The city is located in the South Bay region of the greater Los Angeles area and is one of the three Beach Cities. It is bordered by Manhattan Beach to the north, and Redondo Beach to its east and south. Of the three cities, only Hermosa Beach owns its own beach. The other two cities' beaches are owned by the county of Los Angeles.
Hermosa ("beautiful" in Spanish) is an accurate description of this city's beach, which is also flat, sandy, and long; ideal for sunbathing, beach volleyball, surfing and paddleboarding. The city itself is only about 15 blocks from east to west and 40 blocks from north to south, with the Pacific Coast Highway running down the middle. Situated on the Pacific Ocean, Hermosa's average temperature is 70 degrees in the summer and 55 degrees in the winter. Gentle westerly sea breezes take the edge off what can be high summertime temperatures in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the county. The same breezes help keep the smog away 360 days of the year.
A paved path, called The Strand, runs along Hermosa's beach from Redondo Beach in the south approximately twenty miles north to Santa Monica. A typical day on this path will see thousands of people on foot, bicycle, skateboard, rollerblade and stroller enjoying the sun and surf. A live image of the Strand and surf can be seen here
Surfing is a key element of the South Bay lifestyle year-round. Powerful winter storms in the Pacific Ocean can turn typically placid and rolling South Bay waves into large and occasionally dangerous monsters, a natural draw for the local surfing population. The Summer provides warm water and typically smaller waves for beginners to learn.
Beach volleyball is another important aspect of Hermosa Beach's lifestyle. Hermosa Beach has been referred to as the Beach Volleyball Capital of the World. The wide and flat sand beaches provide the perfect venue for the sport. Permanent poles and nets are maintained by the city year-round.
In early days, Hermosa Beach — like so many of its neighboring cities (Inglewood, Lawndale, Torrance) — was one vast sweep of rolling hills covered with fields of grain, mostly barley. During certain seasons of the year large herds of sheep were grazed over this land, and corrals and large barns for storing the grain, as well as providing shelter for horses and farm implements were located on the ranch between Hermosa and Inglewood. The Spanish words Rancho Sausal Redondo mean a large circular ranch of pasture of grazing land, with a grove of willow on it.
The first official survey was made in the year 1901 for the board walk on the Strand, Hermosa Avenue and Santa Fe Avenue; work on these projects commenced soon after. In 1904 the first pier was built. It was constructed entirely of wood even to the pilings and it extended five hundred feet out into the ocean. The pier was constructed by the Hermosa Beach Land and Water Company. In 1913 this old pier was partly washed away and later torn down and a new one built to replace it. This pier was built of concrete long, and paved with asphalt its entire length. Small tiled pavilions were erected at intervals along the sides to afford shade for fishermen and picnic parties. A bait stand was built eventually out on the end. Soon after, about 1914, an auditorium building was constructed; it has housed various enterprises and at present the public rest rooms, the Los Angeles Life Guard Service, and the local branch of the Los Angeles County Public Library occupy rooms in the building. This pier is municipally owned.
The Santa Fe Railway was the only transportation system through Hermosa Beach. It was seven blocks from the beach. The street that led to the tracks was called Santa Fe Avenue, but was later renamed Pier Avenue. There was no railway station for Hermosa, but Burbank and Baker built a railway platform on the west side of the tracks near Santa Fe Avenue, and later the Railroad Company donated an old boxcar to be used as a storage place for freight. In 1926, the Santa Fe Company built a modern stucco depot and installed Western Union telegraph service in it.
The first city election for city officers was held December 24, 1906. The town incorporated and its charter was obtained from the state on January 14, 1907. Hermosa Beach was incorporated in 1907 and celebrated its 100 year anniversary on January 14, 2007. On January 14, 1907, Hermosa Beach became the nineteenth incorporated city of Los Angeles County.
As of the census of 2000, there were 18,566 people, 9,476 households, and 3,553 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,012.8/km² (12,982.4/mi²). There were 9,840 housing units at an average density of 2,656.8/km² (6,880.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.58% White, 0.80% Black or African American, 0.40% Native American, 4.40% Asian, 0.22% Pacific Islander, 1.68% from other races, and 2.91% from two or more races. 4.82% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 9,476 households out of which 14.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.6% were married couples living together, 4.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 62.5% were non-families. 39.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.95 and the average family size was 2.65.
In the city the population was spread out with 12.0% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 55.0% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 6.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 112.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 113.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $81,153, and the median income for a family was $104,645. Males had a median income of $67,407 versus $50,295 for females. The per capita income for the city was $54,244. About 1.7% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 3.0% of those age 65 or over.
There are eight hotels and one youth hostel in the city.
Hermosa Beach is located at (33.866314, -118.399681).
Average water temperature - 60 °F (Summer 68 °F / Winter 50 °F)
Hermosa Beach enjoys an average of 325 days of sunshine a year. Because of its location, nestled on a vast open bay (Santa Monica Bay), morning fog and haze is a common phenomenon in May, June and early July (caused by ocean temperature variations and currents). Locals have a particular terminology for this phenomenon: the "May Gray" and the "June Gloom". Overcast skies are common for June mornings, but usually the strong sun burns the fog off by noon. Nonetheless, it will sometimes stay cloudy and cool all day during June, even as other parts of the Los Angeles area will enjoy sunny skies and warmer temperatures. At times, the sun shines east of PCH, while the beach area is overcast.
As a general rule, the temperature is from 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (3 to 5.5 degrees Celsius) cooler than it is inland. A typical spring day (mid-April) is sunny, pleasant and about 68 °F (20 °C). In the summer, which stretches basically from May to late October, temperatures can reach to the mid-80's Fahrenheit (about 30 °C) at the beach. In early November, it is about 68 °F (20 °C). In late January, temperatures are around 63 °F (17 °C). It is winter, however, when the hot, dry Santa Ana winds are most common. In mid-December 2004, temperatures soared to 84 °F (28 °C) in Santa Monica, for a few straight days, with perfectly sunny skies.
The rainy season is from late October through late March. Winter storms usually approach from the northwest and pass quickly through the Southland. There is very little rain during the rest of the year.
Hermosa Beach usually enjoys a cool breeze blowing in from the ocean, keeping the air fresh and clean. Therefore, smog is less a problem for Hermosa Beach than elsewhere around Los Angeles.
Running parallel to The Strand is a lovely linear trail known today as the Hermosa Valley Greenbelt. Once part of a railroad easement, this narrow 24 acre strip had long been the subject of heated controversy and pressure from various commercial interests. After years of litigation and wrangling, the city was poised to permit intensive retail and condominium development in the mid-1980s when a grassroots group spearheaded by activist Rosamond Fogg forced the matter to a vote. The City Council at the time was divided over whether the matter was of much importance but after an energetic and passionate campaign, the citizens found that the greenbelt was a vital recreational resource and mandated its preservation for the use and enjoyment of residents and visitors. This ballot initiative passed by almost 87%, the highest in California history. The public also substantiated this effort by taxing themselves millions of dollars in order to purchase the lands. As a result, the Hermosa Valley Greenbelt has the quality of a rural country lane, home to butterflies and many bird and animal species. At any time of day or night joggers and walkers enjoy its soft woodchip trails and graceful landscaping. The Greenbelt is also now part of the Federal Rails to Trails network. RUDAT (an urban architectural planning group) found that Hermosa Beach, thanks in large part to the existence of the Greenbelt, was a "world class pedestrian city" as attested to by RUDAT member Jerry Compton in the public record at
The city also has eight other parks:
Hermosa Beach has its own elementary school and middle school but high school students are served by either Manhattan Beach or Redondo Beach where rankings are in the 80 to 90th percentiles. Hermosa Beach residents are zoned to Hermosa Beach City School District for grades (Kindergarten through 8).
In 2005, Hermosa Valley and Hermosa View schools were honored as U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon Schools, along with 33 California schools and less than 300 schools across the nation. The award was based on academic achievement. Hermosa schools are among the top 10% of schools in the state with students scoring at or above the 90% in the highest grade tested in reading and math. For the award, the Department of Education reviewed growth in scores over a three-year period.
The district has two schools:
The Hermosa Beach City School District as a whole received a score of 915 on the 2006 California Academic Performance Index, neighboring Manhattan Beach Unified School District scored just below at 906 making it one of California's best performing districts. Each individual school also ranks at the top of its respective category.
|School||2006 API Score|
|Hermosa View Elementary||950|
|Hermosa Valley Elementary||910|
|Mira Costa High School||852|
Hermosa Beach also has a private school:
The beautiful beach lifestyle comes at a price: according to public data from the LA Times, real estate prices increased almost 20% per year between 1999 and 2005. Properties within short walking distance of the ocean routinely sell for well over US$1.5 million. Those with direct, unhindered views routinely ask in excess of $2 million. Money Magazine ranks communities in the area as some of the most expensive places to live in America. Homes located on The Strand frequently sell for $3–10 million. The home pictured to the right sold in 2003 for $8,100,000. The average 3-bed 2-bath home costs about $649 per square foot or $1,500,000 as of 2006.
West of PCH single homes mix with apartments, some have sunset views. East of PCH, the hills rise into upper middle class neighborhoods of tract homes with custom touches. Since the 1980s gentrification has set in, and many single-family dwellings and apartment buildings have been razed for condominiums. Multiple housing units dominate slightly over single family homes.
There are seven hotels in Hermosa Beach ranging in price from $79-$450 per night depending on the season. All hotels are within walking distance of the beach, restaurants and nightlife. The following list below is sorted by price and distance from the beach.
In the late 1970s the rock band Black Flag emerged from Hermosa Beach, and played their first show at Valley Park. The infamous "church" profiled in The Decline of Western Civilization was on Pier Avenue, though it has since been torn down.
Hermosa Beach has been the sister city of Loreto, Baja California Sur, since 1967.