Marina Del Ray has 19 marinas giving homes to over 6,500 boats. Behold the tips of multiple sailboats docked at the harbor in this unincorporated beachside neighborhood. Here, you will find the highest density of restaurant seating within a 1-square mile radius outside of New York City, with no shortage of options for diners wishing to watch the waves while they eat.
A destination for tourists to come dine on the waterfront or participate in one of many available watersport activities, this location feels like a slice of elegance outside of all the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles itself, with outdoor parks and quick access to nearby beach towns Santa Monica and Venice Beach.
Located a mere 5 miles away from Santa Monica, Marina Del Ray rests 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood. Six hotels line the waterfront, including the Ritz-Carlton.
Restaurants & Nightlife
You will find practically any cuisine in the world you want to sample near Marina Del Ray, including Lebanese, Halal and Salvadorean. At night, locals dine near the water at one of many seaside restaurants before catching a movie, taking a walk on the beach or hitting a favorite watering hole.
Sample the shrimp and avocado flatbread at Bin 73, paired with a note of chocolate in your red wine. The meat and cheese board is a must-try when you dine here, along with pork sliders, chorizo and manchego stuffed mushroom and truffle fries. Outdoor seating and a beach view are welcome perks.
At bar and restaurant The Anchor, dine on lobster rolls, shigoku oysters, white wine and s’mores panna cotta, or drop in quickly to sip on a peanut butter stout or a Belgian ale before hitting the town.
After visiting one of a handful of movie theatres, stop in at Irori Japanese Restaurant. Choose from an eclectic selection of exotic seafood entrees, including black cod, monkfish liver and soft shell crab, daring options for those craving something a bit wild for a nighttime meal.
At night, locals visit the Old Town Music Hall to hear music on a Wurlitzer organ or partake in an all-you-can-drink coffee and tea bar at The Candy Bar Hookah Shoppe. Those looking for hip bartenders along with live music should make a point to visit The Gasser Lounge and The Wellesbourne.
History & Culture
Formerly a home to only duck hunters and wetlands, Marina Del Ray has changed considerably over the years. In 1887, local businessman M.C. Wicks had a dream of developing the land into a harbor. After investing around $300,000 into his vision, Wicks went bankrupt.
In 1916, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers reported that it was impractical to develop the Playa del Rey inlet and basin as a major harbor. In 1953 a loan to fund construction of the marina was authorized by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Public Law 780, signed by President Eisenhower, helped make construction possible. After a storm caused millions in damage, a breakwater was built. The area was dedicated on April 10, 1965 as Marina Del Ray.
Visit one of many museums in neighboring Santa Monica, including the Museum of Flying, or walk in the annual Art Walk at Venice Beach.
Traveling around Marina Del Ray couldn’t be easier. Marina Del Ray taxi fares to nearby LAX airport are only $25, with some Marina Del Ray hotels also providing free airport shuttle service. Ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft are accessible as well. Public transportation options include Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus, the Metro or the Culver City Green Bus for connection with all of the beach towns nearby and additional attractions in greater Los Angeles.
For those driving a car, Highways 1 and 90 connect directly with the San Diego and Santa Monica Freeways, providing access to Los Angeles, San Diego and additional California destinations nearby.
With 15 metered parking lots located within Marina Del Ray itself, finding a place to park is not hard. A bike and walking path connecting Santa Monica and Venice Beach on either side starts where Washington Blvd meets the Venice Beach Pier. Streets are well-maintained, making them popular for both bicyclists and pedestrians.
The cost of living in this unincorporated beachside neighborhood is much more affordable than neighboring Santa Monica, and renters pay around $2,550 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. A beer at a pub will run you about $6 for an ale or stout, with no shortage of selections to choose from, including Belgian options and locally brewed specials. Gas prices in the area hover about 10 percent lower than the national average. A bus ride to the center of downtown costs $1.75 if you hop on the Metro, which also serves greater Los Angeles.
Marina Marketplace stands as the largest shopping center in Marina Del Ray. It houses many eateries, two movies theatres, high-end restaurants, nail salons and brand-name clothing stores.
Purchase scented candles at Westside-based boutique Petals ‘N’ Wax before biting into a Danish pastry from Viktor Benês Bakery, a European-style bakery that has been servicing Los Angeles for 50 years.
For even more shopping, head to the famous boutiques and shops at the Third Street Promenade and Main Street in Santa Monica, or visit Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach District.
Stock up on your weekly groceries at neighborhood favorites such as Pavilions on Glencoe Avenue, Ralphs Grocery on Admiralty Way or Gelsen’s Market on Maxella Avenue. All three stores carry the freshest California produce and maintain fully stocked delis with the highest quality meats and cheeses. Additionally, Whole Foods and Queen’s Market in neighboring Venice Beach offer organic and locally produced items.
Held year-round every Thursday, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Marina Del Rey Farmers' Market lets you treat yourself to some fresh cut flowers as you peruse the abundant fruits and produce sections. Make sure to take advantage of the numerous free samples as you stop to chat with the market's friendly vendors.
Outdoor activities are never in short supply here. Find access to paid water sports, including parasailing and stand-up paddle boarding, free beach access, off-leash dog parks and outdoor play areas for adults and children.
Burton W. Chace park contains 10 acres for jogging, picnicking outdoors or watching the sunset. Choose from 2,000 parking spaces at Dockweiler State Beach, located south of Playa Del Ray, to use the fire pits for BBQ before heading down to the beach for a splash in the water.
For a ‘70s style New England seaport and fishing town experience, pay a visit to Fisherman’s Village, which operates as a hub for access to cruises, dining, water activities, sailing, shopping and free weekend concerts.
Walk to a 12-acre lagoon equipped with a children's playground nicknamed “Mother’s Beach” for its family safe focus. You will find free access to a new ParCourse Fitness Circuit outside, Yvonne B. Burke park, which runs to the heart of the Marina, along a bike trail running through the park itself.
Take part in weekend jazz, blues and samba concerts at Fisherman's Village. The annual holiday dinner cruise that takes place with Hornblower Cruises in Marina Del Ray is a sight to behold, with Christmas decorations, live music and dancing underneath the stars. Additional annual cruises taking place in December are not to be missed.