Marina del Rey is a small community on the West Side of Los Angeles that is best known as the world's largest man-made small craft harbor, capable of berthing 5,300 boats. Today it is also home to a wide array of hotels and restaurants, and its close proximity to Los Angeles International Airport and popular local destinations makes it an excellent option for visitors looking for a base to explore the Los Angeles area.
This 164 room luxury hotel is the closest lodging you can get to the water in Marina del Rey, with rooms literally a stone's throw from the main channel of the marina. First opened in 1965, it underwent a $25 million renovation that was completed in time for its fiftieth anniversary in January 2015. Amenities include flat screen TVs, free wired & wireless internet, balconies on most rooms, 24-hour room service, meeting spaces, lounges on each floor, and an infinity pool and outdoor lounge area that faces the water. Parking is valet-only and costs $30 per day (in and out privileges included). The onsite SALT Restaurant and Bar is an upscale restaurant with good food and great outdoor seating - firepits and mood lighting next to the water is tough to beat. Happy hour is daily from 4:30 to 6PM and offers a variety of appetizers and drinks for $5 each. Outside of happy hour, expect to pay $10-$15 for cocktails and appetizers and $20-$30 for mains.
This beautiful 10-acre park juts out into the Marina's main channel, offering an excellent view of the area. The park offers waterside picnic tables, lawn areas, and covered picnic areas with barbeque grills. It also serves as the hub of community activities, with free outdoor concerts in the summer. On select Thursdays, (classical music with full symphony orchestra) and Saturdays (easy listening pop) concerts begin at 7PM and last about 2 hours. Seating is first-come, first-serve on the green (many bring their own low lawn chairs or blankets to sit on), and many spectators bring picnics to enjoy before the concert; bring a jacket or sweater to stay comfortable by the water in the evening. Parking for the park activities is in pay lots only located a block or two from the park. During the winter the park serves as a great viewing area for the annual December [http://mdrboatparade.org/ Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade].
Offers parasailing with options for a ride on a 500 or 800 foot tow rope for 2-3 people at a time, with take-off and landings from the boat, although the "touch n go" option gives riders a chance to get their feet wet (note that no matter the length of the tow rope, FAA restrictions limit the maximum elevation to 500 feet). Boats hold fifteen passengers and trips last about 90 minutes. Minimum age is 6, maximum combined weight is 450 pounds (subject to wind and captain's approval), and observers are welcome to join for $40, or $30 on a space-available basis. Like any good adventure company, photos and GoPro video of the experience can be purchased for an additional $25-$65. Discounts are sometimes available online, and reservations are strongly recommended and should be made 1-2 weeks in advance for weekend trips. Parasailing is not offered from early November through early February.
Bordering Marina del Rey to the south, the Ballona Wetlands are a remnant of the wetlands that once dominated the landscape; it is estimated that the current 600 acre wetlands represent just one percent of what was present in the past. Despite the habitat loss, the wetlands that remain are an important refuge that serves as a home to 73 native bird species, more than 3,000 native trees, and 10,000 native shrubs and grasses. Activities include a trail along the freshwater marsh (located at the southwest corner of Lincoln & Jefferson), with information panels along the way; portions of the trail are open to the public daily from dawn to dusk. Free docent-led tours of the interior as well as restoration workdays are coordinated usually on the weekends through the [http://www.ballonafriends.org/ Friends of Ballona Wetlands].
Located on the same property as Killer Shrimp, this cafe is an excellent spot for breakfast and played host to a 2015 episode of Jerry Seinfeld's ''Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee'' featuring Jim Carrey. The food is standard diner fare that is well-prepared and served by a waitstaff that isn't lacking in attitude, and there is a full bar. There are booths and counter service inside, and a spacious patio that is right on the water outside. It is open 24 hours, making it one of the few options within the Marina for those seeking a very late night snack. Parking is free, although the lot sometimes fills up on weekends.
This shopping area sprawls across a large area, including a multi-story complex and a more traditional shopping center. The two-story complex features upscale restaurants (Ruth Chris, Yardhouse, Ra Sushi, and several more) and offers services like an Equinox gym, a dine-in AMC movie theater and a nail salon. Across the street, the shopping center has several chain restaurants (Panda Express, Jamba Juice, Baja Fresh), a Pavilion's market, a Discount Shoe Warehouse, Barne's & Noble books, a 24-hr. drug store, self-service laundry, numerous smaller retail outlets, a CitiBank (ATM) and Chase Bank (ATM), and a post office.
A local hangout that offers good food at a reasonable price with friendly service and incredible views of the water. The restaurant has spacious indoor dining and a large outdoor heated patio overlooking the Marina. The staff is very kid-friendly and they do have a children's menu. The restaurant features 100 beers from all over the world, a collection of more than 1,400 beer pulls on display and 27 flat screen TVs, including eight 65" LED High-Defs in the tavern. The Tavern has also been voted #1 Sports Tavern in West Los Angeles. Open daily for lunch and dinner; weekends for breakfast.
Hornblower is an upscale option for dinner cruises and social events. Food is prepared onboard from local ingredients, and entertainment options include DJs and live bands. Hornblower operates five boats in the marina, with a combined passenger capacity of up to 500 guests. Seasonal and special-event cruises are offered throughout the year, including winter holiday cruises, New Year's Eve cruises, Valentine's Day cruises, Mother's Day cruises, Father's Day cruises, 4th of July cruises, and Thanksgiving cruises.
Fisherman's Village is located at the southern end of the Marina and is home to restaurants, souvenir shops, and a number of boat rental options. From here you can also join a public sport fishing excursion, or a weekend dinner or Sunday Brunch cruise. All kinds of small boats are available to rent by the hour - sail or motor, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and jet skis, and parasailing and bike rentals are also offered there. Free weekend concerts on Saturday and Sunday afternoons are a local favorite.
For those who like a dozen musicians playing mariachi music on a raised stage while traditional Mexican food is served, this is your restaurant. While entertainment is provided every night, weekends feature a packed dining room with live mariachi music blaring. The draw is obviously the music, but the food is excellent if a bit pricey. Reservations are recommended on weekends, and visitors must either purchase two drinks or one entree to avoid paying a $20 cover charge.
If you're looking for a little sand and sun for kids and toddlers, this non-ocean facing sandy cove offers 12 acres of a public swimming, windsurfing and non-motored boating lagoon for kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. Seasonally staffed by County lifeguards, the beach has no surf and is pleasant spot for family outings. It features a children's play area, public picnic shelters with barbecue grills, benches and tables. Restaurants and bicycle rentals are nearby.
Located right next to the water, the dining room takes in views of the harbor. Make sure you ask about the "day boat" Del Rey -- the freshest fish you can possibly get, with the delicious selections landing on your plate within 24 hours! Full service bar and lounge. Food is prepared in a California/Asian fusion style by a chef with Italian roots. The fireside lounge offers nightly piano music for those looking to simply unwind with a drink or two.
This popular series of outdoor classical and pop evening concerts is set in Burton Chace Park, surrounded on three sides by the water. All concerts begin at 7PM and take place outside on the green, lasting about two hours. Select Thursdays feature Classical and Saturdays are Pops. All are free, and ground seating space is first come, first served. Spectactors are encouraged to bring low chairs or blankets and dress for cool evening weather.
Celebrate America's birthday in the marina with the annual firework display. At 9PM explosives are shot from a barge across the marina's main channel, mirrored by the harbor below. Spectators may watch the display and listen to synchronized music on KXLU 88.9FM, also playing over loud-speaker throughout Burton Chace Park. Popular viewing spots also include Fisherman's Village and harborside restaurants.
Offers sports fishing trips for 1/2 or 3/4 day for halibut, yellowtail, calico bass, sand bass, barracuda and white sea bass. Rod rentals, tackle, bait, fishing licenses available. During the winter months on weekends, whale watching and wildlife tours are offered. Reservations required. Depart from Dock 52, where parking is free. A valid fishing license is required for anyone over the age of 15.
An excellent spot for a drink and a game of pool, Sinder (formerly Glow) offers an indoor lounge an outdoor space that features numerous fire elements - firepits, fireplaces, and a wall of flames. During the summer a DJ plays on weeknights and it turns into a hipster hotspot with an eclectic vibe, but at other times of the year it is a relaxed spot to enjoy a (pricey) drink and upscale snacks.
With a crowd that consists primarily of locals, this sushi restaurant offers a fun atmosphere, with Hide, the head sushi chef, chattering with customers at the sushi bar, yelling at the kitchen, and generally keeping everyone entertained. Food prices are reasonable ($6.50 for a tuna roll), service is quick, and most people leave smiling. Open for lunch during weekdays, and dinner every night.
Located along the waterway that all boats use to enter/leave the marina, this restaurant offers seafood, steaks, chicken, and pasta with a great waterfront view. The weekend buffet is massive and hugely popular and is consistently rated among LA's top buffets. If you aren't hungry but are in the area the entrance to the restaurant features a garden and carp pond that is worth a look.
Billing itself as "upscale comfort food", selections include a variety of made-from-scratch meals including breakfast standards (served daily until 2PM), sandwiches, meatloaf, ribs, steaks, pork chops, salads, and pizzas. Expect unique touches with most dishes - English muffins are homemade, fries are served in conical containers, and the turkey stuffing is made from cornbread.
This waterfront eatery has been serving the famous and famished for over 35 years. It has an international menu featuring seafood, steaks, pastas and salads. Plus, they have a large selection of California and International wines. They offer a Sunday buffet brunch and a seasonal Saturday buffet brunch, May through August. Live music on weekends. Open for lunch and dinner.
Open to the public, UCLA's aquatic center offers windsurfing, surfing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, rowing and sailing. Equipment rental is significantly discounted for UCLA students and members of the aquatic center. Extensive classes are also offered for sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and rowing, with the opportunity available to gain sailing qualifications.
This restaurant, part of the Jamaica Bay Inn has large windows which bring the beach, garden and marina inside while the trellis-covered heated outdoor dining area overlooks both beach and garden, making it an excellent place to enjoy food and drinks. Menu includes specially selected food and innovative chef's creations. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Chain restaurant featuring steak and fresh fish, either locally caught or flown in daily. Make sure you leave room for their signature dessert - Hot Chocolate Lava Cake, featuring rich Godiva Liqueur. Waterfront dining; fireside lounge with Happy Hour; summer outdoor dining. Also, now offering lunch on Saturday and Sundays.
This intimate Italian restaurant offers Marina views from its dining room and heated outdoor patio seating. Watch the yachts float by as you dine on delicious home-made pastas, seafood and Northern Italian specialties. Owner/Manager Stefano is usually there to greet and seat you, and special requests are always welcomed.
This free family event explores the Marina from a child's point of view. Dozens of bouncy houses, ball pits, blow-up slides, games & rides; theater, arts & crafts, and face-painting. Parents can surf information booths for future visits and get out on the water with little ones. All-access wristbands sold onsight.
Marina Paddle offers kayak and paddle board rental, as well as lessons. Reservations are recommended in the summer, but during the rest of the year rentals are first-come, first-served. They also rent electric bikes. Online specials are offered, so check their website for discounts.
Fun and challenging for anglers of all ages, this early summer event awards prizes for catching the biggest fish on a rod and reel. Fishing starts Saturday at sunrise. Public weigh-ins held at Burton Chace Park at the end of the day. Divisions for adults and youth.
This tiny park is located where the North Jetty Promenade begins. You can walk along the North Jetty, watch the community sailing regattas at several of the outposts' benches, or to enjoy a picnic. There are several platform areas from which you can fish.
Bank of America (ATM), Ralphs Market (with deli), men, women and children's clothing, gift shops, boating supplies, and UPS shipping. Dining options include both sit-down restaurants (Sugarfish, California Pizza Kitchen) and fast food options (Chipotle).
This park features a walking path and a 18-step Parcourse Circuit Trail to challenge your fitness level. Look overhead and you may find the various nesting areas of the black crested night herons or snowy egrets in the large shade trees along the path.
Offers rentals for kayaks, rowboats, and stand-up paddleboards, as well as classes. First time rowers need to take an introductory lesson, after which a boat can be rented at any time; no lesson is required for paddle boarders or kayakers.
68 rooms, including 36 suites. Amenities include: complimentary continental breakfast each day, free high-speed wireless Internet, outdoor heated pool, exercise room, interior courtyard, covered/secure parking.
Waterfront dining with a focus on locally produced ingredients. Enjoy your meal with waterfront views, on the patio or in the lounge by the fireplace. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sunday brunch.
Festively decorated boats illuminate the main channel in one of the Marina's most visually exciting events. The parade starts at 6PM Best viewing is at Burton Chace Park and Fisherman's Village.
Shop for essentials and local services here. Bagels, pet store, haircuts, quick service cafes and the favorite of locals, Joni's Coffee Roaster Cafe. There is also a Wells Fargo Bank (ATM).
Great coffee, individually brewed per cup! Incredible breakfast and lunch. Popular local boaters hangout, and a good place to see celebrities on the weekends.
A BYOGENIS Skin Care Salon featuring scientific facials along with micro dermabrasion, cellulite control, body therapy and permanent make-up and lash tinting.
Enjoy sunset from waterfront restaurants, Fisherman's Village and the North Jetty during Marina del Rey's largest sailing event as scores of sailors compete.
Offers dermatological services such as Laser Gensis to help restore the skins' natural glow, aromatherapy massage, manicures and pedicures as well as waxing.
Resembles a West Indies resort complete with lush garden, lovely beachside pool and marina views. Its restaurant features trellis-covered outdoor areas.
Serving California Cuisine, this restaurant in the Marina Marriott Hotel is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Validated 2 hour parking.
Fun, lively Irish pub with a great selection of beers and ales. Nightly entertainment including live bands and turtle racing on Thursday nights.
Features displays of vintage yacht, antique classic cars, motorcycles, vintage steam engines and ship models. In Burton Chace Park; free.
134 comfortable rooms near Marina Beach. Pool, whirlpool, complimentary WiFi, mini-refrigerators in all rooms; restaurant on site.
If you're looking for a place to use the internet or check your e-mail, this library offers wifi and nine public computers.
Each of the quaintly-appointed rooms offers a private patio or balcony with views of the sand and scenic harbor.
The visitor center is well staffed and provides free maps, brochures and suggestions for activities.
Offers a great selection of adult and children's bikes to tandems — open most days. Call for hours.
Offers a nice casual serving of paninis, salads, and Italian specials served with soup or salad.
Guests enjoy ocean, marina or city skyline views from private balconies featured in every room.
Try one of their "Beggel" (a 2-egg omelet on a bagel) breakfast sandwiches with a cuppa joe!
Offers massage services, facials, body treatments and salon services in a luxurious setting.
BYOB and great prices at this hole-in-the wall Italian restaurant. Hope you like garlic.
Offers a selection of bikes to rent to the public. $15 for 2 hours/$25 for the day.
This is a place to go if you're in search of authentic New York Pizza by the slice.
Bike rentals are generally available on weekends; ask the concierge for details.
Free outdoor concerts, including R&B, Jazz, Latin, Pop and Blues.
370 guest rooms offering both water and mountain view.
Prior to the development of the marina the area was a massive salt marsh, remnants of which can still be seen in the neighboring Ballona Wetlands Reserve. The ancient Gabrieleno Indians were likely the region's first fisherman and hunters, living along the bluffs above the ocean. The Spanish arrived later, followed in the 1800s by the first Angelenos. During the first half of the 20th century automotive races were held in the area, running from Playa del Rey to Venice along a roadway on the Marina peninsula now appropriately known as Speedway. Oil was discovered in the 1930s, and oil rigs can still be seen in the Ballona Wetlands near Playa del Rey.
Plans for development of a harbor date back to 1888, although other areas were deemed more suitable for a commercial port and the Port of Los Angeles is today located in San Pedro. It wasn't until 1953 that the county allocated funds and construction of the current marina began, with the Army Corps of Engineers in charge. A massive storm in the winter of 1962-1963 caused extensive damage and led to the addition of the breakwall at the harbor entrance. On April 10, 1965 the marina was formally dedicated.