Playa Del Rey is one of those special Los Angeles beach communities with small-town charm, a rich history, convenience, spectacular views, and beautiful homes. What began originally as wetlands and sand dunes before being developed in 1921, Playa Del Rey is defined by water. Appropriately named, "Beach of the King,” it’s located in the heart of Silicon Beach, with Marina del Rey and Ballona Creek to the north, the Ballona Wetlands and Playa Vista to the northeast, LAX to the south, Westchester to the east, and the vast Pacific Ocean to the west. The beach is central to all of this town’s action, with unique and innovative options for fitness, self care, and delectable dining, all a stone's throw from their stretch of coastal perfection.
Playa del Rey Beach was once a popular surfing destination, with the northernmost end still known as "Toes Over Beach" or just "Toes" by the local surfing community. The addition of an off-shore breakwater, installed in 1965, altered the big waves and surfers now mainly go to nearby El Porto or Venice Beach for more intense action. The casual vibe in Playa del Rey remains and people still surf casually (making it a great place to learn) along with taking part in other activities like kite flying, volleyball, swimming, biking and strolling along this luxuriously wide beach. Restaurants have become go-to foodie hotspots for locals and tourists alike, with noteworthy California coastal cuisine alongside flip-flop friendly cafes.
Playa del Rey is also home to the 577 acre Ballona Wetlands, one of the last remaining saltwater wetlands in Southern California and the second-largest open space in Los Angeles. This fragile ecosystem, fed by both fresh and saltwater, is a habitat for marine and mudflat creatures, a refuge for migrating birds, and home to almost 260 species across 50 taxonomic families. It has been considered sacred ground by native peoples for thousands of years, and today is a source of peaceful serenity and pride. Ballona Creek, an 8.5-mile channelized stream, borders the wetlands, and a bridge between Playa Del Rey and its jetty allows bike and foot traffic to travel from Santa Monica to the South Bay.
Esteemed schools, Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets and St. Bernard High School draw students from all over the westside, and families who are lucky enough to call Playa del Rey their home. The eastern part has an abundance of apartment and condo complexes that are an idea location for professionals in the tech, airline and aerospace industries due to the proximity of nearby LAX. It’s also known for its large hill-top estates with stunning panoramic ocean views.
We have a special place in our hearts for our neighbors in Playa del Rey, and want to share some of our favorite local treasures for meals, healthy adventures, and pure untouched nature. Reach out for more information about homes and living in Playa del Rey.
Things to Do
Playa del Rey Beach
Fun for all will be found at Playa Del Rey Beach! It has all the elements to provide the perfect beach day including volleyball courts, a long paved bike path, and a grass park across the street complete with a playground and basketball courts. You’ll still find surfers at the north end, affectionately named “Toes Beach” by the locals, for hanging ten (toes) on a surfboard.
Badass Surf School
A local favorite, their philosophy is that surfing is meant for everyone, and they welcome all levels, cultures, ages, and abilities with open arms and savvy techniques to master the art of being a surfer. They are the only Los Angeles surf school outside of Malibu that teaches at the competitive level, and they also guarantee you will ride a wave at your first lesson.
Ballona Discovery Park
Explore the cultural magic and history of Ballona Wetlands at the Ballona Discovery Park, a museum without walls that helps visitors connect to the wonders of this incredible natural habitat. Discover what a pollinator and medicinal garden looks like at the native plant demonstration, walk along the riparian corridor to spot the hidden (and more social) birds, and learn about the movement of water through every habitat from the mountains to the ocean. Want to get involved to keep this rare coastal habitat safe and clean? The Friends of Ballona Creek have volunteer events throughout the year from community restoration to creek cleanups.
Places to Eat
Playa Provisions draws fans from all over the city for Top Chef winner Brooke Williamson and husband Nick Roberts’ unique dining experience at their airy, 7,000 square foot beach side location. Four different spaces offers options for all, from casual breakfast, gourmet coffee, and classic Cali brunch, to homemade ice cream at Small Batch, to gourmet coastal cuisine in their intimate and ever trendy dining room. Don’t forget to stop by Grain, the back-room whiskey bar, on your way out.
The Good Pizza
This classic Neapolitan-style pizza cafe offers wood-fired brick oven pies at a super cozy and family-friendly neighborhood spot. Come for the variety of Italian specialties along with some of the best pizza on the westside.
This 50 year local landmark offers the most authentic and drool-worthy dishes, it’s no surprise that their handmade pastas and sauces have been handed down for generations. Community favorites include a festive happy hour and patio scene, and live music on Sunday evenings.
Boho chic at its finest in the modern French breakfast and lunch café. Dine in, take out, or order one of their catering boards which will guarantee everyone in your small gathering is as happy as can be.
Bacari Playa del Rey
This hipster and intimate Venetian-inspired cafe features Mediterranean-influenced small plates and a great bar scene.