Layover: Los Angeles, CA (Hermosa Beach)

I live in Los Angeles and yesterday my 15 year-old cousin flew into town from New York with a group of fourteen 15 year-olds who had, oh….about 10 hours before their Qantas flight to Australia departed. Believe it or not, It isn’t all that unusual for travelers heading overseas to have that much time in-between flights. Constantly I meet people aboard the airplane flying into LAX with hours and hours of sit time on their hands.

“So…what are you going to do before your next flight departs?” I often times ask.

Most of the time people have no idea what they’re going to do, which is why they always ask me, the flight attendant, for a few suggestions. I’m going to tell you what I always tell them…

THREE HOURS OR LESS – If your sit time at the airport is less than three hours, sit tight. You don’t want to miss your flight. Anyway, there’s plenty of things to do at the airport. But if you do find yourself hungry and can’t find anything to eat where you are, take a walk over to the Tom Bradley International Terminal where you’ll find a few sit down restaurants outside of security. Or you can go down to baggage claim, walk outside and grab a complimentary shuttle to the Parking Spot, which is located right next to In-n-out Burger. That’s where you’ll find the best burger in town. Try ordering it “animal style.”

FOUR HOURS OR MORE – If you’ve got four hours or more of sit time in Los Angeles at LAX, why not make a mini vacation before your vacation officially begins by visiting Hermosa Beach? Hermosa Beach is where you’ll find the typical Southern California layed back experience. Just a fifteen minute cab ride from the airport, it shouldn’t cost you more than $30 (with tip). Make sure to check the big bags, don’t forget to pack your bathing suit in your carry on, and get ready to soak up the sun!


TAXI! If you want to sound like a local tell the driver to take Sepulveda (Sah-pull-vah-dah) to Pier Avenue and drop you off at the bottom of the hill. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see all the cute boutiques, sidewalk cafes, and that beautiful blue ocean surrounded by white sand. When you’re ready to head back to the airport (give yourself an hour just to be safe), you can catch a cab on Hermosa Avenue across the street from Paisano’s Pizza and Pasta

THE STRAND – The Strand is a 22 mile (wide) sidewalk that stretches along the beach and extends from Malibu to Palos Verdes. Rent a bike at the Hermosa Beach Cyclery or take a leisurely walk. Either way you’ll enjoy seeing beautiful people and homes along the way. You can even stop to watch a game of volleyball. Make sure to bring along your camera because the sunsets are spectacular.

THE BEACH – Last month Maxim rated Hermosa Beach 6th in the “top 10 beaches in America”, in 2004 Readers Digest rated Hermosa beach as the best beach in the United States, and Sports Illustrated referred to Hermosa Beach as the beach volleyball capital of the world. Flying through on a Sunday? You don’t want to miss the drum circle that meets beside the pier on the sand every third Sunday of the month from noon until 3pm. Don’t have a drum? No worries. There are plenty of instruments lying around if you’re so inclined to join in. Public restrooms and an outdoor shower are located near the pier.

GOOD CHEAP EATS – There are too many wonderful places in Hermosa to list here, but if you’ll be in Los Angeles on a Tuesday you’re in luck because that’s Taco Tuesday at Sharkeez and Two-timin’ Tuesday at Hennesy’s where you’ll enjoy a two for one burger special on a rooftop deck overlooking the ocean. Here are a few other restaurants I recommend…

  • Good Stuff -The food is just that – good stuff. Not to mention the beach side tables paired with the delicious tortilla soup are hard to beat. Kids eat free evenings. Located on the strand next to the Hermosa Beach House Hotel .
  • El Gringo – Got a hankering for fish tacos served with chips and salsa and a Negra Modelo? Then make sure to grab a table on the rooftop deck. Located on Hermosa Ave, so face the water, turn right, and start walking until you hit 26th Street – about a 15-20 minute walk – take a right on 26th and look for the big yellow building.
  • Fat Face Fenner’s – A great place to go if you’re craving greasy fried food, a cup of chowder, a fish sandwich or a beer. Located on the pier.
  • Martha’s 22nd Street Grill – This is THE PLACE to go for breakfast. I always take my out of town guests here to get that California feel. While I’m not a vegetarian, I always order the tofu scramble served with brown rice while my husband usually orders the Greek omelet. It’s a bit of a walk, but if you face the water, turn to your right, and start walking for approximately 10-15 minutes you’ll find it.
  • Paisano’s – If you’re craving a slice of pizza, this is, by far, the best place to go, especially if you’re from New York. My husband, a Brooklyn boy, won’t order from anywhere else. Located on Hermosa Avenue
  • Paradise Sushi – It’s a dive, but a lot of fun, and the sushi is 50% off on Mondays. Located on the pier.
  • Scotty’s on the Strand – Got kids? Looking for cheap, casual, dining on the beach where kids can be..well…kids? This is the place. Don’t forget to check out the nightly sunset specials. Located on the strand.
  • The World Famous Spot – If you’re a vegetarian this is the place for you. Try the Dear George, a tofu dish served with brown rice, steamed veggies, and served with an amazing savory sauce. It’s a 10-15 minute stroll from the pier, so face the water, turn left, and start walking until you hit 2nd Street, turn left and you’ll run right into it.

Wanna know what’s going on in Hermosa Beach RIGHT NOW? Check out the strandcam!

  • Photos courtesy of Lady M (Hermosa beach), Tel lo Juro Por Madonna (Shopping & Hermosa Pier)