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A small-town beach community nestled between larger beach cities, Seal Beach has maintained much of the same charm and appeal that drew residents to the area 20 and 30 years ago. Despite the many tourists who frequent the area, Seal Beach feels centered around locals and maintains a more family-friendly environment. With a varied population of avid surfers and retirees, Seal Beach stays relaxed with a laid-back vibe that persists even at the height of tourist season. Although sandwiched between the more populous Long Beach and Huntington Beach, Seal Beach retains most of its unique identity and Old Town construction.
Famous for its long wooden pier, Seal Beach hosts a number of fisherman year-round. Due to the nearby U.S. Naval Weapons Station, Seal Beach has strategic military importance for West Coast operations. This has attracted a major branch of Boeing that employs many residents in the neighborhood.
As of October 2017, the average apartment rent in Seal Beach, CA is $1,633 for a studio, $1,843 for one bedroom, and $2,295 for two bedrooms. Apartment rent in Seal Beach has increased by 1.6% in the past year.
Leading straight to the Seal Beach pier, Main Street remains the best place to grab a bite or a beer. With tons of local pubs and cafes, Main Street provides residents with a little bit of everything. For the best pastries and breads, make sure to try the Crema Cafe. Although this cafe originally started as a simple lunch cafe, the chef felt so disappointed by local bread offerings that he started baking up his own and selling them next door. You should be glad he did because now you can enjoy a wide variety in the restaurant or even at home later. Even if there is a long wait, you can sip on free coffee on the open porch to pass the time. Plus, a sweet and flaky kouign-amann French pastry can make any wait worth it. For a night out, head to one of the bars here on Main Street. Nightlife always stays pretty laid back here, so most bars are pretty family-friendly until late. Plus, Seal Beach is not known for the late-night partying that happens in neighboring towns. If you want a quiet place to drink your beer and munch on some flavorful wings, Seaside Grill makes a perfect option. With a very low-key atmosphere and what some claim to be the best fish and chips in Orange County, Seaside Grill delivers a relaxing night every time. Enjoy the cheap beer and burgers any night of the week. For less traditional bar food options, stop by The Hangout Restaurant, which serves up eclectic seafood dishes, like the habanero calamari, and plenty of meat options, including the perfectly cooked beef brisket. Just be careful with anything spicy. When the menu says spice, be prepared for a bit of fire.
In the early 1900s, residents called Seal Beach "Anaheim Landing," as it served as the boat landing and seaside recreation area for the nearby town of Anaheim. The original area of the town became a California Historical Landmark, and Seal Beach grew from these humble beginnings.
Seal Beach has grown since then but has not lost its love of recreation and entertainment. With the historic Bay Theater showing indie films and a famous Red Car Museum featuring a restored Pacific Electric Railway Red Car, there's plenty to visit.
The town puts on events year-round, including the Lions Club's Pancake Breakfast in April and its renowned Fish Fry in July, which is accompanied by a Rough Water Swim the same weekend. The town also hosts a classic car show, summer concert series, kite festival and Christmas parade.
With its small-town feel, Seal Beach remains a perfect place for a leisurly walk around the neighborhood or to ride your bike to run errands. Although not all streets have dedicated bike lanes, the low traffic and high numbers of pedestrians make cycling a safe and popular option regardless.
If you prefer to drive, you will find some free public parking but may have difficulty finding a spot near the beach. Most homes do have dedicated spots or garages, though, so many residents prefer to drive only when leaving the town. You can easily head to other California towns from Seal Beach by jumping on the Pacific Coast Highway, Route 22 or I-405.
While public transit within the city has its limits, you can easily take the Orange County Transportation Authority buses to other towns, especially those along the coast on Line 1. In a pinch, you can get a taxi or even get limited Uber service for a rideshare.
While living in Seal Beach does not come cheap, it costs residents 32 percent less than neighboring Huntington Beach and 10 percent less than Long Beach.
Average rent for a one-bedroom home here costs about $1,833, and you can buy a beer for about $8. Gas prices remain typical of California at about 12 percent higher than the national average.
Like restaurants, most small shops clump around Main Street. With plenty of clothing boutiques, such as Elison Rd, Endless Summer and Tankfarm Clothing, women and men will find a number of high-end custom options and popular brands. Make sure to stop by J Ensemble for high-end fashions that are on trend. With a bit of French flair, J Ensemble offers some European fashions you cannot find elsewhere in Seal Beach, and the owner always finds plenty or kitschy, one-of-a-kind jewelry to sell as well.
Another boutique that deserves a trip is Knock Knock Toys and Gifts. Knock Knock sells only toys meant to spark imagination and creativity. If you are looking for a unique toy, browse the extensive selection of high-quality wooden building kits and beautiful, soft stuffed animals. You can even get gifts wrapped for free, so they are ready to give away immediately.
For a day outside, residents love to head to the free public beaches here with kids and dogs in tow. While the water may be a bit cold and choppy, surfers will love catching these waves. Plus the beach always host a number of interesting festivals and children's activities. You can fish, play volleyball or soccer, or simply lay out in the sun.
If you want a lush, natural environment, head to the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge. Although you can only visit the refuge located on the Weapons Base on guided tours to look around, the natural beauty and many endangered species of birds makes this a popular attraction.
Apartments for Rent Under $500 in Seal Beach, CA
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