Roughly six miles north of Los Angeles International Airport sits Marina del Rey, a charming coastal community with sailboats, beaches, and bike paths. Marina del Rey began as an estuary frequented by fishermen and duck hunters, but in 1965 became the largest man-made, small-craft harbor in the country. Today, visitors flock to the area for its year-round sunshine and laid-back, California vibe.
Marina del Rey will likely inspire you to spend your day on the water doing something active, like sailing, sport fishing, parasailing or kayaking. If you’d rather relax, climb aboard a dinner cruise or gondola ride while you take in the breathtaking scenery. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and whales as you explore Santa Monica Bay. If you are more of a landlubber, sink into the sand at the family-friendly Marina Beach, dubbed Mother’s Beach by locals, or at the mellow Marina Peninsula Beach just south of the Venice Pier. Transport yourself to Italy with a walk through the Venice Canals, a man-made historic district built in 1905. For a list of all the great beaches in the central California area, << Click Here >>. Our Marina Del Rey Guide will give you everything you need to start planning your Marina Del Rey vacation today.
Weather (When to Go) in Marina Del Rey
The best time to visit Marina Del Rey is between April and May. Spring offers warmer temperatures, fewer crowds and food festivals dishing out delectable eats, including Pebble Beach Food & Wine and the Artichoke Festival in Castroville. Summer is the most popular time to visit the Monterey Peninsula, but it can still be chilly, so bring a sweater regardless of the season. Fall is another good time to visit, but the likelihood of rain increases starting in October. Marina Del Rey’s central California location subjects it to mild temperatures during the winter, with the average low reaching 48 degrees. Winter also brings lower hotel prices and the celebrity-heavy AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am event held in February, making Marina Del Rey an attractive destination year-round.
Getting To Marina Del Rey
With its proximity to LAX and its access to LA’s major freeways, Marina del Rey is a convenient destination for travelers to Los Angeles. Once you’re here, a variety of transportation options keeps you mobile. The Free Ride, their on-demand local shuttle amenity offered daily, as well as public buses, taxis, and ride share services make getting around without a rental car quite easy. But if you do want your own wheels, many rental car agencies are located at LAX, and there are several locations in the Marina, too.
Getting Around Marina Del Rey
Catch the summer-season WaterBus from any of eight stops in the Marina and enjoy a unique mode of transport to dining, hotels, and water recreation options. Park your car in one of the local lots and use the WaterBus for a direct drop-off at many waterside destinations, including Burton Chase Park for the summer concerts. The 2018 WaterBus runs from June 21 through September 3, Thursdays through Sundays and holidays. Rides are $1 each way.
The Free Ride
A fleet of five-passenger electric shuttles offer free, on-demand transportation daily from noon to 9 p.m. Just text 323-435-5000 (no calls, please) with your pick-up point, passenger count, and destination. Allow 10-15 minutes for pick-up. Gratuity for the driver is appreciated. Service is limited to the Marina and Venice Beach; the cars cannot travel on or cross Lincoln Boulevard. That boundary includes the hotels, restaurants, and water attractions.
The Beach Shuttle
The free Playa Vista Beach Shuttle runs a loop between Playa Vista, Marina del Rey, and the Venice Pier. Hop on these orange buses Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sundays and holidays, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; and on Thursdays and Saturdays for the Summer Concert Series at Burton Chace Park, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Public Bus Service
The Santa Monica Big Blue Bus is a great way to explore the Los Angeles Westside. In the Marina, Route 3 travels along Lincoln Boulevard to Santa Monica, where you can visit the Pier and shop at Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place. There are two Route 3 lines – one is an express, with limited stops, so check with the driver about your intended destination. The Big Blue Bus Route 3 also travels to and from the LAX Bus Terminal. 310-451-5444; bigbluebus.com.
Marina Del Rey Area Attractions
Inspired by Venice, Italy, magnate Abbot Kinney created a maze of canals, quaint pedestrian bridges and lushly landscaped footpaths over 100 years ago. Come explore this cozy neighborhood’s unique charms, just blocks from the Marina.
Hundreds of acres of salt and freshwater marsh are being restored in this eco-friendly tribute to nature at the Marina’s southern edge. Self-guided trails are available for strollers, and organized tours offered a few times a month.
Fisherman’s Village is a replica of a New England seaport and fishing town. You can stroll the quiet harbor front to enjoy views of the Marina, passing sailboats, and wildlife. There are several restaurants, the Marina del Rey Historical Society’s exhibit space, and a smattering of shops. Free live music is offered on the plaza on Saturday and Sunday afternoons year-round. The village is the boarding place for Hornblower’s year-round dining cruisesand Marina del Rey Parasailing (closed November-February), as well as one of the Marina’s destinations for hourly and daily rentals of sailing and power boats, jet skis, kayaks, and paddle boards.
Visit this narrow promenade for spectacular views of the Marina’s main channel. From this vantage point, you can observe airplanes taking off from LAX and flying out over the Pacific. The adjacent neighborhood (the “Silver Strand”) offers a walking path that parallels the Grand Canal, a footbridge to the beach, and an inviting oceanfront path.
Stroll the boardwalk for loads of fun in the sun and free entertainment. With sidewalk vendors and performers, shops, beachfront cafes and famed Muscle Beach, it’s most lively on weekends–and a favorite with visitors and locals alike for its freewheeling atmosphere.
The Venice Pier is easy walking or biking distance from the north side of the Marina. Much quieter than the nearby Santa Monica Pier (which houses its own amusement park), the Venice Pier is a wonderful place for a quiet stroll to take in beach views or a quintessential sunset. A parking lot is located on-site; in the key summer months, it usually fills early. Rent bikes at the pier from Perry’s and hit the Marvin Braude Coastal Bike Trail—head north to explore the Venice Beach Boardwalk and Santa Monica. Washington Boulevard dead-ends at the Venice Pier, and the final block (locally referred to as Washington Square) is chock-full of restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops.
Things to Do In Marina Del Rey
Enjoy a unique cruise through the Marina on a 32-ft. Italian gondola, complete with pillows, music, lamps, gondolier, appetizers, and drinks. For a very special occasion—marriage proposal, anyone?—it just doesn’t get much more romantic than this. Up to 6 passengers. Reservations required. For more information call 310-736-7301, or visit them on the web at Gondolas D’Amore.
Hornblower’s popular public dining cruises are offered weekly all year long! Enjoy views of the Marina on a dinner cruise, sunset cocktail cruise (seasonal), or champagne brunch cruise. Relax with a cocktail on the open-air top deck and soak up views of passing sailboats and perhaps a playful sea lion. For more information call 310-301-6000, or visit them on the web at Hornblower Cruises.
Have some fun on the water with Marina del Rey Boat Rentals. Self-explore the harbor and beyond by kayak, paddle board, sailboat, motor boat, electric Duffy boat, or jet ski. Hourly rentals are available and no special license is required. Look for the kiosk behind El Torito restaurant in Fisherman’s Village. For more information call 310-306-4444, or visit them on the web at Marina Del Rey Boat Rentals.
Get a bird’s-eye view of the entire Los Angeles coast, including the world-famous Venice Beach Boardwalk, Santa Monica Pier, and Malibu. Choose from a 500 ft. or 800 ft. experience. Flights can accommodate one, two, or three persons at a time. Attraction is open seasonally, generally mid-February through mid-November. Reservations recommended. Look for the kiosk behind El Torito restaurant in Fisherman’s Village. For more information call 310-306-2222, or visit them on the web at Marina Del Rey Parasailing.
Marina del Rey opens onto Santa Monica Bay, a pass-through for grey whales and humpbacks on their annual migration between the arctic and their birthing waters off Baja, Mexico. December through March offers the best whale-watching, although the trips run year-round as an opportunity to look for dolphins and many other types of sea life and sea birds. The company also runs open-party (public) sport fishing trips. Whole ship buy-out is available for your private parties, too. For more information call 1 800-822-3625, or visit them on the web at Marina Del Rey Whale Watching.
Best Marina Del Rey Restaurants
$-Inexpensive $$-Moderate $$$-Pricey $$$$-Ultra High End
$$ – $$$ Beachside Restaurant & Bar
This trendy beach chic restaurant offers uniquely inspired cuisine, creative drinks, and a vibrant atmosphere. Situated steps from the water at Jamaica Bay Inn, Beachside opens to outdoor dining beneath a trellis-canopied terrace with fireside seating and an enviable harbor view. The patio is dog friendly. For more information call 310-823-5333, or visit them on the web at Beachside Restaurant & Bar.
$$$$ Chart House
Find mouthwatering seafood and steaks served in an attractive waterfront setting on one of the marina’s quiet basins. Dinner and happy hour daily; lunch is served only on weekends. For more information call 310-822-4144, or visit them on the web at Chart House.
$$ – $$$ Casa Ado
This upscale restaurant serves authentic Italian cuisine and features a full-service bar. Dinner and drinks can be enjoyed while watching the sunset on the quaint patio, while a romantic setting indoors is perfect for couples or accommodating a larger party. For more information cal 310-577-2589, or visit them on the web at Casa Ado.
$$ – $$$ Salt Restaurant & Bar
Seasonal ingredients are sourced from local farmer’s markets to create an incredible waterfront dining experience at the Marina Del Rey Hotel. SALT’s take on Californian cuisine explores simple favorites with a contemporary twist, such as the signature creamy hummus complemented with a touch of California avocado and the luscious Maine lobster pasta severed on a bed of Udon noodles in a succulent brown butter sauce. Aim for a west-facing patio table to get dramatic sunset views. For more information call 424-289-8223, or visit them on the web at Salt Restaurant & Bar.
$$ – $$$ Warehouse Restaurant
This Marina del Rey mainstay features steak, seafood, and American food in a Polynesian-themed waterfront atmosphere. A brunch buffet is offered Sundays. Come on a Wednesday and get treated to live acoustic music in the bar, 3–7 p.m. Salsa dancing is on deck for Fridays, starting at 9 p.m. Join in on the free class before the floor opens to all at 10. For more information call 310-823-5451, or visit them on the web at Warehouse Restaurant.
Marina Del Rey Dinner Cruises
A Marina del Rey dining cruise is one of the must-dos in coastal Los Angeles. With weekly cruises available year-round, it’s easy to work into your itinerary. Enjoy a spectacular sunset from the deck of a yacht. Soak up the sun on a champagne brunch cruise. Treat your special someone to a romantic evening of dinner and dancing.
Each yacht in our luxurious fleet offers a unique setting for an event you’ll never forget. From weddings and corporate parties to birthdays, bar mitzvahs and all special events, we provide immaculate, full-service yachts that will transport your guests to breathtaking views and beautiful sunsets. For more information call 310-827-2220, or visit them on the web at FantaSea Yachts.
If you want to cruise Marina del Rey, Hornblower has every option imaginable, including Marina del Rey dinner cruises, Marina del Rey brunch cruises, Marina del Rey holiday parties, Marina del Rey team-building cruises, Marina del Rey bachelorette parties, Marina del Rey weddings, Marina del Rey school events and dances, and more. Take a Marina del Rey cruise any time of the year. For more information call 1-888-467-6256, or visit them on the web at Hornblower Cruises & Events.
Tiki Mermaid, a yacht charter in California, is a unique concept that combines a traditional harbor cruise boat with a more “hip” nightclub and lounge. With a décor that is both modern and elegant, this Polynesian-style venue has everything–including a full bar, cigar deck, and dance floor. For more information call 310-410-8450, or visit them on the web at Tiki Mermaid.
Experience dinning alfresco with white table cloth in the helm of the yacht slipped in front of beautifully lit up Burton Chase Park or moored off the shoreline of Santa Catalina Island. Cuoco Mancini will take you through creative fusions from his Italian childhood, and professional career working in many fine dinning restaurants. Influenced by his grandmother who spent days hand-rolling pasta and homemade Italian pastries. You can opt to include a 5 star dinning experience prepared by Cuoco Mancini to any sail. For more information call 818-644-0081, or visit them on the web at Old Plank Sailing Adventures.
Best Marina Del Rey Bars
This popular hangout at the Jamaica Bay Inn unveiled a major renovation in late 2017, debuting a new indoor-outdoor bar and a coastal chic interior. Beachside hosts one of the go-to happy hours on the Westside, offered daily 4-6:30 p.m. Plus, cocktail specials and live music or DJ entertainment highlight Thirsty Thursdays, 5–9 p.m. For more information call 310-439-3033, or visit them on the web at Beachside Restaurant & Bar.
Cabo Cantina draws regulars with giant margaritas, classic Cali-Mexican food, and casual atmosphere. The famous 2-for-1 priced Happy Hour runs 4-8 p.m. daily. For more information call 310-306-2500, or visit them on the web at Cabo Cantina.
Oh, the views from this spot in Fisherman’s Village! Head to the cantina for daily Happy Hour, 3–7 p.m., for drink specials from $4 and discounts on select food items. An all-you-can-eat Taco Tuesday deal is offered in the main dining room 3-10 p.m. For more information call 310-823-8941, or visit them on the web at El Torito.
With twice-daily Happy Hour, Killer Shrimp may be the happiest restaurant around. Shuffle into the bar on weekdays 3–7 p.m. and 10 p.m.–midnight, and on weekends 3-5 p.m. and 10 p.m.–midnight for specials on well drinks, beer, and wine plus a specialty cocktail of the day. Better still, get a discount on the restaurant’s famous Killer Shrimp dish – original (shell-on) for $19 or shelled for $21. A long list of other seafood bites is also on Happy Hour pricing. For more information call 310-578-2293, or visit them on the web at Killer Shrimp.
Take in sweeping Marina views and a primo vantage point on the sunset from the spacious outdoor patio. Fire rings and heat lamps will keep you toasty if the evening is chilly. Food and drink specials are offered for bar and patio seating, Monday–Friday, 4–7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. till close. The generous drink menu lists deals on beers, special wines, and select craft cocktails. Make a light dinner out of discounted small plates, including oysters on the half shell, fish tacos, and short rib sliders – $6 or less. For more information call 310-823-4522, or visit them on the web at Whiskey Red’s.
Best Marina Del Rey Hotels
A brand new hotel experience featuring a stylishly updated lobby; a posh outdoor lounge, Sinder, which has fire pits and cabanas; and 370 spacious guest rooms, all of which have been recently renovated and offer panoramic views that overlook the most beautiful water, city, coastline, and mountain views in the Los Angeles area. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Marina Del Rey Marriott.
The Marina del Rey Hotel has re-opened after a $25M renovation. The iconic waterfront property features 164 updated rooms & suites, a full-service restaurant , 24-hour room service, concierge assistance, outdoor-marina-facing pool & sundeck, waterfront wedding venue, multiple meeting slips and more. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Marina Del Rey Hotel.
With their playful style and central location, live like a local at The Kinney hotel in Venice Beach. Grab your entourage and truly experience So Cal – from courtyard lounging to beach cruising – our house is your house. Keep the Snaps going with complimentary Wi-Fi, cool off in our dipping pool, and when you’re ready to call it a night, refresh in brand-new beds. Now is the time to truly experience Venice (and give your friends a little FOMO). For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit The Kinney – Venice Beach.
With 111 guest rooms and suites, this hotel’s chic design resembles the colorful and relaxed style of a West Indies resort with lush flora, beautiful beach side pool and marina views. Guest rooms feature complimentary WiFi, luxurious bedding and granite counter tops, many with private balcony and city or marina views. Its signature restaurant, Beach side, features outdoor dining with fire pits and beach views. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Jamaica Bay Inn.
This well-appointed hotel offers 134 rooms with marina or courtyard rooms, complimentary Wi-Fi, outdoor sitting areas with fire pits, and spacious in-room work stations along with a 24-hour fitness and business center. Bike rentals are also available to guests. Across the street from Marina Beach, the hotel is in the heart of the Marina with easy access to Venice Beach and other area attractions. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Hilton Garden Inn.