Playa Del Rey
In terms of laid-back neighborhood Playa Del Rey is the quintessence of the type. Everywhere you look at there is this very distinctive feeling of "locals only".
Arriving from Culver Blvd. you will cross the protected Ballona Wetlands which will already set the tone : you are leaving the city behind. Pretentious attitudes can be dropped as you enter the nicest beachside community.
Just like in Venice the pastel faded houses and the numerous hanging electric cables make all the charm of the place. Banana leaves and vibrant bougainvilliers make back alleys look like little corners of paradise.
The beach is nice and rather quiet (minus the planes taking off from the not so far LAX) during the week compared to Santa Monica. Due to the proximity of the marina you can often spot boats on the ocean.
There are a few dining options that you don't want to miss in Playa Del Rey. One of the most famous of them is Playa Provisions. Located at the very end of Culver Blvd., just before the beach starts, this place has all you need. You can go from brunch, to lunch, to quick bite, to ice-cream, to end of the day drinks, to a nice dinner. Playa Provisions has different spaces with different atmospheres that will cover your desires. And they also have a nice small shop with many lifestyle treasures to be found.
When you leave the beach behind you, you enter the Ballona Wetlands where the wildlife is impressive (there are about 300 bird species over there). Walking inside the Ballona will give you a very original view of the Los Angeles area.