Rancho Palos Verdes is a small town in Los Angeles County, California, snuggled in the Palos Verdes Hills and perched on the bluffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. It is an affluent suburb of Los Angeles known for spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, great beaches, and famous golf courses. The Point Vicente Interpretive Center is a perfect spot for whale-watching.
1.Glass Church / Wayfarers Chapel
© Kit Leong/stock.adobe.com
Located in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, on the cliffs above the ocean, Wayfarers Chapel – or Glass Church – is a magnificent modern glass structure, a part of the Swedenborgian Church of North America. The church was built as a memorial to its late founder Emanuel Swedenborg. Designed by Lloyd Wright, the son of Frank Lloyd Wright, in 1940s and completed in 1951, the church is a departure from the traditional material. Glass walls allow the surrounding nature to “define the sacred space.” A tower and a visitors center were added later, but the center was lost in a landslide in 1960s. The chapel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a popular wedding destination.
5755 Palos Verdes Dr S, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
2.The Point Vicente Interpretive Center
Point Vicente is a beautiful park that surrounds the Point Vicente Lighthouse. It is a popular recreation spot with great educational opportunities. The park’s 10,000-square-foot Interpretive Center was opened in 1984 in order to present and explain the history of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and its unique features. The center features a range of exhibits on the cultural and natural history of the peninsula and the Pacific gray whale. The park is a premier whale-watching site, especially from December to April during the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale. There are picnic tables throughout the park, but fires and barbecues are not allowed.
31501 Palos Verdes Drive West , Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, Phone: 310-544-5375
3.Point Vicente Lighthouse
Point Vicente Lighthouse was built in 1926 on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, between Point Loma Lighthouse and the Point Conception Lighthouse. It is located in Rancho Palos Verdes, just north of Los Angeles Harbor, near rocky shoals that sank many ships in the past. The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its light was dimmed during World War II to avoid being seen by the enemy. The Coastguard automated it in 1971. Its original Fresnel lens still turns around in the lantern room, and during the frequent periods of low visibility, the lighthouse also sounds a loud foghorn to alert passing ships.
31550 Palos Verdes Dr W, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
4.Abalone Cove Shoreline Park & Ecological Reserve
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Abalone Cove Shoreline Park is located on a beautiful stretch of coast and features two popular beaches – Abalone Cove and Sacred Cove, caves, picnic areas, many tide pools, fantastic views from the top of the bluff, and great hiking trails. The park includes a State Ecological Preserve that protects animals and marine life in the park. A long trail from the parking lot on the bluff provides access to Abalone Cove Beach. To get to Sacred Cove beach, there are two trails along Palos Verdes Drive South, between Inspiration and Portuguese Points. There are lifeguards at Abalone Cove during the summer and on weekends. The views of Catalina Island and the ocean are breathtaking. Fires and barbeques not allowed.
5970 Palos Verdes Dr S, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, Phone: 310-544-5366
5.Trump National Golf Club
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Located in the beautiful Rancho Palos Verdes, the course at Trump National Golf Club is considered one of the top public golf courses in Southern California. It is the first and only course with a Pete Dye and Donald J. Trump Signature Design. Trump National offers a driving range, practice putting green, and a game practice. It features numerous walking trails that wind through the course and along cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, running all the way to the beach and to a lovely public park on the bluffs in front of the clubhouse. Hiking these trails allows visitors to see the native flora and fauna up close. Many of the species of plants and animals are protected, and the endangered small migratory bird Coastal California gnatcatcher can also be seen here.
1 Trump National Dr, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, Phone: 310-265-5000
6.Los Verdes Golf Course
Known for the most beautiful ocean views in all of California, Los Verdes Golf Course is a Billy Bell-designed course located above the cliffs in Rancho Palos Verdes. The proximity of the ocean makes putting a challenge on almost every hole. Nevertheless, Los Verdes Golf Course is considered one of the best golf courses anywhere. In 2011 it received the Los Angeles County Course of the Year Award. With a wide-open layout and a beautiful backdrop, playing on Los Verdes Golf Course is enjoyable for all levels of golfer. Many elevation changes over the 6,617 yards of space make putting a formidable challenge. The most difficult hole on the course is the 441-yard par 4 fourth, along the cliffs above the ocean. The driving range has a recently improved grass landing area with two large putting greens and five brand new target greens.
7000 Los Verdes Dr, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, Phone: 310-377-7888
7.Deane Dana Friendship Park and Nature Center
Deane Dana Friendship Park and Nature Center is a 123-acre park overlooking the Los Angeles/Long Beach harbor complex, San Pedro, and the Santa Catalina Islands. It has a picnic area, large green open space, children’s play area, picnic facilities, and hiking trails. A natural history museum with classrooms, live animals, and educational displays is located in the park’s 4,000-square-foot nature center. The center organizes bird walks, naturalist classes, craft classes, picnicking, hiking, birthday parties, school field trips, and nature camps. On clear days, visitors can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Los Angeles and the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountain ranges. The park is also home to a federally endangered species, the Palos Verdes blue butterfly.
1805 W 9th St, San Pedro, CA 90732, Phone: 310-519-6115
8.Ocean Trails Reserve
© Angel La Canfora/stock.adobe.com
The Ocean Trails Reserve is a park that protects about 4 miles of trail along a rugged coastline that provides home to many protected species of flora and fauna, including the endangered native gnatcatcher. It includes areas south of Palos Verdes Drive that were restored or preserved by Trump National Golf Course. The trail provides a great hike for beginner hikers. It starts at a golf course with a big American flag and continues on cliff side trails that run down to the ocean. There are some switchbacks that are steep but short. Enjoy watching the flight of the pelicans and seagulls that nest in the cliffs. There is a rest area with two benches and a table, offering breathtaking views. As the trail keeps looping and switching back and forth, it passes by a lovely waterfall in the middle of the golf course.
5970 Palos Verdes Dr S, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, Phone: 310-377-1222
9.Green Hills Memorial Park
© Green Hills Memorial Park
Located in Rancho Palos Verdes, Green Hills Memorial Park is a large cemetery established in 1948 on 120 acres of property in a partnership between community members and local business owners. The beautiful park-like setting overlooking Palos Verdes Peninsula, the Pacific Ocean, and the Los Angeles skyline is the location of an upscale, award-winning facility that offers a last resting place for the loved ones of the local residents. The beautiful, meticulously landscaped grounds provide peaceful, serene experience to those who visit, whether they are visiting the graves of loved ones or of one of the many celebrities interned in Green Hills.
27501 S Western Ave, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, Phone: 310-831-0311
The McBride Trail provides a fun 2-mile hike through Lake McBride State Park and the adjacent McBride Recreation Area. It offers fantastic ocean views and an aerial view of the hills and cliffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. It is not a wilderness hike since it passes through a residential area, but it is not too busy and offers a quiet, pleasant hike. The trailhead is at the end of Ocean Terrace Drive. From there, it runs through the Three Sisters Reserve and the Upper Filiorum Nature Reserve before hitting a short steep stretch. After that the trail levels out until Crest Road. From there, you can go back or make it a loop by taking one of side roads.
Lake Macbride State Park, California
11.Abalone Cove Beach
Abalone Cove Beach is a popular sandy beach in a quiet cove near Rancho Palos Verdes, with lovely tide pools and fun places to explore. Getting to the beach from the bluff is a bit tricky and the trail is steep, crossing a small bridge and passing by a tiny waterfall. There are lifeguards on the beach in the summer and on weekends. During the low tide, the beach is full of tide pools that kids love to explore. Across the small inlet is a shallow cave and some of the best tide pools, with sea anemones, sea stars, and octopi. Abalone Cove Beach is part of the 64-acre Abalone Cove Ecological Reserve, which protects all plants and animals in the reserve.
Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, 5970 Palos Verdes Drive South, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, Phone: 310-377-1222
12.The Palos Verdes Art Center
© The Palos Verdes Art Center
The Palos Verdes Art Center is a community art gallery and art school that has been making the visual arts available to the residents of southwestern Los Angeles County since 1931. The center’s goal is to inspire individuals to create, celebrate, and appreciate art through exhibitions, education, and outreach programs. The Palos Verdes Art Center provides its ethnically and economically diverse community with access to free art exhibitions of national, regional, and international artists. The Studio School offers a range of art classes to all ages. In the last 18 years, the Beverly G. Alpay Memorial Education Fund has given more than $200,000 to student artists, while the Art at Your Fingertips program is offered to over 7,000 Palos Verdes Peninsula students.
5504 Crestridge Rd, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, Phone: 310-541-2479
© catalina kitchen
Located in the luxury Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes with wonderful views of the Catalina Island and the Pacific Ocean, catalina kitchen is an upscale, elegant restaurant with modern decor and a lively atmosphere created by the brisk action in the open kitchen. The large outdoor patio is a delight, surrounded by flowering bushes and overlooking the lush resort grounds and the distant ocean. The restaurant is a popular destination for breakfast, lunch, brunch, and dinner, but the breakfast brings the most delightful surprises with dishes such as short rib Benedict or cast-iron Dutch baby pancake soufflé with applewood bacon. It is California cuisine at its best and Chef de Cuisine Jin Lee does it justice with his focus on local, fresh, sustainable ingredients.
100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, Phone: 310-265-2836
Mar’sel is an elegant, quiet restaurant with a comfortable, club-like vibe in Rancho Palos Verdes' Terranea Resort. Its outdoor patio is a wonderful, romantic spot for dining al fresco with a view of the ocean and the occasional migrating whale. Mar’sel is a popular destination for special occasions that call for a luxurious setting and superb seasonal gourmet menu. The use of local ingredients and produce from Catalina View Gardens ensures freshness and sustainability. The menu is California cuisine with an imaginative twist and it includes such treats as harissa braised lamb shank with grilled asparagus, English peas, and watercress. The wine list is extensive and includes excellent labels from California and Old World wine regions.
100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, Phone: 310-265-2701
Nelson’s is the most casual of all restaurants in the luxury Rancho Palos Verdes Terranea Resort. Perched on a cliff above the ocean coves, Nelson’s enjoys the views that stretch all the way to the horizon. This upscale version of a surf shack is a popular spot with locals and visitors. It offers coastal Southern California cuisine made to perfection by Chef de Cuisine Michael Cruz, including everyone’s favorites such mahi mahi tacos, burgers, fish and chips, sandwiches, and sweet potato fries. The bar is well stocked with California wines, regional microbrews, and imaginative cocktails. Nelson’s gets even more romantic in the evening, with firepits and spectacular sunsets.
100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, Phone: 310-265-2702
© Admiral Risty
Located in Golden Cove Shopping Center in Rancho Palos Verdes, Admiral Risty is a local landmark and an upscale steak house and seafood restaurant. Admiral Risty has been a destination for celebrations for generations of folks from Palos Verdes and the peninsula since 1966. The spacious, comfortable dining room with nautical decor and white tablecloths has magnificent views or the ocean and out-of-this-world sunsets. The menu is eclectic, with an extensive selection of fresh seafood dishes, but their bestseller for decades has been and still is the Risty’s Flank Steak. The bar is well stocked and is famous for perfect martinis. There is often live music at the bar.
31250 Palos Verdes Dr W, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, Phone: 310-377-0050
16 Best Things to Do in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
- Glass Church / Wayfarers Chapel, Photo: Kit Leong/stock.adobe.com
- The Point Vicente Interpretive Center, Photo: milazvereva/stock.adobe.com
- Point Vicente Lighthouse, Photo: lucky-photo/stock.adobe.com
- Abalone Cove Shoreline Park & Ecological Reserve, Photo: Focqus, LLC/stock.adobe.com
- Trump National Golf Club, Photo: Kathy images/stock.adobe.com
- Los Verdes Golf Course, Photo: hinnamsaisuy/stock.adobe.com
- Deane Dana Friendship Park and Nature Center, Photo: joe/stock.adobe.com
- Ocean Trails Reserve, Photo: Angel La Canfora/stock.adobe.com
- Green Hills Memorial Park, Photo: Green Hills Memorial Park
- McBride Trail, Photo: baranq/stock.adobe.com
- Abalone Cove Beach, Photo: jovannig/stock.adobe.com
- The Palos Verdes Art Center, Photo: The Palos Verdes Art Center
- catalina kitchen, Photo: catalina kitchen
- mar'sel, Photo: mar'sel
- Nelson's, Photo: Nelson's
- Admiral Risty, Photo: Admiral Risty
- Cover Photo: milazvereva/stock.adobe.com