Many things make every city unique, and the one that I have grown up in is no different. Growing up in Manhattan Beach has proven to have its challenges. After all, it didn’t gain the nickname The Bubble for no reason. Yes, there is a stigma about living in Manhattan Beach, and I will be the first to admit that, but I also wouldn’t choose to grow up anywhere else. True, I don’t know any differently, but I am incredibly fortunate to grow up in such a beautiful city.
I have lived in the same place my entire life. My neighbors are the same people that have always been there, and I even consider many of them to be family. I understand that many places aren’t like that, and many people don’t even know their neighbors, so I know I am fortunate.
In recent years after going to two local colleges, I have learned about this Manhattan Beach stigma. People have their own opinions, and when you tell someone you live here, you automatically get the “oooohhhh… you’re from Manhattan Beach?” If you’re a local, you know the reaction, and you’re probably very familiar with it by now. But in reality, 99% of what people think about Manhattan Beach isn’t even accurate and if it is, at least we know how to laugh at ourselves — Shameless plug: @the.bubble on Instagram
Every city has a culture of its own, and Manhattan Beach happens to have one of the best if you ask me. How do you know you’re in Manhattan Beach, California? Well, that’s easy…
1. Golf carts are commonly used as a form of transportation
It’s not every day you see a golf cart in the middle of traffic… unless of course, you live in Manhattan Beach. Yep, it’s true, golf carts are now used as a common form of transportation, and if you don’t see at least one golf cart daily with car seats and all, your GPS probably messed up and took you to Hermosa Beach instead.
2. You see people walking their pet pigs, and no one thinks twice about it
Everyone who knows me knows that I want a pet pig and while that might sound strange coming from someone who doesn’t live on a farm, it isn’t weird in Manhattan Beach. Before Ariana’s Piggy Smalls we had our own Piggy Smalls who frequents the strand on a leash. At first, it may have seemed strange to own a pig, but now? Now everyone wants one. And if you’re reading this, Mom, I am one of those people. But Piggy Smalls is not the only Manhattan Beach pig, no we also have a new addition to the ever-growing population. Shout out to Stella the Pig wherever you are.
3. You can’t go to Target without seeing someone you know
Over the years, I have learned that you cannot go to Target in Manhattan Beach without seeing someone you know. For whatever reason, everyone you know or have ever known will be at Target at the exact same time, especially if you aren’t keen on seeing anyone that day.
So was the case when I brought in my two kittens in a carrier because only a crazy person leaves their animals in the car. But oh no, I did not stop there. I then proceeded to put them in the handicap scooter and drive around the store. And of course, this is when the entire school seemed to be there.
I swear to you, visiting Target is more of a social event than an errand-run these days.
4. If you took a shot each time you saw someone wearing Lululemon leggings, you’d be drunk in 30 seconds
It seems to me that the second you become a mother in Manhattan Beach, you need to start wearing a uniform. In any other city, this probably wouldn’t be the case, but in Manhattan Beach, the mom-uniform consists of Lululemon leggings. Which is why the term “Manhattan Beach Mom” became a thing whenever someone wears workout clothing featuring Lululemon leggings.
And this trend doesn’t just to apply to moms, it’s true for every other person in Manhattan Beach. I am guilty of wearing leggings (Lululemon or not) every other day of my life. Why? Because life is too short to be uncomfortable. And to be honest, the Manhattan Beach Mom style is a look that I am here for.
5. You see 16 year-olds driving brand new BMWs
Only in Manhattan Beach will you see a brand new driver pulling into the high school parking lot with a brand new BMW or a Ferrari if you went to my school. I shouldn’t be complaining, though, because that very Ferrari was the one that took me to my senior prom. Although the Ferrari is rare and was actually the guy’s dad’s Ferrari, BMWs driven by kids who just got their license is pretty standard.
In reality, I am just jealous because I didn’t have a BMW when I was 16. But I would like to give a special mention to my car when I was 16, a 2001 Ford Taurus who will not give up for the life of her.
6. Friend groups have been the same since birth
Because Manhattan Beach is so small, friend groups formed back in kindergarten have withstood the test of time, and many are still very close or at least talk to each other regularly. Many people I befriended 15 years ago are still people I talk to and get lunch with even though many of us have gone away to different cities and states.
And even if people aren’t close with their original friends, the mom groups have also stayed pretty close-knit. My mom even goes out with the moms of girls I met 15 years ago and are now all apart of the Manhattan Beach Mom group. And yes, they all wear Lululemon leggings on the daily.
7. You really can’t tell if a woman is someone’s mom or someone’s sister
Only in Manhattan Beach will you visit a mall and have the kiosk people call after you and your mom as “sisters.” Whether they are trying to flatter you or not, it is true when I say that some mothers look like they can be the sibling to their child. And that’s not because all moms had their kids super young, but Manhattan Beach moms just look phenomenal, especially for their age. Moms who are really 60 looks 45 or even younger. So if there’s something in the MB water, I’ll start drinking it now.
8. The houses are so close together you can hear an entire conversation from across the street
Living so tightly to your neighbors can be both a perk and fallback depending on who you ask. As I said before, I am very close to my neighbors, literally and figuratively. I even have some of my neighbors as emergency contacts. But being so close to your neighbors has its drawbacks, especially if you don’t know them or don’t care for them.
With houses being so close together, you can hear an entire conversation across the street and feel like you are in the yard with them. If there’s screaming, you will feel like you’re in the middle of it. If there’s playing, you might feel like the babysitter. Basically, your privacy can be pretty limited. The price we pay to live here, huh?
9. Everyone goes to the same dentist… and doctor… and orthodontist…
At first, I wouldn’t think Manhattan Beach is all that small until you realize that every single person goes to the same doctor, dentist, and orthodontist, amongst many other things. We all shared the same stories of the same orthodontist in middle school and were kicked out of the kids’ dentist at the same age, which I am still not over by the way. We all went to the same doctor, and if I didn’t know any better, I would say that the simulation theory is pretty accurate.
10. The Kettle is the go-to restaurant, especially at 2 A.M.
If you ever visit Manhattan Beach, you need to go to The Kettle. The 24-hour restaurant is a crowd favorite for people of all ages. It is especially famous for the drunk young adults who all of a sudden get hungry at 2 A.M. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel bad for the staff who have to work those hours, but they sure do make people happy! No matter what day or time you go, The Kettle will never be empty but there will always be a place for you!