In Los Angeles before your cruise? Here’s how top travel blogger John DiScala, known to his fans as Johnny Jet, thinks you should spend your time:
First of all, he recommends hanging out in Manhattan Beach, — where he has lived for two decades, — rather than in more touristy parts of town. “I've traveled all over the world,” explains DiScala, “but Manhattan Beach is still one of my favorite places on earth. That's why I've called it home for the past 20-plus years.”
Check into Shade Hotel.
If you have a night to kill in LA before getting on your ship, spend it at Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach. It's a stylish boutique hotel you'll love. Plus, it's walking distance to lots of restaurants, shopping, and — best of all — the beach!
Rent a bike and ride along the Strand.
There's no place like the Strand on a beautiful day in California. Rent a bike — or, if you're staying at Shade Hotel, use one of its complimentary cruiser bikes — and take in the beautiful views of California's coastline and the Pacific Ocean.
You’re in Southern California: Go for the tacos.
Grab a cold drink on a hot day at the newly opened Rockefeller pub on Highland Avenue. The menu is great: Try the seared ahi tacos and the truffle and parmesan french fries. Totally addictive, totally delicious.
Take in the sights.
Located in the heart of Manhattan Beach, the Metlox is a shopping and dining complex that's popular with locals. It's got an open square with a fountain, sort of like a town square, making it a nice public space for families. The surrounding restaurants all have outdoor patios, too.
Follow the locals, and your nose.
If you're in town on a Tuesday afternoon, you have to visit the Manhattan Beach Farmers Market. Open from 11 am to 5 pm, it's packed with locals, and it's the place to get fresh produce and flowers. Or stop by for lunch — there are lots of options, but my favorite thing to eat there is a pupusa, a traditional Salvadoran dish that's a thick, handmade corn tortilla. I like mine filled with chicken and cheese.
Cool off with a sweet treat.
After a day out in the sun, there's no place better for a refreshing indulgence than Manhattan Beach Creamery, just one block up from the Strand. The creamery’s got all kinds of ice cream, beautifully decorated cupcakes, and candy … but my go-to is the Cream’wich, an ice cream sandwich made with fresh-baked cookies and artisan ice cream. Yum!
Play some beach volleyball.
Unless your hometown is on the coast, chances are you don't get to play beach volleyball very often. Manhattan Beach is known as the “Beach Volleyball Capital of the World,” making it the perfect place to play the game ... or at least watch the pros. Don't be surprised if you see Olympic players out on the courts.
Grab a bite at the local hangout.
When your cruise is over and it's time to head home, swing by In-N-Out Burger just before rushing off to LAX. (It's not technically in Manhattan Beach, but it's right around the corner from the airport.) It's the perfect place to do some plane spotting: It's one of the few places in the world where you can get close to an airborne plane.