Located in the Santa Monica Bay, this ocean side area offers some of the best experiences in Los Angeles by combining the relaxed atmosphere of a beach city with the upscale dining options and the health and fitness opportunities. Getting there is easy as it’s a short 20-30 minute drive from Los Angeles International Airport. And once you’re there, it’s easy to get around on a bicycle or scooter, or take Uber/Lyft everywhere so there’s no need to rent a car and deal with the hassles of driving through traffic or finding a place to park it.
Stay at Shutters on the Beach, a cozy little hotel with upstanding service and luxurious rooms right on the boardwalk and overlooking the beach. Plus they have bicycles you can rent and explore the entire area.
Then walk around Abbot Kinney Blvd and check out all the little boutique stores for some sophisticated shopping before getting a delicious ice cream at Salt & Straw and heading over to the Venice Canals. You can try one of the classics such as Almond Brittle Ganache or go for one of the flavors of the month. Be sure to test out a couple of flavors before settling on which one to choose.
Reminiscing of Venice, Italy, the Venice Canals were man-made in 1905 under the direction of developer Abbot Kinney as part of his Venice of America plan. Currently a residential neighborhood, the Canals are a haven for people looking for a relaxing walk by the water, while admiring the architecture of the local houses.
Continuing on towards Marina del Rey, you can watch the sunset on the water, close to Venice Pier, accompanied by some drinks and dinner The Venice Whaler. Then head back to Shutters on the Beach for a restful evening overlooking the ocean.
Bike over to the Rose Cafe for breakfast and indulge in one of their amazing pastries or go for the Avocado Toast with eggs. The cafe has been around since 1979 and has become a staple of fantastic food in Venice with a location that includes indoor and outdoor dining with a beer garden, a full market and bakery, Verve Coffee bar, and 40-foot cocktail bar.
With the beach boardwalk just 2 blocks away, it’s easy to head there after breakfast and walk on the Venice Boardwalk. If you feel inspired, you can stop by muscle beach and get impressed by the fitness level of some of the people working out there. A favorite for bodybuilders, but welcoming anyone who’s looking to lead a more active lifestyle, the Gym at Muscle Beach is an indoor/outdoor gym right between the boardwalk and the sand. And if you get inspired enough, you can get a day pass for only $10 and train with the professionals.
Once your workout and those cool Instagram photos are done, head over to the hotel for a quick shower before heading out for lunch to Cora’s Coffee Shoppe and delight yourself with the fish of the day or organic grass fed hamburger. Nearly every ingredient used at Cora’s is sourced from Santa Monica’s Farmers Market and is “Organic When Possible”. While it’s on a busy street, the patio is so cozy and comfortable that you’ll want to sit there long after you’ve finished your meal.
However, since there’s so much more to explore, hop on to your bike or walk over to the Santa Monica Promenade for a little shopping and maybe an afternoon dessert, before heading to the Santa Monica Pier and hitting the arcade for some old school fun. Check out the sunset on the pier, before heading over to The Watergrill for a sophisticated seafood dinner.
Start your day at Shutters on the Beach with a delicious breakfast before heading over to Montana Avenue to explore yet another beautiful area of Santa Monica, for a bit of pampering at Cha Spa. Opt for a full body massage or a reflexology one, or go all out for a combination of full body and reflexology before getting an afternoon coffee and pastry at the Primo Passo Coffee Co. Don’t get too full as the dinner choice is amazing so you’ll want to save some room. Browse around the local shops and admire this bohemian neighborhood before walking over to Ocean Avenue for another amazing sunset.
Finish the evening with dinner at Locanda Portofino for some truly authentic Italian food paired with over 400 different wines to satisfy every connoisseur out there.