Time to hit the beach. Breakfast at Denny's and then hit the 10
for the long haul through rush-hour traffic to Santa Monica. First stop was 3rd Street Promenade
, a long pedestrianized street filled with shops and restaurants, mostly chains, but a few one-off places have survived, like Hennessey and Ingalls
bookstore, just around the corner.
One of my favorite places in Santa Monica is Palisades Park
, a narrow park fronting the bluff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean (see pic). There's palm trees, exotic foliage... and on a clear day you can see as far as Catalina Island
to the South and Malibu
to the north. Just be forewarned that the homeless have discovered this beauty spot too...
Then it was off for a bike ride along the beach. Just look for the blue shacks along the beach. Bike hire costs us $30 for two bikes, two hours. The teenage staff was pretty clueless, messing up our transaction several times, but it was a beautiful day and we were so relaxed we didn't mind waiting.
We took the winding, short path down to Venice Beach
used to be the place for artists to live in LA, but it's long been supplanted by neighborhoods like Silverlake
on the Eastside. That doesn't mean it's not still a great place to hang out. On the boardwalk, there are all kinds of places selling clubwear, bikinis, sunglasses, tattoos, music - you name it, it's on the boardwalk.
Last but not least, we wandered down to Hermosa Beach
. If you're in Santa Monica and wandering where all the Baywatch
hotties are, they're down here in the South Bay
Nearby Manhattan Beach
is where they have all those Volleyball tournaments you see on ESPN
and Hermosa is home to the surfer crowd. You'll be treated to lots of eye candy and the beach is much cleaner than those further north as well.
We walked out onto the pier, where I took the above photo. There were lots of people of fishing and oddly enough, a guy pulled up an octupus right as we were walking by! Small one, but freaked me out when I saw it sitting there on the Pier.
By this time we were all beached out and we moved back inland. It was dinner time and we stopped at the Grove
for some food and shopping. The Grove is a brand new 'lifestyle' mall, complete with it's own trolley and faux-1920's architecture. Sounds hokey, but somehow it works. In any case, it's a downright luxurious mall, with fountains and a pleasant atmosphere.
Nearby is the old Farmer's Market
, a great place to pick up a bite to eat, with everything from Middle Eastern to Mexican. Just a note, be sure to get your parking validated at the Farmer's Market if you park in the front lot - the Grove only validates for the three story garage off of 3rd Street..
Our last day in LA, so quick! Next up, Santa Barbara