In honor of the Marina’s 50th birthday, we’ve compiled a list of our top 50 reasons to love Marina del Rey. From popular water sports to free weekend concerts, we’ve got you covered. Are you ready? It’s time to get smitten with some of our hottest activities.

Biking the Marvin Braude Bike Path

Biking the Marvin Braude Bike Path

1)       Rent a bike at Fisherman’s Village & hop on the Marvin Braude Coastal Bike Path which stretches 22 miles along L.A.’s scenic beach front

2)       Try a paddleboard yoga class with Phins Water Sports Club or YOGAqua.

3)       Hit the open waters of the Pacific with a jet ski or power boat from Marina del Rey Boat Rentals.

4)       Relax on the water with Hornblower Cruises’ champagne brunch cruise featuring flowing champagne, live entertainment and full buffet (weekends).

5)       Groove to FREE weekend concerts year-round in Fisherman’s Village.

6)       Stop by the weekly Marina del Rey’s Farmers Market for the freshest produce and vegetables.

7)       Stand-up paddle board with hourly rentals available from  Marina del Rey Boat Rentals, Marina Paddle, Phins Water Sports Club, and PRO SUP Shop

8)       Take a sailing lesson with Blue Water Sailing or the UCLA Marina Aquatic Center.

9)       Catch your dinner with an open-water fishing excursion with Marina del Rey Sportfishing (daily trips year-round). Seasonal whale watching also available.

10)   “Dock & Dine” at Killer Shrimp Restaurant & Bar where you can kayak, paddleboard, row or boat to your favorite meal (happy hour, included)!

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Paddleboard to dinner with a group of friends

11)    Snap a “selfie” along the waterfront.

12)   Cheer on your favorite team at the Tavern at Tony P’s Dockside Grill.

13)   Treat yourself to an afternoon of pampering with a treatment at Spa del Rey.

14)   Explore the Marina on foot with one of our six self-guided walks.

15)   Be a night-owl! UCLA Marina Aquatic Center offers full moon kayaks throughout the year.

16)   Enjoy a romantic evening on a private gondola tour with Gondolas d’Amore.

17)   Spend the morning bird watching in nearby Ballona Wetlands

18)   Kayak through the Marina waters with hourly rentals from Marina Paddle, Marina del Rey Boat Rentals & Phins Water Sports Club.

19)   Picnic in waterfront Burton Chace Park and spend the afternoon overlooking the harbor.

20)   Walk to the North Jetty at sunset for a spectacular ocean view.

21)   Be your own captain with a duffy rental from Marina del Rey Boat Rentals.

22)   Stroll the boat-filled harbor on Burke Marina Walk Promenade to read cleverly named boat titles like “Knot for Sail.”

23)   Eat like a local! Enjoy fish tacos at Beachside, Killer Shrimp’s namesake signature dish, Café del Rey’s truffle pizza and Cast & Plow’s farm-to-table menu.

Crabcakes at Beachside Restaurant & Bar

Crabcakes at Beachside Restaurant & Bar

24)   Have a girls’ day with a signature blow-out from the Drybar

25)   Get your beach volleyball on with a game on Marina (Mother’s) Beach.

26)   Happy hour under the stars with fire pits at Beachside, Marina Grill & Bar, and Whiskey Red’s.

27)   Shop the Waterside, Marina del Rey with chic boutiques like BCBG, M. Fredric, and Marmi’s

28)   Have dinner and a movie at the AMC Dine-In Theatres (21+) at the Marina Marketplace.

29)   Bike, walk or skateboard to world-famous Venice Beach

30)   Grab your camera and play photographer for a day. The Marina’s landscape – from a yacht-filled harbor to natural wildlife and spectacular sunsets – will leave you speechless.

31)   The iconic Marina del Rey Hotel recently reopened its doors after a $20M renovation. Stop by for a peek at its new, contemporary design and enjoy dinner at its signature restaurant, SALT.

Enjoy the Marina views at SALT Restaurant & Bar

Enjoy the Marina views at SALT Restaurant & Bar

32)   Sway to the music of the Marina del Rey Summer Concert Series held in Burton Chace Park.

33)   Get a taste of LA’s biggest food trend when “Beach Eats” brings the city’s hottest food trucks to Marina (Mother’s) Beach (seasonal; spring – fall)

34)   In the summer, ride the Marina del Rey Water Bus or hop on the free Playa Vista Beach Shuttle

35)   Feast at Whiskey Red’s popular weekend brunch buffet which boasts seafood, pasta, omelets, and an oozing chocolate fountain!

36)   Scour the Marina’s harbor, parks, beaches, hotels and restaurants for popular television & movie locations. Hint: Arrested Development’s Banana Stand was filmed in Fisherman’s Village

37)   Workout on the parcourse fitness trail in Yvonne Burke Park on Admiralty Way.

38)   History buff? Visit the Marina del Rey Historical Society in Fisherman’s Village.

39)   Walk to the Marina Peninsula for a gorgeous view of the Grand Canal and unique architecture.

40)   Spend 4th of July in Marina del Rey with the annual Fireworks spectacular!

41)   Be tourist for a day with Starline Tours Hop-on, Hop-off double-decker bus.

42)   Stroll on the pedestrian bridges through the charming and quaint Venice Canals.

43)   Watch sailboats race through the harbor with the California Yacht Club’s Sunset Sailing Series (held Wednesday evenings, April – September).

Sunset sails at the Regatta Series

Sunset sails at the Regatta Series

44)   Start your morning at Joni’s Coffee Roasting Café, with a cup of its famous coffee!

45)   Play a game of foosbal in the newly renovated Marina del Rey Marriott hotel lobby.

46)   Stop by the Marina del Rey Visitors Center (at the corner of Admiralty & Mindanao)

47)   Be a spectator at the Marina del Rey Boat Parade

48)   Rock the boat with a private charter from FantaSea Yachts, Hornblower Cruises or Tiki Mermaid.

49)   Need another day? Book a stay at one of our six waterfront hotels – sparkling views, included.

50)   Join the party with the official birthday celebration of Marina del Rey!  This commemorative event will last April 10 – 12, 2015 with MarinaFest, a formal ceremony, community birthday cake, a concert, and fireworks show! For more information, please visit mdr50.com.

Join the fun!

Join the fun!

What’s on your list? Sound off below!

Marina love,

Valerie

50thBDay LOGO(GOLD)

Our golden year is here and we’re SO excited to share that 2015 marks a special milestone for the community of Marina del Rey…we’re turning 50! Our favorite waterfront hot spot has come a long way since duck marshes and oil derricks and continues to be one of the most desired communities on L.A.’s Westside.

From luxury yachting to sport fishing to paddleboard yoga and sailing lessons, the Marina is filled with activities that keep our waters busy. Hotel renovations, new residential communities and on-trend urban events like “Beach Eats” and the weekly Farmers Market reflect the evolution of the Marina while dining cruises, summer concerts and waterfront brunches continue to celebrate the Marina’s tradition. In our golden year, the Marina is SHINING.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, the Department of Beaches & Harbors is organizing a special birthday bash (April 10 – 12) that includes a FREE concert by Three Dog Night, fireworks show, community birthday cake, and a weekend filled with MarinaFest activities. We have even created an official Marina del Rey 50th website that shares historical information, event listings, photography, media materials, social media links and virtual guestbook – we encourage you to log on and share your favorite MdR memory!

Keep up with our special celebrations and events by visiting the official 50th website – we’d love to have our community join us as we honor this important achievement.

Happy Birthday, Marina del Rey! 50 never looked so good.

Marina Love,

Valerie

The holidays are here & with the season comes merrily-themed Pandora Stations (hello, Mariah Carey ‘Holiday’), festive garland & those highly anticipated (or somewhat obligatory) Holiday parties. Whether it’s a beloved tradition amongst your friends & family or the annual office gathering, we’ve asked a couple of our expert Marina party planners to share their best tips for organizing a successful (and memorable) soiree that will have your guest buzzing well into the New Year.

New PictureMegan Peery, Special Events Manager
Killer Shrimp Restaurant & Bar

Space: You want your party guests to mingle, but you don’t want them rubbing elbows. The most important factor in hosting your party is that you’re creating the perfect balance of space, tables, food, chairs & people to make the experience relaxing & enjoyable.

Tables: Depending on the event, you may not always need big round banquet tables. A nice mixture of small tables or high cocktail tables allows people to walk around more & interact rather than being stuck at larger tables & setting up a campsite.

Food: Selecting the menu will be subject to the time of your event & your overall budget. The presentation of heavy appetizers & an open bar lends itself to a more mixing & mingling party compared to a dinnertime event that will be catered & best suited for a three-to-five course sit-down meal style.

Atmosphere/Ambiance: You want to set an environment that is visually appealing to your guests (e.g. lighting, textures & linens). Moreover, choose centerpieces that don’t block the view of the guests – create low-lying centerpieces or move them to an area that’s more suitable. Neutral colored linens are ideal as they don’t overwhelm your party attendees’ eyes. Stick with cloth napkins, or if you’re on a tight budget, there is always great looking plastic/paper ware to purchase. Lastly, background music sets the entire tone of your event – choose wisely & have fun!

2411c47Rebecca Milkey, Director of Marketing, Southern CA
Hornblower Cruises & Events

Think theme: One of the best things to do when planning a party is to create a theme. You want something that will get the group talking & excited about what they’re going to wear! This year, nautical is in & you can create nautical holiday decor with navy & white striped linen table cloths & poinsettia centerpieces. You also want to consider giveaways! A cool gift giveaway would be a darling Captain’s Hat with the company logo for each attendee – great for the photo posts!

Happy party planning!

Marina love,

Valerie

While many flock to brunch for endless champagne and the option of pancakes & bacon at 2pm, Cast & Plow at the Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey is giving brunch lovers another reason to devour this beloved weekend ritual – a themed dessert station (yes, that’s your sweet tooth rejoicing). Every week, pastry chef Adina River Schaefer & her team of confection wizards will whip up a customized dessert display too large for any standard size menu. No, this specialty spread gets its very own buffet table. And you’re going to want to make a stop (or two…or three…) to satisfy that dessert desire.

I had the pleasure of visiting Sunday brunch Halloween week & was blown away with the spook-tacular display of treats. Think a chocolate chunk tarantula, a mini-cemetery of chocolate pudding, bat-shaped chocolates, and a syringe that oozed raspberry sauce onto a perfectly shaped tart. My group & I “oohed & awed” with each custom creation that was brought back to the table. It was such a fun way to dine & I especially loved the creativity & thoughtfulness that was baked into each item.

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The dessert station’s theme changes each week & I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the holidays – a Santa sleigh of sugar? A caramel-made turkey? I’m sure Ms. Anita & her pastry elves are already putting their little workshop of creative confections into motion.

And, with that said, you can find me at the dessert table.

Happy brunching!

Marina love,

Valerie

Marina del Rey is a waterfront haven for meeting planners. Because we’re located in the heart of the Los Angeles coastline, we’re able to put a creative twist on traditional meetings as we showcase the harbor with unique venues like luxury yachts, on-the-water activities, and waterfront dining. Signature events in the Marina include sunset cocktail receptions, enjoying a private yacht club, and team-building events such as mini-sailing regattas, group rowing, and deep sea fishing.

Recently, Successful Meetings Magazine featured Stephanie Ginzburg of FantaSea Yachts & Yacht Club by sharing her top tips for planning a meeting and/or event on the water. Read on to find out!

Marina Love,

Valerie

How to Hold a Meeting at Sea
FantaSea Yachts delivers some insightful tips for yacht meetings and events

By Stephanie Ginzburg

Meet on the Water

Meet on the Water in Marina del Rey, CA

Warm weather year-round in Marina del Rey, CA makes anything to be celebrated a festive occasion in this city. Who doesn’t love a yacht party and who wouldn’t want to go to a meeting aboard a yacht? Whether it be the annual holiday event or a sales meeting, a yacht event is a great way to spend time with your captive audience while enjoying the beautiful ocean scenery. Here are a few trips for hosting a meeting or event onboard a yacht?

Chart your budget. Hosting an event offers endless possibilities in food, drink and entertainment. FantaSea Yachts offers various packages and amenities that fit every budget.    Prioritize what is most important to your group and state clearly what you need.

Plan for your event needs and space. The number of meeting attendees and agenda for your event will help you in choosing the right yacht, floor plan and set-up.

Don’t sweat the decor.  Need an awesome and unique setting for your meeting? Let nature’s natural beauty be your Designer. Surrounded by the beauty of the blue coastal waters and soft sun kissed warmth of the Marina, a few scattered candles, sand and seashells can do the trick nicely.    This a good way to save money and maximize your meeting budget.

RSVPlease! We all want to do something for the environment – try sending an Evite or Paperless Post Invite to guests. This also helps keep track or your guests and allows up to the last minute responses and comments.

Best of Both Worlds.  FantaSea Yachts can offer you the best of a traditional land based meeting space in our water-front ballroom and then head out after the meeting for a scenic lunch, dinner or cocktail cruise aboard a beautiful yacht.

Enjoy. Front load the work and planning. Hosting a meeting or event aboard a yacht allows you to relax, mix and mingle with your group as you all share the adventure of cruise.

Stephanie Ginzburg has been the creative director of Marina del Rey, CA-based FantaSea Yachts & Yacht Club for more than 20 years. Owner-managed FantaSea is celebrating 34 years of business with an event team that has been together for more than 20 years. The company’s four yachts and waterfront ballroom can accommodate groups that range in size from 12 to 300.

For a glimpse into what it’s like to host a charter or event onboard a yacht cruise in Marina del Rey, CA, click here.