A Coastal California Weekend Getaway
Scroll past the pictures to read the post! xo
LA is big. Big with lots of sprawl. For this weekend's visit, the goal was to check out some interesting coastal areas outside of DTLA (downtown LA). We zoned in on Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Malibu (of course) and Venice Beach. Anybody who knows me knows that for a weekend getaway, the locations to see have to be close because I find it way easier and fun to not have to drive an hour to the next place that I wish to see.
We decided to make Santa Monica our base because of the close proximity to the airport, Malibu and Venice Beach.
LAX: I landed at LAX at around 12:30pm after a really nice three-hour direct flight from Calgary and met my nephew (who flew in from Toronto) and then my niece and nephew-in-law who joined us from Las Vegas. LAX is a big airport with six (!) terminals. Despite the size, it is a great airport that is super easy to navigate as long as you READ THE SIGNS. I have been guilty of thinking that I could figure out my way around LAX and I cannot tell you how wrong I was. Just read the signs and life is good. There are no car rental companies on the airport premises, so look out for shuttles that will get you to the car rental company. I recommend booking your vehicle in advance because the car rental companies are just as packed as the airports (but on a smaller scale, of course). It is definitely a lot easier to be ready with your reservation, get your vehicle and roll on out into the California sunshine.
SANTA MONICA: Was the place that we chose as our base. It is close to LAX, Venice Beach and easy to get to Malibu. We found ourselves a cute little home using Airbnb, a site which has not disappointed thus far. Our pad was close to the Santa Monica Pier and the Pacific Coast Highway. If you enjoy looking at beautiful homes and architecture, do not miss driving down Clifton which is off of Santa Monica Blvd to drool over the beautiful homes. Some of them are nothing short of spectacular. Some total #housegoals, for sure!
WEST HOLLYWOOD: I am always hungry and therefore always eating, so of course the first thing on my agenda was finding a place to eat. We drove down Santa Monica Boulevard and found ourselves in West Hollywood, affectionately referred to as Weho at the FLAMING SADDLES SALOON We did not eat there, but had a couple of drinks while having huge laughs with the coolest barkeep I have had the pleasure of meeting.
We left with hurting faces from all the laughing and headed over to WOKNADO. I will be honest; I had a giggle at the name because all I could think of was Sharknado. The giggles very quickly subsided second I took in the lovely minimalist décor and the food was absolutely unreal. It was so, so good and the service was impeccable. Every server (not just our server) was attentive and helpful. We had a blast and ended up with enough food to take home for the inevitable late night snack. It was still good warmed up at 10:00pm.
MALIBU: My dream place. I love Malibu more than I can easily put into words. It is a juxtaposition of laid back surfer cool and super upscale without the obvious pretentiousness that one might expect.
We started out at MALIBU FARM restaurant which is my favourite eatery in Malibu. We had the most visually pleasing and yummiest tasting brunch while enjoying great conversation and endless laughs. Views of the pacific is visible from virtually every table in the restaurant and on this sunny day, the views were perfection.
After brunch, we took the obligatory walk on the MALIBU PIER and got the pictures out of the way while enjoying the ocean breeze, which fluctuated between gentle and fierce. The wind was kicking up the sand, so we enjoyed the beach from up on the rocks (watch your step!)
We created some new memories in Malibu and then headed south on the Pacific Coast Highway to make our way to VENICE BEACH. Venice Beach is an experience. If you haven’t gone, I highly recommend hanging out there for an afternoon. The characters you encounter along the boardwalk will make you laugh, scratch your head in confusion and periodically wonder where you really are. The sights are second to none. The boardwalk is flanked by the beach and the pacific on one side, with shops and restaurants on the other. Take some time to check out the stores which vary from very cool and original, touristy and everything in between. I love Venice Beach not only for the sights of the beach, palm trees, ocean, but the delicious smells coming from the restaurants and the interesting performers, artists, crystals. Venice really has a bit of everything and you will never be bored here.
We met up with and asked our close friend, a transplanted Canadian who is very familiar with the area for her recommendation for a light afternoon snack at a place with a view (considering where we were!) and ended up at the ERWIN HOTEL – HIGH. A contemporary rooftop restaurant that captured the laid-back, Cali cool vibe effortlessly and perfectly. High offers the sweetest, sweeping panoramic views of Venice, the beach, the Pacific Ocean and the little alleys off of the boardwalk. Try the tacos.
After watching the sunset, it was time to head to the SANTA MONICA PIER to take in the buskers and be dazzled by the bright lights, that Ferris wheel and the midway feel. I tried more tacos from a fast food joint at the Santa Monica Pier, but found them lacking and found myself tired after our super fun day.
Our last day. The flight back to Calgary was scheduled to leave in the early afternoon, so brunch was a go. Enter BRU’S WIFFLE – A WAFFLE JOINT. I have never had the pleasure of eating at a waffle joint, so this was it for Sunday brunch before heading back to the airport. Waffles and chicken is their specialty, but they have an extensive and some very drool-worthy looking menu options. I had the extremely good and filling veggie packed egg-white omelette with a mimosa to cap off another fun-filled weekend getaway.
In my opinion, one can never go wrong with a weekend trip to California. The state is vast and has so many things to do and places to see.