Los Angeles' other neighborhoods: A day out in Santa Monica and Malibu
Los Angeles, while an actual city, is often referred to by tourists headed to this Southern California area as, “LA.” LA is a big place with diverse neighborhoods that include Hollywood (Tinseltown), Silver Lake, Century City, Beverly Hills and Venice. After a few days exploring there, you can leave the traffic behind and head for the beach cities of Santa Monica and Malibu.
Although Santa Monica has a “Route 66: End of the Road” sign posted, it’s where lots of fun begins. A great way to start the day is by having breakfast at either Chez Jay or Cora’s Coffee Shop which is a bit hidden so keep your eyes peeled.
Photography buffs might want to check out Camera Obscura or pose for a selfie there. Art deco buildings are very popular here and a leisurely stroll on Ocean Avenue will take you by Hotel Shangri-La and the Georgian Hotel. The Wilshire Theater and the Clock Tower Building are other neat sights to spot.
If you are in the mood for parks and recreation be sure to visit Tongva Park. Here you will find a 6+ acre urban oasis with hills and paths that lead to gardens full of seasonal plants and flowers. Or perhaps you might like a stroll on the Santa Monica Pier.
The Farmer’s Market is open on Wednesdays on Arizona between 4th and Ocean and on Saturdays on Arizona between 4th and 2nd Streets. Arrive around 8:30 AM and before 1 PM to procure your farm fresh goodies and super foods. And why not take your finds over to nearby Santa Monica State Beach to enjoy a peaceful picnic while taking in the Pacific Ocean view? The Third Street Promenade is a fun venue for shopping, restaurants and bars.
HI Santa Monica/LA offers budget accommodations close to the Pacific Ocean while Shutters on the Beach provides upscale boutique beach rooms.
Malibu: A swell time in or out of the ocean blue
Getting to Malibu from Santa Monica is by either a scenic drive on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) or by taking the Metro Bus 534 from Santa Monica to Malibu. Malibu is celebrated for having almost a dozen beaches. If surfing is your thing, you might want to ride the waves at Zuma Beach or Point Dume.
Before reaching Malibu, you will go near the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades. This lovely museum houses ancient Greek and Roman art and resembles a huge Italian villa set high in the hills with beautiful fountains, reflecting pools and outdoor gardens full of sculptures. Admission is free, but parking costs $10-$15 after 3 PM and you must get your tickets online before arrival.
Getting hungry or thirsty? The Malibu Country Mart and Malibu Lumber Yard offer shopping and restaurants. A perfect way to end the day or maybe start the night is with a stop off at Café Habana located in the Malibu Lumber Yard. (No wood sold here; think Mexican food and clothing.) This a great spot to order some chips, guacamole/salsa and a margarita made with Casamigos tequila (produced by Rande Gerber and George Clooney). Many Hollywood actors and actresses live in or around Malibu. One way or another, you are guaranteed to see stars—either above in the night sky or sitting right beside you!
The real LalaLand awaits. Get your cheap flight to sunny California from almost all WOW destinations in Europe via Iceland. WOW air now offers cheap flights to Los Angeles several times a week all year round.
Words: Caron R. Luteran