was transformed into a wooded area. Along with two ponds and picnic areas, the park offers overnight camping.

Also, there is Redondo Beach Dog Park, located at the northern end of Dominguez Park. This park, near Redondo Union High School, is run by Friends of the Redondo Beach Dog Park, Inc. and sets aside open spaces for dogs to play and roam free.

The Esplanade

Finally, there’s Esplanade Avenue (better known as The Esplanade). This mile and a half long residential street connects Riviera Village with King Harbor.  There are two parks and no commercial sectors.

The street has gone through revitalization, in which rundown beach homes and cheap “surfer” apartment buildings have been replaced by high-rise condominiums and multi-million dollar town homes were a few celebrities live.

Most of the homes are on the east end of the street while the west end is open. And the reason for this is apparent. It has the best view of Santa Monica Bay and distant San Nicolas Island. Also, this street, which runs along a bluff above the beach, holds several ramps that connect to the beach and the Strand.

The Esplanade encompasses many of the things one can do in Redondo, plus one more item. Aside from being the main access to the beaches, a prime surf spot, and a connector between two popular areas within the city, it is a gathering place for the locals. They come here at the end of the day to watch the sun set into the blue-gray Pacific. This particular “show” is free and spectacular.