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About Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach is a city located in southwestern Los Angeles County, California, USA. The population was 33,852 at the 2000 census. The city is on the Pacific Ocean coast, to the south of El Segundo, and to the north of Hermosa Beach. Manhattan Beach is the home of volleyball and surfing. During the winter the waves can reach to about 9 to 12 feet. To the east are the cities of Hawthorne and Redondo Beach. It is one of the three Beach Cities in the South Bay. The city is a very upscale beach town within commuting distance of Los Angeles, making it one of the most expensive coastal towns in which to live in America, according to the most recent Fortune Magazine rankings. The town regularly smashes Los Angeles County real estate sales records, with the median price of a single family dwelling with an ocean view approaching 2.1 million dollars.


Early history

The early history of Manhattan Beach is explained on the website of the Manhattan Beach Historical Society. The Beach Volleyball tournament The Manhattan Beach Open has been referred to as "The Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball" The tournament began in 1960. Winners of the tournament are awarded a bronze plaques on the Manhattan Beach Pier's "Beach Volleyball Walk Of Fame".

Early development

The Manhattan Beach pier in downtown Manhattan Beach on a typical fall afternoon.

In 1863, a Scottish immigrant, Sir Robert Burnett, purchased Rancho Sausal Redondo and Rancho Aguaje de la Centinela from Avila's heirs for $33,000. Ten years later in 1873, Burnett leased the ranch to a Canadian, Daniel Freeman, and returned to Scotland. Freeman moved his wife and three children onto the ranch and started growing various crops. On May 4, 1885 Freeman bought the ranch from Burnett for $140,000.

George H. Peck owned a lot of the land that became part of the north section of Manhattan Beach.

Around 1924, the largely African-American population of the Bruce's Beach subdivision was forcibly evicted through a series of racist eminent domain laws enacted by the city council.

Bernard Bruce, a Black businessman from Los Angeles, founded a small beach resort where Black individuals could enjoy the sunny Southern California lifestyle along with neighboring European-Americans.

Several Ku Klux Klan members were reported to have engaged in discriminatory acts against him and other beachgoers, such as shouting racial slurs and littering deliberately on the designated section of the beach reserved for Blacks.

A typical Manhattan Beach late-Fall sunset, near Rosecrans Avenue terminus.

Although Manhattan Beach today is relatively homogeneous (see demographics below) compared to other wealthy California suburbs, a recreational park has been built in honor of the Bruce's and every Mayor since that period has sponsored awareness campaigns and education in local schools about the areas past. Manhattan Beach also elected Mitchell Ward, an African-American, as mayor in the 1990s, negating persistent racial stereotypes about the town inland. Ward was supported by a large coalition of citizens of all races and reelected in accordance with term limits.


The city has a total area of 26.8 km² (10.4 mi²), which includes 10.2 km² (3.9 mi²) as land and 16.7 km² (6.4 mi²) (62.07%) as water.

Manhattan Beach features 2.1 miles (3.4 km) of ocean frontage, 40 acres (162,000 m²) of recreational beach, and a total of 59 acres (239,000 m²) of parkland in 10 parks, 1 municipal golf course, and 1 parkway, the Valley/Ardmore "Greenbelt".


A view of the ocean in Manhattan Beach.

Residents divide the city into several distinct neighborhoods, including the Village, Sand Section, Hill Section, Tree Section, Gas Lamp Section, Manhattan Heights, East Manhattan Beach, Liberty Village, and North Manhattan Beach (formally known as El Porto until December 2007).

The Hill Section includes higher priced homes where many of the residences are remodeled and situated on steep hills allowing panoramic ocean and city views. The nearby Sand Section is notable for its dense development and higher rate of condominiums and multi-family properties. Most commercial activity whose clientele are beach-oriented position their establishments here, sometimes within meters of private homes. One of its most highly trafficked pedestrian streets, The Strand, features high-end Oceanfront homes. Desired by families for its close knit structure and with a substantially healthy financial background, the Tree Section is essentially a smaller Hill Section, minus the hills, of course, and with slightly smaller lots and narrower streets. Liberty Village is located at the north-easternmost section of Manhattan Beach; it is undergoing rapid change as the original World War II era housing for the employees of the then dominant local defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Hughes is replaced by new, larger homes.

Commercial Zones

Considered to be among the most desirable cities in Los Angeles, city zoning provides for lenient dwelling-to-land coverage and much of Manhattan Beach's housing stock has been remodeled from small single family houses into larger houses ranging to 4,000 square feet (400 m2) on lots approximating 5,000 square feet (500 m2). This "mansionization" of the city has been protested by several longtime neighborhood residents. Tiny beach cottages are being replaced by 6,000 square foot modern homes. This is especially evident in the quaint alleyways and walk streets of the Sand Section, where dense living is already a contentious issue in the public eye.


Downtown Manhattan Beach runs along Manhattan Beach Boulevard and the streets perpendicular to it in the area near the Manhattan Beach Pier up to Valley Drive. There are many restaurants and stores and a mixed-use center, called MetLox, named after the name of a pottery factory formerly on the site, that includes a boutique hotel and several restaurants and shops. The Manhattan Beach Library is near downtown on Highland Avenue two blocks north of Manhattan Beach Boulevard. The library is part of the County of Los Angeles Public Library system, and includes internet accessible computers, WiFi, and access to the six million items in the county library collection.

Rosecrans Strip

The Rosecrans strip is located on the south side of Rosecrans Avenue, east of Sepulveda, and west of Aviation. The area includes the Manhattan Mall, which is located on the southeast corner of Sepulveda Boulevard and Rosecrans Avenue. The Manhattan Beach Country Club, the Marriott Hotel and Golf Course, restaurants, retail stores, supermarkets, and shopping centers are along the strip between the Manhattan Mall and Aviation Boulevard.

Marine Strip

The Marine strip is located on both sides of Marine Avenue, near Sepulveda and Aviation Boulevards.

Manhattan Beach Boulevard Strip

The Manhattan Beach Boulevard strip is located on both sides of Manhattan Beach Boulevard through the city.

Artesia Strip

The Artesia Boulevard strip is the southern boundary of the city.

Highland Strip

The Highland Avenue strip is located south of Rosecrans Avenue, north of 10th Street, along both sides of Highland Avenue.

Sepulveda Strip

The Sepulveda Strip occupies the commercial zone, which runs north-south through the city. This commercial zone is located south of Rosecrans Avenue, north of the border with Hermosa Beach, and along both sides of Sepulveda Boulevard. The Manhattan Mall is located on the southeast corner of Sepulveda Boulevard and Rosecrans Avenue. In addition, there are several other, smaller malls and shopping areas along Sepulveda Boulevard, which include a variety of restaurants, shops, service providers, office buildings and other commercial establishments.

Aviation Zone

The Aviation Zone is located along Aviation Boulevard (the city's eastern boundary), south of Rosecrans Avenue, and north of Marine Avenue. The zone includes several major complexes, including the Manhattan Beach Film Studios and the Northrop Grumman Space Technology Plant.


Manhattan Beach, California
Climate chart
average max. and min. temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: Weather.com / NWS

Manhattan Beach, like the rest of the Los Angeles basin is well-known for its year-round pleasant weather:
-On average, the warmest month is August.
-The highest recorded temperature was 110°F in 1963.
-On average, the coolest month is December.
-The lowest recorded temperature was 27°F in 1949.
-The maximum average precipitation occurs in February.

Manhattan Beach has a Mediterranean climate or Dry-Summer Subtropical (Köppen climate classification Csb on the coast, Csa inland), enjoying plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of 263 sunshine days and only 35 days with measurable precipitation annually.

The period of April through November is warm to hot and dry with average high temperatures of 71 - 79°F and lows of 50 - 62°F. Due to the moderating effect of the ocean, temperatures are cooler than more inland areas of Los Angeles, where temperatures frequently exceed 90°F (32°C) and occasionally reach 100°F (38°C) in inland areas further away from the ocean.

The period of November through March is somewhat rainy, as shown in the table to left.

The Los Angeles area is also subject to the phenomena typical of a microclimate. As such, the temperatures can vary as much as 18°F (10°C) between inland areas and the coast, with a temperature gradient of over one degree per mile (1.6 km) from the coast inland. California has also a weather phenomenon called "June Gloom or May Grey", which sometimes brings overcast or foggy skies in the morning at the coast, but usually gives way to sunny skies by noon, during late spring and early summer.

The Los Angeles region averages 15 inches (385 mm) of precipitation annually, which mainly occurs during the winter and spring (November through April) with generally light rain showers, but sometimes as heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. Coastal areas receive slightly less rainfall, while the mountains receive slightly more. Snowfall is extremely rare in the city basin, but the mountains within city limits typically receive snowfall every winter.

The greatest snowfall recorded in downtown Los Angeles was 2 inches (5 cm) in 1932.


As of the census of 2000, there were 33,854 people, 14,474 households, and 8,394 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,325.8/km² (8,606.7/mi²). There were 15,034 housing units at an average density of 1,477.0/km² (3,822.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.99% White, 6.04% Asian, 5.19% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 0.61% African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 1.23% from other races, including 2.81% from two or more races.

There were 14,474 households, of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18, 49.8% were married couples living together, 5.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 42.0% were non-families, 29.3% were individuals living alone, and 6.5% were individuals living alone who were 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34, and the average family size was 2.98.

Other census data showed that the age distribution in the city was 22.3% who were under the age of 18, 4.1% from 18 to 24, 37.5% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.5 males, and for every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $100,750, and the median income for a family was $122,686 (these figures had risen to $124,048 and $149,396 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $84,256 versus $54,142 for females. The per capita income for the city was $61,136. About 2.0% of families and 3.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.3% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.

In February 2006, the median price of Manhattan Beach home sales was $1,925,000. In its Best Places to Live 2005 feature, Money Magazine ranked Manhattan Beach the 4th most expensive town in America. Additionally, in 2005 it ranked 2nd in California for the number of million-dollar homes sold. Forbes has also ranked the local ZIP code 90266 as the 29th most expensive ZIP code in North America.


According to the City's 2008 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees  % of Total City Employment
1 Target Corporation 405 14.36%
2 Sketchers USA Inc. 346 12.27%
3 Kinecta Federal Credit Union 295 10.46%
4 City of Manhattan Beach 275 9.75%
5 Macy's West LLC 271 9.61%
6 Fry's Electronics Inc. 235 8.33%
7 Marriot-HMC Interstate 233 8.26%
8 Ralphs Grocery Co. 159 5.64%
9 Houston's Restaurants Inc. 119 4.22%
10 Manhattan Beach Toyota 113 4.01%

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