Los Angeles…La La Land…whatever you want to call it…it’s huge. So, for this City Guide we’re focussing on the beaches! Who doesn’t love a beach vacay and who doesn’t need one right now?! Santa Monica and Venice make a great weekend getaway and are so much fun to explore. Let’s see what the must see’s and the must do’s are in this area!
Stay at the Fairmont Miramar right in Santa Monica. It’s a perfect location…more on that below! You can also try the Loews hotel in Santa Monica for an equally luxurious time or the Erwin Hotel in Venice for a more hip experience. Honestly, you can’t go wrong in either of these two spots in a nice hotel and we’ve even ventured into the airbnb realm for our longer stays and just love it!
Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows
Eat in Venice at Gjelina. Make a reservation, ask for the patio, don’t go starving because you will wait (even with a reso) and do NOT miss the meatballs. Also in Venice is the Tasting Kitchen with unreal food! For a classic LA lunch, try the Ivy in Santa Monica (totally cheesy but really fun). For a casual lunch try Blue Plate Taco in Santa Monica – great tacos and even better margaritas. Then go eat at Gjelina again and try everything left on the menu that you didn’t the first time.
Drink everywhere. There are sooooo many good places but we’re going to tell you our faves and the best ones! In Santa Monica… The Bungalow at the Fairmont Miramar is so much fun! Such a great afternoon crowd and the perfect place to wind down after shopping! Onyx is the rooftop of the Shangri-La with amazing views and a good happy hour. Sonoma Wine Garden is as wonderful as it sounds…try it out. Copa d’Oro is an inside spot, so better after dark and has a great happy hour that runs into the evening. Lastly in Santa Monica, the pool deck at the Loews hotel (even if you’re not staying there) with their outdoor fire tables and ocean front location – its really hard to beat. In Venice, you’ll love The Otherroom for a pre-dinner drink or a post-dinner appertif. Be sure to check out The Brig – so funky and fun! During the afternoon, try High at the Hotel Erwin for a cocktail.
Samantha Chic with Champagne at the Loews Hotel
High at Hotel Erwin View
Do everything you can outside! Be sure to check out the pier in Santa Monica – go early in the morning with a coffee and get the heck out before loads of tourists show up! The boardwalk strand that runs along the beach and oceanfront is perfect for walking between Santa Monica and Venice or even better, rent a bicycle (or see if your hotel has them available) and bike between them. For a great afternoon, do the ride from Santa Monica all the way to Hermosa Beach and back (be sure to stop for lunch and a happy hour along the way!!). If you have a car, drive up to Malibu and stop at Gladstones for a seaside lunch.
Biking the Strand
Santa Monica Pier
Shop till you drop. Literally. Drop. Into a booth. At a happy hour. With a cocktail. We mean it. In Santa Monica, the Third Street Promenade is a pedestrian only street with lots of name brand stores you know and love. At the end of the street is Santa Monica Place – a great open air shopping centre. You’ll find everything you’re looking for there including Kitson for all your cute and kitschy needs! For a more boutique experience, check out Abbot Kinney in Venice. Our faves are the hoodies at Aviator Nation and everything inside LF Store.
What are your fave spots in Venice and Santa Monica? Let us know if you’re traveling and need more ideas!
Samantha and Michelle