A true cultural enclave, Los Angeles abounds with exceptional cuisine, fashion, and a myriad of internationally acclaimed arts destinations – many of which are worth the drive from the sweeping shores of Malibu into the city.
Here are a few of our favorites, from Venice Beach to the heart of LA. Keep in mind that some destinations may require reservations or tickets in advance, which can be arranged by the reception team at Malibu Beach Inn.
Picturesque canals and a world-famous, beachfront boardwalk await in Venice, one of California’s most iconic beach towns.
Amidst the laidback coastal ambiance, LA’s influence shows in the cutting-edge fashion boutiques and acclaimed restaurants. The place for both is Abbot Kinney Boulevard, a one-mile strip with everything from athleisure and one-of-a-kind styles to gourmet donut shops. It is also where you can find your rosé brunch destination, Gjelina.
After you are finished wandering in and out of intriguing boutiques, grab a table on the patio at the rustic-chic Gjelina. With an emphasis on fresh ingredients, the menu features enticing midday options such as gnocchi with brown butter and truffle honey, squash blossom pizza, and blueberry ricotta pancakes with berries and maple syrup.
In the afternoon, your next stop is Venice Boardwalk, where you can see an eclectic lineup of performers break-dancing, playing instruments, and juggling during daylight hours.
Stroll along the boardwalk, pausing for a look over Muscle Beach, and on the first Friday of any month, walk back down Abbot Kinney in the early evening for the food-centric Abbot Kinney First Friday. More than 40 of the city’s top food trucks line the vibrant street gathering, with many shops staying open late.
Off the Beaten Path: The tranquil garden paths that follow alongside the Venice Canals offer a pleasant contrast to the rest of the city.
The glamour of LA comes alive in Beverly Hills, home to some of the most prestigious fashion brands in the world. In that spirit, head to Rodeo Drive and begin your exploration by walking the idyllic cobblestoned streets alongside Gucci, Versace, and Cartier. Although luxury fashion brands reign supreme, there are also local boutiques and eateries located throughout the shopping mecca – all of which are worth a look.
When you are ready for traditional French cuisine, step inside Bouchon Bistro for delectable creations like sourdough waffles with caramelized bananas and crème Chantilly. The bistro also offers oysters on the half shell and other raw bar delicacies along with a unique wine list.
In the evening, the Wallace Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts beckons. Affectionately known as The Wallis, the 70,000-square-foot venue designed by Zoltan E. Pali hosts acclaimed theater, music, and dance performances – including a trio from the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in April and the world-renowned Paul Taylor Dance Company in May.
Upon entering the building, you will be struck by the remarkable juxtaposition of classic and modern influences between the historic lobby, formerly the 1933 Beverly Hills Post Office, and the contemporary, state-of-the-art Bram Goldsmith Theater.
Off the Beaten Path: Take a few minutes to drive by Beverly Hills’ more whimsical attractions, the surreal O’Neill House inspired by renowned architect Antoni Gaudi and the fairytale-like Witch’s House.
LA Art Museums
The Broad museum on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles; photo by Benny Chan, courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro
From centuries-old creatives to present day visionaries, the breadth of artwork showcased in LA is world-class.
Start your museum tour at The Broad, the eye-catching, modern structure on Grand Avenue that is reminiscent of a honeycomb. The 120,000-square-foot, $140-million contemporary art museum was opened by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad in late 2015. Inside, you will find more than 2,000 artworks from the likes of Jean Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, and Ed Ruscha.
Just next door, the warm, rustic dining room of Otium is your brunch destination. Using sustainable ingredients grown in the garden on the restaurant’s mezzanine, the menu highlights wood-fire cooking with favorites such as shakshouka and pozole rojo. And after you dine, you can walk to The Museum of Contemporary Art, or MOCA, just around the corner.
The only artist-founded museum in LA showcases thousands of works of contemporary art from Joan Miro to Noah Davis, the late LA artist behind many renowned installations.
Installation of three works by Roy Lichtenstein in The Broad’s third-floor galleries; photo by Bruce Damonte, courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Alternatively, you can head to Spartina for brunch – we like the avocado crostini and the brioche French toast – and spend the afternoon at the immense Los Angeles County Museum of Art, known simply as LACMA.
As the largest art museum in the western United States, LACMA houses nearly 130,000 works encompassing almost the entire history of art from ancient times to present day. Wander through the museum’s extensive exhibits of Asian, Latin American, and Islamic art – the latter of which is one of the most significant collections of its kind in the world.
After your exploration, spend some time meandering about the grounds, which span more than 20 acres in the heart of LA, and admiring striking outdoor sculptures such as Alexander Calder’s Three Quintains (Hello Girls).
Off the Beaten Path: In addition to Picasso and Andy Warhol, those that choose to visit LACMA should peruse the masterpieces of lesser known artists like Lee Mullican.