I live here. It will be a year in September 2010 that I have called Hermosa my home. I love it. Let’s put it in real simple terms: Beach, Weather, Shops, Dining, Nightlife, and a culture of Health, Fitness and Personality all within walking distance. In 2010 CNN Money Magazine indicated Hermosa Beach as one of the 10 best cities for the rich and single. I’ll take that too. I like single and who doesn’t like rich?
In my life, in 2006, I traded in my domestic lifestyle for one of living in the moment and purposefully, living (not just thinking) outside of the box. Therefore, finding Hermosa Beach was right up my alley.
Over this summer, I spent 3 months away from home. In May 2010, I quit my permanent position in Orange County California and took a sabbatical from the 9-5 lifestyle. I traveled to Chicago Illinois for a few weeks and then set up shop in Northern California. Purpose: hang out and follow whatever tickles my fancy. It was great. I had no future plans or commitments and I wasn’t scheduled to be anywhere or to do anything. However, I could only coast for so long. I eventually took a consulting job and dove back in to the employment world in the middle of July. When I finally came home to Hermosa Beach, I remember riding in the cab from LAX and marveling at the scenic ocean view to my right. I felt like I was in a movie. The weather was beautiful, people were out frolicking in the sun, the Ocean inviting and the sand warm and comforting. There’s no wonder why Hermosa was named as one of the 10 best beaches in the USA:
I live right up the street from the Ocean. Literally 1-2 blocks away. My neighbors go surfing every day. People go fishing off of the pier at their leisure, swimming is an option and the volleyball stands are set up at all times. Many people live most if not their entire lives without ever experiencing one of our great oceans. Yet, the people of Hermosa take advantage of this opportunity every day. Whether it is hot or cold, sunny or rainy, there are people out by the water. Enthusiasts of various water and/or beach activities gravitate to this city.
Volley Ball is big here. In addition to playing a casual game of football or tossing a Frisbee back and forth, people are always out playing volley ball. Not only do Hermosa inhabitants partake in volley ball activity, Hermosa routinely hosts tournaments and events surrounding volley ball:
I personally have never mastered the sport (or any other for that matter) but, the enthusiasm in the atmosphere is contagious. Sometime in the near future, I plan to brush up my skills on the nets.
If you are not on the beach or in the water, you are hanging out on ‘The Strand.’ I personally have walked the strand many times and there is no other place in California like it. It has a Telegraph Berkeley feel crossed with Laguna Beach / Los Angeles / Beach city. There are roller skaters, skate boarders, bike riders, runners, walkers and people just strolling and enjoying the area. The Strand actually extends past Hermosa Beach on both sides of this rather small city and as you pass from one area into another, the look and feel of The Strand actually changes.
California itself is known for its’ great all year-round weather. Mix that with a cool ocean breeze and you’ve got Hermosa Beach. Enough said. The weather is wonderfully even keel (not too hot nor too cold).
Most shops here are locally owned. There is limited corporate presence here. Being from the Bay Area, I personally am turned off by cookie cutter neighborhoods. i.e. Starbucks, Walmart, Target, PF Changs, Costco etc. Even 5 miles down the freeway, you see the same set of stores and similar looking neighborhoods. It all seems devoid of any history or organic personality. Hermosa is not that way.
The highest concentration of shops is lined up along Pier Ave. There are a variety of hair salons, Nail shops, boutiques etc. I really like this swimwear store: BKB. They have a great selection of swim wear in various styles and colors. Prices are reasonable: For a 2-piece seim suit, it costs approximately $50-60 for the bottoms and $50-60 for the tops. This week, they actually had a special, buy one swimsuit, get 2 for free. I made out with 3 swim suits for my vacation in a few weeks! Here are a few notable places:
- Elegant Nail Spa
- Massage Envy
- Surf Lessons
- Bike and skate rentals
- 24 hour fitness
According to Wikpedia, the population of Hermosa Beach is about 19, 435. The community is small and close nit. However we do get a lot of tourists, visitors and college students. The overall atmosphere is truly laid back beach town. People hang out in shorts and t-shirts out in front of their houses or apartments. People take walks and the locals pretty much know each other. The local shops and cafes are adequately patronized and although the income level is on average upper middle class to upper class, there is an substantial amount of average income individuals. The age ranges seems to be diverse as well. Along the Strand or on Pier Ave you may come across people in their 50s and 60s just as easily as people in their early 20s.
There is also definitely a party culture here. That is the reason I moved here. Being single and open to new experiences, you definitely want to be near a vibrant community where people are also exploring this boundless world. Why not do it together?
There are tons of places to eat . I have not been to every place yet (one of my other goals) but here are a few places I am most fond of so far:
- The Spot
- Planet Earth Eco Café
- Tammies Cornerhouse café
- Mickey’s Deli
- New Orleans
- Pacific Rim Café
- Martha’s 22nd Street Grill
- Sushi Duke
- The PoopDeck (a favorite of the owner of this here magazine)
- Patrick Malloys
- Comedy and Magic Club
It’s almost hard not to begin focusing on your own health when you’re surrounded by a bunch of healthy energetic people who are actively working to stay fit. I can’t help being motivated when I see all the beautiful people jogging on the beach. There is a local gym as well as a 24 hour fitness in the area.
In summary, if coming to Los Angeles for fun or work, choosing to stay in Hermosa Beach may be the way to maximize your stay. You can explore LA and then come home to Hermosa for rest and relaxation.
On a personal note, when I initially began thinking about writing this article, I found a great many comprehensive articles already in existence out there on the web. What you find here is my personal note on why visiting Hermosa can be a nice weekend get-away or even a great place to live. I totally feel like I am living a vacation when I am home and the weather is nice. I have been trying to get my friends to visit for about a year now. Only a few have taken me up on the offer. (Boneheads). So if you would like more information: Hermosa’s own city website is awesome.
Happy travels folks!