Relocating to Palos Verdes and the South Bay Part 1 – The Beach Cities

The U.S. Air Force relocated me and my family five times in less than ten years. So if you are looking at relocating I understand your challenge. But if you are relocating to the South Bay area of Greater Los Angeles, that challenge comes with significant opportunities. I am writing this series of articles to address those opportunities for your relocating family.

In this, Part 1, we will explore what we call the Beach Cities. Those cities are, in order, driving south down the coast from Los Angeles International Airport: El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, and Torrance. Each city has its own special vibe that makes it distinct for both visitors and residents. So let’s take look at each of the cities in turn.

El Segundo:

This relatively unknown city borders the south side of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX.) It has a small but vibrant downtown area that gives it a bit of a small-town feel. Named after the second Atlantic Richfield Refinery, the school system receives generous funding. My older son graduated from El Segundo High School, which is one of the most beautiful high schools in Los Angeles and often used as a location for movies and television. Advantages of this city include shopping, employment (Aerospace, Oil Industry, and other numerous businesses), and convenience to LAX and Freeways.

Manhattan Beach:

This city prides itself on its “beach vibe.” Because of rising real estate prices, it has also become a mecca for modern architecture. A world class pier stretches into the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean at the end of Manhattan Beach Blvd. If you are looking for a city that is both modern and has a genuine California surfing community-this is it. Buy a board, take lessons, and enjoy. If you relocate here, you may never want to leave.

Hermosa Beach:

A bit more of an intimate surfing city; the big attraction of Hermosa Beach is nightlife! Several clubs and fine restaurants along Hermosa Avenue offer a wide range of live music and fine dining. The host of the Tonight Show often practices his monologue at the Comedy Club here. My favorite club boasts top blues bands and tasty Cajun cooking. Surf in the morning, relax in the afternoon, and hit the clubs at night.

Redondo Beach:

Some think of this city as the big secret of the South Bay. Even with its semicircular pier, yacht harbor, and sun drenched beaches it still retains a restful atmosphere. My sister raised her family here. Boating, fishing, surfing, diving, good restaurants, what more could you ask for?


The stretch of beach between Redondo and Palos Verdes is prized by surfers and sunbathers alike. Overlooked by a towering bluff, it offers an intimate stretch of sand that feels isolated but has a great view up the coast to Malibu. Torrance is a city that offers the greatest diversity of living. Everything from hillside homes with expanding views of Los Angeles, the mountains, and ocean to small close knit neighborhoods. Add to this a top notch school system, and you have a great place to raise kids.

In my next installment I will detail the cities of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.