Surfside Hermosa Beach celebrates Independence Day in style.
Hermosa Beach may have settled down from its 15 minutes of "La La Land" fame with Ryan Gosling dancing on its pier, but things are heating up again for the annual Fourth of July celebration. Having survived the annual cloudy days of May Gray and June Gloom, the appropriately named Southern California town – Hermosa means pretty in Spanish – is gearing up for blue skies, sunny days, and lots of parties.
This year’s Tuesday holiday will create a four-day weekend party, with many visitors and residents planning to get into the spirit over the weekend. Pier Plaza, a one-block walking area lined with shops, restaurants, and bars, will be party central, but the celebration doesn’t end there.
On the Fourth of July, house parties – many with live bands performing on balconies or front yards — will fill the Strand, a 22-mile bike path with sandy beach on one side and shore-facing homes on the other. The two-mile section that passes through Hermosa will be packed with dancing, celebrating, swimsuit-clad partiers throughout the day.
The annual Ironman "Triathlon," an unofficial event for about 40 years, begins the festivities at 9 a.m. Not your typical athletic challenge, Ironman participants run a mile, paddleboard a mile, and then drink a six-pack of beer. Around 10:30, a punk band will play for spectators and athletes, and everyone sings “God Bless America” at 11:30 to end the event. Official signups for the Ironman will take place at the Pier Plaza restaurant/bar Tower 12 on July 3 from noon until 7 p.m. Stay around for drinks and music from “Socially Distorted,” a local punk rock band featuring the lead singer of popular South Bay group Pennywise. Tower 12 will begin their festivities with DJs and live music from “The Lucky Ones” on Sunday from 8-11 p.m.
On the Fourth, the bars and restaurants on Pier Avenue and Hermosa Avenue will be open and ready for the celebration. Patrick Molloy’s on Pier Plaza will be serving breakfast with a special on mimosas, and Watermans, like several other spots, will have live music. Hennessey’s will be ready for the party with “lots of beer,” according to the manager, their regular menu, and those coveted rooftop tables.
Pier Plaza restaurants include Tower 12, Palmilla, Green Belt, Hooked Poke Market, Mediterraneo, Playa Hermosa Fish and Oyster Company, and more. Nearby, there’s Killer Shrimp at the Mermaid, Rok Sushi, La Playita, and Boardwalk Burger. For a great start to the day, enjoy breakfast with an ocean breeze at Good Stuff or French pastries and a cappuccino at Café Bonaparte.
Visitors can find rooms at the seaside Beach House starting at around $500 and at the Hotel Hermosa starting around $200. A few blocks from the beach, the Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Quality Inn offer rooms starting at around $190. The newly renovated Redondo Beach Hotel is nearby with rooms starting at $215.
Hermosa’s neighbor to the south, Redondo Beach, provides a spectacular fireworks display each year at 9 p.m. Easily visible from the beach and pier, this tradition is always an exciting part of the day. Fireworks from Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, El Segundo, and Torrance can also be seen from Hermosa Beach, so the light show continues into the night.
Area shops will be open so visitors can find great replacements for any forgotten items – or add to their summer wardrobes. Pier Surf, steps from the pier, offer swimsuits, board shorts, cover-ups, and t-shirts as well as bike and surfboard rentals. Spyder Surf is another spot to shop for beach clothing and fashionable accessories. On Hermosa Avenue, Best Swimwear has an extensive selection of bikinis, cover-ups, and sandals.
History buffs might be interested to know that the city of Hermosa Beach dates back to the early 20th century, when visitors rode the Santa Fe Railroad from Los Angeles for beachside vacations. The first Hermosa Beach Pier dates back to 1904, when it was built entirely of wood. That pier was destroyed in a storm and replaced by a concrete pier in 1914.
Over the years, the pier has been damaged, repaired, and rebuilt, most recently in 2010. Art lovers will enjoy the six murals that depict the history and culture of the city. The first mural, located near Pier Plaza, shows the pier, buildings, and automobiles as they appeared around 1924. Other murals pay tribute to Hermosa Beach’s history of jazz, the evolution of swimwear, and a favorite local sport, beach volleyball.
Hermosa Beach is an exciting place to celebrate America’s independence with a day or weekend at the beach. Visitors should be aware that alcoholic drinks are not permitted on the beach or Strand, and smoking is prohibited as well. On July 4 in particular, the Hermosa Beach Police Department will be out and around enforcing these laws. So, if you decide to celebrate the Fourth in Hermosa, have a great time but keep these rules in mind as you enjoy the sunshine, surf, and fun in this very special South Bay beach city.