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EXPLORING

Santa Monica SANTA MONICA HAS THE APPROACHABLE VIBE OF A BEACH TOWN WITH THE ATTRACTIONS OF A MAJOR CITY. MALIBU, VENICE AND MARINA DEL REY ARE APPEALING OPTIONS NEARBY.

➺In the 1800s, a real estate agent called Santa Monica “the Zenith City by the Sunset Sea.” The 21st-century

version of Santa Monica fulfills its early promise with a bustling downtown and beach that attract millions of visitors per year. Pacific Coast Highway connects SaMo with draws such as Malibu and Marina del Rey. Third Street Promenade, three pedestrianonly blocks on 3rd Street between Broadway and Wilshire Boulevard, is perpetually teeming with people. Visitors can hit dozens of boutiques, watch movies at three cinemas or gawk at the myriad street artists. If they don’t refuel at the many eateries along the Promenade, visitors can venture to the surrounding blocks to Tinga or the Misfit, and enjoy drinks at the Bungalow or the many pubs such as Ye Olde King’s Head that hint at Santa Monica’s large population of British expats. Anchoring the promenade at Broadway is Santa Monica Place, a beautiful open-air shopping center with Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, 80 boutiques and the top-level Dining Deck with a food court, upscale restaurants and a gourmet marketplace. East on Broadway is the legendary Fred Segal, an emporium of high-end shops such as JET John Eshaya. Santa Monica Pier, built in 1909, is at the end of Colorado Avenue and features Pacific Park, a mini amusement park with food stands and rides, including a solar-powered, LED-lit Ferris wheel.

Main Street + Montana Avenue

Compared with the hustle and bustle of Third Street Promenade, Montana Avenue is downright tranquil. Between 6th and 17th streets are plenty of fashionable boutiques, including London Sole. Father’s Office, known for its stellar burger, Locanda Portofino and R+D Kitchen are tops for dining; dessert lovers might venture to Sweet Lady Jane for its famous cakes. Just minutes south of downtown Santa Monica, Main Street exudes a beachyupscale vibe. The long stretch between Pico Boulevard and Rose Avenue contains a number of galleries, restaurants such as Chinois on Main, British pubs and shops such as Planet Blue and Weego Home. The California Heritage Museum is in a transplanted Victorian-era home, as is the Victorian, adjacent to the museum, which features a cool downstairs speak-easy, Basement Tavern.

The Arts

Visitors can take in plays at Main Street’s Edgemar Center for the Arts, housed in an angular concrete structure designed by Frank Gehry. An even wider variety of entertain-

ment is at the Broad Stage, Santa Monica College’s first-rate, 499-seat performing arts, film, dance and theater venue. As L.A. has emerged as a fine-arts capital, the campuslike Bergamot Station (2525 Michigan Ave.) has become an important destination. It’s home to 30 galleries, the Santa Monica Museum of Art and a cafe.

Malibu

Twenty miles north of Santa Monica on Pacific Coast Highway is Malibu. Formerly known as Rancho Malibu, Malibu’s land was once so coveted that May K. Rindge, who took ownership of it in 1905 after the death of her scion husband, used armed guards to defend it from trespassers. In the 1920s, Rindge’s hefty legal bills, racked up from fighting developers, forced her to invite stars to live in Malibu Colony in the 1920s, and the legacy of Malibu as celebrity-home central continues today. Many of Malibu’s best destinations are visible from PCH, such as the many restaurants with ocean views, from the casual (Malibu Seafood) to the upscale (Nobu Malibu). Adjacent to the Malibu Lagoon and Bird Sanctuary, the Adamson House is filled

FROM LEFT: BROWN CANNON III; SARAH HADLEY. OPPOSITE: DALE BERMAN

Third Street + the Pier

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Profile for SoCalMedia

WHERE Los Angeles Magazine September 2014  

Where Los Angeles Magazine gives visitors and locals a portal for essential, immediate and accurate information on the best things to do in...

WHERE Los Angeles Magazine September 2014  

Where Los Angeles Magazine gives visitors and locals a portal for essential, immediate and accurate information on the best things to do in...