Marina del Rey is a community of 39,000 people (2018) on the West Side of Los Angeles that is best known as the world's largest man-made small craft harbor, capable of berthing 5,300 boats. Today it is also home to a wide array of hotels and restaurants, and its close proximity to Los Angeles International Airport and popular local destinations makes it an excellent option for visitors looking for a base to explore the Los Angeles area.
Prior to the development of the marina the area was a massive salt marsh, remnants of which can still be seen in the neighboring Ballona Wetlands Reserve. The ancient Gabrieleno Indians were likely the region's first fisherman and hunters, living along the bluffs above the ocean. The Spanish arrived later, followed in the 1800s by the first Angelenos. During the first half of the 20th century automotive races were held in the area, running from Playa del Rey to Venice along a roadway on the Marina peninsula now appropriately known as Speedway. Oil was discovered in the 1930s, and oil rigs can still be seen in the Ballona Wetlands near Playa del Rey.
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