From malls to neighborhood shops, this world-class coastal resort city has become a mecca for its one-of-a-kind mix of big-name retailers, gift shops and more that you won’t find anywhere else. Here are just some of the places you won’t want to miss.
South Bay Galleria
This three-level shopping, dining and entertainment destination boasts more than 140 retailers, including Macy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, H&M, Hot Topic, Victoria’s Secret, Wonder of Dinosaurs, Van’s “Off the Wall,” California Pizza Kitchen, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and AMC Dine-In South Bay Galleria 16 theater, just to name a few. Found at 1815 Hawthorne Blvd., just off the 405 Freeway, South Bay Galleria greets visitors with a 45-foot, Mediterranean-style limestone main entrance and granite tile flooring with a wave pattern to reflect the surrounding beach community. Need a place to relax and rewind? Check out the Center Court, which serves as a gathering place for shoppers complete with water features and lush landscaping. And don’t forget all of the amenities, such as valet parking, free Wi-Fi, alteration services and more.
There are also various activities for the community, including Kids Club events on the first Tuesday of each month, along with a Farmers Market every Thursday (through Dec. 26) from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at the corner of Artesia and Hawthorne boulevards, with fresh fruit and vegetables, tacos, kettle corn, pita chips and hummus, Himalayan salt lamps, crystals and minerals and arts and crafts.
You’ll want to be sure and become a mall Insider by logging on to SouthBayGalleria.com/insider to receive exclusive discounts and offers, trend reports on the latest fashions, a special gift on your birthday and even a chance to win a $500 shopping spree every month. While at South Bay Galleria, you also might want to check out Artesia Boulevard, a pedestrian-friendly business corridor that begins on the west end at Aviation Boulevard and ends at the east end with the South Bay Galleria at Hawthorne Boulevard, complete with dining options from around the world and multiple shopping choices.
Nestled along the Pacific Ocean at 1799 S Catalina Ave.—just 20 miles southwest of L.A. and minutes from LAX—is Riviera Village. One of the South Bay’s best-kept secrets, this charming pedestrian-friendly district offers more than 300 one-of-a-kind boutiques, restaurants, galleries, salons and services, including Moon Dancer, Sacred Stone, Finley’s, The Urban Clothes Horse, The Catalina Cooking Store, The Aloha Bungalow, 1892 Bistro, The Rockefeller, Gabi James and Hennessey’s Tavern. Feel like getting pampered? The Village has you covered with spots like the Abbracci Med Spa and Boutique, Indulgence Body & Skin Care and Allomi. There’s also a full lineup of professional services, including some of the best dentists, doctors and architects in the area.
One of the top things Riviera Village is known for, however, is its activities. Think the annual Riviera Village Summer Festival each June, a free event with more than 300 exhibitors, arts and crafts, a beer and wine garden with live entertainment, an international food court and carnival rides for the kids; First Fridays, when participating merchants and art galleries stay until 8 p.m. on the first Friday of every month and offer live music, dining specials and sales; and a Farmers Market (each Sunday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., in the triangle parking lot at 1801 S Elena Ave.), where you can listen to live music while you shop for certified California grown farm-fresh fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers, as well prepared food from vendors, gourmet specialty foods, and arts and crafts.
An added bonus: The Village is the go-to place to rent a bike or Segway and cruise the world-famous South Bay bike path, which starts just west of the Riviera Village. The beaches next to Riviera Village also are popular with families, surfers and volleyball players.
The Redondo Beach Pier
With more than 50 oceanfront dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities, The Redondo Beach Pier is a great place to take in some panoramic and coastline ocean views while on a leisurely stroll, enjoy a variety of water activities, hear some live music, and pick up unusual gifts and souvenirs from a one-of-a-kind T-shirt to beautiful fresh-water pearl jewelry. Some of the spots you should be sure to visit at the pier—which is situated at 100 Fisherman’s Wharf, at the end of Torrance Boulevard, west of Pacific Coast Highway—include Chic at the Beach, featuring Caps, T-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets, many with a “Redondo Beach” logo; Kobe Pearl & Gem Co., where customers can hand-select an oyster containing a cultured pearl, or if you’re lucky, a rare black pearl, that can be hand-set in yellow or white gold, or sliver; family-owned and operated Tony’s on the Pier, with a duo of bars, seafood specialties and a second-floor “crow’s nest-lookout” room offering eye-catching views from Palos Verdes to Malibu and Catalina Island and Mai Tais served in souvenir glasses; and Kincaid’s Fish, Chop & Steak House, which in addition to elevated seafood and steak selections, features a buzzing happy hour daily in the bar area.
Don’t miss Summer of Music, the biggest free summer concert series in the South Bay, featuring live performances by nationally touring artists July 4 through Aug. 31, Thursday and Saturday from 6-8 p.m. Concerts are held at the west end of the Pier (behind Tony’s) and on the Boardwalk (below Kincaid’s). Coming up: tributes to the Police (July 27), Beatles (Aug. 8) and Eagle’s (Aug. 31). Be sure to bring your low-back chair or beach blanket, and visit the website for a full lineup! Of special note: the Whaling Wall, a life-sized mural depicting the California gray whale migration painted by Laguna Beach artist Wyland, on the AES Power Generating Plant at Harbor Drive between Herondo Avenue and Beryl Street.