The Sand Section runs the length of Manhattan Beach along the coast, from El Segundo in the north to Hermosa Beach in the south. It is characterized by small lots and higher prices. Many homes have an ocean view, some have just an ocean "peek." This area has most of the multi-family rental housing within Manhattan Beach. Lots are generally less than 3,000 square feet and parking is scarce for both residents and visitors.
The Sand Section offers open space at three parks: Sand Dune Park, Live Oak Park, and Bruce’s Beach. A portion of the eastern boundary of the Sand Section is marked by Veterans Parkway, the green beltway between Ardmore Avenue and Valley Drive.
Elementary school students living north of Manhattan Beach Boulevard in the Sand Section attend Grand View. Those living south of Manhattan Beach Boulevard attend Robinson Elementary.
El Porto is located north of 38th Street between the ocean and the City of El Segundo. Formerly, this area was an unincorporated portion of Los Angeles County. It is developed with a mix of commercial and multi-family properties and has the highest residential development density within Manhattan Beach. Many of the 30-by-90-foot lots have two residential units. This area slopes steeply toward the beach. El Porto was annexed by Manhattan Beach in November 1980 and is now referred to as "North Manhattan Beach."
The Downtown commercial area runs along Manhattan Beach Boulevard, west of Valley Drive, and branches north and south along Highland Avenue and Manhattan Avenue for several blocks in each direction. Mixed in and around these local commercial properties are parcels zoned for high and medium density residential properties. Living downtown, you can walk to just about anywhere you need to go.
No other homes in Manhattan Beach are closer to the ocean! A wide cement walkway referred to as “The Strand,” runs the length of Manhattan Beach along the beachfront and is a popular path for joggers, dog walkers, and tourists out for a stroll. A separate bike path runs parallel to The Strand for cyclists and rollerbladers. Listings for homes on The Strand often note their whitewater view since they're close enough to the ocean to see the breaking surf. There are few older beach cottages still left along The Strand. Most of the original bungalows on these desirable lots have been replaced by newer homes on a grander scale.
The area between Blanche Road and Grandview Avenue, from 21st Street to 24th Street has been improved with gas street lights. The gas lamps give this neighborhood a quaint feel. The lots in this area are typically 30 by 90 feet.
West of Highland
Manhattan Beach property values are affected by proximity to the beach, even within the Sand Section. Highland Avenue, which runs north to south, has become a dividing line through the Sand Section. Property listings that indicate “west of Highland” typically have a higher land value than homes east of Highland Avenue.
Walk-streets in Manhattan Beach feature homes that face a pedestrian walkway and have alley access to a garage in the rear. Some lots have been split, leaving “landlocked” parcels with walk-street frontage, but no parking access off the alley.
Homes in these neighborhoods tend to encourage a sense of community. The South End walk-streets are popular with families due to less traffic and the level, sidewalk-style street serves as an ideal play area for children. North End walk-streets, from 15th Street to 20th Street are sloped and have ocean views and 18th Street has been beautified to look like a winding path.
The original walk-streets were constructed in 1913 west of Highland Avenue and were continually built up between 1923 to 1928, Then in 1969, a more narrow and winding style of walk-street was built on 26th Street between Vista Drive and Grandview Avenue.