On Dec. 14, the harbor will light up with sparkles & cheer for the 51st annual Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade. It’s a beloved tradition where families & friends gather in Burton Chace Park & Fisherman’s Village for front row seats to holiday magic. This year, Lakers royalty, Phil Jackson & Jeanie Buss, are the Grand Marshals – talk about a slam dunk!
Welcome to "My Marina," the official blog of the Marina del Rey Convention & Visitors Bureau! With a fun, first-hand perspective, "My Marina" tells different stories of what makes this coastal destination so unique – from water sports like sailing and paddle boarding to waterfront dining and yacht cruises and local personalities. Experience Marina del Rey through these shared adventures.
My fellow office mates wanted to experience something I’ve done often with my kids and Boy/Girl Scouts – a bon fire at Dockweiler State Beach. So with very little encouragement (literally, I jumped at the chance), I agreed to organize one. With my “Girl Scout” ways, here are my very special hints for the use of the pits at Dockweiler.
#1: If you want a pit, arrive EARLY. How early depends on the time of year and the weather. During the hot summer months (think May through September), the pits are in heavy demand, especially on the weekends.
#2: Bring everything you need – and I mean everything – for your event. The cost of parking will run between $6 (weekday, low season) to $10 (weekend, high season) and there are no in/outs. If you have to leave, you must pay again. And there is nowhere on the beach to purchase items that you might needs. There is some street parking on Vista del Mar, BUT READ THE SIGNS!
#3: Your “To Bring” list should include:
1. Wood and charcoal (wood for that nice bon fire and charcoal for cooking). Both can be purchased at the local Ralph’s in Marina del Rey. You may only burn clean wood (nothing treated with paint, nails, etc.) in the pits.
2. Firestarter and matches or a lighter of some sort. You can purchase solid fire starters from any hardware story, sporting goods store or make your own as I do – use a cardboard egg carton, fill it with dryer lint or wood shavings and melt down old candles to fill each “cup” with wax and the ignitable materials. Break off a cup, light the cardboard and watch how easy it is to start your fire, even when windy.
3. If cooking, bring a grate (take the one from your home barbeque). When using the grate, position it so that the ends are level and supported by two large pieces of wood, your charcoal beneath. You can now use pots or pans.
4. Camping coffee pot to heat water for hot chocolate, instant coffee (Starbucks has a great variety) or hot tea and a gallon of bottled water. There is nothing better than something hot when it’s cold on the beach.
5. Long handling grilling sticks (purchase from the camping department of Sports Chalet, Marina del Rey or another sporting goods store). The grilling sticks are great for hot dogs, kabobs, marshmallows, etc.
6. Hot glove or mitt. Things DO get hot over a fire. I happen to love the ‘OvGlove’ product as it allows me to handle the wood as well as hot pots.
7. Whatever food you plan to share or cook. Keep things in a cooler until ready to cook or eat. Also bring the items to use for cooking, but keep it SIMPLE. Bring the chili in its pot, ready to heat on the grill. Don’t forget serving spoons, tongs, etc. Depending on the menu, I usually make a list of stuff like this. If we’re doing a potluck, I bring extra serving spoons or plastic utensils because most people don’t remember to bring them. I put all of this in one box, along with some foil and ziplock bags – never know when you’ll need it!
8. Paper plates, utensils, hot cups for hot drinks, napkins and wet wipes. I try to look for environmentally friendly items. If someone wants to burn their used plate, I want to be sure they can responsibly.
9. Cold drinks in a cooler with ice; a bag to recycle the plastic bottles and/or cans.
10. Beach chairs, blankets or towels to sit on. Suggest everyone bring their own, as well as a sweatshirt to wear when it gets cold.
11. Camp/beach table for food. Bring one that’s easy to carry, but can hold a lot.
#4: Whatever you bring, remember that you’ll need to carry it across the sand…to the pit and back…and back to the parking lot at the end of the evening. So only take what you really need and invite your guests to bring their own beach chairs and blankets.
#5: Remember that there are no life guards and that the beach (including parking lot and bathroom) closes at 10pm. Also, most of the street parking doesn’t allow you to stay later.
#6: Above all, enjoy your bon fire!
Susanne – Travel Counselor, Marina del Rey Visitors Center
They say orange is the new black and if you’ve traveled along Admiralty Way recently, you may have noticed its new outfit of orange cones, caution signs and open trenches. Yes, infrastructure improvements are well underway, but never fear! Once complete, the Marina’s main stretch will sparkle with smooth pavement and even smoother commutes.
In light of the construction efforts, our beloved restaurants are offering some pretty sweet deals to patrons. We’re talking about a culinary merry-go-round of specialty drinks, 2-for-1 deals and discounts of 10 percent. No hard hats are needed to enjoy waterfront views and that signature Marina del Rey hospitality so why not stay in style this season and join the fun? Your wallet will thank you and with the Holidays right around the corner, that ain’t a bad thing.
Enter the “Marina Dine Zone” with special offers from the following establishments:
Beachside Restaurant (at the Jamaica Bay Inn); Café del Rey; California Pizza Kitchen; Glow Lounge (at the Marriott Marina del Rey); Killer Shrimp; Marina Grill & Bar (at the Hilton Garden Inn); Stones Restaurant (at the Marriott Marina del Rey); The Counter; Tony P’s Dockside Grill & Bar; and Whiskey Red’s (formerly Shanghai Red’s).
Click here to see what each restaurant is offering!
Marina del Rey has plenty of special qualities. I mean, where else in Los Angeles can you paddleboard to dinner? However, one of my absolute favorite features of the community is an area known as the Marina Peninsula. Its serene setting is straight out of a movie set (Salma Hayek & Pierce Bronson were spotted filming nearby) with a stretch of homes that line the Marina’s grand canal (which eventually feeds into the ever so charming Venice canals). I’m always surprised when people tell me they never knew about this little slice of dream home heaven.
The unique architecture of the homes is an architect’s playground and provides the perfect backdrop for a stroll or bike ride. Many of the homes also face the Pacific Ocean and who wouldn’t want to wake up to that? On top of all that, it’s just a quick walk to world-famous Venice Beach, making the neighborhood a Westside hot spot. There’s a reason why the Wall Street Journal keeps highlighting these waterfront mansions in its “House of the Day” column.
I can go on and on about what makes the Marina Peninsula one of the most coveted areas of real estate on the Los Angeles landscape, but they say a picture is worth a thousand words. So how about a video?
Planning a visit to Los Angeles can be intimidating – especially if it’s your first trip to the City of Angels. With so much to do and see, it’s no wonder the city consistently ranks as a top travel destination.
And so, we created an infographic that provides a breakdown of this wonderful destination by neighborhood. Our infographic singles out Marina del Rey and its surrounding communities of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles, all while showcasing what makes each ”pocket” unique. Click on the image for a larger view.
Time to pack your suitcase – Los Angeles is calling!
The new buzz along Marina del Rey’s unofficial “hospitality lane” (aka Admiralty Way) has been the opening of the Hilton Garden Inn (HGI), and it wasn’t too long before the colorful umbrellas peeping over the freshly painted walls beckoned a visit.
In full disclosure, I had an instant crush on the hotel the moment I wheeled my suitcase through its doors. The lobby exuded a cool vibe. Its welcoming space was decorated with splashes of warm colors and surfing videos that looped on flat-screen TVS – all of which completely energized me. The staff was extremely friendly (I think, they were just as excited for the hotel to be operating as I was to be staying there). Just past the front, was an atrium that resembled a living room with its couches, bookcases, fireplace and tables that guests were using as a casual meeting space or business center (note the free Wi-Fi and natural sunlight from the glass celing). The check-in process and first impression of the hotel put me at ease, and I was loving it.
As I made my way toward my room, I noticed many guests making use of the outdoor areas, which happened to be my favorite feature of the hotel. There were so many brightly colored chairs (think hues of blue and burnt orange) that were propped up throughout the patio and outside the guest rooms. I love when properties create an inviting space for guests to relax outside the hotel room, and the HGI does just that. During my stay, I saw families enjoying breakfast on the terrace, groups hanging out in the sitting areas, and solo travelers relaxing with a good read. I also noticed fire pits throughout the patio and made a mental note of returning for happy hour. I mean…cocktails, the summer night and fire pits…need I say more?
Because the hotel is new, I expected the guest rooms to be well kept (and they were), however, I was impressed with the amenities. I loved the large desk (great for business travelers) and the mini-refrigerators (which I used to store my leftover lunch). The carpet (which was brown with white swirls) gave the room a contemporary feel which I really liked. Another feature I appreciated was how quiet the room was! The HGI falls on a fairly busy street (yes, you, Washington Blvd.), and I assumed that as I drifted off into my slumber that my highly coveted ZZZ’s would be interrupted by traffic and other disturbances. Eight hours of sleep later, I was happy to report that I received my full amount of beauty rest.
Other notes…the HGI inhabits a great location, just across from Marina Beach making on-the-water recreation pretty accessible to travelers. But if that doesn’t fit in your schedule, the hotel is fully loaded with a gym, outdoor pool and whirlpool. Also, the hotel’s restaurant – Marina Grill & Bar – boasts a breakfast buffet and afternoon happy hour along with a dressed up dining area complete with white table cloths and sparkling silverware for a more formal approach.
It was a quick stay, but I’m looking forward to adding HGI to my roster of local go-to spots, including that happy hour on the patio alongside the sexy, lounge feel of the fire pits. After all, what’s time in Marina del Rey without a little indulgence?!