In 2023, it is on Nov. 15, and as people are walking through the blocked-off streets and going in and out of the stores they know that the holidays have arrived and the Beach Cities are one of the best places to be for them. There is a second, smaller, holiday stroll in North Manhattan on Thursday, Dec. 1 (32nd to 40th streets, 5-9 p.m.). The annual Manhattan Beach Fireworks are Sunday, Dec. 11.
At the downtown Holiday Open House are carolers singing on the sidewalks, live entertainment at Metlox Plaza from 6-8 p.m., the streets are blocked off, and there’s even a band on Manhattan Ave. If this doesn’t get you in the Holiday mood, you’re a real Scrooge!
Holiday Open House is an evening stroll through the shops and stores of downtown Manhattan Beach, CA, designed to showcase the merchants of the downtown area. The event runs from 5-9 p.m., starting with the lighting of the Pier. By 6, the event is will underway and the streets and stores are full of festival people.
And while many stroll with strollers, for the several single people of the South Bay, it’s a prime party experience, quite possibly the the best Wednesday night of the whole year.
That’s because some of the shops become bars, of sorts, with several of them pouring wine, champagne or, on occasion, cocktails, in small plastic cups. It is, as any savvy local knows, the eventual volume of those small plastic cups that makes it a party.
And do NOT walk outside with those cups; the coops will bust not only you but shut down the “offending” store.
Among the many single people in the South Bay, much of the fun is running into other single people and inquiring about whether this store or that store is serving alcohol. A sure sign of a “yes” is how crowded a place is; see people and go into it because most likely libations are being served. The unofficial dress code is professional casual. With a Santa hat or other holiday accessory, of course.
The trend the few couple of years has been that the shops along the blocked-off Manhattan Ave., from Manhattan Beach Blvd., to 8th Street, are the most fun places. It’s also on the corner where a band plays and there is a reindeer at the end of the stroll.
As you might expect, this is also a good night for the Manhattan Beach bars. Try Zinc Lounge at the Shade Hotel Shade’s sister establishment, Rock ‘n Fish, is packed afterward, due in large part to the fact it sells its signature Navy Grogs for $7, a annual celebration of its November anniversary.
Other lively bars include Strand House, and the dive bars Ercoles and Shellback Tavern. The latter is especially popular during the lighting of the Pier and people bounce between Erc’s and Shellback after the stroll ends, up until about 11 p.m.