Perched on the tip of the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles' South Bay, the affluent community of Rancho Palos Verdes stands out as one of the most scenic cities in the metro area. Residents live just 25 miles southwest of downtown L.A., but they also enjoy cliff-side vistas overlooking the Pacific Ocean, expansive nature reserves and a network of trails for hiking and horseback riding.
This tree-dotted city attracts upper-class families and retirees who want to be close to the amenities of L.A. while enjoying beautiful residential areas and a rural atmosphere. Residents also enjoy access to some of the best public schools in the state. Check out the tide pools in the cliffs of Abalone Cove Park, or enjoy fine seafood dishes at Mar'sel to experience Rancho Palos Verdes' unique charm for yourself.
Restaurants & Nightlife
The culinary scene nestled in this cliffside town serves up creative fine dining that blends the glam of L.A. with the bounty of the sea. Although a few mid-priced restaurants offer casual cuisine, get ready to shell out a few more bucks for shrimp cocktail and a panoramic view of the ocean. Rancho Palos Verdes also houses a couple of spots for a laid-back night out, and you can find plenty of exciting nightclubs in nearby Redondo Beach.
Head to The Café Pacific at Trump National Golf Club for a classy-yet-casual lunch spot. Enjoy a stunning ocean view as you sample the restaurant's specialty tuna tartar tacos or the calamari. Just keep in mind that you need a reservation for Saturday lunch. For a special treat, go for the Sunday brunch buffet to dip skewered strawberries into a chocolate fountain, grab some fresh shrimp, and make your own crepes at the crepe station.
Mar'sel serves up dinner at Terranea Resort, but locals come to watch the sunset over the ocean with a glass of wine and world-class appetizers. Walk into a restaurant reminiscent of a Mediterranean villa to enjoy food made with the produce you see growing in the garden outside. This place serves some of the priciest fine dining in the area, but locals agree that it's well worth the extra dollars. Be sure to try the fish board with a sampling of tuna and other light-tasting fish garnished with olives and onions. For a fun brunch, get the green eggs and ham sandwich, and don't pass up the caramel pudding for dessert.
O'Flaherty's Tap House remains one of the most popular local hangouts for grabbing a cold beer after work. The trendy atmosphere reminds you of a coffee house, and the huge craft beer selection caters to the connoisseur. Be sure to try the pretzel dog when you stop by for Monday night football.
History & Culture
The Tongva people originally inhabited the area now known as Rancho Palos Verdes, but European Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo is credited with discovering the peninsula in 1542. When a Mexican land grant was given to several landowners, Rancho Palos Verdes was established centuries later in 1846. Although a thriving community called the rocky cliffs home, the city was not incorporated until1973.
Natural beauty is the beating heart of Rancho Palos Verdes. However, residents also live close to cultural attractions such as the Los Angeles Maritime Museum and a host of other museums in San Pedro. Check out the upscale dance studios to the east, or meet your neighbors during the city's Fourth of July celebration with games, contests, music and local food vendors.
Scenic roads with little traffic weave through this remote city on the ocean, and most locals choose to drive when traversing the neighborhood. Rancho Palos Verdes rests a short distance from both the Pacific Coast Highway and the 110 freeway for access to downtown L.A. If you don't want to drive, feel free to call Uber or All Yellow Taxi for a quick ride.
Several bus systems service the city, making frequent stops along major roads like Hawthorne Boulevard and Palos Verdes Drive. Take a ride on the PVP Transit Authority to get around the peninsula, or hop on the Commuter Express for a fast ride into central L.A. A few Metro buses also service the area.
If you want to bike to the shopping center, enjoy bike lanes on Palos Verdes Drive, Hawthorne Boulevard and several other roads. The roads and sidewalk system create a safe environment for both walking and biking, but the hilly terrain makes for a heavy workout.
Rancho Palos Verdes stands out as one of the most affluent areas of greater Los Angeles, with above-average living costs. The city's apartment complexes offer unbeatable amenities and views of the ocean, but expect to pay $1,500 to $1,900 for a one-bedroom apartment. When you go out for a drink, prepare to pay $8 to $9 for a pint at O’Flaherty’s and other bars. Gas prices generally hover 9 percent above the national average. For a ride to the L.A. city center, catch the 344 for $1.75 at one of the Metro stops, and pay 50 cents for each transfer.
Living in Rancho Palos Verdes places you just minutes away from the upscale shopping of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. For those who don't want to travel far, even this green residential community has its hidden treasures thanks to charming resort boutiques and trendy shoe stores.
For high-end fashion mainstays and jewelers, head to Promenade on the Peninsula, an outdoor mall with a Mediterranean theme and even an ice skating rink. Although this shopping center technically belongs to neighboring Rolling Hills, the center blends into the city to provide easy access. The rest of the area's shopping centers along Western Avenue bordering San Pedro.
If you're in the market for a new pair of sandals, stop by The 4th Basement Shoe Boutique to enjoy an open layout that displays each shoe along sleek shelves. Here you can find dress shoes, hiking boots, tennis shoes, boots and everything in between. You can't go wrong with top brands like Toms, Puma, Tommy Hilfiger and Steve Madden, and you can even find a few styles for kids.
Located in the Terranea resort, Marea Boutique is an upscale store that entices tourists and locals alike with high-end casual wear, beachwear and cocktail dresses alongside scarves and jewelry from local designers. The soft pastel fashions for men and women are worth the trek out to the resort.
Pick up your weekly groceries at Ralphs for all your standard fare, or head to Trader Joe's for organic ingredients and specialty foods. Check out the Palos Verdes Farmers Market for a huge selection of local produce, eggs, flowers and even jewelry.
Relax in one of the city's stunning nature reserves or quiet public parks whenever you need a short getaway. Head to Abalone Cove Park to find sea life in the tide pools or swim at the pebble-studded beach with a lifeguard on duty, after paying the $5 parking fee. The trails going down the cliff make for an easy hike, but it may be too steep for smaller children. Enjoy a breathtaking view of Catalina Island, and walk your dog everywhere but the beach. Join the community each year for Coastal Cleanup Day to help care for this local treasure.
Stop by the Portuguese Bend Reserve to hike grassy hills while searching for wild peacocks and other elusive wildlife. These trails also create the perfect opportunity for dog walking and horseback riding.
If you're looking for an urban green space, take your kids to Highridge Park to climb on the playground equipment. The park also features a sandy walking path with outdoor exercise equipment built along the trail so you can stop and switch up your workout routine during a jog.