Aviation Boulevard

Shortcut to the 405 or cool urban experiment, this busy thoroughfare has its die-hard fans.

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  • Written by
    Darren Elms


Like many South Bay commuters, I first fell in love with Aviation skirting Manhattan Beach rush hour for my ticket on the 405. But if you really explore the stretch, you’ll discover plenty of reasons to put off the freeway parking lot.

Starting at the base where Aviation meets PCH, ET Surf, Skate and Snow (1) holds court. Serving Hermosa Beach since 1972, this depot for all-season boarding recently expanded its space and offers more inventory than ever (904 S. Aviation Boulevard). Nearby Motion Bicycle Establishment (2) takes it to two wheels, offering every kind of bicycle under the sun plus repairs and overhauls (914 S. Aviation Boulevard).

A couple blocks up at the corner of Ocean, Love Sick Body Art (3) is busy designing quality, custom tattoos for a satisfied clientele (1010 S. Aviation Boulevard). If all that ink works up an appetite, you can check out the Peruvian flavors of The Chicken Shack (4) a few doors up (1030 S. Aviation Boulevard), or cross the way to local favorite Ocean Diner (5) (959 S. Aviation Boulevard).

If all those cool wall murals that grace Aviation prove inspiring, you could enroll a budding young artist of your own in the South Bay Art Department (6). A great educational outlet for creative kids, the school offers courses in everything from drawing and painting to fashion, acting and animation (1075 S. Aviation Boulevard).

More of a Prefontaine than Picasso? Triathlon Lab (7) may be more your speed. This swim/bike/run pro shop offers bikes, attire, gear and resources for your next big event (1512 S. Aviation Boulevard).

After a long day’s work, you deserve to let off some steam. We can’t think of a better venue than Gasser Lounge (8). You can’t miss it, with its vintage black truck and Johnny Cash saying “Go Kings Go” mural on the front. Under the care of Mikey B, this rock ‘n’ roll lounge offers crafted cocktails, beer on tap and a slick atmosphere. Still thirsty? Head up to The Hanger Inn (9) for a night cap. Take along your designated driver and enjoy the carpool lane all the way home (1500 S. Aviation Boulevard and 1001 N. Aviation Boulevard).