South Bay (Los Angeles County)
The South Bay region of Los Angeles County in Southern California has many of the fine beaches of its neighboring areas on the West Side, with a wide variety of atmospheres, from high-end and yuppified to still-expensive beach raffish. This is also where you will find the Harbor Area of Los Angeles, an industrial section which along with adjacent Long Beach makes up the busiest shipping port along the Pacific Coast. South Bay is also the launching point for many ferries to Catalina Island.
- Carson — A suburb home to LA's top-level soccer team.
- El Segundo — A mostly industrial area directly south of LAX and home to many large aerospace facilities as well as a small but pleasant downtown.
- Hermosa Beach — A laid-back beach town popular with surfers and beachgoers with plenty of nightlife.
- Inglewood — A suburb directly east of LAX and home to the landmark Randy's Donuts.
- Manhattan Beach — A wealthy beach town with expensive mansions and a picturesque pier, as well as an active nightlife scene.
- Palos Verdes — A scenic hilly peninsula with seaside cliffs, nature walks, and picturesque neighborhoods.
- Redondo Beach — The third of South Bay's beach cities, popular with beachgoers and with some active nightlife and shopping districts.
- San Pedro — A harbor and industrial district in the shadow of the Vincent Thomas Bridge, with a maritime museum, an aquarium, a beach that plays host to an annual grunion run, and the departing point for most ferries to Catalina Island.
- Torrance — A large suburb with a relatively quiet beach, a wetlands area, and a large shopping mall.
- Wilmington — A mostly industrial district sitting on the harbor that is home to the Banning House, former residence of the man who brought the L.A. Harbor to fruition, and the Drum Barracks, a Civil War-era U.S. Army post.
- Catalina Island — A vacation spot for both locals and tourists and the most accessible of California's Channel Islands, Catalina is a popular place to get away from the bustle of the city.
The local weekly newspapers Easy Reader and Beach Reporter cover the South Bay. Each has event listings. Easy Reader tends to be more "in your face" in its style, Beach Reporter more "home-town booster." The Torrance-based Daily Breeze offers state-wide and national news along with the South Bay focus.
The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is located at the northern end of the region. From there, the 405 Freeway cuts across the South Bay on its way to Long Beach. Paralleling the 405 but operating on surface streets is the Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1), which runs closer to the coast. The 110 Freeway cuts north-south through the region, making its way north through South Central to Downtown L.A., while the I-105 and CA-91 freeways make their way east through the Gateway Cities.
Driving is the primary means of getting around the South Bay, although there is a degree of bus service offered by several overlapping transit agencies: the county-wide Metro service, Beach Cities Transit (Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and El Segundo), GTrans (Gardena), and Torrance Transit.
- The famed communities of the Westside lie north along the 405, including the popular beachside towns of Venice Beach and Santa Monica, the old film studios of Culver City, and the homes of the rich and famous in Beverly Hills and Bel-Air.
- The port city of Long Beach lies to the east, with a number of popular tourist attractions including the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Queen Mary.
- South Central L.A. sits to the north along the 110; despite its infamy, it holds some very worthwhile sights including the Watts Towers and the museums of Exposition Park.