I’ll be the first to admit that Los Angeles has just never seemed to be my kind of city. It’s too big, too spread out, and that traffic! No thank you. Granted, I made up my mind before ever going which seems a bit unfair. Luckily my mom and I decided to make a girls trip out of a long weekend and did a whistle stop tour of all the green beauty that West LA had to offer. We were able to do this without a car which made the trip even better, thanks to comfy walking shoes and the occasional Lyft ride. Read on for more about our LA adventure!
To Stay: We stayed in an AirBnB right off of Abbott Kinney. Super chic and free beach cruisers – what more could you want? It was a little dark at night but overall we found the area safe and within walking distance to everything we needed.
To Eat: There was really no shortage of good food around Abbott Kinney. From food trucks serving the most delicious smoothies to gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free pastries that still tasted like heaven, this town really has it all. Here are some of our favorite spots –
Kreation ($) – This was the only spot we managed to go to multiple times during a relatively brief trip. Highly recommend for a guilt-free, healthy meal.
The Butcher’s Daughter ($) – Perfect for a coffee to go, though waiting out the brunch line is not for the faint of heart. Hot tip: for being such an active city, no one seemed to be out before 9:30 am. Get there early and skip the line!
Loews Hotel Santa Monica ($$) – For amazing views of the ocean with a scenic mountain backdrop, we grabbed a poolside table at the Loews Hotel. Somehow a hotel that starts at $600/night has a ridiculously reasonable lunch menu and we got fish tacos and mushroom flatbreads for under $30.
Rose Cafe ($$$) – Our favorite meal was by far Rose Cafe. Gorgeous space and really creative food, but do not come hungry unless you plan on a real splurge. We mistakenly ordered a scallop dish to share before realizing that it literally had two scallops on the plate. No wonder LA people are so skinny…
To Do: Shopping on Abbott Kinney was a repeat favorite activity (read on for more below), and who could pass up people watching on the Santa Monica Pier? We also went to the Artists & Fleas vintage market (every Saturday 11 – 4 pm) and ate our way through the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. We were committed to minimizing car usage, so thank goodness for comfortable sandals. That being said, this area is incredibly walkable and our Lyft rides were no more than 10 minutes to get around Santa Monica and Marina del Rey.
To Enjoy: One of the high points of the trip was definitely visiting the OSEA Malibu flagship for some shopping and their signature Cranial Wave Facials. My mom and I both booked the same treatment but the facialist made sure to customize each treatment. Plus, facials at the flagship come with a product credit so you won’t be leaving empty handed! After all that walking we also indulged in nontoxic pedicures at Alchemie Spa. Located right next to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, this was the perfect way to refresh road-weary toes!
Just off the traffic of Abbott Kinney is the most serene spot in town – OSEA Malibu! They almost had to drag us away after our facials, we could have stayed in this courtyard all afternoon.
Strange Invisible, so insanely chic.
To Buy: This was the real danger zone. We literally spent hours walking up and down Abbott Kinney doing a constant mental negotiation that we had both packed carry-on bags with limited spare room. While I didn’t make it to Credo and The Detox Market (both a little farther away), it gave me a chance to check out a few other retailers I might not have tried before. There were four definite high points:
Strange Invisible – Even in the “natural” space, I really avoid fragrance retailers because the smells just tend to be overwhelming. The Strange Invisible store was a breath of fresh air (pun very much intended). Perfume in the front, green skincare and makeup in the back, it was a total dream. Brands included Le Prunier, RMS, Habit, Little Barn Apothecary, and Kosas.
Hourglass Cosmetics – If you love Beauty Unhyped as much as I do, you’ll understand why I was drawn to the major glow that is Hourglass. I’ve been so intrigued by their illuminating powders that we stopped in for a *quick look* after our facials and ended up getting full makeovers. The products, the packaging, and the quality of service was totally on point.
OSEA Malibu – Obviously we couldn’t resist using the product credit that came with our facials for skincare at OSEA. It was great to see the full OSEA line, although someone please tell me where I can buy their special seaweed! After debating the splurge, my mom and I teamed up our credit for a jar of the Vitamin C Probiotic Polish. It’s pretty tingly on my sensitive skin but she now swears by it.
Saje – If you haven’t been to an outpost of the Canadian brand Saje, it’s kind of like Aveda but with a major emphasis on essential oils. The Saje Tingle Mint line is actually incredibly similar to the Aveda Rosemary Mint line. After resisting the hard upsell on $200 ultrasonic diffuser, we did walk away with an assortment of their essential oil blends and as many Tingle Mind body washes as we could carry.
And that is how it only took me a long weekend to fall in love with this part of LA. There were so many more things I left wanting to do and see – let me know if you have any recommendations for my next visit!