” I would never again be the same. This is the magic of travel. Any travel. You leave your home secure in your own knowledge and identity, but as you travel, the world in all its richness intervenes. You meet people you could not invent; you see scenes you could not imagine. Your own world, which was so large as to consume your whole life, becomes smaller and smaller until it is only one tiny dot in space and time. You return a different person.”
( From Letters to my Son, by Kent Nerburn)
As an Angelina, I hadn’t realized how fortunate I was to know all these little ” secret” beautiful places, until I had friends overseas visiting me. As they asked to ” Please, please take them to Hollywood, and specially take a pic by the Hollywood sign” I smiled and kept thinking how amazing the media is. Television sells a smoke curtain. And people overseas definitely buy it.
I am a 3 generation Angelina, and I have seen the most spectacular places, walking on a 10 block radio from my home! 😀
I will just start off telling you that Santa Monica is a WONDERFUL place to have as a base, not just because it’s where I’m from!Until you rent a car to move around, Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus System has been awarded as the best in the country. Easy breezy to move from one place to the other… It’s inevitable to rent a car once you really want to explore Los Angeles. L.A , you must know, is a bunch of subcultures, all cohabiting together. One area or town is so very different than the next! Be prepared to go from Glam to Grunge in a 5 block radio!From Glam ( Montana Avenue) to Artsy – trendy- Cool ( Venice Beach/ Abbot Kinney, Main Street Santa Monica) . If you choose to be based West Los Angeles, you can get very quickly to Santa Monica…PLEASE walk North of the Pier. Yes! Where it looks almost too tranquil…After you hang at the Beautiful, History filled Pier with it’s lovely rides, incredible carousel ( where I used to be taken as a child!), and the best Margaritas you can possibly find at Mariasol , a Mexican Restaurant at the very end of it….Please continue to move North until you hit Montana Avenue…about 4 blocks.
You’ll find the Palisades Park, the Bluffs…. please wait for sunset time there…during summer you’ll see the sun go down behind the hills of Point Dume in Malibu… and be prepared from Fall throughout the winter to see the most INCREDIBLE Sun melting in the sea- Sunsets you have ever seen ( this coming from a truth Globetrotter!!! ;-D) . It will make your day! Palisades Park has one of the best views in town ( and Energy!).
After that , you should head up on Montana Avenue to 10th Street to find Father’s Office, The BEST low key Beer Bar with Gourmet food you’ll find. Their hamburgers have been rated as # 1 in Los Angeles times and don’t forget to ask for their signature ” Sweet potato fries a la carte” and their sauteed mushrooms… Delish.
The coolest beach where is not crammed and water is less polluted will be from Montana Avenue going North…up to Pacific Palisades, Malibu and on… PCH ( Pacific Coast Highway) will take you all the way to San Francisco. Make sure if you choose that destination, to take PCH and not miss the beautiful Ocean sightseeing! The next Beautiful town after Santa Monica is Pacific Palisades – going North- and then Malibu: Make sure to stop alongside the road where you see little accesses to head down to the beach between private beaches and head down there! Zuma Beach is the best!!!!
Santa Monica’s 3rd street has an amazing farmer’s market on Wednesday Mornings, and Saturday mornings…organic, local…YUM. There is an Almost invisible line between Santa Monica and Venice…As you go by the very cool Main street, you will see on your left the old Firehouse, now Firesides Restaurant, great for healthy omelettes, salads and their signature pancakes with Blueberries.
Around Main Street there is – THE BEST- little restaurant . It’s a Pannini shop….it looks so tiny from the outside…and then…once you order and walk to the back…you find this Amazing quiet garden style patio…with a fountain where birds visit and fragrant lavenders everywhere. A block away, you’ll find The Library Alehouse, another Awesome quick grab a bite Beer place with – in my opinion as a non meat eater- the best ” make it yourself ” Hamburgers!!
Please take a moment if you have time to visit the Paul Getty Museum ( on the 405 North) : it’s free, only U$ 10 for parking….You’ll delight between the incredible Impressionist Art ( Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Gauguin and all the usual suspects!) and make sure to bring comfy shoes and a small pic nic! The gardens are breathtaking , filled with flowers, fountain and very romantic…
The Getty Villa is newly open, you have to get your tickets online, it’s free as well….It’s all about sculpture, but even if you aren’t into sculpture, it’s worth to visit: the Ocean views from the gardens are Breathtaking …It’s located just 5 minutes from Santa Monica, on PCH…
Finally if you decide to take the 10 Freeway East, you can get to Chinatown and have A-MAZING Dim Sum at the mall next door to it, on the 2nd floor ( lines get long, get there early!) and wander back through Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood, etc….
All of the prior places I mentioned, keep in mind, are ONE BLOCK AWAY FROM THE OCEAN 🙂
Hope this post was useful!!! ❤
Venice Cannals ( hidden between Venice Blvd and Ocean Ave/ Speedway)
Palisades Park, Santa Monica ( towards the North, Pacific Palisades and Malibu)
Artsy, Trendy Venice!
….. Some Venice Incredible Street Art!!!
The Getty Villa Art Museum on PCH
The Santa Monica Pier at night
~ I come from an Artist family that has traveled the World and has lived in seven countries. I too, am an Artist as well. Born in Santa Monica, CA, I enjoy the richness of being the child of two cultures, a citizen of the World: an Argentinean Mother,a Spaniard Grandfather and a Santa Monican Dad. My itch for traveling has been a passion ever since I was a little girl, listening to my Grandparents’ travel stories, looking at their pictures, reading my Grandmother’s Travel Diaries and so…I begun my own. I hope you enjoy it!!!