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Playa del Rey

Tell us what Playa del Rey means to you

  • What makes this a good place to live? What are the downsides?


I love my neighbors. Lots of active & single folks. Some young, active couples w/ toddlers. A really healthy/attractive lot, though. You get the beach and some level of cache w/o the crowds, tourists, newcomers or pretense of Santa Monica or Venice. You don't get the Venice hipsters or the greener-than-thou Santa Monica folks. Laid beach atmosphere of Hermosa or Manhattan, but not as remote or removed from the city. Most Angelenos have never actually been here & most tourists have never heard of it. We love it that way.

— Mike
July 13, 2012 at 1 a.m.

What an incredible place to grow up. I lived there from birth until I was 14 (back in the 50s through the 60s), on Campdell St. (off Pershing). So many memories. . .I love Playa del Rey. . .always will.

— Shannon
March 21, 2012 at 5:08 p.m.

We have lived in PDR for 6 years and love it! Laidback vibe, cool village area, and easy access to rest of the city. However, my favorite part is the Ballona Wetlands. Few streetlights and no development makes it feel like we live in the country, not a huge metropolis. LOVE THE FROGS!! Thank you to all who fight to keep PDR natural and funky.

— JC
September 20, 2011 at 9:37 a.m.

PDR - a little urban gem. LAX is the reason for PDRs time warp feel - it has no changed much since my first visit in 1985 to a friend who live off Pershing. I left LA in 1997 and expected PDR would be consumed by that monster Playa Vista - it never happened! It has the beach in the lower flat part and that awesome hill (great for working out). I come to LA on business and usually drive first-timers to LA traveling with me through PDR after leaving LAX for the hill top views and beach town vibe down in the flats. It just exists like an island between the Westside and South Bay.

— AC
August 18, 2011 at 1:09 p.m.

Proximity to LAX sucks. Typical LA chicks but we're not talkin Manhattan. Venice and its bohemian style much preferable! Grrr...

— exPDRdude
July 17, 2011 at 6:58 p.m.

Playa has a place in my heart-A wonderful little community - where my late brother 'Ron Dadetta'' lived before his passing in 04.....The few times i was their to see him -it was a goodtime meeting his friends having morning coffee @ the lil place in the corner plaza. Times i cherish:)forever..

— Denis Bastien - Rochester NY
May 23, 2011 at 5:27 a.m.

Born in Westechester in '53 and spent most of my time on Toes Over beach with friends -- from elementary school. My older brothers surfed Hubbyland and my friends (and many others) surfed the Creek and Toes. But the airport took away a lot of my friends, and the Marina took away the waves. It's a shame. It's still a pretty funky place to live. But not for long -- from what I understand. There's a developer around who sees PdR as a gem in the rough. We can see the future pretty clearly, unless someone stops this guy, PdR will turn into Manhattan Beach North in no time. All we'll have is our memories and old black and white photos. No more waves and no more community -- but plenty of profit for one person. Like we said in the '60s -- BUMMER DUDE!

By the way, it's nice to see a couple familiar names in the Comment section. Hey Guys -- I hope you're well!

— Joe Geever
April 9, 2011 at 6:50 p.m.

Born and raised in Play del Rey early 50's to the late 70's. My folks still have a house on Zitola Terrace that has a view of the Santa Monica Bay. My buddies would call me for surf checks on the weekends when we were still in school . Worked at Roberts Surfboards for several years. That was the place to hang out for us younger guys. Bob was a rare breed. Nice guy. The marina construction ruined a good surf spot and beach culture that was unique to the area. I remember during the dredging the extra sand was dumped at Toes and Terrington Jetty and made for some fantastic surf for a couple of seasons until the Break wall cut off the north and south swell and turned it into a lake. We all headed to D and W and south to El Porto to surf. Zaffs was a great burger shack and the La Marina Inn restaraunt where many friends worked to earn money to buy surfboards . A great place to grow up . Too many memories for this limited space.

— Martin Doughherty
April 9, 2011 at 7:41 a.m.

2nd gen LA guy. Grew up in Dogtown moved to PDR as a perm resident in 2000. As others say. Still a hidden gem under the radar of the westside set. Something for every taste-- beach, surf, v ball, bike path, bars. More bars and dive bars. The hills are unbeatable for training for bike riders, aerobic junkies or marathoners and the vibe is Venice meets MDR. Kind of bohemian with a upwardly mobile slant


— Playerindelrey
April 6, 2011 at 7:18 p.m.

Lived in PdR from 89-97. What ever happened to Mike Stone?

— Rando
September 29, 2010 at 8:45 p.m.

There are several new books on Playa Del Rey(and Westchester) and the history is just awesome. This writer, Duke Dukesherer, really did a good job;

There are what? six or seven books; info on Playa, Hawthorne and Inglewood too.


— Philly
September 2, 2010 at 7:47 a.m.

it was a great place to grow up. i lived on rindge above d+w, and could see the surf from the picture window. i would go surfing before school, (before they had surf class in school) then catch the bus to school. i worked at the fountain and roberts surfboards before the airport took our house. the move from there still hurts. i'm back around town but it's not the same, all the surf spots have dissapeared.

— bob larson
July 19, 2010 at 4:21 p.m.


July 10, 2010 at 2:05 p.m.

I think Playa Del Rey is the greatest place in the world. I literally only leave the PDR if I absolutely have to. I'm also the #1 ranked beer pong player (by the Associated Press) in the city. Theres nothing like the Harbor Room after a night spent with friends at the local bars. One thing - just don't mess with Harbor Room security. MEAN!!

— Jason Bartos
June 17, 2010 at 4:19 p.m.

I now live in Tampa, FL but called PDR home during the mid 1990's. I lived in an upstairs apartment steps from the sand and enjoyed coming home from work everyday to my own little paradise in the "jungle". Miss those weekends there when I parked my car and rode my bike to the market and rollerbladed or biked for miles north or south on the strand.

— Randy Smith
May 27, 2010 at 1:16 p.m.

Too many homes are now rented to LMU students. The party homes are everywhere.

— AceCool
April 21, 2010 at 1:02 p.m.

Living here for 12 yrs moved from MDR-Great little Gem-No one knows it exist!

Downtown perfect-Great breezes and close to everyhting.


— Harry
March 29, 2010 at 3:16 p.m.

Grew up in Ladera Heights in the 60's, we used to surf Hubbyland, Toes on the Nose, The Creek, and D&W in PDR. If it was big Ballonna was great, you could surf from one side to the other and almost to the bridge. But D&W is where I learn to surf on my Greg Noll balsa wood board, wish I had it today. Those were the days, used to leave my board down at Redondo Breakwater at a place that would store your board for a fee, I think it was called "The Skeg". Does anyone remember Mozell Surfboards in Culver City, it was a family operation and they were great guys.

— Richard Call
March 20, 2010 at 1:20 p.m.

I lived in PDR for 8 months. As far as LA goes, it is pretty nice. It is isolated from LA style traffic and LA style crowds, near the ocean, close to lots of south bay surfing, especially El Porto, you get fresh air from the ocean, reasonable rent for LA, and includes some local eateries. Of course, it is in LA, so it is still more polluted, crime ridden, crowded, expensive, noisy, and has ruder, grumpier people than almost any other place you could live in the US. Somehow, people seem satisfied that the "nice weather" makes up for all this. Go figure.

— e
January 8, 2010 at 10:11 a.m.

Grew up in Westchester and lived in PDR. Many surfing buddies lived in PDR. A real tight community before the destruction for airport construction. D&W a fair spot to surf in the late 50s/early 60s. For me, the building of the Marina spelled the end. Hubbyland and the beach road to Venice were lost. Dan Foster, Brisbane, Australia

— Dan Foster
December 22, 2009 at 3:39 p.m.

Surfed Ballona Creek and Toes Over in the 1960s. Anyone have any links to info on that time? Loved the surf back then, but in a few successive years of dredging and expanding the breakwall they (LA County) finally killed it off . . . but the boats are safe

— Tom Graner
December 15, 2009 at 3:17 p.m.

I was afraid of airport noise, but we have been living there since 2006, still loving the neighborhood. With recent economic downturn, rarely hear the planes which is even better for us for now.

— Dee Lee
December 1, 2009 at 10:33 a.m.

Lived in PDR from birth (1952) till 1962, when we sold the house in fear of the airport expansion taking the house by force. Lived at the top of the hill next to dune fields, always fresh air from sea breezes. Too bad the airport had to ruin it for so many of us.

— Joe S
November 8, 2009 at 3:13 p.m.

Playa del Rey would have been what Malibu is today, the playground for the stars, if the airport hadn't taken all the beach houses of the 1920's and 1930's Hollywood elite. Does anyone have picture of the houses that were in that vast stretch of now vacant streets? I hear there were some amazing ones there.

— Richard Santilena
October 29, 2009 at 1:54 p.m.

I have lived in PDR since Dec. 2004. I absolutely love living here. It is a very "walkable" community and is ideally situated between the Westside and the South Bay.

Truly a great vibe.

— Carlos Sanchez
September 2, 2009 at 1:38 p.m.

PDR is ok. El Segundo is better.

— Chris
August 21, 2009 at 10:47 a.m.

PDR is beach community living as it was meant to be. Small enough to go under most people's radar, it's a hidden gem. Other better known beach towns are overrun with eastsiders in hot months, but PDR remains laid back in the summer. It has a little downtown area that most folks aren't aware of - The Shack, Tanner's Coffee, Cantalini's Salerno, Berri's Cafe and Hogan's Heroes. I travel intermittently and find the proximity to LAX great - a quick and cheap cab ride to get to the airport, no asking for rides or long term parking.

— Art S.
August 13, 2009 at 4 p.m.

that's a good tool that i can compare with different places. i'm from China. that's perfect for us.

— Yan Zhang
June 14, 2009 at 9:05 p.m.

Playa del Rey is the last little beach town left in LA County. Preserved and protected by LAX to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Marina del Rey channel to the north, and (perhaps most importantly) the Ballona Wetlands to the east, PdR is a virtual island that hasn't changed much in the 21+ years that I've lived there. Aside from a small number of larger apartment developments that have arisen over time, the only other notable development is Playa's gradual evolution from a somewhat bland, white-bread neighborhood to a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic community -- a welcome and very positive development.

— A Frank
June 5, 2009 at 4:18 p.m.

Close to the beach(good), close to LAX(bad). Nice weather, nice people, too much airplane noise.

— chris hieatt
June 3, 2009 at 10:26 a.m.

Playa del Rey

is a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County.
The neighboring communities are Del Rey, El Segundo, Marina del Rey, Playa Vista, Venice and Westchester.
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About This Project
Playa del Rey is one of the 272 neighborhoods in Mapping L.A., The Times’ resource for crime, neighborhoods, demographics and schools.
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This page was created by the Data Desk, a team of reporters and Web developers in downtown L.A.