West Hollywood. Beverley Hills. Malibu. Los Angeles is a city like no other. Blessed with a mild, Mediterranean-esque climate, it makes sense that city's popularity endures largely thanks to its beautiful beaches.
The most famous? Locals may try and sway you otherwise, but on my most recent sojourn in the City of Angels, I came to realise Santa Monica still rightfully earns it's place as the pick for a glowing holiday in L.A.
If for no other reason (there are plenty, we'll explain) it's location, location. Positioned within the Los Angeles metro area with the added advantage of a vibrant beach scene, Santa Monica has long been a favourite spot for tourists and locals alike.
Santa Monica Pier, the city’s most famous landmark is instantly recognisable by its epic Ferris wheel which casts a shadow on other quirky nostalgia including the Pier's heritage listed carousel. With its carny-like setting and laid back vibe, the legendary boardwalk is the perfect place to take in the endless views of the beautiful blue ocean and long California coastline.
Any trip to Santa Monica would not be complete without parking your ego and renting a bicycle, skates or roller blades for a joy ride along the winding footpath up and down Venice Beach.
This gorgeous stretch of golden sand and glistening ocean, made famous in endless films and TV, offers the perfect backdrop for a bit of exercise and, more importantly, some of the world's best ‘people watching’ vantage points too.
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As well as the Pier and that iconic, windy footpath, I enjoyed a far more experiences in Santa Monica which everyone should. And like any great holiday, being guided by your stomach is what makes it. Luckily, there is a great food scene in Los Angeles behind the fast food veneer (though some of that is par for the course here, too).
Beside the Original Farmer's Market, one of my favourite experiences was the Foodie’s Bike Tour. Pedal along the well laid out bike paths and boardwalks of coastal Santa Monica and stop at some of the area’s best ethnic eateries. Seeing the sites, getting some sun, enjoy great food and a little exercise and along the way? They've really thought of everything.
I've never been so sure how to give the Los Angeles experience to my clients without having to always use properties in Hollywood (which can be crowded and a little hit and miss location-wise) or Beverley Hills (which while beautiful, can be pricey).
There is a genuinely fun attitude towards visitors in Santa Monica and a hand full of excellent properties boasting luxury in an understated, familiar way (cases-in-point: The Huntley Santa Monica and Loews Santa Monica). It's the perfect home-away-from-home for us Aussies.