THE FULLEST Guide to Santa Monica
Santa Monica is just a short drive up the road from our OC homebase. Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of time exploring its beaches, strolling through its trendy boutiques, and working our way down its must-try restaurant list. The epitome of California cool and home to stunning coastlines, Santa Monica (or SaMo) is considered the more laidback little sister to LA — and is truly a destination in and of itself.
A homebase for today’s creative nomads and modern globetrotters, Proper is Santa Monica’s first and only luxury lifestyle hotel. However, even “luxury hotel” feels reductive to describe the Proper. Interiors visionary, Kelly Wearstler, partnered with the finest names in LA art to create an incomparable visual homage to Santa Monica and its history. Add in three exquisite restaurants, biodynamic wine bars, an Ayurvedic spa, and rooftop pool — all within a short walk to the beach — and you’ve truly found a creative, healing, and vibrant oasis in the heart of the city. Disclaimer: you may spend more time in the hotel than out.
Palihouse Santa Monica
Conveniently located just four blocks up from the ocean (near our favorite Palisades Park), Palihouse Santa Monica is a boutique beach lodge offering 38 generously appointed classic rooms and stunning studio residences.
Ester’s Wine Shop & Bar
A retail store by day, and chill, intimate wine bar by sundown. We come here for the food, my husband enjoys trying the wine, and we love how easy the atmosphere is — even with the kids and dog in tow!
Another relaxed spot to enjoy farm-to-table American fare; they’re always pushing limits of food creativity and we love their truly seasonal menu.
A rooftop restaurant in downtown Santa Monica. This spot manages to create a laid back but buzzing atmosphere and still serve up elevated Italian cuisine. It’s got a lot of hype — and it’s worth it. However, we like to go for brunch, or on the earlier side of dinner, to give ourselves room to leave before it becomes a rager.
We’re constantly amazed by Kye’s, the local eatery that serves us super nutritious “fast food.” The Kyerito, their signature dish, is seriously one of the best (if not the best) lunches in town. What is a Kyerito? As the name suggests, it’s a sushi hand roll meets burrito. Our favorite is the Vegan Nahm Jim. Other menu gems include the Macro and the Chicken Curry (for when we feel like honoring our inner carnivore). Top it all off with a vegan black bean brownie or a chocolate chip cookie made with ghee that are both gluten free, obviously.
We love their selection of organic, gluten-free items. From housemade milks to gluten-free croissants and some of our favorite salads to-go, we love a visit to Breadblok when we are in town!
Frozen Fruit Co.
This place doesn’t need a lot of detail. Date sweetened, coconut-based ice cream that is not to be missed — says it all!
The Detox Market
A great stop to update your clean beauty arsenal with all the personal care items you need to implement new rituals into your daily self-care routine.
Brentwood Country Mart
A local shopping village that houses some of our favorite stores like Doen, Goop, Capital, and Jenni Kayne. Stop by for some shopping and good food from the wonderful Farmshop.
An independently owned, local neighborhood shop with a curated collection of goods for all: stunning stationery, gifts for epicurists, trinkets for friends (or lovers), bookshelf or coffee table companions, whimsical wares and fares for hearth and home, odd curiosities, and jewelry. Plenty of items for the whole family to enjoy.
My favorite part of this walk is the 1.6-mile section of Santa Monica’s Ocean Avenue. On top of an uplifted unconsolidated sedimentary coastal terrace with exposed bluffs, you can catch views of both the Pacific Ocean and the coastal mountains, perfect for a morning stroll.
Museum of Flying
If you have kids this is a great place to take them to explore the airplanes and learn about Southern California aviation history. Always a hit with the little ones.
Will Rogers State Park
This easy, family-friendly hiking trail begins at the historic Pacific Palisades home of Will Rogers and loops up to Inspiration Point. If you were feeling hesitant, FYI the Inspiration Loop Trail is not challenging.
Our favorite Ayurvedic Spa, or should we say spa, period! Located inside the proper hotel, we highly recommend gifting yourself an abhyanga massage with one of their practitioners. And if you’re up for a several day self-care program, their Panchakarma is a great opportunity to reset your body.