Manhattan Beach is in Los Angeles County, 3 miles south of Los Angeles International Airport and 15 miles south of Santa Monica. From I-405, exit at Rosecrans Ave. and head west. Turn left on Sepulveda Blvd., then right on Manhattan Beach Blvd. For more information, try www.downtownmanhattanbeach.com or 310/379-9901.
Shade Hotel. Boutique hotel at Metlox complex, notable for its high style and rooms with spa tubs that feature a changing light display. 38 rooms from $295. 1221 N. Valley Dr.; 866/987-4233.
Sea View Inn At the Beach. Two blocks from the beach, the inn has numerous room styles spread over several buildings, with some of the nicer choices on the ocean side of Highland Ave. 35 rooms from $105. 3400 Highland Ave.; 310/545-1504.
Avenue. Christian Shaffer's seasonal progressive American dishes make this one of the top fine-dining destinations in Manhattan Beach. $$$$; dinner daily, brunch Sat-Sun. 1141 Manhattan Ave.; 310/802-1973.
Petros. Updated takes on Greek dishes in a spare and elegant modern setting. $$$; lunch and dinner daily. 451 Manhattan Beach Blvd.; 310/545-4100.
Rock'n Fish. Lively seafood restaurant near the pier. $$$; lunch and dinner daily. 120 Manhattan Beach Blvd.; 310/379-9900.
Uncle Bill's Pancake House. The inevitable wait is worth it at this Manhattan Beach institution. $; breakfast and lunch daily. 1305 Highland; 310/545-5177.
Zinc Lounge. Check out the busy scene and small plates for dinner at this stylish spot in the Shade Hotel lobby, or go for a more mellow breakfast or lunch. $$$; breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 1221 N. Valley; 866/987-4233.
AVP Manhattan Beach Open. Premier event on the beach-volleyball calendar is also one of the area's liveliest weekends of the year. Aug 10-13. 310/426-8000.
Metlox. New commercial development has added another destination to the downtown retail mix. The project is home to the Shade Hotel and Petros restaurant. Valley at Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Sand Dune Park. Always busy with kids and fitness fanatics who challenge themselves on the dune's sheer face. Limited parking on Bell and Rosecrans Avenues, so it's best to walk up from the Strand. 33rd St. at Bell Ave.
The Strand. Bike, blade, walk, and gawk your way along this Southern California beach classic. The bike path is part of the 22-mile South Bay Bicycle Trail.