Playa del Rey ("Beach of the King") offers beautiful beaches overlooking the Pacific Ocean just a few miles north of Los Angeles International Airport.
Playa del Rey is located north of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). From San Diego Freeway (405) exit Imperial Highway and go west. Where the road ends at Vista del Mar, turn right. Playa del Rey is located just beyond Dockweiler Beach.
- 1 Ballona Wetlands. 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).
- 1 Dockweiler State Beach (along Vista del Mar). 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.
- Bike along the 30 Mile bicycle or rent roller blades or a skateboard.
- Ride, jog, or walk to Fisherman's Village in the Marina or to Manhattan or Venice Beach
- Fish along the Jetty.
- Boat out to sea in a sailboat, sport-fishing boat, kayak, or harbor dinner cruise ship.
- Walk along the beach collecting shells, admiring the dolphins, or noticing the large yachts, volleyball games, or boat races.
- Play tennis at Loyola Marymount or Westchester Park
- Golf on either of two public golf courses including the famous or infamous 15-hole Westchester course, the only night lighted golf course in the area.
- 1 Bacari PDR, 6805 Vista Del Mar Ln. 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. $20.
- 2 The Shack, 185 Culver Blvd, ☏ . 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. Under $10 per person with beverage.
- 1 Inn at Playa del Rey Bed and Breakfast, 435 Culver Blvd, ☏ . A New England style beach house, located three blocks from the Pacific ocean and five minutes from Los Angeles International Airport.
The cities and neighborhoods that border Playa del Rey include the following:
- Marina del Rey - Located north of Playa del Rey, the "marina of the king" is home to a vast number of restaurants and hotels, and while not as touristy as some of the neighboring beach cities is nonetheless a fun spot to spend an evening.
- Westchester - This town, located to the east, is home to Los Angeles International Airport and a number of lodging options.
- El Segundo - Playa's neighbor to the south and east is mostly an industrial town, although visitors are generally surprised to find a sleepy downtown that is home to numerous restaurants and bars.