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The Manhattan Beach Pier is the Centerpiece of Manhattan Beach Living

Mar 16, 2011 by Lisa Newton

After hopping on a beach cruiser I borrowed during my stay at the Belamar Hotel, just a hop, skip, and a jump from the hotel and at the end of Manhattan Beach Boulevard, is the Manhattan Beach Pier, the oldest concrete pier on the West Coast, and recognized by the State as California Historic Landmark #1018.

Measuring 928-feet and dedicated on July 4th, 1920, the Manhattan Beach Pier was the brainchild of engineer A.L. Harris, who thought the idea of its circular end would result in less exposure and damage to the pier’s pilings by the waves.

That might be true, but for a layperson’s point of view, I admired the design and creativity of the Manhattan Beach’s circular end. Its uniqueness stands out.

The day I visited, I didn’t see any fisherman, but I know for a fact that fishing from a Pier is both a fun and popular activity. In the video below, this gentleman caught a pretty big stingray from the Pier:

Visiting Manhattan Beach Pier is easy, but if you’re walking or biking there as I did, be prepared for a steep climb. As you can see in the photo below, Manhattan Beach Boulevard has a fairly decent incline.

In the rounded building at the end of the Pier sits the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium, “a non-profit organization committed to fostering and promoting the public study of, and interest in, the oceans, tidelands and beaches of Southern California, the marine life therein, and the impact of human population on that environment.”

Open from 3:00pm to sunset Monday-Friday and 10:00am to sunset on Saturday and Sunday, paying a visit here while you’re at Manhattan Beach is a great way for you, and if you have kids, to see and appreciate our local marine life and the beauty of the Pacific Ocean.

Manhattan Beach Pier

Just as is the case with other older structures, over the years, the Pier has seen its ups and downs; but looking at it today, no one would know.

But, due to years of withstanding the sea’s punishing waves, by the mid 80s, the Pier was literally falling apart. In fact, in 1984, a 150-pound chunk of concrete fell on a jogger, paralyzing him for life.

However, the final blow to the Manhattan Beach Pier, was the El Nino storms of 1988, when the height of the waves reached the top of the Pier itself. Starting in February, 1991 and completed on July 18, 1992, a complete restoration of the pier’s deck, the Roundhouse, and the lifeguard station was initiated and completed.

When walking along the Pier you get to enjoy the cool Pacific ocean breezes, the beautiful views of both the Pacific and Manhattan Beach.

To be sure, when walking along the pier be sure to look downward. Lining the Pier encased in bronze circles are the winners of the Manhattan Beach Open, an annual volleyball tournament that is celebrating its 51st year in 2011.

And don’t forget to bring a book. While I was there, I saw several people reading and relaxing along the Pier.

In addition, because the Strand bike path which extends from Santa Monica to Torrance, passes by here, it’s the perfect place for a relaxing ride.

There’s also a walking path next to the bike path as well, which makes for a nice sunny morning stroll.

Lastly, for the more athletically inclined, Manhattan Beach is perfect for Volleyball or Surfing. Of course, if you just want to lie out and work on your tan, enjoy the beauty of the ocean or the local houses, that’s always an attractive option.

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