SoCal: A Westside day & evening

Posted on October 18, 2017


We get our fair share of visitors from Europe, which we just love, and I’m starting to get my ‘tourist days’ sorted. Here’s our favourite Welcome to LA/Westside/Beach day out:

To explore the Westside I encourage friends to rent bikes. It’s my favourite mode of transportation (and not just because I’m married to a Dutchman!). I got a rather lovely Linus for my birthday, and we send visitors to Santa Monica bike rental as it’s cheap and he always has enough bikes to suit everyone (beware: some don’t have gears or handlebar brakes!).

Along the beach path, we go to the pier (which I usually avoid if I possibly can) and then take the beach bike path. We cycle past Shutters, perhaps stopping to watch the slackliners and gymnasts at Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach (ok, we sometimes we stop for a drink – Coast does excellent cocktails). From here it’s easy to explore the Venice Boardwalk with stops for Snap’s pop up store, Muscle Beach (Venice is the original), The Calypso Tumblers (if they are out, they put on a fun show), Venice Skate Park, and of course the Venice Canals. For shoppers, we’ll cruise back up north along Abbot Kinney and for sports buffs, we’ll pop our heads in at Gold’s Gym (where Arnie famously works out).

If we want to get away from the crowds we cycle North, giving us spectacular views of the coast up to Malibu. We stop for lunch at Back on the Beach Cafe where we sit with our toes in the sand and gaze at the ocean.

After lunch we cycle up the California incline, and if needs be stop at The Bungalow for a  drink to get us back on our feet after the hill climb before we take the bikes back.

Home for a shower and perhaps a quick nap we head back down to Venice to watch sunset (at a pre-booked table: this is important) on the rooftop at Hotel Erwin. Here we get the best views of the sun coming down over the beach.

Hungry after our aperitif, we head to my favourite dinner spot, Rose Cafe, for a typically California dinner outside under fairy lights. Making sure the guests don’t get too full, we walk down to Abbot Kinney specifically to Salt and Straw for delicious ice cream (tip: you can try as many of their weird and wonderful favours as you like so go nuts and then order a kids scoop of your favourite). If you’re an after dinner coffee person, head to Intelligentsia for some of the best coffee around, if you can wade through the hipsters.

If guests are too tired for an evening excursion, we head to our fabulous local, Estate. here we will order for the table because we know their Brussel sprouts are the best,  the ribs are mouthwatering and the miso eggplant sends you to heaven. Plus Chris the manager always has fantastic wines off-menu. He’ll make sure we come out of there with a slight stagger, ready to send our guests to bed ready for another fun day in LaLa Land.