While this restaurant now has six locations (two in California, three in Hawaii, and one in Colorado), the Playa del Rey location is the original, opened in 1972. A surfer bar next to the beach ("Dude food without peer" according to the LA Times), the signature dish is the Shack Burger, a 1/4 pound burger with a Portuguese sausage for $6.50 ($6.25 without cheese). Order at the counter, hang out in a booth, and enjoy the vibe. There are also plenty of televisions showing the latest games, and a bar serving the standard American beers (Budweiser, Miller, etc) to help quench your thirst after a day on the waves. The one downside of this place is that its tiny parking lot fills quickly, and street parking can often be a challenge.
The Ballona Wetlands is one of the last wetlands in the Los Angeles basin. While it used to ecompass much of Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey and Venice, today the area is much smaller, with much of it in a degraded state pending future restoration. The freshwater portion of the wetlands, located along Jefferson and Lincoln boulevards, features a walking path and is home to all manner of waterfowl. The saltwater portion of the wetlands is closed to the public on most days, but tours are offered on the second weekend of every month (check the Friends of the Wetlands calendar for times, park behind Gordon's Market at 303 Culver Blvd).
Tapas-style casual dining featuring hot and cold dishes as well as gourmet pizzas - plan on 2-3 dishes per person. Entrees range from lamb-stuffed eggplant to cauliflower in chipotle sauce to chicken breast paninis. Full bar with an extensive beer and wine selection. Staff is enthusiastic and helpful. The space is a bit tight and it can get loud when full, so arrive early for a more relaxing vibe. Happy hour Monday-Friday from 5-7PM.
A long, wide stretch of beach that sits under the flight path of many departing aircraft from adjacent LAX and is one of the least crowded beaches in the Los Angeles area. Dockweiler has fire pits, making it one of the few L.A. beaches where bonfires are allowed.