Published: March, 2018
Book this trip


Cali or bust!
— Cinda Boomershine
  • More about your oliver guide:
  • Trip type: Family, Beach, City
  • Activity level: moderate
  • Ideal length of trip: 3 days minimum

to & from

Fly into LAX and uber from there. Even if you do have a car, it is often cheaper to uber from place to place than pay for parking.

  • Shutters — it is right on the beach so you can’t beat the location.
  • Palihouse Santa Monica -- lots of different room size options and is located in more of a neighborhood area. This is a great options for families and for extended stays.
  • Viceroy -- cool vibe and super close to the beach (without paying a beachside premium)

Where to Eat and Drink

  • Brentwood Country Mart — Go for a casual lunch in the center food court area. We love Fridas Tacos and the salads at Barney’s Burgers. There also happens to be some great shopping there too (and good people watching if you catch my drift :)).
  • Gjelina -- Make reservations well in advance. It is so good it is always packed.
  • Sugar Fish in Brentwood -- This is our favorite sushi. Trust me, just order the Trust Me.
  • Cafe Vida in the Pacific Palisades -- This is our favorite locals spot for fresh California food.

What to Do

  • Be a tourist! We always love visiting the Santa Monica Pier. Take a spin or two on the ferris wheel and soak up the energy and fun of this iconic spot at the very end of Route 66.
  • Go shopping! Abbot Kinney is our favorite shopping spot and has been dubbed the "coolest block in America"
  • Take a hike! One of the unique parts of LA is that even though you are in a big city, you can still take an amazing hike in nature. Temescal Canyon Loop is one of our favorites, but there are so many other good ones too.
  • Hit the beach! Sure you can relax on the sand & play in the surf, but our favorite thing to do is rent a bike at one of the beach side stands and pedal from the Palisades to Venice. You could also pick up a Bird scooter and motor instead of pedal.

inside scoop

  • The farmers market here are amazing! There are so many fruits and veggies here that you don’t find elsewhere and lots of the vendors offer samples to try. We love the one in Santa Monica on Wednesdays and also the one in Pacific Palisades on Sundays.
  • If you do have a car and drive yourself, make sure to take your parking tickets inside with you when you get out of the car. Most stores & restaurants will validate for free or discounted parking.

skip it

Anything inside. The weather here is amazing year round, so skip the indoor activities and play outside.

What to Pack

LOS ANGELES – THE WEST SIDE - Suggestions from the Oliver Community

  • Sabrina Eliasoph Says

    Felix- in Venice, it’s incredibly delicious pastas and cocktails

    Capo- in Santa Monica, old-world charm, packed to the gills with fun people-watching (including occasional celebs) and yummy Italian

  • Caroline Kesmodel Says

    The Rose in Venice- A fantastic spot to sit outside for brunch and bloodies. Two patios, a bar, and bakery serving California fare.
    Caught a great celebrity sighting, too!

To add a suggestion login or join