Image by Julian Starks Getty Images

If Manhattan Beach had its own magazine, it would surely be called Gorgeous Living. Classy beachside cottages, bougainvillea-lined walk streets, bustling sidewalk patios, friendly boutiques, surfers silhouetted against the setting sun over the ocean, and babies who never seem to cry – all within half a mile of a portrait-worthy pier. It’s that impossibly perfect.

Its downtown area along Manhattan Beach Blvd has seen an explosion of trendy restaurants, boutiques and hotels, yet it remains a serene seaside enclave with prime surf on either side of the pier.