Some of our favorite Los Angeles spots can be found in laid-back, beachy Marina Del Rey. Marina Del Rey is home to singles and families; seafarers, surfers, and skateboarders; and freelancers and 9-5ers. While homeowners make up much of Marina Del Rey, many renters have found their little oasis by the water. Bathed in water and wrapped in nature, Marina del Rey is a place for reflection, conversation, and good times. Here’s your Marina del Rey guide to the best parks, bike paths, grocery stores, and more.
Let the path be your guide: ultimate bike paths
Trade four wheels for two and immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Marina del Rey.
Ballona Creek Bike Path along Ballona Creek: Ballona Creek is home to revitalization projects such as the Ballona Wetlands, native plant & neighborhood gardens, Earth Day plantings, creek cleanups, and art installations. One of the best ways to check out these community efforts is to bike along the seven-mile Ballona Creek Bike Path from Culver City, stopping at the Ballona Wetlands and estuary for flora and fauna, and then continuing on through Marina del Rey, where you can end your ride with views of the Pacific Ocean.
Marvin Braude Bike Trail: Known as The Strand, this monster 21-mile bike trail running from Torrance Beach to Will Rogers State Beach in the Palisades is a people-watching, nature-filled delight. You can access Marvin Braude Bike Trail through Ballona Creek Bike Path and head in either direction. Take a 20-minute ride from Marina del Rey to Venice Beach and Santa Monica Promenade for lunch and shopping. Your calves will thank you.
Parks, beaches, and boats, oh my
Marina del Rey offers water, sand, and trees, all within a short distance.
Burton W. Chace Park: Fireworks, free concerts, nature — Burton Chace has it all. There are a ton of public barbecue grills and tables and even outdoor spaces you can rent for your next gathering. The best part is boat-watching in this unique community park. Here’s how to do Burton Chace on the 4th of July: Remind yourself that Burton Chace is the Marina del Rey hotspot for watching the fireworks show while relaxing among the trees. Show up early at 4pm, dine alfresco, listen to some tunes, and take in the maritime sunshine. By the time the waves of crowds come, you are sitting pretty on your coziest outdoor blanket with the best views of the sparkly splashes in the sky — even making room for your late-comer friends.
Fun fact for The Office fans: In Season 9, Episode 6, “The Boat,” Andy and Erin go to take Andy’s boat on one last sunset sail before he is forced to sell it due to his family’s bankruptcy. The memorable scene where Andy ultimately leaves Erin behind at the dock to sail to Bermuda with his brother was shot at Burton Chace Park.
Marina del Rey Sportfishing: If you enjoy fishing in a community setting, here’s the one-stop-shop to renew your fishing license, refresh your bait-and-tackle, rack up your fishes for dinner, and snap impressive photos of your conquests. Maybe you’ll even meet a new fishing buddy. If you’re not into fishing, check out the dolphins and whales on an eco-tour boat ride from the marina out into the ocean.
Dockweiler State Beach: If you love flying objects, Dockweiler Beach is the best place to watch airplanes climb and touch down at nearby LAX. This beach is clearest in the early morning just after sunrise — perfect for plane-spotting solo or with your favorite person. Don’t forget your hoodie and travel coffee mug.
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Playa Del Rey Beach: Need to get contemplative? Head over to Playa Del Rey Beach. Bike the Ballona Creek Bike Path to the paved path at Playa Del Rey Beach, composition book in tow, and find a groove in the sand to sit and write beachcombing summer haikus. Or, bring your friends along for a low-key match at one of the volleyball nets. Parking is free and stakes are low for a chance to unwind.
Mother’s Beach: What is Mother’s Beach if not a place to take Mom? If she lives close or is in town, bring her to this beach-on-the-marina named for its calm waters. The tranquil, disability-friendly mini-beach offers a concrete path in the sand for wheelchair parking on the water — close enough to watch the kids, seagulls, and paddle-suffers. Take the tribe or just hang with Mom and prattle about old times.
Daily bread & nightly noshes
Here are a few of our time-honored favorites for practical eats.
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C&O Trattoria: “That’s amore,” you’ll be singing with the crowd in this indoor-outdoor Italian restaurant honoring Dean Martin & Frank Sinatra. The house wine is a guest at your table on the honors system at $7 a pour. For an Italian feast after your Venice Pier sunset walk just down the way, order the time-honored spaghetti and meatballs and don’t be afraid to share — portions are generous and you can save room for the bottomless garlic bread knots.
Maxwell’s: Maxwell’s offers an all-American, no-frills breakfast in a classic diner setting with decor harkening back to the 70s. Cozy up in a teal vinyl booth for the tasty “2 for Maxwell” deal. Even though Maxwell’s has been serving bed-headed egg-lovers since 1972, they’re still pretty excited about breakfast — so much so that breakfast is now served all night during Maxwell’s-at-Night, a.k.a. Breakfast-at-Dinner, alongside steak, salmon, and lamb chops. What gets our heart beating, literally, is their slightly stronger coffee — how refreshing for a diner.
Rainbow Acres Natural Foods: Organic and whole, Rainbow Acres has been keeping locals healthy since 1981. Don’t miss the raw juice station and lunch menu — our faves are the turkey chili, Thai red curry, and carrot-apple-orange juice. This healthy grocer is as popular for its kitchen as it is for its groceries and home goods. The vitamins and supplements section occupies its own wing, along with a highly knowledgeable staff that can help you pick out the best tinctures for your well-being. If you’re looking for a treat, the chips and snacks aisle has some locally-made options, and there are plenty of chocolates and frozen sweets.
Style & substance
Think twice, cut once: That’s what you hope your hair stylist and tailor have in mind. Meet your Marina del Rey hairdresser and dressmaker.
Expert Alterations by Fernando: Welcome to your local tailor — the best in West LA. Here is someone who can make your backside look like magic in work pants and take in those frumpy shirt arms while he’s at it. Fernando knows clothing construction, so step onto the platform in his tiny shop and let him take your measurements and do the pinning. Affordable and an expert, Fernando is the #1 neighborhood tailor, so clear some time in the day just in case there’s a wait.
Killer Hair: For a cut, color, and style that looks more expensive than it is, entrust your mop with any of the stylists at Killer Hair. Their cuts are consistently balanced and grow out nicely, keeping your look fresh for both work and happy hour. Killer Hair is a cut above the rest because they know how to work with curly and wavy hair — not an easy find! A cut or blowout can go on sale for as low as $25. Get on Killer Hair’s email list for weekly and monthly discount deals.